Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871

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Pioneer California businessman; arriving in Monterey in 1829; Sterns held many public and private offices. At the time of these declarations, he was Alcalde (or Mayor) of Los Angeles.

From the description of Colorado River Ferry declarations, 1850 May 8-1850 June 8. (Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division). WorldCat record id: 39114744

Abel Stearns was a prominent trader and landowner in Southern California from 1829 until his death in 1871.

From the description of Abel Stearns papers, 1836-1865. (California Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 767839874

Abel Stearns was a pioneer ranch owner and businessman in Los Angeles, Calif. As a young man, he left his native Massachusetts to engage in South American and China shipping trade. He went to Mexico in 1826, became a naturalized citizen, and in 1829 moved to Monterey, Calif. By 1833, he settled in Los Angeles where he became a wealthy businessman and influential politician.

From the description of Papers of Abel Stearns: Addenda 1, 1821-1879 (bulk: 1821-1831). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122551997

Abel Stearns (1798-1871) was born in Lunenberg, Mass. As a young man he spent some years at sea, taking part in the trade with South America and China. About 1826 he reached Mexico and during his residence there became a naturalized citizen. In about 1833, Stearns settled in Los Angeles, joined Juan Bandini in the trading business and married Bandini's daughter Arcadia. He became involved in almost every type of business and held minor political officers. In 1849 he represented Los Angeles district at the constitutional convention in Monterey, and later was a member of the state assembly. By 1858, he had become the wealthiest man in Los Angeles County. After the drought of 1863-1864, he became bankrupt and had to sell a great deal of his property. He died in San Francisco in 1871.

From the description of Papers of Abel Stearns, 1821-1935. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122639399

Abel Stearns was a businessman and politician in early California. He arrived in California in 1829 and helped promote the development of Los Angeles and San Pedro.

From the description of Papers of Abel Stearns : Addenda 2, 1817-1878. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 228737917

Biography

Abel Stearns (1798-1871) was born in Lunenberg, Massachusetts. As a young man he spent some years at sea, taking part in the trade with South America and China. About 1826 he reached Mexico and during his residence there became a naturalized citizen. He arrived in California in 1829 and soon settled in Los Angeles, where he made his home for the rest of his life. From a small beginning as a trader and merchant Stearns expanded his activities into the fields of landholding, cattle ranching, mining, politics, education and so forth, gradually becoming a wealthy and influential figure. Because he was a participant in so many important phases of the development of California, his papers constitute a valuable source of historical information.

From the guide to the Abel Stearns Papers, Collection I, 1804-1935, (The Huntington Library)

Biography

Abel Stearns was a pioneer ranch owner and businessman of Los Angeles. Orphaned in 1810, he left his native Massachusetts and went to sea, making trips to China, the East Indies, and Latin America. By the early 1820s he was back in the United States trying to establish himself as a businessman, dealing mainly in shoes. In 1826 he left for Mexico, settling in Mexico City. As partner in a colonization enterprise for Upper California, he became a naturalized citizen and moved to Monterey in 1829. While awaiting approval of a land grant, he turned to merchandising. In about 1833 Stearns settled in Los Angeles, joined Juan Bandini in the trading business, and married Bandini's daughter Arcadia. Stearns became involved in almost every type of business, held minor political offices, and was sent as a representative of the Los Angeles district to the state constitutional convention in Monterey in 1849. He began acquiring rancho property and by 1858 was the owner of vast landholdings and cattle herds and the wealthiest man in Los Angeles county. As a member of the state assembly in 1861, he took an active part in promoting the Los Angeles and San Pedro Railroad. Stearns was forced to sell a great deal of his property when he became bankrupt after the drought of 1863-1864, which caused the decline of the cattle industry in California. He died in San Francisco in 1871.

From the guide to the Abel Stearns Papers, Collection II, 1821-1831; 1879, (The Huntington Library)

Biographical Note

Abel Stearns (1798-1871) was a pioneer ranch owner and businessman of early California. Orphaned in 1810, he left Massachusetts and went to sea, making trips to China, the East Indies and Latin America. In the 1820s he began his career as a businessman dealing in shoes in Philadelphia. He left for Mexico in 1826 and eventually arrived in Monterey in 1829. In Monterey, while waiting for a land grant approval, he began his career in merchandising. He moved to Los Angeles in 1833 and joined the trading business with Juan Bandini, eventually marrying Bandini's daughter Arcadia. As well as being a businessman in Los Angeles, he held minor political offices and was a representative for the Los Angeles district at the state constitutional convention in 1849. In 1858 he was the wealthiest man in Los Angeles, owning several businesses and a large amount of land. Stearns took an active role in promoting the development of Los Angeles and San Pedro. He died in San Francisco in 1871.

From the guide to the Abel Stearns Papers, Collection III, 1817-1878, (bulk 1825-1831), (The Huntington Library)

Biography

Abel Stearns (1798-1871) was born in Lunenberg, Massachusetts. As a young man he spent some years at sea, taking part in the trade with South America and China. About 1826 he arrived in Mexico, and during his residence there, he became a naturalized citizen. Stearns moved to Los Angeles in 1829, and became a central figure in commerce and the political life of the pueblo. Stearns expanded his trading and merchandizing activities into cattle ranching, mining, and politics, and became a wealthy and influential landholder. Stearns became known for his efforts to annex San Pedro to Los Angeles, and connecting a stage route between the two areas. Highlights of his political career include his service as the first alcalde, or mayor, of Los Angeles during the Mexican period, and President of Los Angeles under American rule. Stearns's commercial and social interests were enhanced by his marriage to Arcadia Bandini, a member of the land-rich Bandini family of California. However, the severe drought of 1862-1864 dehabilited his ranching enterprises. By 1868, Stearns had suffered such financial losses that he was forced to sell most of his land holdings to the trust controlling the Stearns Ranchos Company. Stearns died in 1871.

From the guide to the Abel Stearns [Letters], 1861-1865, (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Bandini, Juan, 1800-1859. California historical documents collection, 1812-1912 (bulk 1830-1852). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Thompson, J.D. Letter to Abel Stearns, 1847, August 11. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Bandini family. Papers, ca. 1834-1927. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Arce, Francisco Casimiro, 1821?-1878. Drafts of four letters by Francisco Casimiro Arce : Santo Tomás, Baja California, ms. S, 1852 July 10-12. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Ehrman, Sidney M. Escritura de venta de una casa a favor de D. Santiago MaKinly [sic], 1836-1844. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871. Abel Sterns papers, 1846-1864. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Sparks, Isaac J., 1804-1867. Letter to Abel Stearns, 1841, June 8. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Cooper, Juan Bautista Rogers, 1791-1872. Letter to Abel Stearns, 1830 Feb. 4. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Robinson, Alfred, 1806-1895. Alfred Robinson papers, 1839-1858. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871. Papers of Abel Stearns: Addenda 1, 1821-1879 (bulk: 1821-1831). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Society of California Pioneers. Copies of historical documents preserved in the Archives of the Society of California Pioneers : mss., ca. 1846-ca. 1877. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf O'Farrell, Jasper, 1817-1875. Jasper O'Farrell papers, 1846-1860. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Biography clippings : "S" [surname] folder 1896-2008. Monterey Public Library
referencedIn Los Angeles Land Papers, 1850-1889 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
creatorOf Couts, Cave Johnson, 1821-1874. Papers of Cave Johnson Couts, 1832-1951. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Ozio, Antonio María. Memorias de la Alta California escrita por el Sõr Don Antonio Maria Ozio, 1815-1851. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Bandini Family Papers, ca. 1834-1927 University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
referencedIn Los Angeles County (Calif.). Office of Assessor. Los Angeles County Assessor's road maps, 1860-1897 (bulk 1870-1894) Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Maps of private land grant cases of California, [ca. 1840-ca. 1892] Bancroft Library
referencedIn Bachelot, Juan Augusto Alejo. Statement on Abel Stearns, 1836, July 11. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Gilchriese, John D. John D. Gilchriese collection of documents relating to Southern California, 1852-1882. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871. Colorado River Ferry declarations, 1850 May 8-1850 June 8. Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division
creatorOf Sawyer, Charles H. Documents for the history of the conquest of California : ms., 1846 Jan.-July. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Arthur M. Ellis Collection of Photographic Negatives, 1849-1923, bulk 1880s-1890s The Huntington Library
creatorOf Abel Stearns Papers, Collection III, 1817-1878, (bulk 1825-1831) The Huntington Library
creatorOf Larkin, Thomas Oliver, 1802-1858. Thomas O. Larkin papers, 1822-1858. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Abel Stearns [Letters], 1861-1865 University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
referencedIn Los Angeles County Assessor's Road Maps, 1860-1897, 1870-1894 The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
referencedIn Thompson, G. H. Plat of the Rancho La Laguna, finally confirmed to Abel Stearns / surveyed ... by G.H. Thompson. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Abel Stearns Papers, Collection II, 1821-1831; 1879 The Huntington Library
creatorOf Agreement between Abel Stearns and Alpheus B. Thompson relating to sea-otter hunting, 1832, September 22. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871. Papers of Abel Stearns, 1821-1935. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871. Papers of Abel Stearns : Addenda 2, 1817-1878. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Los Angeles Land papers, 1850-1889. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Granger, Lewis Cass, 1819-1890. Lewis Cass Granger correspondence, 1851-1857. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Ellis, Arthur M. (Arthur McDonald), 1875-1932,. Arthur M. Ellis Photographic Negative Collection [graphic], 1849-1923, (bulk 1880s-1890s) Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Pearl Pauline Stamps's, Abel Stearns : California pioneer 1798-1871, 1925 University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
creatorOf Davis, William Heath, 1822-1909. William Heath Davis papers, 1840-1905. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Bull, James Hunter, fl. 1843-1845. James Hunter Bull papers : typescript, 1843-1845. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Los Angeles County Prefecture Records The Huntington Library
creatorOf Stearns, Abel, 1798-1871. Abel Stearns papers, 1836-1865. California Historical Society
creatorOf Abel Stearns Papers, Collection I, 1804-1935 The Huntington Library
referencedIn Thomas O. Larkin papers, 1839-1856 Bancroft Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Arce, Francisco Casimiro, 1821?-1878. person
associatedWith Arguello, José R. person
associatedWith Arguello, José Ramón. person
associatedWith Bachelot, Juan Augusto Alejo. person
associatedWith Bandini family. family
associatedWith Bandini Family family
associatedWith Bandini, Juan, 1800-1859. person
associatedWith Bandini, Juan Bautista. person
associatedWith Bull, James Hunter, fl. 1843-1845. person
associatedWith California. District Court (1st District). corporateBody
associatedWith Carrillo, José Antonio. person
associatedWith Carr, William. person
associatedWith Celis, Eulogio de. person
associatedWith Chico, Mariano. person
associatedWith Cooper, Juan Bautista Rogers, 1791-1872. person
associatedWith Coronel, Ignaćio. person
correspondedWith Couts, Cave Johnson, 1821-1874 person
associatedWith Davis, William Heath, 1822-1909. person
associatedWith Domingo, Juan. person
associatedWith Eayrs, George Washington. Co-author of articles of agreement with Abel Stearns person
associatedWith Eayrs, George Washington. Subject of certificate by William Stevenson, 1817 person
associatedWith Echeandía, José María de. Addressee for Abel Stearns, 1829, Aug. 20. HM 57200. person
associatedWith Ellis, Arthur M. (Arthur McDonald), 1875-1932, person
associatedWith Esténaga, Tomás Eleutério, person
correspondedWith Forster, John, 1814-1882 person
associatedWith Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890. person
associatedWith Gaffey, John Tracy. person
associatedWith Gilchriese, John D. person
associatedWith Glanton, John Joel, 1821-1850. person
associatedWith Granger, Lewis Cass, 1819-1890. person
associatedWith Hill, Jeremiah. person
associatedWith Hudson's Bay Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hudson's Bay Company. Subject in Abel Stearns letter to Sherman Peck, 1829 corporateBody
associatedWith Kenneth S. Greenburg person
associatedWith Larkin, Thomas Oliver, 1802-1858. person
associatedWith Lincoln, Able B. person
associatedWith Los Angeles County (Calif.). Office of Assessor. corporateBody
associatedWith Mission San Gabriel Arcangel (San Gabriel, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Montenegro, Jose Ygnacio Gomez. person
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
associatedWith Morse, Ephraim W., 1823-1906. person
associatedWith Nieto, Juan José, 1804-1866. person
associatedWith O'Farrell, Jasper, 1817-1875. person
associatedWith Olvera. person
associatedWith Ozio, Antonio María. person
associatedWith Peck, Sherman. Addressee for Abel Stearns, 1829, Oct. 17. HM 57201. person
associatedWith Prefecture of Los Angeles corporateBody
correspondedWith Reid, Hugo, 1811?-1853 person
correspondedWith Robinson, Alfred, 1806-1895 person
associatedWith Roldán, Mariano. person
associatedWith Rosas, Juan Manuel José Domingo Ortiz de, 1793-1877. person
associatedWith Salido, Francisco. person
associatedWith Sanchez, father. person
associatedWith San Fernando, Rey de España (Mission : San Fernando, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Sawyer, Charles H. person
associatedWith Sepúlveda, J. L. person
associatedWith Society of California Pioneers. corporateBody
associatedWith Sparks, Isaac J., 1804-1867. person
associatedWith Stamps, Pearl Pauline person
associatedWith Thompson, G. H. person
associatedWith Thompson, J.D. person
associatedWith United States. District Court (California) corporateBody
associatedWith Veder, Charles H. person
associatedWith Victoria, Manuel. Subject in Abel Stearns letter to Sherman Peck, 1829, Oct. 17. person
associatedWith Walker, William. person
correspondedWith White, Stephen Mallory, 1853-1901 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Rancho San Rafael (Calif.)
Argentina
United States
Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico)
California, Southern
California
California
California, Southern
California
Los Angeles (Calif.)
California
Yuma (Ariz.)
California
Arizona
Mexico
Cuba
Subject
Yuma Indians--History--Sources
Ferries
Politicians--Archives
Ranching
Businessmen--Archives
Real property
Businessmen
Frontier and pioneer life
Fur trade
Land tenure
Merchants
Cattle trade
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1798-02-09

Death 1871-08-23

English,

Spanish; Castilian

Information

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