Her nickname was "La Primavera," and the survey listed Calle Primavera or Spring Street. Below is a portion of Henry Hancock's 1857 survey of the city's confirmed limits but shows Primavera misspelled:
|Courtesy of the Seaver Center for Western History Research (GC1310-)|
Several historical references state that she was the Santa Barbara girlfriend of surveyor Lieutenant Edward O.C. Ord, but this blog posting disputes that observation. The L.A. Times also linked her romantically to Benjamin Wilson ("Don Benito" born in 1811 from Tennessee and traveled with the Workman-Rowland Party to California in 1841). Their paths probably crossed, but it seems unlikely that Wilson wooed the 17-year old; he was widowed in 1849 when his 21-year old wife Ramona Yorba died after a five-year marriage; he soon remarried to Margaret Hereford; one of their grandkids was George S. Patton (the military general).
Probably Trinidad was a beloved girl in the small town, and her nickname was a generally known term of endearment.
Trinidad was the great-granddaughter of a Guanajuato, New Spain soldier Jose Francisco Ortega, who traveled to California with Franciscan priest Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar Portola. He was a pathfinder or scout who helped to establish the sites of missions in upper California, and he is known as the discoverer of today's San Francisco Bay.
Her heritage was linked more directly to other Californios. Born in San Diego in the year 1830, her father Jose Joaquin Geronimo Ortega was a ranchero of SantaYsabel. Trinidad's mother was Maria Casimira Pico, a younger sister of Pio Pico. Trinidad was the youngest of six children.
In 1849, Trinidad may have been staying in her uncle's household instead of San Diego. It is not known whether the dirt road was already referred to as La Primavera, or if Ord picked up this information from local townspeople while surveying and named the street accordingly. This blogger once came across a reference stating that Ord was rooming in the Ortega house during the summer of 1849. (Pio Pico's official residence was sold in May, 1849 to Benjamin Wilson.)
|Pio Pico, the last governor of California under Mexican rule, with|
his wife Maria Alvarado and their nieces Maria Anita Alvarado (far left)
and Trinidad Ortega (far right), in 1852
(GPF.0350 courtesy of the Seaver Center)
Edward Ord had reported to Governor Bennet Riley (military governor of the California Territory in 1849) that the local women preferred the "newcomers" to the Mexican men. Californio women had been entering intercultural unions with European men for many years by the time of Ord's observation. Trinidad, though, did not. She married into the De la Guerra family, a wealthy and powerful Spanish family of Santa Barbara. Her husband, Miguel De la Guerra was the fifth son of thirteen children. She bore him eight children before he died in 1878.
|Trinidad De La Guerra about 1864|
(P-157-2-78 Courtesy of the Seaver Center)