The Birth of Orange County

[Originally published in Orange Countiana VI (2010); revised, 2018] 

  On June 4, 1889, the residents of the southern end of Los Angeles County went to the polls and voted to form their own county. It was the culmination of two decades of struggles, setbacks, and political maneuvering on all sides.

  “Historians, generally speaking, are not partial to failures,” wrote James M. Guinn, the first historian of the long drive to create the new county.[1] Yet the twenty years of failure and frustration that preceded the birth of Orange County set the stage for everything that happened in 1889. All of the same issues, many of the same methods, and even some of the same players weave their way through all these earlier attempts.

  When the new State of California was first divided into counties in 1850, what is now Orange County was simply the southern end of Los Angeles County. Over the next six decades, hardly a session of the State Legislature didn’t go by without bills introduced to divide, merge, or re-align our counties, taking California from its original 27 counties to 58 today.

  Except for the founding of Anaheim in 1857, the southern end of Los Angeles County saw little settlement until 1868, when the Stearns Ranchos north of the Santa Ana River went on sale, and the old Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana to the south was partitioned. Over the next few years, half a dozen new towns were born, the population surged, and the drive to create a new county began.

  Anaheim was at the forefront of the earliest county division efforts, under the leadership of the always energetic Max Strobel. In the winter of 1869-70, he began drumming up support for both the incorporation of the City of Anaheim, and the creation of Anaheim County.

  The German-born Strobel was later remembered as, “A soldier of fortune and a Machiavel in politics, he was always on the losing side. A man of versatile genius and varied resources, a lawyer, an editor, an engineer, an accomplished linguist and a man of education, his exchequer was always in a state of collapse and the brightest efforts of his genius were wasted in staving off his creditors.”[2]

Strobel - APL edit.jpg

Max Strobel

(Courtesy the Anaheim Public Library)

  Under California’s original Constitution, the State Legislature controlled both city incorporation and county formation, so it was off to Sacramento that Max Strobel went in January 1870, armed with a batch of petitions and a war chest donated by local residents to fund his lobbying efforts.

  Strobel’s proposed Anaheim County was much larger than today’s Orange County. It took in all of Los Angeles County below the Old San Gabriel River (the Rio Hondo), extending much further to the north and east. Long Beach, Downey, Norwalk, Whittier, La Puente, Covina, Azusa and Pomona (only Downey then existed), would all have been part of Anaheim County.

  Strobel’s key arguments would be repeated again and again over the next 20 years: It was inconvenient to go all the way to Los Angeles to transact official business. The roads were bad, and the county had not seen fit to build any bridges in the south. And the City of Los Angeles monopolized most of the county offices, making it a veritable case of taxation without representation.

  The Los Angeles Star (the principal paper in the county at the time) opposed the split, citing the county’s relatively small population and the threat of higher taxes for all. For support, Strobel turned to some of the largest landowners in the southern end of the county, including Juan Forster, William Workman, Juan Temple, Billy Rubottom, and Benjamin Dreyfus.

  A bill incorporating the City of Anaheim was soon secured, and Strobel would go on to be elected the city’s first mayor. The Anaheim County bill passed the State Assembly, but faced growing opposition as it moved on to the Senate.

  Los Angeles County Assemblyman M.F. Coronel fought back from the start, saying – no doubt correctly – that a majority of his constituents opposed the split, and that “it would be a step of unmitigated and inexcusable folly.” Higher taxes, he said, would surely result. “The proposed measure would only be profitable to a few landed proprietors at Anaheim, and a class of idlers, who hope to earn an easy subsistence by filling the newly created county offices.” As for distance to Los Angeles, it was only 36 miles from Anaheim; some parts of the county were as much as 75 miles away![3]

  The Senate Committee on Counties and County Boundaries returned the bill without recommendation, citing the costs of a new county government, which would be a greater burden on the residents than “the inconveniences to which they have become accustomed” (that is, their long, uncomfortable trips to the county seat). Perhaps, they suggested, it would be better to wait until after the voters had the chance to express their opinion at the polls, rather than merely by petitions and letters.[4]

  To fight the growing opposition, Strobel wrote home for more money. According to Guinn, some folks said Strobel had been spending too much money on high living during his stay in the State Capital (“fighting the tiger,” as Guinn slyly put it), but others sent fresh contributions.

  There is an old, old story (even Guinn only repeats it as a rumor in 1889), that the night before the Anaheim County bill came to a vote in the Senate, Strobel gave a “champagne supper,” hoping to drink some of his opponents under the table so they would miss the morning’s vote. Instead, it was Strobel who succumbed to the libations, and the bill failed.

  But Strobel was not deterred. The State Legislature would not meet again until 1872, giving him plenty of time to drum up more support. In the summer of 1871, he announced a new campaign for county division and his own campaign for a seat in the Assembly so he could push through the split.

  To promote his dual goals, Strobel launched his own newspaper, the People’s Advocate. But, said Guinn, it only “succeeded in dividing the divisionists into two factions – the Strobel and the anti-Strobel.”

  Anaheim’s other newspaper, the Anaheim Gazette, was among the anti-Strobel crowd, though it was still solidly for division. On June 24, 1871, the Gazette published a call for a county division convention over the signatures of a number of prominent local residents. Strobel was not among them.

  Other communities had been founded in the Santa Ana Valley since the winter of 1869-70, and their leaders joined Anaheim in the call for County Division. William H. Spurgeon, the founder of Santa Ana, Columbus Tustin, who founded the town that bears his name, and Abram L. Bush, a big investor in Santa Ana real estate, all signed the call for a division meeting.

  But the plan went awry when only three communities held elections to select delegates to the convention. Strobel’s plans were also thwarted when he lost his bid for election that fall. The People’s Advocate was absorbed by the Gazette a few weeks later, which changed its name to the Southern Californian for a few years to try to expand its status. Strobel died in England in 1873 while in the midst of his final quixotic quest – to sell Catalina Island.

  But once again, the division movement survived. In November 1871, a new call went out for a County Division meeting in Gallatin (an all but forgotten little community that today is a part of Downey). The Anaheim Gazette was glad to see that the meeting was not just an Anaheim affair, so it would not “be regarded as advanced solely for the aggrandizement of our own town.” Instead, it would benefit the entire area that would be “segregated from a fossilized old machine like Los Angeles County that is run by men who evidently have no interests in common with us.”[5]

  The proposed county took in less territory than the 1870 bill, drawing the northern boundary at the San Bernardino baseline (about the route of the 210 freeway today). Anaheim would be the county seat, but only for the first year or two, until an election could be held. The new campaign also adopted a new name for the new county – Orange County.

  Let it be said once again: Orange County was not named for all the orange groves that covered the land. In fact, there was not a single commercial orange grove in what is now Orange County in 1871 – just a few trees and some nursery stock. Instead, the name played on Southern California’s reputation as a “semi-tropical” paradise, where lush fruits would flourish.

  Petitions were gathered during the winter of 1871-72, fund raising began, and a representative was selected to carry the case to Sacramento. But the bill never reached the Legislature. The Southern Pacific railroad was then demanding a public subsidy equal to 5% of the assessed valuation of the county before they would lay tracks to Los Angeles County. “[T]hey knew that if the county was segregated their subsidy scheme would miscarry,” the Anaheim Gazette explained a decade later. “They defeated division, secured the subsidy, and every year since, and for many years to come, the people have paid and will continue to pay interest on that enormous subsidy.”[6]

  But even the power of the SP could not deter the divisionists. In 1873 they returned to Max Strobel’s strategy, hoping to elect an Assemblyman who would support their cause in Sacramento. The move was billed as non-partisan. Abram Bush of Santa Ana gave up his seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to make the run as an independent, and James Guinn ran on the People’s Reform Ticket. That seems to have split the pro-division vote, and both men lost in the elections that fall.

  So a new petition was prepared for the Legislature of 1874. This time, Judge W.C. Wiseman of Anaheim offered to personally carry an Orange County bill to Sacramento and stay on to lobby for its passage. For support, he looked to legislators from Northern California, who had no qualms about dividing Los Angeles County.

  Anaheim’s Southern Californian, of course, supported the split; noting that after five years, everyone had already heard all the arguments pro and con. The Los Angeles papers just as predictably opposed it, saying it was only favored by a minority of county residents. “[I]t is always a minority which desires to divide,” the Californian responded. “A majority controls and does not secede.”[7]

  Most of the energy behind the bill came from Anaheim, where hopes ran high. The Los Angeles Express complained that “at the southern end of the county a reign of terror exists … which violently represses all expressions of our friends against the suicidal act.” The Southern Californian claimed they knew of only four opponents of the bill, and accused Los Angeles interests of paying off local residents to write letters in opposition to Sacramento.[8]

  Judge Wiseman stayed in Sacramento more than a month, and remained upbeat right to the end. The Assembly bill died in committee in March, but Dr. Noble Martin of Placer County obliged by re-introducing the Orange County measure in the Senate. William R. Olden, local agent for the Los Angeles & San Bernardino Land Company (the Stearns Ranchos) came north from Anaheim to join in the lobbying efforts, but Dr. Martin’s bill also failed.

  It would be another two years until the Legislature met again, so it was not until December 1875 that the Anaheimers once again began circulating petitions, and looking for support in other communities. They had little luck.

  Santa Ana was growing rapidly by then, and had grown to resent Anaheim’s dominance. So this time, William Spurgeon, Columbus Tustin, James McFadden, and other civic leaders south of the Santa Ana River turned against the plan, and opposed county division. To try to lure them back, Anaheim proposed a new name – Santa Ana County. But it didn’t work. Santa Ana wanted the county seat, not just a name on a map.

  To make sure their new bill wouldn’t get lost on its way to Sacramento, the Anaheimers put pressure on Los Angeles County Assemblyman Fred Lambourne through his longtime employer, William Workman, whose 24,000-acre ranch in the La Puente area was on the edge of the proposed county. Workman was a partner in the Anaheim Landing operation, and knew many of the divisionists. Lambourne agreed to introduce the bill “by request” – presumably to give him some cover with his Los Angeles constituents.

  The Anaheim Gazette (having resumed its original name) asked and answered a series of questions about the measure. County division was necessary, they said, as the only way to get out from under the rule of Los Angeles. What’s more, it was inevitable, so why not now? The county debt would only grow, and public improvements would continue to be built elsewhere. Was Anaheim only pushing division to get the county seat? But that argument cut both ways, they replied (neatly avoiding the question), deeming it “folly” to oppose county division only on those grounds.[9]

  James Guinn took it a step further, writing an eight-page pamphlet of Facts and Figures for the Opponents of County Division, published by the Gazette to help their opponents see the error of their ways.

  The Los Angeles papers, of course, enjoyed the struggle between the two sides of the Santa Ana River. The Los Angeles Star claimed there was only a small group of prospective office holders and their allies behind the movement. “Really, the only reason for the new agitation arises from the fact that Anaheim knows that when the proper time comes for the division of the county, if, indeed, such a time shall arrive, Santa Ana will become the county seat.”[10]

  It was in 1876 that the first suggestion was made to move the county line down to Coyote Creek, where it would eventually be placed. Instead, it was set at the San Gabriel River, with the northern line drawn along the top of the Puente Hills, not far from the current boundary.

  Division meetings were held in Orange and Santa Ana, with speakers on both sides rehashing the usual arguments. Some of the Anaheim delegates grew testy before the meetings were through. D.W.C. Dimock of Orange summed up the opposition when he said that while he supported division, he “had no confidence in the politicians of Anaheim, as politicians were the same the world over.”[11]

  William Olden remained a prominent figure on the Anaheim side, leading some to worry that the Stearns Ranchos were only pushing division because they expected to have more influence in the new, smaller county.

  Anaheim sent their lobbyist to Sacramento armed with petitions. Hundreds of opponents signed remonstrances, stating their objections. The bill never came to a vote. In the end, “Jealousies and bickerings, local prejudices and local ambitions defeated the measure,” James Guinn groused.[12]

  Then came a five year dry spell – literally and figuratively – as forces outside of local control diverted attention away from county division. The drought of 1876-77 started the two sides of the Santa Ana River on an eight-year legal battle over water rights. And the battles over the new State Constitution in 1878-79 postponed many political movements.

  It was not until the State Legislature prepared to meet in 1881 that county division rose again. This time, the measure found a new champion in attorney Victor Montgomery, who maintained offices in both Anaheim and Santa Ana. He even succeeded in discovering a new argument in favor of county division – the southern end of the county provided few criminals, he claimed, but still had to help pay for the busy courts and jail in Los Angeles.

  On the other side, the Los Angeles papers attempted to defuse the oldest argument for division by pointing out that with the Southern Pacific railroad now running as far south as Santa Ana, a trip to the county seat was easier than ever.

  The Montgomery bill followed the same boundaries as the 1876 measure. It also side stepped the county seat question by leaving the matter up to local voters once the new county was approved. The name Orange County was retained. “[T]he name of the new county,” Montgomery said, “…emblazoned upon the map of our State, would, in my opinion, have more effect in drawing the tide of emigrants to this section than all the pamphlets, agents and other endeavors which have hitherto proved so futile.”[13]

  Anaheim and Santa Ana both appointed lobbyists to carry their petitions to Sacramento. Benjamin Dreyfus, a leader in the local wine industry represented Anaheim, while businessman and developer James McFadden served Santa Ana. Later, when Dreyfus asked to be replaced, James Guinn was sent north in his place.

  This was Anaheim’s last big push for county division. To fuel their efforts, the Anaheim Gazette devoted almost their entire front page to the division cause on January 29, 1881, and sent extra copies of the paper to Sacramento.

  “This county division agitation has its impulse from higher motives than mere office-seeking,” the paper notes. “It proceeds from a long-felt and deep-rooted conviction that the southern part of the county would be more prosperous if given a distinctive name and accorded its proper place at the head of the semi-tropical counties of Southern California. The … county is too large, to unwieldy, too diverse in interests to be legislated for and managed by one set of officials.”

  “The people of Los Angeles have themselves to blame for this movement,” Anaheim attorney Theodore Lynill added. “They have habitually worked against us, especially in trying to turn emigrants away from our section. We want no more of Los Angeles county. Can you tell me why we should not have our rights under our Constitution and go our way?”

  Assemblyman J.F. Crank of Pasadena was willing to introduce the bill, but the real question was, how did you create a new county under the new State Constitution? “The trouble appears to be that the ten lawyers who compose the Assembly Judiciary Committee hold ten different opinions as to the constitutionality of every bill that is brought before them,” the Gazette complained.[14] The committee said the Orange County bill was special legislation, which was specifically prohibited under the new constitution. But they also held any general bill would be unconstitutional, so counties would have to be created by special legislation. So which was it? The problem would dog every future effort at county division.

  Faced with these constitutional questions, the 1881 bill was eventually withdrawn, and effort was made to pass a general county division bill, that would outline the process under the new State Constitution. But the measure failed to pass.

  Unable to have things their way, by 1882 Anaheim had swung into the anti-division column. J.F. Crank was now running for State Senate, and was said to support county division. For Assembly, Santa Ana was backing Garden Grove Democrat Dr. Henry W. Head. Questioned by the Gazette, Dr. Head denied that he was being run as a division candidate, but reserved the right to support or oppose any petition or bill sent to him if he was elected. Armed with that equivocal promise, the Gazette gave him their support, and Anaheim voters helped him to carry the day.

  Then to their disgust, Dr. Head turned around and re-introduced the Montgomery bill, with one important alteration – the county line was moved down to Coyote Creek (where it is today). This excluded Norwalk, Artesia, and Los Nietos, where there was active opposition to division. It also placed Santa Ana near the center of the proposed county. The bill still left the creation of the new county to the Legislature, with local residents only voting on a county seat and the various county officials.

  The Anaheim Gazette could hardly come up with enough venom to spew at Dr. Head, filling its columns with spite (sometimes in a mock Biblical style). William Spurgeon, James McFadden, and Victor Montgomery were also targets of their wrath. The fact that Dr. Head also supported Sunday Laws which closed saloons one day a week, and “local option” where communities could vote to ban liquor entirely, does not seem to have done anything for his popularity in Anaheim.[15]

  As opposition grew, there was talk of amending the bill to allow a public vote on division – something the Gazette claimed was clearly unconstitutional. A general county division bill was also proposed, allowing areas with a population of more than 5,000 to vote on division, but requiring a 2/3rds vote for approval. A “foolish” move, said the Los Angeles Herald, which opposed the Head bill as well.[16]

  But in the end, Dr. Head’s bill was deemed unconstitutional by the Judiciary Committee, and was withdrawn.

  The county division drive in the 1885 Legislature came from an unlikely source. Charles F. McGlashan, the Assemblyman from Truckee, introduced a new general bill on county division in hopes of getting past the difficulties of the new State Constitution.[17] When the bill ran into opposition, he decided to try a new approach, and get just one new county created to establish a precedent – and the one he chose was Orange County.

  The McGlashan bill was based on the 1883 Head/Montgomery bill, but added a requirement that two-thirds of the voters in the new county had to approve the split. It again placed the boundary line at Coyote Creek, so Anaheim responded as it always did in that case and opposed it. Santa Ana, just as predictably, got behind the measure through her new Assemblyman, Eugene E. Edwards. Meanwhile, Los Angeles turned to their sometimes contentious Assemblyman, H.T. Hazard, to marshal the opposition.

  The bill survived its committee hearing, and was approved by the full Assembly in late February. “The fact that it has even reached its present stage is due more to the popularity of Colonel Edwards as an individual member,” the Los Angeles Times was forced to admit, “aided by an antipathy on the part of a large majority of the members to the member from Los Angeles city.” – that is, Assemblyman Hazard.[18]

  But without those personalities in play, the bill stalled in the Senate, and never got out of committee. Once again, Orange County would have to wait.

  County division was again an issue in the elections of 1886. Col. Edwards had decided to leave the Assembly and run for State Senate against Louis J. Rose of San Gabriel. Both candidates tried to position themselves carefully on county division. Edwards soft-pedaled his support for the issue, while Rose – at least while campaigning in Santa Ana – said he would not oppose division (if the people desired it, of course).[19]

  In the end, Edwards lost, but William H. Spurgeon captured his old seat in the Assembly. Though curiously, he made no move to introduce a county division bill during his term.

  At the end of 1888, the score now stood at seven division drives, six bills introduced, two successful votes in the State Assembly, and a continuing failure to get the job done. But that didn’t stop supporters of the new county from trying again.

  Having failed to win a seat in the State Senate, Col. Edwards decided to make another run for Assembly in 1888, and was re-elected. Even the Los Angeles Times praised him as “extremely industrious and efficient … a man of affairs, quick, nervous, energetic and a ‘pusher.’”[20]

  On the Senate side, J.E. McComas of Pomona ran on the Republican ticket, and pledged himself to work for county division. Besides not being from Los Angeles, he had hopes of getting a new county for his end of the county, so helping to get Orange County created would set a nice precedent.

  In early December 1888, Col. Edwards proposed yet another Orange County bill, while McComas sponsored a companion measure in the Senate. Once again, the northern boundary was placed at Coyote Creek, and once again the Anaheim Gazette was livid:

  “If the bill had for its purpose the establishing of the county seat in Santa Ana, Mr. Edwards could not have arranged the boundary line with more effect. Less than one-fourth of the present county is segregated by this ridiculous dividing line…. [T]he Coyote Creek division line smells too palpably of a Santa Ana job.”[21]

  The new editors of the Gazette, Charles and Henry Kuchel, went even further a few weeks later. “If Santa Ana desires to divide so passionately let her draw the dividing line to the south of us.”[22] But they took comfort in their belief that Los Angeles would ultimately defeat the measure, as she had so many times before.

  William Spurgeon and James McFadden led the lobbying effort in Sacramento lobbying on behalf of the new county, while Anaheim and Los Angeles sent their own lobbyists to oppose it. There were no new issues in the arguments over county division in 1889. It was still too far to Los Angeles, too many offices were still filled by Angelenos, too few county improvements were built in the south, and supporters were just as confident the new county could be run more economically as opponents were sure it could not.

  Edwards’ bill originally had just the State Legislature voting to form the new county, but he later agreed to amend it to allow for a two-thirds approval by the voters of the new county. The Los Angeles Times called the idea “absurd,” and argued that all the voters from the county being divided should have a say. “[T]his is too much like cutting a man’s arm off without asking his consent,” they cried. If minority of the voters could decide to separate, where would it all end?[23]

  The Edwards bill passed easily in the Assembly, 64 to 6. Even Assemblyman of J.M. Damron of Los Angeles voted in favor. The measure faced a tougher battle in the State Senate, but supporters were able to secure the support of enough Los Angeles businessmen to help sway the votes of some of the legislators.

  Then there was the question of money. Charges of bribery had been floating around all winter. “It is an open secret that money has been used at Sacramento to carry the division bill through the Legislature,” the Los Angeles Times announced in March, adding that six members of the “San Francisco delegation” had asked $300 each to switch their votes to no.[24] If so, the Orange News retorted, why didn’t the opponents offer to pay them off? And why would divisionists have spent the money if the Bay area representatives already planned to vote in their favor?[25]

  There is no doubt that plenty of money was sent north to aid the lobbying efforts of Spurgeon, McFadden, and the other pro-divisionists, but how much of it was used to simply bribe elected officials remains unclear. At the time (and for many years after) local supporters always denied any malfeasance. But in 1926, longtime Santa Ana businessman George Edgar was asked if he remembered the battles of 40 years before. “Hell yes,” he replied. “We bought this county from the State Legislature for ten thousand dollars, and I went out and raised the money myself in two hours and it was a rainy morning at that.”[26]

  Sam Armor, one of Orange County’s first Supervisors, later wrote, “There are sometimes a few members of the legislature who are looking for ‘Col. Mazuma’ to come to the help or hindrance of much-desired legislation. Because the rich county of Los Angeles would not distribute a large defense fund among such members, they turned against that county.”

  “Then, too,” Armor added, “San Francisco had begun to recognize in Los Angeles a possible rival, and was glad of the opportunity to deprive her of some of her territory.”[27]

  Regional rivalries and personal relations clearly played a role in the bill’s passage. Even the Los Angeles Times admitted that Northern Californian representatives were likely to vote in favor of division in order to lessen the Angel City’s growing importance.[28] There was also said to be a falling out that winter between San Francisco political boss Chris Buckley and State Senator Stephen M. White, the leader of the Los Angeles delegation. And James McFadden’s many business connections in the Bay area also seem to have been helpful.

  Santa Ana pioneer Linn Shaw later recalled: “‘Blind Boss Buckley’ swung nearly his whole flock of ‘lambs’ into the same line-up – not for boodle, but on the request of a personal friend to whom he was under many obligations, and to satisfy a resentment on the part of many of his cohorts because the rich county of Los Angeles had not been forthcoming with the plunder which they had expected….”[29]

  The Edwards bill was approved by the Senate on March 8, 1889 by a vote of 28 to 8. After signing it, Governor Robert Waterman appointed a five-man commission to conduct the required two-thirds vote election, which was set for June 4.[30] The war of words between Anaheim and Santa Ana continued right up to the last minute, but the final outcome was never really in doubt. The official tally was 2,509 votes in favor of county division, and an even 500 against. Ten precincts voted 100% in favor, and three more had only one or two votes cast against it. Buena Park voted solid against the split; Anaheim voted 231 to 12 against, and Fullerton polled 96 to 15.[31]

  Six weeks later, voters returned to the polls to select the first slate of county officers and to finally settle the old question of which city would become the county seat. Since Anaheim’s opposition had put them out of the running, Santa Ana’s only real rival was Orange. But again, it was no contest. Santa Ana collected 2,504 votes for county seat to just 775 for Orange.[32]

  The new county offices opened for business on August 1, 1889, and the Board of Supervisors held their first meeting four days later. The County of Los Angeles would mount several legal challenges to the division, but all of them were eventually turned down by the courts.

  Orange County was on its way.


[1] James M. Guinn, "History of the Movements for the Division of Los Angeles County" (Annual Publication of the Historical Society of Southern California, 1888-89) p 25. Guinn, a former Anaheim school teacher, was intimately involved in some of the earliest efforts to create a separate Orange County. His 1889 article has influenced virtually every later writer on the history of the creation of Orange County – which is unfortunate, since he omits several later campaigns carried out after he left Anaheim in 1881.

[2] Guinn (1889) p 27.

[3] "Report of the Bill to Divide the County of Los Angeles and Create the New County of Anaheim," M.E. Coronel (in) Appendix to Journals of Senate and Assembly of the Eighteenth Session of the Legislature of the State of California, Volume 3 (Sacramento, 1870).

[4] The Journal of the Senate During the Eighteenth Session of the Legislature of the State of California, 1869-70 (Sacramento, 1870), pp 585-86

[5] Anaheim Gazette, November 25, 1871.

[6] Anaheim Gazette, January 29, 1881. See also the Southern Californian, January 31, 1874.

[7] Southern California, March 7, 1874.

[8] Los Angeles Express, March 17, 1874; quoted in the Southern California, March 21, 1874.

[9] Anaheim Daily Gazette, January 9, 1876.

[10] Los Angeles Star, January 13, 1876.

[11] Anaheim Daily Gazette, January 16, 1876.

[12] Guinn (1889) p 29.

[13] Anaheim Gazette, January 29, 1881.

[14] Anaheim Gazette, February 12, 1881.

[15] Anaheim Gazette, January 20, 27, February 27, 1883.

[16] Anaheim Gazette, February 10, 1883.

[17] The bill is summarized in the Anaheim Gazette on February 7, 1885. McGlashan is best known for his 1879 book, History of the Donner Party.

[18] Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1885.

[19] Los Angeles Times, October 30, 1886.

[20] Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1888.

[21] Anaheim Gazette, December 20, 1888.

[22] Anaheim Gazette, January 17, 1889. Wallace Wieman interviewed Henry Kuchel in 1926, and later recalled, “Although aged and completely blind, the late Mr. Kuchel grew quite heated in recalling those times forty years past.” W. Wallace Wieman, The Separation and Organization of Orange County (Master’s thesis, USC, 1938) pp 29-30.

[23] Los Angeles Times, March 26, 1889. Later changes in the law would require a full county vote – thus California has not seen a new county created since 1907.

[24] Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1889. “The San Francisco delegation is said to be purchasable for $5,000 in the matter,” the Gazette claimed earlier (January 24, 1889).

[25] Orange News, March 13, 1889.

[26] Wieman (1938) p 35. "It must be remembered in discussing this situation that political methods and political standards were different fifty years ago than now," Wieman mildly (and perhaps incorrectly) notes.

[27] Sanuel Armor, History of Orange County (Los Angeles, 1921) p 33.

[28] Los Angeles Times, January 30, 1889. "Do we not see that the Northern Citrus Belt will be swift to aid Messrs. McComas and Edwards in dismembering and humbling the Empire County of the South?" a correspondent from Pasadena wrote.

[29] Orange County Tribune, May 25, 1910. Shaw continued to deny that any bribery took place, but when Wallace Wieman interviewed him in 1926, he said $50,000 had been spent on the lobbying efforts.

[30] Surprisingly, at least two of the polling places still stand – and perhaps one or two more. The Amerige Bros. real estate office (now in Amerige Park in Fullerton) and Harlan Fairbanks’ office at 160 E. Main Street in Tustin (now Old Town Flooring) were both polling places in 1889. Garden Grove voters cast their ballots at Justice of the Peace Daniel Webster’s office, perhaps in the old post office building that has been preserved at the Stanley Ranch Museum, and Capistrano voters went to Judge Richard Egan’s office – just possibly in his home which still stands on Camino Capistrano.

[31] “Record of the Proceedings of the Board of Orange County Commissioners” (1889). Original records in the Orange County Archives.

[32] The best summary of the local battles of 1889 is found in Jim Sleeper’s Turn the Rascals Out! The Life and Times of Dan M. Baker, Orange County’s Fighting Editor (Trabuco Canyon, 1973).