Henry Dalton - A California Pioneer


Four generations of Dalton's: Henry, his Son, Grandson & Great-grandson.


Researched, complied & edited by Rodney G. Dalton from various sources on the World Wide Web. Sources are from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Google images search. Other sources are not listed. All copyrighted material is the property of the owner and is not to be used for commercial use. This article is for private use only.




Henry Dalton - Patriarch of this Dalton family


Henry Dalton was born in London on October 8, 1804 to Winnall Thomas Dalton and Ann Woolfe. He had 9 brothers & sisters.


In the Survey of London - From Bristory History Online, we find the following notation:


Batson's and Times Wharves, and No's 6–16 (even) Westferry Road, London.


In 1813 George Henn, a ship-chandler, built a beerhouse, later called the Waterman's or Watermen's Arms, No. 6 Westferry Road, on a 60 year lease, on the corner of Robert Street. In 1815, Prows Broad, a boat builder, leased what was to become Batson's and Times Wharves, building a residence for himself next to the beerhouse and a boat-shop behind.


A shop, with a bake house at the back, was built between Broad's house and a cart way leading to the boat-shop. It was let in 1820 to a local glazier, George Guerrier. The remaining narrow strip of Broad's land was leased in 1819 to Winnall Dalton, a Lime house ship-chandler, who built a house there on the marsh wall. Dalton's house, of basement and two floors, survived into the twentieth century.


On July 7, 1819, Henry Dalton at the age of 14, was apprenticed to his father, Winnall Thomas Dalton, as merchant tailor for a period of seven years. In 1827, he was in Peru, where he purchased for $3000, certain articles in corner Public House in Callao, apparently for commercial purposes. He engaged in coastal trade and commerce in Peru and Mexico, extending his interests in Mexico, when he contracted for the purchase of the estate of the Marques de San Miguel de Aguayo. Through 1842, Dalton's business correspondence, although including Peruvian interests, was written from cities on the Pacific coast of Mexico, while his coastal trade was extended northward to San Diego, San Pedro and Los Angeles. He acquired property in both San Pedro and Los Angeles as early as 1843, from which time he appears to have been definitely established in California. In 1844, he purchased Rancho Azusa from its original grantee, Luis Arenas; and thereafter interested himself more in ranching than in shipping, although he maintained his commercial establishment in Los Angeles as an outlet for the surplus production of his various ranches. After 1846, when he charted a cargo vessel between Callao, Peru and California, he seems to have diminished his trading relations with Peru, but he never abandoned his Mexican contacts.


Acquisition of land in California progressed rapidly after the Azusa purchase. In 1845, Pio Pico granted two extensions to Rancho Azusa, one of which had been part of the San Gabriel Mission lands. Henry Dalton gradually accumulated properties until he became the owner of five ranches: Azusa, San Francisquito, San Jose and Addition, and Santa Anita. Other miscellaneous properties were acquired in and near Los Angeles. Santa Anita was sold in 1854; Francisquito was disposed of in small tracts between 1867 and 1875. Azusa was lost to squatters through a series of highly questionable court decisions. San Jose and Addition became entangled in land litigation and were lost, while the miscellaneous property was gradually sold or lost as well.


Maria Guadalupe Zanorano

Born in Monterey, California,
on December 18, 1832


Zamorano was the forth child of Maria Luisa Argullo de Zamorano and Augustin Vicente Zamorano. She met Henry Dalton in 1846 and married him on July 1, 1846, at the age of 15 at the San Gabriel Mission. The couple had 11 children, 7 of whom reached adulthood: Augustin, Luisa, Soyla, Henry Francisco, Elena, Valentine,and Joseph Russell.


Dalton had three major dedications during his lifetime after establishing himself in California: the welfare of his family, his fight to keep his lands, and his efforts to obtain an equitable settlement in his claims before the Mexican government.


These Mexican claims arose out of two events: damages to property sustained during the Mexican-American war of 1845-1848, during which he not only was in sympathy with the Mexican cause, but placed a considerable sum of money and supplies at the disposal of the Mexican governor of California. He also suffered material damages, as well as the loss of livestock stolen from ranchos Azusa and Santa Anita, when the troops of Fremont and Stockton entered Los Angeles. The second event occasioning claims in Mexico stemmed from the purchase he had made in 1840 of the lands forming part of the estate of the Marques de Aguayo, but to which he had never been given either clear title or possession. The Mexican government readily accepted the validity of both claims, and made payment in bonds which proved to be unredeemable during Dalton's lifetime because of the precarious condition of the Mexican economy. Thus the Mexican claims, like the California land litigation lasted many years: the former from 1846 until after Henry Dalton's death, being continued by his heirs; the latter from the early 1850s, culminating in the loss of Azusa in 1881.


Dalton never abandoned the hope of recovering at least part of the lost lands, and attempted on several occasions to repurchase sections of his ranches. This was an ambitious project, since he was deeply mortgaged during the entire period of litigation, largely because of the expenses caused by squatter claims on Azusa after 1858, the date of the erroneous and detrimental Hancock Survey. The mortgages were held by F. L. A. Pioche, later by the Pioche estate heirs. Henry Dalton died in 1884.


Notes on Azusa, California:

The first recorded reference to Azusa was found in the diary of Fr. Juan Crespi, diarist and engineer with Portola Expedition in 1769, then on its way northward from San Diego in search of Monterey Bay.


Having come northward through Brea Canyon, Crespi, while camping in the vicinity of Bassett remarked of the river and the valley to the north, "The valley is three leagues wide and paralleled by a tall mountain range running east and west." This stream and valley he named the San Miguel Archangel after the Patron Saint of the day, as was their custom. However, he also referred to this area as the The Azusa" in his diary.


Here roamed the Shoshonean Indian, locally known as the Gabriena when the area of Azusa was first inhabited by white emigrants and homesteaders. Their community was known as Asuksa-gna. Supposedly Azusa was derived from the Indian name.


An area of land some three miles square was given to Luis Arenas by the Mexican Government as a Mexican land grant in 1841. Arenas built an adobe home on the hill in the eastern part of the City, did farming and stock raising and called his newly acquired possession E1 Susa Rancho. In 1944 Arenas sold his holdings to Henry Dalton, an Englishman who acquired his wealth in buying and shipping goods from Peru to Wilmington Harbor, now Los Angeles Harbor, and San Francisco. Mr. Dalton, after paying $7,000.00 to Arenas for E1 Susa Rancho, changed the name to Azusa Rancho de Dalton.


On the Azusa Rancho, Mr. Dalton planted a vineyard extending northward from the Dalton Hill to the Sierra Madre Mountains. He built a winery, a distillery, a vinegar house, a meat smokehouse and a flour mill, importing the mill stones from France in 1854 and erecting his mill on a ranch ditch which delivered water to the south portion of his property.


During the great flood years of 1861 and 1862, the flour mills along the various canyons from San Bernardino were washed out and most of the people brought their grain to the Asusa Dalton for grinding.


During 1854, gold was discovered in the San Gabriel Canyon and a town named El Doradoville was built at the fork of the San Gabriel to take care of some 2,000 miners who had filed on gold claims along the east fork of the canyon. During the next twenty years, it is estimated that $12,000,000.00 in gold was mined and shipped to various mints throughout the United States. The town of E1 Doradoville was destroyed by flood waters in 1861 and 1862.


In 1860 the United States land Office sent an engineer from Washington, D.C. who surveyed the Dalton's Azusa Rancho, taking a mile and one-half from his southern boundary and a mile and one- half from his eastern boundary, making the property taken by the Federal Government subject to homesteading. An influx of people began streaming into the area, filing usually on forty, eighty or one hundred and twenty acre lands for their homesteads. This, Mr. Dalton considered unfair. He had not the money to fight the case through the courts and borrowed money from Jonathon S. Slauson, one of the early Los Angeles bankers. Mr. Dalton had to make several trips to Washington, D.C. The courts decided against him after 24 years of litigation. Consequently, Mr. Dalton turned the Azusa Rancho over to Mr. Slauson who deeded a 55 acre homestead to Mr. Dalton at the head of Azusa Avenue and Sierra Madre Avenue.


In 1874, Henry Dalton and Captain J. R. Gordon imported from Italy fifteen stands of Italian honey bees, considered the first honey bees imported into the United States. This developed into a large industry in the production of honey throughout the United States.



Another story about Henry Dalton:


Henry Dalton left at England at 17, sailed to Callao, a small seaport of Lima Peru and became a merchant eventually commanding a small fleet of merchant vessels. In 1841, after business troubles and prolonged illness, he took his best ship, the Rose, and decided to smuggle goods into Mexico, as Santa Ana, now in power, had decreed that all prohibited goods be burnt, thus catapulting their value. Finding smuggling less lucrative than expected he decided to settle in California. By 1846 he had become a prominent figure in California coastal trade and occupied a store on Calle Principal, what is now the corner of Main and Spring, in the Los Angeles pueblo.


Dalton arrived with a cargo of European and American goods that he hoped to sell and exchange for hides and tallow. He opened a store in Los Angeles and bought extensive real estate including a rancho. For $7,000, he bought one-third interest in the Rancho San Jose, the San Jose addition and the entire Rancho Azusa with 700 head of cattle and farming implements. Later, he acquired Rancho Santa Anita and Francisquito and the land that is now the cities of Duarte and Monrovia. By 1851, this totaled 45,280 acres. Dalton was fascinated by new ideas and equipment. He bought an early mechanical thresher for his grain that he rented to other ranchers. He mounted artillery wheels on sturdy wagons to replace the clumsy carretas. He raised cotton, had a cotton gin, and raised tobacco making his own cigars. Besides fruits and vegetables, he raised grapes and had a very successful winery. In 1847, he was baptized at the San Gabriel Mission for his approaching marriage to Maria Guadalupe Zamorano, who was known as the ŇBelle of Los AngelesÓ for her great beauty. Her father had served as Governor of California. For many years, the Mexican government owed Dalton for supplies they bought from his Los Angeles store during the Mexican/American War. His brother-in-law was in the Mexican Army, but Dalton was not involved. When California passed from Mexico to the United States, the Mexican and Spanish land grants were confirmed by treaty, but DaltonŐs title was always clouded. Maria and Henry anticipated a life of peace and prosperity as their family grew. They had eleven children. However, instead of peace and prosperity, they faced years of litigation. Finally, they lost everything. The last blow was from a United States Government Surveyor, named John Hancock, who moved to the southern boundaries of the rancho, one and a half miles north from old San Bernardino Road. Settlers had moved into what was claimed by Hancock to be unclaimed government land. Dalton tried to evict the squatters, but lost the battle.


Rancho Azusa de Dalton became what is now the City of Azusa.
Dalton built a house here on a place known as Dalton Hill.
The Dalton home site was near 6th Street and Cerritos Avenue
in Azusa



Roger DaltonŐs map of the Dalton ranch



Roger Dalton was the grandson of Henry Dalton, the British ranchero who owned Rancho Azusa. Through his paternal grandmother, Roger Dalton was related to many of the prominent families of early California, including the Arguellos, the Carrillos, and the Zamoranos.


Dalton Adobe



Dalton Adobe. Located at the intersection of Azuna Avenue and Sierra Madre Avenue, the old adobe house was originally built in 1862 by Henry Dalton as a residence for his miller, Edward Flowers. After being inhabited by Flowers and his family, tenant American and Mexican farmers, who farmed the adjoining lands, lived in it and then by Capt. John T. Gordan, who occupied it as a bee ranch. Later after Henry Dalton lost his entire land holding, the Dalton family moved into this crude dwelling, located within 45 acres of surrounding land.


Dalton Family Second Home



This photograph, taken in 1887, shows the Dalton adobe at left. Valentine Dalton, father of Roger P. Dalton, is on the right and Joe Dalton on the left. This residence stood at the center of Azuna Avenue and Thirteenth Street. It was later moved to the location of Arthelle Ingram home.


Dalton Winery


Built by Henry Dalton, who was proud of his choice in wines and brandies. The winery was the largest building on the rancho. There were over 9,000 vines at Azuna, many introduced by Henry Dalton from Europe.