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José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco, Jr. (October 31, 1831 – January 23, 1899) was a Californio politician and diplomat. He was elected and appointed to various California state and federal offices and posts throughout his more than thirty-year career, including serving in the California State Senate, as the 12th governor of California, and three terms in the United States House of Representatives. Pacheco remains the only Hispanic or Latino governor in the state's history as part of the U.S. He was also the state's first governor to be born in California and the only governor to be born in the state before statehood.[1] Pacheco represented California in the United States House of Representatives as a Member of the Republican Party from March 4, 1877 to February 7, 1878, and from March 4, 1879 to March 3, 1883. He was the first Hispanic Representative from a U.S. state; several others had previously served as delegates for U.S. territories and as such did not have full voting privileges.

Romualdo Pacheco
Romualdo Pacheco - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Minister to Nicaragua
In office
May 21, 1891 – October 13, 1891
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byRichard C. Shannon
United States Minister to Costa Rica
In office
May 7, 1891 – October 31, 1891
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byRichard C. Shannon
United States Minister to Honduras
In office
April 17, 1891 – June 12, 1893
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Grover Cleveland
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byPierce M. B. Young
United States Minister to El Salvador
In office
March 28, 1891 – November 14, 1891
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byRichard C. Shannon
United States Minister to Guatemala
In office
February 28, 1891 – June 12, 1893
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byLansing B. Mizner
Succeeded byPierce M. B. Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1879 – March 4, 1883
Preceded byPeter D. Wigginton
Succeeded byPleasant B. Tully
In office
March 4, 1877 – February 7, 1878
Preceded byPeter D. Wigginton
Succeeded byPeter D. Wigginton
12th Governor of California
In office
February 27, 1875 – December 9, 1875
LieutenantWilliam Irwin (Acting)
Preceded byNewton Booth
Succeeded byWilliam Irwin
9th Lieutenant Governor of California
In office
December 8, 1871 – February 27, 1875
GovernorNewton Booth
Preceded byWilliam Holden
Succeeded byWilliam Irwin (Acting)
9th Treasurer of California
In office
October 10, 1863 – December 7, 1867
GovernorLeland Stanford
Frederick Low
Preceded byDelos R. Ashley
Succeeded byAntonio F. Coronel
Personal details
José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco Jr.

(1831-10-31)October 31, 1831
Santa Barbara, Alta California, First Mexican Republic
(now California, U.S.)
DiedJanuary 23, 1899(1899-01-23) (aged 67)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (Before 1860)
National Union (1860–1868)
Republican (1868–1889)
Spouse(s)Mary McIntire
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
RankBrigadier General
Battles/warsCivil War

Early yearsEdit

José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco, Jr. was a Californio, born in Santa Barbara, California to a prominent Alta California family. His father, Captain José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco, had moved to Alta California from Guanajuato, Mexico in 1825, and served as an aide to Governor José María de Echeandía. Captain Pacheco was killed at the Battle of Cahuenga Pass in 1831, when the young Romualdo was just five weeks old. His mother, Maria Ramona Carrillo de Pacheco, was a sister-in-law of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, and a daughter of Maria Ygnacia Lopez de Carrillo, the grantee of Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa. After the death of his father, Romualdo's mother married Captain John D. Wilson, a Scotsman, who sent Pacheco to Honolulu, Hawaii for his education.

At age twelve, Pacheco began an apprenticeship aboard a trading vessel. The Mexican–American War broke out two years later, and he was briefly held by American forces on one trip in July 1846 as he brought cargo to Yerba Buena (which is now San Francisco). The ship he was on was searched, and he made an oath of allegiance to the United States and was released.


Official portrait in the California State Capitol

Pacheco's association with a prominent family in the state helped him to gain support as he entered politics in the 1850s. He was also well respected by Anglos coming into the area. Early in his political career in the 1850s, he was a Democrat. He became affiliated with the National Union Party in the 1860s, but was elected to most of his positions as a candidate for the Republican Party.

Pacheco was elected to the state senate in 1857 and re-elected two times, serving until 1863. During the American Civil War Pacheco was appointed the rank of brigadier general by Governor Leland Stanford and directed to disarm military companies in the Los Angeles area that were not loyal to the Union.

Pacheco served as state treasurer from 1863 to 1867, then returned to the State Senate until becoming lieutenant governor. He served as Lieutenant Governor of California under Newton Booth until Booth was elected to the United States Senate in 1875. Pacheco then served as governor from February 27, 1875 to December 9, 1875, when Lieutenant Governor William Irwin, winner in the September elections that year, was inaugurated.

After briefly serving as governor, Pacheco ran for a U.S. House seat, defeating incumbent Peter D. Wigginton by just one vote. Wigginton contested the election, eventually forcing Pacheco to leave in 1878 when the House Committee on Elections refused Pacheco's certificate of election. Returning to California, he went into business until winning a House seat again in September 1879. He was reelected in 1880.

After leaving Congress, Pacheco lived on a cattle ranch in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila for five years until appointed U.S. Minister to Central America in 1890. He returned to California in 1893, and died in Oakland in 1899. He is buried in Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery.

Family lifeEdit

In 1863 he married Mary McIntire, a 22-year-old playwright. They had two children, Maybella Ramona (b. 1865), and Romualdo, who died in childhood. In 1889 Maybella married Will Tevis, the son of a powerful business family, in San Francisco. Maybella and Will would give Romualdo and Mary Pacheco four grandsons.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Romualdo Pacheco 1875 - 1875". Governors of California. 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.

External linksEdit