Chapter 4: The U.S. - Mexican War in San Diego
5. What happened to Felipa Osuna de Marron during the War?
Perhaps the best account of this period from the point of view of the Californios in San Diego is the reminiscence of Doña Josefa Felipa Osuna de Marron, the wife of a local ranchero. Doña Felipa remembered that while she was in San Diego, the Californios continued to harass the American troops, hiding in the hills near the pueblo and shouting "
challenges, threats and insults." Others entered San Diego at night and occasionally shot into the pueblo. After a time, her husband sent word to her to leave San Diego and join him on their rancho. Felipa recounted what happened:
We women, all of us left our houses and met in the Estudillo adobe. The Californios against the Americans approached the pueblo above the fort that the Americans had built on the hill. I wanted to leave to join my husband and I had sent a message to Alipaz and Cota to come and get me. So they sent my husband under a white flag thinking that since he was such good friends with Pedrorrena, Argüello and Carrillo, they would let him pass. So he approached under a white flag, and Pedrorrena and a party of Americans rode to meet him-- they took his horse and arms and put him in jail. Since he was detained several days without returning to the countryside with me (Felipa), los del pais suspected that he had gone over to the Americans and they became very angry with him.
Felipa, in her words, "
greatly feared the Americans who were not disciplined soldiers", and soon she and her husband were allowed to leave after swearing that they would not continue hostilities. They were given a safe conduct pass in case they were detained by other American troops. With their children they fled San Diego and returned to their rancho where they found the Californios "
furious with her husband", accusing him of working as a courier for the Americans. They even threatened to shoot him. Instead they took all their horses and the family as prisoners to another rancho, Agua Herivida. Here they left Felipa and their children and took Juan, her husband, along with their Indian servants. Juan Marron became sick and the Californio partisans left him on his rancho and let her return to San Diego. Every day the Mexican troops descended on the Marron rancho to take what they needed, so that finally "
most of what we had was taken from us including the cattle that had been given to me by Fr. Zalvidia."
When the war ended the Marrons had barely enough to eat and the Californios continued to accuse Felipa and her husband of being pro-American. Their bad treatment finally forced the Marrons to ask for protection from the American commander of San Diego. After indications that they would be welcome and not mistreated, they departed for San Diego. Traveling with the Marron party were several Californio lancers who had been at San Pascual, including Felipa's brother Leandro who had killed an American in that conflict. On the outskirts of the town her husband raised a white flag and they entered the pueblo leaving their few remaining livestock outside. She reported that some Americans in San Diego were angry at the return of these former enemies but finally did nothing.
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