The History of Hawthorne by Robert S. Hartman

Ancient History - Before the Founding of Hawthorne - Page 3 of 33

Some may think it is a far cry from the Plains of Abraham forty centuries ago to Hawthorne today - but it isn't. From those plains, the westward march of civilization began. Seeking more land and opportunity, people immigrated to the western shores of Europe and for a thousand or more years, that coastline was virtually the edge of the world. During the 15th century, the world became too small. Faster and more convenient routes were needed to transport goods from the far east so they found a new world on the American continent - first along our eastern shores; then over the mountains and into the fertile valleys of the Mississippi; and finally across burning, blazing deserts and over the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains to the shores of the Pacific. Here was the last frontier. Here the westward march of civilization ended, so we thought. This opinion persisted until a few years ago when modern science gave us the means of exploring frontiers hitherto undreamed of; this story will be told later in this history.

The name "California" was first used in a book entitled, "Las Sergas de Esplandian", written by Garcia Ordones de Montelao and published in Spain in 1510. It was applied by Cortez to his colony at Lapas (lower California) in 1537.

The first European explorer who is known to have visited what is now California was Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, who voyaged along the coast as far north as Point Concepcion in 1542. He discovered San Diego Bay and visited other islands along the coast, including Catalina Island. Thus, it seems that his landing was seventy-eight years before the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. Sir Frances Drake sailed past the nearby coast in 1572 or 1573. At this period, it is believed that the first residents (three or more centuries before Hawthorne became a city) were Indians of the Shosonian linguistic group. The first land expedition of white men passed through the present day Hawthorne area on a march from San Diego to Monterey, under the command of Gaspar de Portola of the Spanish army.

In 1769 the title to all land in California became vested in the King of Spain. At about this time, our lands were used for the grazing of cattle; the richly-grassed black soil provided excellent pasture and abundant water was available from a stream fed by springs that flowed through the present cities of Playa del Rey, Inglewood, and El Segundo.

In 1822 Mexico obtained title to California from Spain and the first private land concessions followed shortly thereafter. One of these concessions was described as the Sausal Redondo, which means "round clump of willows". The rights for its use caused dispute and much controversy for over thirty years. The area occupied by present day Hawthorne was a part of the Sausal Redondo and the various claims and counter-claims are essentially a part of Hawthorne's history. The principal cause of dispute regarding Sausal Redondo emanated from the vague terms used in describing its boundaries and the various interpretations by different Mexican governors of the conditions outlined in the concessions and grants.

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