Passengers at the Port of San Francisco: 1800s

Archibald C. Peachy

Born: October 8, 1820

Alta California
San Francisco, California
October 1, 1849

Archibald C. Peachy, Esq. has been appointed by the Ayuntamiento, Solicitor for the Muncipality of San Francisco. This office, considering the precariousness of land titles, and the value of property in our city, renders it one of great responsibility and labor. We are pleased to learn that a person so able has been selected.

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San Francisco, in 1848

In 1849, he was joined by Frederick Billings of Woodstock, Vermont who visited California during the gold rush and formed a law partnership with Archibald C. Peachy and Henry Wager Halleck.

Halleck, Peachy & Billings, was one of the leading law firms in San Francisco and employed by claimants in the settlement of titles to Mexican land grants. Of the partners, the most prominent was Halleck, a graduate of West Point in engineering, a participant in the Mexican War who later prepared a report on California land titles, and was an active member of the California constitutional convention. He resigned from the army in 1854 to join the firm, and compiled two legal works acknowledged to be leading texts in their time - Mining Laws of Spain and Mexico and International Law. Peachy was a member of the California Assembly in 1852, and of the state senate in 1860 and 1862. The firm dissolved in 1861 after Halleck returned to military life and left California.

Much of the prosperity of San Diego, during the great boom and after, was due to the developments on the Coronado Peninsula, the strip of land lying between San Diego Bay and the ocean, which was initially referred to as the Island or Peninsula of San Diego. This was changed, early in 1886, by the Coronado Beach Company, to the now famous name of Coronado. There were different claimants for this tract, however, it was granted to Archibald C. Peachy and William H. Aspinwall, who derived title from Pedro C. Carrillo, on June 11, 1869, and then described as containing 4,185.46 acres.

UNITED STATES V. CORONADO BEACH CO. 231 (274 F.)
Art. 4. That those territories within ten leagues of the sea coast cannot be colonized "without the previous approval of the supreme general executive p0wer."
Art. 5. "If for the defense or security of the nation the federal government should und it expedient to make use of any portion of these lands for the purpose of constructing warehouses, arsenals, or other public edinces, it may do so, with the approbation of the general congress," etc.
Art. 16. That the government, in conformity with the principles established in this law, will proceed to the colonization of the territories of the republic. On November 21, 1828, in pursuance of article 15, the government, through his excellency, issued rules and regulations for the colonization of the territories of the republic. The Mexican government grant- ed the land in controversy to one Pedro Carrillo, a Mexican citizen, on May 15, 1846. This grant was made by Pio Pico, the Governor of California, and recites:

"Whereas, Don Pedro Carrillo has, for his personal benefit and that of his family, petitioned for the land known as the island or peninsula in the port of San Diego, the proper examinations being previously made, using the faculties which are conferred on me in the name of the Mexican nation, 1 have granted him the aforesaid land in decree of this day, declaring to him the ownership of it by these presents, in conformity with the law of August 18, 1824, and the regulations of November 21, 1828, subject to the approval of the most excellent departmental assembly, and under the following conditions," etc.

This recitation was made in the grant to comply with article 8 of the rules and regulations of November 21, 1828. It does not appear in the record that the grant was made with the approval of the supreme general executive power, as provided by article 4 of the decree of August 18, 1824. By virtue of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (9 Stat. 922), Congress on March 3, 1851 (9 Stat. 631, c. 41), enacted a law en- titled "An act to ascertain and settle the private land claims in the state of California." Pursuant to this act of Congress, Billings and others, assignecs of Carrillo, the Mexican grantee, instituted proceedings against the United States before the commissioners created by said act, and subsequently in the District Court of the United States, to have the said title confirmed to them. The board of commissioners rejected the claim of Billings and others, but the District Court confirmed it on the 12th day of January, 1857. The only parties to said suit were Billings and others, as plaintiffs, and the United States, as defendant.

However, before a patent was issued by the United States for the land, other parties were substituted for Billings and others. The patent is sued to the successors of Carrillo makes the following recitation: "Now know ye: That the United States of America in consideration of the premises and pursuant to the provisions of the act of Congress aforesaid of 3d March 1851, and the legislation supplemental thereto, have given and granted and by these presents do give and grant unto the said Archibald C. Peachy and William H. Aspinwall, and their heirs, the tract of land embraced and described in the foregoing survey, but with the stipulation that, in virtue of the fifteenth section of the said act, the confirmation of the said claim and this ‘patent’ shall not affect the interest of third persons."

"To have and to hold the said tract, with the appurtenances, unto the said Archibald C. Peachy and William H. Aspinwall and to their heirs and assigns forever, with the stipulation aforesaid."

In 1885, the entire property from the head of the bay to the mouth of the harbor, and including North Island, was sold and developed in to Coronado Beach Company.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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