Archiver > CA-SPANISH > 2005-01 > 1106333605

From: "Karla Everett" <>
Subject: Eulogio F. de Celis
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 10:53:25 -0800

Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1903:


Sad Burial of Once Wealthy Scion of Spain

Mass Intoned for Sr. De Celis, Who Died in Poverty.

Los Angeles Man Who Once Loaned Sixty Thousand Dollars to Mexico.

There was a pathetic little funeral yesterday at the old Spanish Church.
The casket was of the plainest and there were no flowers: indeed, not even
pallbearers to carry it from the hearse to the altar. A few mourners, a
small group of the friends of the family in former years, mostly women,
followed the body borne by men who happened to be passing at the time, down
the aisle to the front seats. A spectator would never have imagined from
the surroundings that the man, over whose remains the priest was intoning
the mass for the dead, was at one time one of the well-known figures of Los
Angeles, and the son of a prominent capitalist of early days who counted his
leagues by thousands, and to whom the thought of poverty for his eldest born
would have been beyond the imagination.

Eulogio F. de Celis was a native of Los Angeles, the son of Don Eulogio,
Sr., and Josefa Arguello de De Celis, natives of Spain. Eulogio was given
all the advantages of travel and education that the wealth and position of
his family demanded. He was sent to England to perfect his knowledge of the
English language, and to Paris to learn French in the schools of that city.
The family went to Spain, where they resided some twenty years, and where
the father died, but Eulogio returned to Los Angeles with power of attorney
to manage his father's vast acres, valued then at $200,000. He spent money
with a lavish hand, and his friends and associates shared in his generosity,
as many old settlers here remember. One historian states that Senor De
Celis bought a lot near the site of the Westminster Hotel, built one of the
best houses in the city at that time, and presented it outright to a friend
who was in straitened circumstances.

Mr. De Celis established and published, for a number of years, "La Cronica"
and other newspapers in the Spanish language. He is described as a
polished, cultured gentleman of attractive personality, who in his
prosperity had hosts of friends, but for several years before his death he
was abjectly poor, and at one time almost blind, though later his sight was
partially restored. He left a widow and four beautiful little children, two
boys and two girls, with no resource but the mother's hands.

Don Eulogio De Celis, Sr., was a man of strong character and large wealth.
During the Mexican War he loaned that government, through the late Gov. Pio
Pico, $60,000 as a war fund, and took part of the San Fernando Rancho as
security, which he sold. Don Eulogio was the cause of a very embarrassing
and painful experience in the career of Gen. John C. Fremont. When Fremont
was acting Governor of California, and had his official residence in
Alexander Bell's house, on the corner of Alameda and Aliso streets, he
contracted with Don Eulogio for a number of cattle. The cattle were
delivered, but the government repudiated the claim, alleging that Fremont
had no authority to enter into the contract. De Celis turned the vouchers
over to an Englishman, and when Fremont visited London he was arrested and
kept in jail until the claim was paid. Though determined in standing fast
for his own, Don Eulogio is said to have been a man of large heart and
generous impulses. While the Mexican War was in progress, there were many
American prisoners in Los Angeles. They were kept under guard in an old
adobe house east of the river, where they suffered from hunger. Don Eulogio
took them in hand, provided and paid for food for them out of his own

The De Celis home was a palatial residence in its day, that stood on the
site and is part of the present St. Elmo Hotel. When it was sold the family
removed to South Main street, where their olive and walnut orchards and
vineyards extended from the old Childs place on Twelfth to Washington and
from Main to San Pedro streets. After her husband's death Mrs. De Celis
returned from Spain with her family to Los Angeles, where she died some
eight or ten years ago. She is described as a very elegant and accomplished
lady of fine presence and charming personality. She wore the costume of her
native land, the high tortoise shell back comb in the hair, supporting the
black lace mantilla that fell below the waist. She was skilled in the
old-time accomplishment of Spanish women, fine embroidery, taking great
pains to have her sons' costumes on fiesta days beautifully embellished by
her own hands. A number of relatives of the family are well-known residents
of this city.

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