Mondran, Santa Cruz Island

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Mondran, Santa Cruz Island (Mondran’s Ranch), is referred to by surveyor William E. Greenwell in his 1857 field notes. Directions to his survey stations Ridge, Mt. Pleasant, East Point, Santa Cruz East, High Mount, and Coche Point all begin at Mondran’s Rancho, e.g. “Coche Point can be gotten to either from Mondran’s or Scorpion Harbor.”

High Mount, Santa Cruz Island is a 1581-foot peak along the Montañon, the north/south ridge to the east of No Man’s Land. It is located immediately on the trail from Scorpion Harbor to the Main Ranch. William E. Greenwell placed a survey station on the peak on July 30, 1857.

“Looking from Prisoners’ Harbor to the eastward is a high range of wooded mountains running apparently across the island. The signal is on this range. The best way of getting to it is to start from Mondran’s Rancho. From here a trail leads up the mountain, and so on to Dr. Shaw’s. Keep this trail, it is the only one that leads from Mondran's to westward and so can be easily followed. The signal is immediately on the trail, on a peak of the mountain some 2500 feet above the ocean and about the highest elevation you reach on the trail before descending on the west slope.”

MONDRAN, Frederic Victor Cazeaux de (1823-1890) was born in France on November 29, 1823. He arrived in California around 1850 and he appears in Santa Barbara in the 1852 California Census as Victor de Mondran. In 1856 he received a one-year appointment as a teacher in the “Spanish school” in Santa Barbara. He was naturalized November 7, 1856 in the Santa Barbara District Court. His naturalization declaration indicates that he was part of the French nobility, and in giving up his French citizenship, he also renounced his title of Vicomte de Mondran.

In 1857, “Mondran” is shown residing at Scorpion Ranch on Santa Cruz Island in Greenwell’s field notes for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. (Santa Cruz Island transferred from Andres Castillero to William E. Barron on June 21, 1857.)

By 1859, Mondran was back in Santa Barbara, where he served as the County Treasurer from 1859-1861. According to the 1860 census he owned real estate valued at $2,500 and personal property valued at $4,000, and was living in a residence/boarding house with a County judge, four clergymen, two Sisters of Charity, and two servants.

In 1864 Mondran is listed in the census for the Arizona Territory, occupied as a miner, having been a resident for one year.

By 1868 he appears to be employed as a teacher in schools and as a private teacher/tutor in Spanish and French languages in Los Angeles and vicinity into the 1880s. For several years beginning in the 1870s he was a co-proprietor of the Cosmopolitan Cigar Depot on Main Street, with E. Berthon. He also served as secretary to former Gov. Pio Pico in 1870s and was involved in land transactions with Pico in Los Angeles.

He belonged to the Spanish Benevolent Society and French Benevolent Society and participated regularly in Bastille Day celebrations. He also served as editor of new French newspaper, Le Courrier de Los Angeles. [Biographical information submitted by Ann Huston, Ventura, CA.]

Mondran died July 3, 1890, in Los Angeles.

In the News~

October 12, 1875 [LAH]: “Gov. Pico and Mr. de Mondran are having a little newspaper war of their own.”

October 14, 1875 [LAH]: “Notice. Whereas it has come to my knowledge that Mr. F. V. C. Mondran, formerly employed by me as clerk, translator, etc., and from whom I have been unable to obtain any statement of accounts etc., while so employed, has signed my name to at least one paper and perhaps to others, this is to notify all persons interested that I have never authorized said Mondran to sign my name to any paper, or in any manner, and I repudiate any and all documents wherein my name may have been signed by him. Pio Pico. Los Angeles, Oct. 8, 1875.”

October 17, 1875 [LAH]: “Notice. As Pio Pico has published a notice defaming my character, I simply answer that I will soon vindicate myself before a court of justice, proving the falsity of his accusation. F. V. C. de Mondran.”

March 11, 1876 [LAH]: “District Court—Sepulveda, J. Friday, March 10. Mondran vs Pico—On trial.”

April 26, 1878 [LAH]: “The new French paper soon to be started in Los Angeles, by. M. Mondran, will be called the Courier de Los Angeles.

August 2, 1881 [LAH]: “Mr. F. V. C. de Mondran has relinquished the Puente school to accept the position of private tutor in the family of Don Domingo Amestoy. So says La Cronica.

July 5, 1890 [LAH]: “Died. MONDRAN—In this city, July 3, 1890, at 5 p.m., Frederic Cazeaux De Mondran; born in France November 29, 1823. Funeral from Garrett & Samson's office, 234 North Main, Saturday, July 5th, at 9 a.m. Friends are invited without further notice.”