ESPINOSA, Clemente

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Calvary Cemetery, Santa Barbara


ESPINOSA, Clemente Antonio (1814-1888), Monterey, Alta California-born cowboy who worked on Santa Rosa Island after California statehood. February 11, 1839 at age 24 he married Maria Teresa de la Luz Ruiz (1821-1870), and they had seven children, the youngest of whom later worked on Santa Cruz Island:

  • Ramona Pascuala (1840-1916)
  • Jose Juan ("El Viejo") (1844-1926) worked 60+ years on Santa Cruz Island
  • Jose del Carmen (1849-1933)
  • Carlos (1853-1870)
  • Maria de los Dolores "Lola" Frances (1856-1932)
  • Teresa de Jesus Anne (1859-1899)
  • Juan "Cuate" (1861-1962)

According the 1860 Federal Census, his household consisted of:

  • himself (45)
  • Teresa (37)
  • Ramona (19)
  • Jose (18)
  • Jose de Carmen (12)
  • Carlos (7)
  • Dolores (5)
  • Teresa (5.12)
  • Juan (7)

On July 25, 1864 Espinosa enlisted as a Private in Company C of the California Native Calvary during the Civil War. He received a disability discharge on June 9, 1865 at Drum Barracks, Ca.

According to the 1870 Federal Census, his household consisted of:

  • himself (59)
  • Teresa (47)
  • Jose C. (22)
  • Carlos (19)
  • Dolores (14)
  • Teresa (11)
  • Juan (8)

The Great Register of the County of Santa Barbara 1877 lists Clemente Espinosa as a California-born vaquero who registered on July 15, 1875. Espinosa was a witness to Alexander P. More killing the Chinese cook, Ah You, on Santa Rosa Island on June 30, 1884.

Espinosa died on January 5, 1888 at age 73 and was originally buried in the Cieneguitas Cemetery. His remains and headstone were later moved to Calvary Cemetery, Santa Barbara.



In the News~

October 21, 1859: “An account of the time and pay [$2861.32] of men employed by Abel Stearns received in the case of John C. Coffin vs. A. B. Thompson, et al. At the Island of Santa Rosa, commencing May 18th, 1859 and ending October 17, 1859, being five months: … Clemente Espinosa… Dixey W. Thompson, being duly sworn, says that the foregoing is a true and correct statement of the time opf service and wages of men employed at the Island of Santa Rosa by Abel Stearns, receiver in the case of John C. Jones and A. B. Thompson et al… Dixey W. Thompson.”


August, 1859 [?]: “At the General Election to be held on Wednesday, 7th of September next, the following District, County and Township officers will be elected... Precinct of the Islands. At the Island of Santa Rosa, Camp of Thomas W. More. Inspector, Thomas W. More; Judges, Clemente Espinosa and Francisco Lugo... Charles E. Cook, Clerk.”


July 1, 1884 [SBDI]: “The coroner’s inquest upon the body of the Chinaman killed on Santa Rosa Island by A. P. More... Clemente Espinosa swore: Reside in Santa Barbara; occupation, a laborer. Was at Santa Rosa Island last Saturday and Sunday; was on the wharf, saw the disturbance there. Saw the Chinaman who wanted to come away and Mr. More would not let him come. The Chinaman’s baggage was on the schooner. More ordered it off. He said the Chinaman should not go over to Santa Barbara. The Chinaman said: ‘Me go to Santa Barbara.’ Mr. More put his hand on him and said: ‘You can’t go.’ The Chinaman put his hand back; More drew a pistol and hit him. After the Captain put the baggage off, More said to the Chinaman: ‘Go home.’ The Chinaman said he would not, said: ‘Me go to Santa Barbara.’ More said: ‘Will you go or not?’ and the Chinaman pulled out a knife. More stepped back. The Chinaman advanced. More fired. The Chinaman had a knife in his hand when he fell…”


July 8, 1884 [SBDI]: “Espinosa’s testimony. Clemente Espinosa testified substantially as reported at the inquest. He said that More told the Chinaman to go back to the house. The Chinaman said he would not. Then More said: ‘What have you got in your hand?’ The Chinaman advanced on More with his knife in his left hand. They were not far apart. More retreated. More spoke before he fired, but I can’t understand the language. I think the Chinaman was angry. He advanced on More walking as fast as he could… The Chinaman then fell on his face. I saw some blood on the wharf where he fell.”


January 16, 1888 [SBDI]: “Died. Espinosa in this city, January 14, 188, Clemente Espinosa, aged 76 years.”