It was rumored, at the time, that there was a jealousy between him and Colonel Freemont. It was not on the part of Stevenson. I boarded at the same hotel with Freemont.
See illustration for bill which I received while at the hotel with Colonel Freemont:
[Illustration: HOTEL BILL.]
The colonel asked me one day to speak to Freemont at dinner, and request him, if convenient, to stop in his office as he came from dinner, which I did. Stevenson’s office was on the plaza, but Freemont never called.
There was great difficulty about the title to lots at that time. There were contentions set up, and claims of property from different Mexican grants, as it became valuable. It was guaranteed by the United States, at the treaty of Hidalgo, when California was ceded to us, that all titles that were good under the Mexican government should be recognized by us. L., the chaplain of Stevenson’s regiment, seems to have been the butt of the boys before the gold was discovered.
They, as a farce, elected him alcalde of San Francisco, which position is a combination of mayor and judge, as we would understand it, and his election was declared illegal. Then they elected him for spite. He served one year. There was a Mexican law that in any village in that country a person had a right to settle on one hundred veras of land so many feet, about three hundred, and if he put up any kind of a building on it, and held undisputed possession for one year, he could go to the alcalde, and by paying $16, get a good and valid title. When the lots became so valuable in San Francisco, after the gold was discovered, many lots based on those kinds of grants became very valuable two or three years after the discovery of gold. L. became quite wealthy, it was said, by advances in real estate. There were rumors of bogus titles in the names of dead soldiers and others who had left the country, but could be traced to no authentic source. He was estimated to be worth several hundred thousand dollars, made in the rise of real estate. I met him but once and I sold him some lumber.
My shipping merchant who negotiated freight for my brig got a legal title of that kind.
He said he was a book-keeper for a firm in Newport, Rhode Island, at a small salary. He made up his mind that if they would not raise his pay $100 per year on the 1st of January he would leave them. They refused, so he lost his situation, and it was dull times, and he could not get another one, so he shipped on a whaling vessel as a sailor. His health was poor, and he found he could not stand the hardships of that life. The vessel put in the harbor of San Francisco for water and fresh meat on their way to the Arctic ocean, so he deserted the ship and secreted himself until it left. Then he had to do something there for a living, so he squatted on one hundred veras of land on the beach, and put up a shanty and