A year ago I sent the video ‘Rosemary Rides and Shoots’ to the Ventura Museum. In this home movie that was shot by one of the grandsons of Henry Lewis, we see my late mother riding and shooting with the Lewis boys whose father owned the lima bean fields in Carpenetria and Camarillo.
Rosemary told her children she almost married the young man who is seen diving from a platform. We have forgotten his name. The dream that we could have grown up on a ranch riding horse, stayed with us, and was carried over to the dreams I applied to Rena Easton, my Muse. In her letter, Rena says her husband has a small ranch and farm in Montana.
On his 109 acre farm in Carpenteria, Henry Lewis planted the beans and raised the first crop of the species ever grown in the United States.
The ranch is almost 10,000 acres in size and was one of the last remaining Mexican land grants. Adolfo Camarillo had a love of fiestas, horses, rodeos and barbecues. Adolfo kept a stable of a dozen pure white horses of Arabian and Morgan descent. His horses often participated in parades in California.
I will be sending Royal Rosamond’s letters and books to the Ventura Museum along with the information I gather in my coming trip to Montana, where my grandfather was born. Rosamond wrote several stories that took place in Montana ‘No Bull Fight’ and ‘The Legend of the Rhyming Miner’.
Santa Barbara County Biographies
Submitted by Peggy Hooper
This file is part of the California Genealogy & History Archives
HENRY LEWIS, one of the early pioneers in the Carpenteria Valley, was born near
Manassas Junction, Virginia, in 1830. His father was a farmer, and Henry followed
a like occupation, although a part of his boyhood was passed in a store in Washington,
District of Columbia. Mr. Lewis was married at the age of twenty years to Miss Chat-
tin, of Virginia, and he then bought a farm and began what has proven his life work.
He sold out all interests and came to California in 1857. The next year he went into
the mines in Tuolumne County, and after six months’ experience he came out “with
rheumatism and little else,” which has remained with him through life. In December, 1858,
he moved to Half Moon Bay, and there farmed for three years. In the spring of
1862 he come to Carpenteria Valley, purchased eighty-eight acres of land and pitched
his tent near where his house now stands. He bought this property from the city of
Santa Barbara at $1.25 per acre, the land being wild and uncultivated and covered with
brush and live-oak trees. He drove down from Half Moon Bay, looking along for a desirable
situation, and the Carpenteria Valley was the first location which seemed practicable. He
immediately began cutting and clearing, and now has one of the most complete ranch
properties in the place. The only white people then in the valley were Colonel Rus-
sell Heath and Mr. Lowrie. As rapidly as land was cleared he began the cultivation of
Lima beans, corn and barley. In 1864 they had a very dry year, no crops maturing and
horses and cattle dying for want of sustenance. Mr. Lewis has since added twenty acres to
his ranch, which now numbers 110 acres, ninety acres of which he plants to Lima beans,
with an average crop of 2,000 pounds to the acre. The thirty-five-aere field in front of
his residence has produced an annual crop of beans since 1865, and yearly becomes more
Mr. Lewis lost his first wife in February, 1863, and in 1879 he was married to Mrs.
Bebecca Mullin, of Carpenteria. He has seven children by his first wife and three by
his second, all living. His handsome two-story residence, fine barns and suitable out-
buildings all go to show the thrifty and successful fanner, and his well kept ranch is
significant of the prosperity which has attended Mr. Lewis.
History of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties, California – by
C.M. Gidney, Benjamin Brooks, Edwin M. Sheridan, Vol I, II. -Lewis Publ. Co.,
Rosemary was in the Waves, and left this world in 1997. Her four children are Mark, John, Christine, and Vicki. Rosemary’s movie can not be used for commercial purpouses without my permission. Historians, feel free to use this movie that is a window into a world, and a valley, that is no more. This is………….the last of the West.
Camarillo State Mental Hospital, also known as Camarillo State Hospital, was a psychiatric hospital for both developmentally disabled and mentally ill patients in Camarillo, California. The hospital closed in 1997. The site has been redeveloped as the California State University, Channel Islands. The university has retained the distinctive Mission Revival Style architecture, and the bell tower in the South quad has been adopted as the symbol of the university.
In 1932, the State of California purchased 1,760 acres (7.1 km2) of the Lewis ranch, located three miles south of the city of Camarillo, and established the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. Camarillo State Hospital was in use from 1936 to 1997. During the 1950s and 1960s, especially, the hospital was at the forefront of treating illnesses previously thought to be untreatable, for instance, developing drug and therapy procedures for schizophrenia. Programs initiated at Camarillo helped patients formerly relegated to institutions to leave the hospital and move to less restrictive group homes or become (at least nearly) independent. The hospital continued to be a leader in the research of drugs and therapies in subsequent years. They also had one of the first units of any hospital to deal with autism.
HISTORY OF MAR VISTA
LIMA BEANS ALONG THE CALIFORNIA COAST
Here is what I know about the origin and species of lima beans grown along the California coast and formerly in Mar Vista.
The lima bean, phaseolus limensis, is a member of the pulse family, leguminosae. Both the small ‘baby lima’ and the larger thick ‘potatoe’ type are of tropical origin. Although grown in warmer areas throughout the United States, commercial production is generally confined to the coast of California.
Lima beans take peculiar climatic and soil conditions. They con not tolerate frost. The optimum growing temperature range is from 60 to 77 degrees. The plant is nourished by dew, fog and moisture from the sea. Lima beans are planted in May, as they need no rain. Rain only makes weeds and work for the gardener. The plant gathers its sustenance from the atmosphere in the way of nitrates. No fertilizer is ever required.
According to Gidney, Brook and Sheridan in The History of Santa Barbara, San Louis Obispo and Ventura Counties California, (published in 1917), in 1868, Henry Lewis planted the first lima beans ever put in the soil of the United States. At that time a vessel happened to be anchored at Santa Barbara after a recent voyage from Lima, Peru. A friend of Henry Lewis became acquainted with one of the sailors, from whom he procured some beans being used on the table of the boat. The beans are indigenous to the country around Lima, and that geographical source has given this bean its special name.
On his 109 acre farm in Carpenteria, Henry Lewis planted the beans and raised the first crop of the species ever grown in the United States. He preserved and improved his seed from year to year. For many years his crop of limas was regarded as the finest on the market. As of 1917, the highest grade of lima bean was known as the ‘Lewis bean’.
A legacy of the Lewis family is Lewis Road in Camarillo. In the l930’s, lima beans were King of the crops of Southern California. Mar Vista was known for being in the lima bean belt of the nation.
Lima Bean Recipes
Adolfo Camarillo, (October 28, 1864 – December 10, 1958) was a prominent land owner, horse breeder, rancher, and philanthropist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Ventura County area of California, U.S.A. Adolfo, along with his brother Juan, Jr., owned much of what would later become the town known by their family name, Camarillo. Adolfo also donated the land for Adolfo Camarillo High School. The horse breed Camarillo White Horse was named for Camarillo. He began breeding them in 1921 and the line continues today. In addition because of Adolfo’s philanthropy in 1950, Pope Pius XII named Adolfo a Knight of St. Gregory the Great.
Adolfo was born to Juan Camarillo (1812–1880) and Martina Camarillo (1826–1898) He had four sisters and one brother.When Juan Camarillo died in 1880, One of the last remaining Mexican Land Grants, Rancho Calleguas, was purchased from the Ruiz family in 1875,and was later willed to his wife. Upon Juan’s death, Adolfo took over operations of the family ranch at age 16. His brother Juan was more interested in religion.
The ranch is almost 10,000 acres in size and was one of the last remaining Mexican land grants. In 1865 Adolfo graduated from International Business College at (Woodbury University). After that he took over full-time management of the ranch at age 21. In 1888 Adolfo married Isabella Menchaca (1861–1936). Adolfo and Isabel raised seven children. Frank, Isabel, Minerva, Rosa, Carmen, Ave Marie, and Martina.Upon the death of Martina Camarillo, she bequeathed Rancho Calleguas to her sons, Adolfo and Juan, Jr.This would later go on to become Camarillo Ranch and later the city of Camarillo. Adolfo would go on to run the Camarillo Ranch; until his death in 1958. The Ranch would grow from a mostly cattle operation to both cattle and crops. Adolfo focused mainly in developing crops and became a leading innovator bringing in lima beans, plus barley, corn, alfalfa, walnuts, and citrus.
Adolfo Camarillo had a love of fiestas, horses, rodeos and barbecues. Adolfo kept a stable of a dozen pure white horses of Arabian and Morgan descent. His horses often participated in parades in California. Adolfo died of pneumonia December 10, 1958, and is interred in the family crypt beneath St. Mary Magdalen Church in Camarillo, alongside his parents, his wife, sisters and brothers.
 Camarillo’s White Horses
The Camarillo White Horseis a relatively modern breed known for its pure white color. This legendary breed dates back to 1921, when Adolfo Camarillo purchased 9-year-old Sultan from Miller and Lux cattle ranch at the California State Fair in Sacramento. Sultan, over the next few years, won many stock championships throughout California. Adolfo would go on to breed Sultan to Morgan maresat the Camarillo Ranch. This would go on for the next 65 years as the family privately owned and bred the Camarillo White Horses. Since the 1930s these horses have become famous by being featured up and down the California coast at various parades and events. Once a year Adolfo would ride one of his white Arabians in the Fiesta of Santa Barbara while dressed up in a colorful Spanish costume.The Camarillo White Horses were privately owned and bred by the Camarillo family until the death of Adolfo Camarillo’s daughter Carmen, in 1987.
Many people of note have ridden on Camarillo White Horses including Governor Ronald Reagan, president Harding, 1946 Nobel Peace Prize recipient John Mott, as well as movie stars Leo Carrillo and Steven Ford(son of President Gerald Ford).
As of 2010 there are only 20 Camarillo White Horses.Three stallions, five mares, three geldings, two young colts, and 7 white foals.
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