Pío de Jesus Pico: Mixed-Race Historical Figure
Pío de Jesus Pico (1801-1894)
Pio Pico's ancestry is said to have included a
mixture of African, Indian, Mexican and Italian.
As a resident of San Diego who became
Governor, Pio Pico is a figure of much interest.
His father was Jose Maria Pico.
Pio Pico married María Ignacia Alvarado in 1834
and also fled to Mexico to prevent the conquering
Americans from capturing him and taking him prisoner.
He later reclaimed his title to land he had
previously acquired and invested in more
real estate, becoming wealthy and influential.
Pico became a private citizen, successful businessman,
and served on the Los Angeles City Council.
He became Governor in 1845.
Nearly all the magazines have contained, at
various times, "write-ups" of the Pico family,
and attacks or defenses of his administration.
Around 1850, Pio Pico bought the Rancho Paso
de Bartolo Viejo [near present day Whittier]
from the heirs of Juan Crispin Perez.
He built his mansion in 1852 and
lived at "El Ranchito" from 1852 to 1892.
According to some accounts, the
house at one time included 33 rooms.
El Ranchito was a gathering place for his
neighbors as well as business acquaintances
traveling the large distances between settlements.
In 1883 a flood wiped out most of the mansion,
leaving only the foundation and a few walls.
Pico rebuilt the house, this time on a more modest scale.
He spent his later years in Los Angeles and wrote
quite a little concerning California history.
His character has been variously estimated and
he has been much abused for various causes.
He died in 1894.
[Excerpt from William Ellsworth Smythe's History of San Diego, 1907
/ Source: http://www.sandiegohistory.org/bio/pico/picopio.htm]