El viejo Lugo ……California's Grand Old Man. It was upon one of the most eminent and lovable characters in Southern California's early history that early Los Angeles bestowed this title and Don Antonio Maria Lugo bore it with all the dignity and honor characteristic of a brave soldier and an honorable man. Born about 1762, in the mission of San Antonio de Padua Don Antonio Lugo when but a boy joined the array of the King of Spain, and was rewarded for faithful and brilliant service, with vast land grants in southern California. To his original land grant, the San Antonio Rancho, which was named after him, he gradually added vast properties. It was said of him in the early days that he could ride from San Diego to Sonoma a distance of nearly 700 miles, without once leaving his own land, changing horses daily from his own stock and eating no food but that raised on his property. He was the owner of much of which is now the city of Los Angeles, and the San Antonio Rancho was Located and around the present site of Compton. As late as 1841 he was the grantee of the Santa Ana Del Chino. Such princely possessions alone were enough to distinguish the old Don from his follows. But in addition he enjoyed the reputation of being the best horseman in Southern California, which was saying a lot for a day when every man possessed a horse, and horsemanship was the greatest art. Finally and above all, Don Antonio was noted for his wide and princely hospitality.
Banquets at which a king might have been proud to sit were prepared at the old Adobe mansier located on the San Antonio Rancho. Travelers were welcomed at every hour and the arrival of travelers on the road going to or from Los Angeles was the signal for a Lavish display of hospitality which dazzled the weary pilgrims. The generosity of the old Don became a byword, to be related to the Don, even in the romonest connection, said Major Horace Bell after a visit at the famous rancho, was an assurance of an ample start in land and cattle with which to commence the battle of life. Don Antonio Maria Lugo and his wife, Dona Delores Ruiz de Lugo had five children, each of whom took an active part on both social and business activities of early Los Angeles. They were Jose Maria, Jose Del Carmen, Vincente Jesus and Merced Lugo. Jose del Carmen married Rafabla Castro, member of another pioneer Family. Jesus became the bride of Col. Julian Isaac Williams and the second Lugo daughter Dona Merced became the wife of Stephen Foster, Alcalde of Los Angeles, and Later Designated prefest. Their daughter, Dona Maria Foster later became Mrs. Wallace Woodworth, mother of Charles Woodworth of Los Angeles. Pilar Lugo, daughter of Jose Maria Lugo, married Dolores Valenzuela a Sonoran. Famous as one of the most charming hostesses of her day. Dona Pillar was the mistress of a beautiful adobe home, located in the exclusive Plaza. The Valenzuelas entertained lavishly throughout the fifties and sixties. Their home, which stood on the Northern corner of upper main street, was the scene of lavish balls and entertainment's and the gathering place for the "younger married set" which was most fashionable and exclusive. Don Vincente Lugo, third son of El Viejo, was considered the beau brummel of the fifties and sixties. His gorgeues saddle with its silver trappings, his silver spurs and fine bred horses made him a greatly admired figure wherever he rode. Like his father, he became "Judge of the Plains", an informal sort of officer who aided in the capture of bandits and in keeping order in general in outlying districts. His saddle and spurs, by the way were second in value and beauty only to these of his father. Old Don Antonio's silver studded saddle was the pride of the town, to be pointed out to strangers and discussed in gatherings of the Lersemen, This same saddle has been preserved and is now in the Los Angles County museum. Vincente married a daughter of the Ballesteres, Dona Andrea. Their children, the fortunate grandchildren of El Viejo Lugo, were Felipe, Blas Antonio, Andres, Pedro and Barbara Lugo(de Ramirez). Felipe and Pedro Lugo reside today in the remodeled Lugo Rancho house, which was built by old don Antonio in 1819. Blas Antonio Lugo married, in 1865, married Adelaida Alvarado, a member of the family of governor Alvarado. Three days and Three nights were spent in the Festivities, which followed the ceremony. Guests from all over Southern California had come to share the hospitality of the Lugo's and witness the marriage of a grandson of Don Antonio. Turkeys and young Lambs were roasted before the glowing open fires all day long by the serving Indians, dancing, singing and riding occupied the time for the guests. Following the ceremony in Los Angeles, the bridal couple was driven to the old Lugo rancho, where a house had been built for them near the Family mansion. Here the fiesta in Los Angeles was repeated, and three more days were devoted to celebration. Who is still living in Los Angeles, Dona Adelaida Alvarado de Lugo and Blas Antonio Lugo had six children, all of whom are residents of Los Angeles. They are John, Antonio, and Charles Lugo, Petra Lugo Vignes, Amelia Lugo Bradford and Rosa Lugo Stombs. Jose Ygnacio Lugo, also famous in the annals of early California and owner of the Santa Barbara Rancho, was a brother of Don Antonio Maria Lugo. His daughter, Magdelena, became Mrs. William Wolfskill, and her daughter, Dona Magdelena Wolfskill later became Mrs. Frank Sabichi, of Los Angeles.
P.O. BOX 2852
BELL GARDENS, CA 90202
Members: Chairperson Teresa Sanches Vice Chairperson Hugo Martinez BoardMembers: Sally Hoyt, Gabriel Valasco
Meeting are held every 2nd wednesday of the month at the Bell Gardens city chambers.