I’m delighted today to welcome author Barbara Crane (and a friend) to Thoughts in Progress to celebrate her release WHEN WATER WAS EVERYWHERE.
Her story is about a young St. Louis man who goes west to L.A. in the 1800’s during California’s mission phase. The book won a Beverly Hills Book Award and is inspired by the life of John Temple and Rancho Los Cerritos.
Barbara has brought a friend along to give us a different perspective. I’ll let Barbara explain.
Don Rodrigo Tilman is an important character in my historical novel, “When Water Was Everywhere.” He is inspired by the real historical figure Don Juan Temple, as he was known in the early 19th century Pueblo of Los Angeles. Today we’ll look at Tilman from his wife’s point of view. She shared his adventures in the early days of Los Angeles and at their cattle ranch, located in the present-day city of Long Beach, California. Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
My name is Señora Maria Alejandra Arenas de Tilman. My husband, Don Rodrigo Tilman, a man of fine character, was a Yankee sea captain. When he settled in the pueblo of Los Angeles in the late 1820s, he became a Mexican citizen. You see, Mexico had recently fought a war of independence with Spain. Alta California, claimed by Spain since the 16th century, became a part of Mexico. By becoming a Mexican citizen, my husband became eligible to own land.
I’m proud of what my husband has become in his adopted homeland. He owned the first store in the pueblo and rapidly became its wealthiest citizen. In 1843, he purchased Rancho Los Sierritos, which means “Ranch of the Little Hills”. Rancho Los Sierritos is 25 miles south of the pueblo of Los Angeles along the Los Angeles River. You should see the river. It is wild and beautiful at Rancho Los Sierritos, lined with willow and cottonwood trees.
My husband has plans for the ranch. He wants to raise an enormous herd of cattle, then sell the hides to the numerous trading ships that dock in San Pedro Bay’s harbor. First, though, he will build a ranch house, where we can live during the summer, away from the pueblo’s heat and dust. Our daughter, nine years old, will like that, too.
I can see that my husband is worried about the future. Mexico has not been a good steward of Alta California. The governors it has sent are not equipped to oversee such a vast territory. On the other hand, if Alta California does become part of the United States, which the American president wants, my husband isn’t sure that his claims to his ranch would be honored.
This is a time of uncertainty for us, but I’m sure my husband will find a way for us to keep our ranch and continue to prosper.
Barbara (and Señora Tilman) thanks for visiting today and sharing this insight. A fascinating look at a part of history.
|Author Barbara Crane|
For more on Barbara and her writing, visit her at the following sites:
Thanks for stopping by today. Do you enjoy getting the perspective of a character from a story?