Hugo and Victoria Reid


In 1833, secularization of the Missions opened vast acreage to private ownership under the new Mexican government’s policy of land development. In 1839 Hugo Reid, a Scotsman, married Victoria, a Gabrielino woman, who originally had the Christian name of Bartolomea. Bartolomea was learned in social graces and the European arts of lacemaking and embroidery. When her first husband, Pablo Maria, a Native American died of smallpox around 1836, Bartolomea became a ward of Doña Eulalia Perez and met Hugo, while he was managing the Perez Rancho. Upon her marriage to Hugo, her named changed to Doña Victoria. She became revered for her aristocratic grace, medical skills and unbound hospitality. Her enduring romance with the handsome, educated Hugo Reid became the source for “Ramona” written by Helen Hunt Jackson. It was the best selling novel in 1880 and garnered sympathy for the Native American Race. Possessing newly acquired Mexican citizenship, Hugo petitioned the Los Angeles Ayuntamiento for three square leagues (13,319 acres) of Rancho Santa Anita. The Reids received provisional title in 1841. They raised cattle, planted crops and in 1840 constructed a house of stone* near the ranch lake in compliance with Mexican law. Governor Pio Pico conveyed full title to the Reids in 1845. Documentation submitted by Hugo and Victoria stated that they planted a vineyard in addition to other improvements to the property. In 1847 due to mounting debt, they were forced to sell to Hugo’s friend and neighbor Henry Dalton.