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General Sully Reports
In vivid paintings and prose a professional army officer recorded a career that spanned nearly forty years and mirrored the history of the American West
December 1964 | Volume 16, Issue 1
“I was lucky enough to get to a Castillian family, Don Manuel de Guerra and his wife, Donna Angustias. Her oldest child is a daughter about 15 or 16 years old, Donna Manuela, remarkably pretty and gay, dances and sings, plays the guitar, & is, like all Spanish girls, monstrous iond of a flirtation. When first I came to Monterey I lived in the house & Manuela was to me as a sister. Though I was then in love with her, she was so young, such a wild rattle brained creature having many admirers, and I believe at the lime engaged to be married, I never let my feelings be known. Becoming sure within a month or two of the girl, I went to the Mother and Father, got their permission to address the daughter, which was given I suppose under the firm belief that the daughter was only flirting with me as she had with others. But after they found that the girl was firm in her feelings they opposed me under the plea of my not being a Catholic, but as I now know with the wish to marry their daughter to a wealthy relative. The family being considered the first of the Spanish population, the whole of Monterey turned against me & used all arguments & invented all kinds of lies to assist the parents & oppose our union. Seeing how things stood I determined to run away with the young lady. Not a very easy matter in a Spanish country where girls are watched and put under lock and key, but I had many friends to help me. I believe it’s the first elopement that’s occurred in California. The old folks are as mad as well can he. I am however told from good authority that they will romc around before long. I have quite a family now. My old grey, who is called by Manuela Dispensation as he was the horse that carried my friend to San Francisco and back, a distance of 240 miles in less than six days when lie went for the permission from the high priest to allow this priest here to marry a heretic to a Catholic, Manuela’s (ream colored mare, six chickens and twelve eggs that will be chickens in two or three days, [servant] boy Sam, a wife & a yaller cat. Got a (me garden with plenty of fresh vegetables and live well. Quite a change from an old bachelor s room full of segars and brandy. … I have made arrangements with two men to settle on some land for me. I am about to put up a saw mill and if i can find a good opportunity shall also go in for a Hour mill. …”
At this point, Sully was planning to resign from the Army, a determination that grew when Manuela presented him with a son.