1883: Jimmy Peace Weighs In

In April 1883 James Peace told this story to the “Redwood City Times & Gazette”

Now who this James Meadows [see post below] is or where he lived at that time does not appear, but if he had been a resident of this country at that time he must have been one of about 80 who were corraled and taken to Monterey by the Mexican soldiers from all parts of the country. Some were released, and upon the appearance of Farnam with a US war vessel, who hearing of what was going on immediately demanded our release, or that we should be taken to Mexico.

He told us to have no fears, that he would secure out release and the return of our property which had been confiscated or rather stolen by the Mexicans.

48 of us were placed on board a vessel and shackled to long bars on either side and placed in the hold of the ship without blankets and with planks as beds. I succeeded in getting all the shackles off from them and made an effort to take the vessel but being without any arms, we hesitated to face the guard. We were next taken to Santa Barbara and sent ashore. We remained there about four days, and from there were moved to San Blas, Mexico and thent o Tepice, inland , where we remained prisoners some 8 months or more, when we were formally released.

But little nothing of our property was ever returned to us or to be found. Herds of horses, cattle, sheep, tools, furniture, etc., everything was gone, not even our blankets were returned to us.

Had Meadows been one of those men I should certainly have known him, and if one of those released at Monterey, Farnam has his name. I think Meadows must be more indebted to his memory of what he has been told then to facts of what he himself was an eyewitness

As to my arriving here in 1836, it was very many, many years before that time that the Neread arrived on this coast.

She stopped for repairs at Monterey, thence sailed to various trading posts of the Hudson Bay Co and northward as far as Sitka. I remained on board about four years, and upon her return south she made her first trip to San Francisco Bay.

Neither McLaughlin or Ray were passengers, both of whom I was well acquaionted with. Mr. Ray was born at the same place that I was—can’t read it Islands, and attended school together.

Our object in Yerba Buena was to trade for hides, but finding none near than the Mission Dolores, some three miles distant, the vessel sailed north again, and I determined to remain aboard no longer and left the vessel.

As to my being born in 1818, well, I guess I ought to know something about tht as I was there.

Many years before this I was on the ship Neptune, a whaler, and cruised in the ice (?) in the North Atlantic Ocean, was shipwrecked and drifted in an open boat for 3 weeks before being picked up.

I have neither time, opportunity or inclination to keep much of a diary except in my head but have met all the old settlers often and there were but 3 white foreigners in Alta California before myself–not one of which or (?) their sons now living.

I am now more interested in looking after something to live upon than I am in what has been and I find many of my people who I have assisted and protected when the white people first came will kindly let me ive now in peace and by my own labor.”

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