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José Antonio Carrillo


Leo Carrillo unveils portrait of his great-great grandfather José Antonio Carrillo, 1955

Captain José Antonio Ezequiel Carrillo (1796–1862) was a Californio rancher, officer, and politician in the early years of Mexican Alta California and U.S. California.


He was the son of the Spanish Criollo José Raimundo Carrillo, and brother of Carlos Antonio Carrillo, governor of Alta California, himself serving three non-consecutive terms as Comandante of Pueblo de Los Angeles - Mayor of Los Angeles between 1826 and 1834.[1]

José Antonio Carillo married Estefana Pico (1806–) in 1823, and after her death, Jacinta Pico (1815–) in 1842; both women were sisters of prominent Californios Pío Pico and Andrés Pico.[2]

Ranchos - Ventura

José Antonio Carillo was the Mexican land grant grantee of Rancho Las Posas in 1834, in present day Ventura County, California, and the Island of Santa Rosa of the Channel Islands.

Political Activities

Carrillo was alcalde of Los Angeles in 1826, 1828, and 1833.[3][4] In 1836, Juan Bandini, a prominent political official who supported the American cause, was back in the revolution-making business - this time in opposition to Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado. Carrillo returned from his post as territorial congressman in Mexico with the news that his brother, Carlos, had been appointed governor of Alta California to replace Alvarado, and that the capital had been changed from Monterey to Los Angeles.

Mexican American War

During the Siege of Los Angeles, Carrillo, along with Captain José María Flores and Andrés Pico, formed a militia to defend Alta California during the Mexican–American War. Carrillo distinguished himself by leading fifty Californio Lancers to victory at the Battle of Dominguez Rancho against 203 United States Marines; killing 14, and wounding several others, while not suffering a single casualty. The Americans, under the command of US Navy Captain William Mervine, were forced to retreat from what is presently Carson to San Pedro Bay. Commodore Robert F. Stockton, leader of the US Pacific Naval Fleet, was so taken aback by the strong resistance of the Californios that he immediately set sail for San Diego to regroup.

Two months later, Stockton rescued US Army General Stephen W. Kearny's surrounded forces after the Battle of San Pasqual,[5] and with their combined, re-supplied force, they moved northward from San Diego, entering the Los Angeles area on January 8, 1847, linking up with John C. Frémont's Bear Flag battalion.

With American forces totaling 660 soldiers and marines, they fought 150 Californios, led by José María Flores, with Carrillo second in command, in the Battle of Rio San Gabriel. The next day, January 9, 1847, they fought the Battle of La Mesa. On January 12, 1847, the last significant body of Californios surrendered to American forces. That marked the end of the war in California. On January 13, 1847, Carrillo, acting as a commissioner for Mexico, drafted in English and Spanish the Treaty of Cahuenga, and was present at the signing.


"He was a man of remarkable natural abilities for the most part, slight modifications in the conditions and his character might have made him the foremost of Californians. None excelled him in intrigue, and he was never without a plot on hand. A gambler, of questionable habits, and utterly careless in his associations, he yet never lost the privilege of associating with the best or the power of winning their friendship. There was nothing he would not do to oblige a friend or get the better of a foe; and there were few of any note who were not at one time or another both his foes and friends. No Californian could drink so much brandy as he with so little effect. A man of fine appearance and iron constitution; of generous impulses, one of the few original and prominent characters in early California."


  1. Smythe, William E. (1908). "part II, chapter VI". History of San Diego. San Diego, California: San Diego. OCLC 13983342. 
  2. Jose Antonio Ezequiel Carrillo (1796-1862)
  3. John P. Schmal (17 Apr 2004). "The Mayors of Los Angeles". LatinoLA. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  4. "Los Angeles City Mayors - Past To Present". Los Angeles Almanac. 6 April 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  5. Sally Cavell JohnsFall (Fall 1973). "Viva Los Californios! The Battle of San Pasqual". Journal of San Diego History. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
Preceded by
José Maria Avila
Mayor of Los Angeles
Succeeded by
Claudio Lopez
Preceded by
Guillermo Cota
Mayor of Los Angeles
Succeeded by
Guillermo Soto
Preceded by
Manuel Dominguez
Mayor of Los Angeles
Succeeded by
José Perez

See also

  • Ranchos of California
    • List of Ranchos of California

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