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General Andrés Pico

Andrés Pico
c. 1810
Spanish Las Californias Province of New Spain
February 14, 1876
Los Angeles, California

Andrés Pico (1810 – February 14, 1876) was, as the political administration changed, a mixed-race Californio youth; a successful rancher and commander; and an influential American politician; in 19th century California.

Andrés Pico was born at San Diego in the Spanish Las Californias Province of New Spain in 1810. He was the son of José María Pico and María Eustaquia López. Andrés Pico was the brother of Pío Pico, both later Governors of the Mexican Alta California Province.

In 1845, Andrés and Juan Manso were granted by Governor Pío Pico a nine-year lease for the Mission San Fernando Rey de España lands which encompassed nearly the entire San Fernando Valley. Andrés Pico, at that time a 35-year old rancher, lived in Pueblo de Los Angeles. He ran cattle on the ranch and made the Mission complex his rancho-base, with the 'Pico Adobe' his rancho residence. In 1846 to raise funds for the Mexican-American War, the Pío Pico government sold those secularized lands from the Mission San Fernando, except the Mission compound and its immediate surroundings, to Eulogio de Celis who established Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando.

During the Mexican-American War, Andrés Pico commanded the Mexican forces, the 'California Lancers', in Alta California. In 1846 Pico led an attack on forces commanded by U.S. General Stephen Watts Kearny at the Battle of San Pasqual where Kearny's command was dealt a hard blow. In 1847, Andrés Pico briefly became the Governor of Mexican Alta California, in opposition to the U.S. provisional government established in 1846. On January 13, 1847, concerned General Kearny might execute him, Andrés Pico signed the Treaty of Cahuenga with the American commander Lieutenant-Colonel John C. Frémont. It was an informal agreement between rival military forces which ended the Mexican-American War battles in California. Andrés' brother, Pío Pico was the last Mexican Governor, who in 1848 signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally ceding all of Mexico's Alta California territory to the United States.

After California became an American state in 1850, Andrés Pico became an American citizen with full legal and voting rights. He remained in the new State of California. In 1853, Pico acquired a half interest in Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando from Eulogio de Celis, splitting it in half along present day Roscoe Boulevard, with Pico's land being the southern half of the San Fernando Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains. He served as a California State Assemblyman from Los Angeles in 1851. As a Breckenridge Democrat, he was a Southern Confederate sympathizer. Pico authored a bill, known as the Pico Bill, in February, 1859, to divide California. The bill proposed to create the "Territory of Colorado" from the Southern counties of the state. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature and was signed by the Governor John B. Weller on April 18, 1859. However, the split was never put into effect because the U.S. Congress did not act on the bill. Pico received the title of Brigadier General in the California Militia in 1858. He served as a California State Senator from Los Angeles in 1860. In debt, Andrés Pico had sold his half-interest in the Rancho ex-Mission San Fernando to his brother Pío Pico in 1862. He retired as a 'Californio ranchero' in Los Angeles.

Pico never married, but adopted several children. 'Don' Andrés Pico died in Los Angeles in 1876.

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