Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Argüello, Luis Antonio

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ARGÜELLO, Luis Antonio, governor of California, b. in San Francisco, Cal., in 1784; d. there in 1830. He was a member of a large and influential family, was governor of California from November, 1822, till November, 1825, and had been military officer under the Spanish government. He was the first governor under the Mexican rule, and the only one under the Mexican empire. He was also the first native of California called to serve in this capacity. While in office he was led into numerous dealings with the Russians, who had founded a colony in the northern part of the territory, and his policy toward them was highly liberal, even dangerously so. Before he became governor he had acquired some note by an exploring expedition into the unknown northern parts of California.—His sister, Concepcion (b. in San Francisco, Cal., in 1790; d. in Benecia in 1857), was noted for her romance with Rezánof, the first Russian explorer that showed definite designs upon any part of California. In 1806 Rezánof, in the interests of the Russian colony at Sitka, had resolved to open trade with the Californians, and to establish, if possible, a Russian colony in the territory. To further his ends, he became betrothed to the young Concepcion, hoping for personal aid from the influential Argüello family. He returned to Russia to get further government approval for his projects, and suddenly died while absent. Concepcion never married, and died, a nun, half a century later. Her social position gave her story prominence, and it has been used by Bret Harte in one of his best-known poems.