A native of Spain, Gaspar Oreña (1824-1904) came to the United States in the late nineteenth century. He married the widow of a prominent Californio family from Santa Barbara, Maria Antonia de la Guerra, after the death of her first husband, Cesareo Lataillade. Several of Orẽa's children - namely, Leopoldo, Dario, Orestes, Arturo, and Serena - assumed the responsibilities of the maintaining or selling the family's properties in present-day Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. At some point, Serena Oreña married William de Koch, an agent of the Wells Fargo Co. The Koch family also figures significantly in the collection, particularly those materials that relate to Edward Oreña de Koch.
Scope and Content
The documents demonstrate the range of legal, financial, and real estate-related transactions initiated by or concerning the Oreña Family and their associates. Included in this series are title deeds, land claims, and land grants pertaining to the family's properties in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. Also included are receipts and invoices. The manuscripts include four works pertaining to the Oreña Family as well as other early California families, namely the de la Guerra family. The series also contains two typewritten manuscripts: the first is Occurrences in California, as reported by Angustias de la Guerra Ord and the second is Carlota Koch's "La Guipuzcoana" which chronicles the lives of Gaspar Orena, Cesareo Lataillade, Maria Antonia de la Guerra, and those of their acquaintances. The correspondence includes personal and business letters to and by the Oreña Family members and their associates. Among the authors is Alfred Robinson (b. 1806-d.1895), author of Life in California (1891). Four photographs of the Columbus Library in Seville, Spain comprise the fourth series. These black-and-white photos were taken in September 1955. The photographer, who included only his/her initials of "AK" indicated that the images are not available for publication. Finally, three items comprise ephemera. These include two 1891 arguments issued by the Supreme Court of the State of California relating to the case of C.E. Lataillade, Plaintiff and Appellant, vs. Gaspar Oreña, Defendant and Respondent. The final item in this series is an autographed note written on a fragment of an ANP-ANETA News Bulletin, dated April 23, 1951.