The following article was
written by Katherine Yamada and was published in the Glendale News-Press. The VWWHOA thanks both Katherine
Yamada and the Glendale News-Press for their permission to reproduce
the article on our web site. The Verdugo Adobe, at 2211 Bonita Avenue is in the area of the Verdugo Woodlands West
Home Owners' Association.
Meetings of Peace under Oak Tree
The year was 1847 and John C. Fremont, an
officer in the U.S. Army, was on his way toward the pueblo of Los Angeles. The territory of California had just been wrested from Spanish rule by the U.S. Army.
Northern Californians were adapting to the new government peacefully, but
in Southern California, a determined band of landowners of Spanish descent
were rebelling. They had attacked the garrison in Los Angeles and the U.S. forces had surrendered. Fremont was on his way to help.
After a torturous trip south along the
coast, at the height of the rainy season, Fremont arrived at the San Fernando Mission. There he received a visit from Jesus Pico, a
relative of General Andres Pico, commander of the rebels.
Jesus told him that U.S. soldiers had just retaken Los Angeles from the rebels and the rebels had retreated to what
is now Pasadena. He also carried a message from Pico indicating that
he and his men were ready to surrender.
After meeting with Fremont, Jesus Pico left the mission and set out for Los Angeles to meet Pico's rebel forces. Carroll W. Parcher, in
his 1957 "Glendale Community Book", writes that Jesus met the
rebels in the vicinity of an old oak in Verdugo Canyon on January 11, 1847.
Jesus told the rebels of Fremont's approach and that other American forces were also
on their way. He urged the rebels to surrender to Fremont instead of to the other officers, arguing that better
terms could be obtained from Fremont. General Pico agreed.
Two days later, the two groups met at Fremont's new camp in Cahuenga Pass. A treaty was drawn up, stipulating that all native
Mexican-Californians should deliver up their arms, return to their homes and
assist in keeping the peace. Those wishing to leave could return to Mexico.
This amicable end to the hostilities in Southern California was brought about because of a meeting under the
spreading limbs of a tree in Verdugo Canyon. The tree which helped bring about a speedy end to
what could have been a long struggle is known as the Oak of Peace and was
designated a landmark in 1947.
Sadly, the tree, which was estimated to be
500 years old, succumbed to disease in 1987. Remnants of the original tree can
still be seen near the Verdugo Adobe at 2211 Bonita Avenue.
Today, the Oak of Peace is commemorated at
Glendale's train station on West Cerritos. A mosaic-tile image of the tree hangs in the
open-air structure where the Metrolink tickets are purchased.
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