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William G. Dana - San Luis Obispo California
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member teeoff2
00° 00.000 000° 00.000
31N E 166021 N 0
Quick Description:
Date Posted: 10/23/2008 4:42:48 PM
Waymark Code: WM50X4
Views: 8

Long Description:
Taken from the following web site:
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William Goodwin Dana was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 5, 1797. His mother was Elizabeth Davis, born 1778, oldest daughter of Major Robert Davis of Boston, an officer in the Revolutionary War, member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and said to have been one of the members of the Boston Tea Party. She was married to William Dana, born 1767 and died June 3, 1799 on December 8, 1796.
He spent his youth in Boston, where he received a good education. At the age of eighteen, he entered the service of his uncle, William Heath Davis, who was a Boston merchant. This service took him to Canton, China for two years and then to Calcutta, India where he spent another year before returning to Boston.

During his time in the Orient, Dana was observant and studious, and he quickly learned the art of ship navigation. When he returned to Boston at the age of twenty-one, Dana was able to obtain a first class certificate as a navigator.

His stay in Boston was short as Dana was determined to make use of his knowledge and engage in the China trade. He sailed from Boston on the brig "Waverly" to the Sandwich Islands, or the Hawaiian Islands as they are now called. In 1822 Dana's uncle William Heath Davis died and left him $5000. Captain Dana used the money to buy his own ship and begin trade with Canton. From his headquarters in Oahu (Honolulu), he engaged in trade between China, California, Boston, and South America.

In the late 1820's, California was beginning to open to foreigners. On his trading expeditions to the California Coast, Captain Dana became interested in the business opportunities the area offered. The otter trade attracted him, and he soon became licensed to operate ten boats for hunting sea otter between San Luis Obispo and Bodega.

In 1825 he established permanent residence in Santa Barbara, There he opened a store and placed Captain C. R. Smith in charge. Dana continued his trade with foreign countries for a short time after this. He eventually closed his affairs in the Sandwich Islands and left his property there in charge of Stephen Reynolds.

During the early periods of California's history, Santa Barbara was noted for its beautiful women. Among the loveliest was Maria Josefa Carrillo, the eldest daughter of Don Carlos Antonio Carrillo, resident of the presidio of Santa Barbara and later provisional governor of California. While in Santa Barbara, Captain Dana met Maria Josefa, and in 1828 he won the hand of this Spanish maiden in marriage.

Because of his desire to marry a native girl, Dana needed to become a Mexican citizen and a member of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1827 he was baptized into the Catholic Church, and he applied for citizenship sometime in January of 1828.

On March 22, 1828, Captain William G. Dana wrote a letter on stamped paper from Santa Barbara and addressed to Senor Gefe Superior Politico, praying for the authorization of his espousal with Dona Maria Josefa Carrillo, daughter (hija legitima) of Don Carlos Antonio Carrillo, resident of the Presidio of Santa Barbara.

Dana received the following reply, "To this the worthy Political Chief replies from San Diego, under date of May 1, 1828, that the application could not be acted upon as yet since the Mexican Authorities had not replied to Senor Dana's application for citizenship forwarded sometime in January ultimo. In this case he said proceedings would necessarily be delayed for at least five months in accordance with the law in which time if nothing happened to the contrary, the question would be definitely settled.

The prospective bridegroom waited the allotted five months from March, and the couple was married August 20, 1828 in Santa Barbara. However, Dana did not receive his certificate of naturalization until February 18, 1835. The certificate was signed by Jose Figurora, whose title was General of the Brigade of the Mexican Republic, Commandant General Inspector and Political Chief of the territory of Alta, California. It was attested to by Augustus P. Zamerano, Secretary.

After Captain Dana became a Mexican citizen, he was appointed Captain of the Port at Santa Barbara. In 1836 he was Alcade of Santa Barbara. Under Mexican rule was "Prefecto" of the district, the highest office in the gift of the Governor.

In 1828, Captain Dana built a schooner on the coast near Santa Barbara at a place which still bears the name, Goleta, the Spanish word for schooner. This was probably the first seagoing vessel ever launched in California (The Dana, Carrillo, Boronda, Deleissigues and Munoz Families in California by Alonzo P. Dana, 1966, 1st edition, self published).

From the time of their marriage until 1839, the Dana family lived in Santa Barbara. There nine of their twenty-one children were born.

In 1839, Dana moved to a 37,000 acre Mexican land grant in Nipomo and built the Dana Adobe which is a story and one-half with a cupola on the south end. The walls were made of adobe bricks, but unlike other homes of those days, the roof was made of tar and gravel. The wood for the beams and floors was brought on oxen teams from the vicinity of Santa Ynez . (The Blond Ranchero, by Alonzo Dana)

From the cupola they could watch the herds which were frequently raided by Indians from the San Joaquin Valley which would immediately leave when they saw the Captain and his men coming after them on horseback.

Shortly after the American occupation, William Dana or his sons would drive the herds of cattle to San Francisco for sale and would return with the gold in their saddle bags. Bandits would await their return, but they were always successful in escaping them.

One time the bandit, Jack Powers, attacked the adobe when most of the men were away but he was driven away. However, two of the Dana boys were out in the field when the raid started and they ran through the brush and kept on going until they got to another ranch in Guadalupe for help, but the bandits were gone by the time help came from there.

By Judith Walker, Edited by Carol Bowen

Merchant, rancher, sea captain

Date of birth: 05/05/1797

Date of death: 01/01/1846

Area of notoriety: Historical Figure

Marker Type: Tomb (above ground)

Setting: Outdoor

Visiting Hours/Restrictions: Dawn to Dusk, 7 days a week

Fee required?: No

Web site: [Web Link]

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