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Biography of Don Tomás Alvarado 1890

Last Updated: 2nd Feb 2009

By Scott L. Ritchie

Tomas Alvarado briefly worked mining a large pegmatite deposit just north of the old Spanish mission ruins at Pala between 1878 and 1885. The mineralized ledge was intensely rich in microcrystalline purple lepidolite that contained numerous inclusions of small pink tourmalines. Alvarado produced many decorative mineral specimens, considering the lepidolite with rubellite to be a peculiar marble. His workings consisted of several shallow open cuts, located on lands that were later patented within the Stewart lode grant of 1949.

See locality: Alvarado Mine, Tourmaline Queen Mountain, Pala District, San Diego Co., California, USA

Biography reprinted from: An Illustrated History of Southern California: Embracing the Counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the Peninsula of Lower California, from the Earliest Period of Occupancy to the Present Time, Together with Glimpses of their Prospects, also, Full-page Portraits of some of their Eminent Men, and Biographical Mention of many of their Pioneers and of Prominent Citizens of To-day. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1890. 934p. (pp 243)


Tomas Alvarado, one of the best known residents of southern California, was born in Los Angeles, on Main street, December 21, 1841. His father, Ysidro Alvarado, a native also of California, married Miss Michaela Avila, who also was born in California. His grandfather, Javier Alvarado, came to Los Angeles in 1810 from Santa Barbara, was appointed a Sergeant by the Governor-General in Los Angeles, erected a handsome residence and made his permanent home there.His grandmother was a woman of superior education. In her great benevolence she organized the first school in Los Angeles, taught there herself without remuneration, assisting in many ways to make it popular. She also had a thorough knowledge of medicine, and acted as physician in many cases and had a great store or remedies at hand. She was a woman of many noble qualities, which were recognized and appreciate by many friends.

Looking north at the Rancho Monserate granted to Ysidro Mari­a Alvarado in 1846. Source: Killea, Lucy L. 1966. A Political History of a Mexican Pueblo: San Diego from 1825 to 1845. The Journal of San Diego History, Fall, Volume 12, Number 3.

Ysidro Alvarado inherited many of his characters from his noble mother. He was a peaceful man, very unlike his cousin, Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado, which name recalls the revolution of November, 1836, that finally culminated in a precipitation of California into the United States. For an account of this most important history of California, see the preceding pages of this volume. Mr. Alvarado has devoted his years to stock-raising on his ranch, the Monserate, where large herds of sleek, well-fed cattle roam at will.

Monserate has had a long, romantic history. In early days the hacienda was the resort of the senoras, senoritas and grandees. An occasion of festivity in those days meant not less than a week of continuous revelry. The night is dedicated to music and the dance, banquets, and portions of the day to siestas, the demure and fascinating ladies occupying the magnificently furnished apartments, while the gay cabaleros found repose in the grateful shade of the broad palm trees.

Don Alvarado is a well-known man throughout California, on account of his excellent qualities. He is interested in several important enterprises, including stock-raising on a large scale.

June 4, 1864, he married Mrs. Maria Ygnacia Morena de Soto, a native of California; has had six daughters and one son, of whom five are at present living. His home is at Old San Diego.

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