Portrait Gallery: Lucinda and Charles Temple with Manuel Zuñiga and Julia Davis, ca. 1890s

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

Antonia Margarita Workman (1830-1892) and F.P.F. Temple (1822-1880) had eleven children, eight of which lived to adulthood.  There were nearly twenty-six years between the birth of the eldest, Thomas, in 1846 and the youngest, Charles, in 1872.  Not surprisingly, there were widely varied life stories for each of them with major changes in all of their lives when the bank F.P.F. Temple and his father-in-law William Workman owned collapsed in 1876.

Suddenly, the Temples, who were among the wealthiest families in greater Los Angeles, were financially ruined and the lives of the eight children were dramatically altered.  Two examples are the siblings shown in today’s highlighted artifact from the Homestead collection, an 1890s studio portrait photograph taken by John A. Lorenz in Los Angeles.

The view shows Lucinda Temple (1860-1928) seated at the left with her second husband Manuel Zuñiga (1854-1928)) standing behind her.  Standing at the right is Lucinda’s brother Charles (1872-1918).  The woman seated in front of him might be Julia Davis Cruz (1851-1917), who, though not blood related to the Temples, was a resident of the Temple household from the 1860s through at least 1880, and who, in an obituary, was described as a nurse for the family.  Her relationship, however, might best be described as something of an adopted daughter who helped raise the younger Temple children.

Lucinda was receiving what would be equivalent to her high school education and was 16 years old when the bank failure occurred.  Despite the disaster, she continued to attend school and went to Holy Names Convent, a Catholic girls school in Oakland.  In 1878, at the age of eighteen, she was married to Manuel Arnaz, whose Spanish-born father was a prominent figure in Ventura.

The marriage, however, was rocky.  Lucinda filed for divorce and then reconciled with Arnaz, before filing again a second time in 1887.  While divorce is quite common today, it was extremely rare in the late 19th century, especially for Catholics, and the circumstances, which are unknown, must have been exceptional.  It could only be imagined what the emotional and psychological toll on Lucinda must have been.

1118019 Cabinet Portrait Charles P Temple Lucinda Temple de Zuni
This cabinet card portrait photograph by John A. Lorenz of Los Angeles in the museum’s collection shows Lucinda Temple (lower left), her husband Manuel Zuñiga above her, her brother Charles at the upper right, and who is likely Julia Davis, who lived with the Temples from the 1860s to about 1880, at the lower right

She did, however, soon remarry.  Manuel Zuñiga was born and raised near the Temple family on the Rancho Potrero de Felipe Lugo and his first wife happened to be Carmel Davis, sister of Julia.  Manuel and Carmel had a son and two daughters before she died young and he married Lucinda.  They did not have any children during their nearly 40-year marriage, though his children did reside with the couple for a period.

Manuel owned a store and saloon located in the Basye Adobe, built in 1869, and situated on San Gabriel Boulevard on the west side of the Rio Hondo, the original course of the San Gabriel River.  They remained there until after 1900 when the couple relocated to Clifton, Arizona, a copper mining town near the New Mexico border east of Phoenix.

When Lucinda’s brother, Walter (1869-1938), was the beneficiary of a lucky oil strike on his property in 1914, he happened to have been living in the Basye Adobe with his wife Laura Gonzalez and their four surviving children.  Relocating to Alhambra in late 1917 months after the first well on their lease was brought into production by Standard Oil of California, Walter brought Lucinda and Manuel to live with him and his family and Manuel was given a position as gardener.

When the Temples then moved to the Homestead in 1923 after Laura’s death, a wood-frame home was built at the west end of the 92-acre ranch, about where Don Julian Road and Turnbull Canyon Road intersect today.  Manuel, then approaching seventy, was given a salary though his work on the ranch was limited.  Lucinda died in January 1928, followed months later by her husband and the couple were interred in the mausoleum at El Campo Santo cemetery.

Charles was just three years old when the family’s bank failed and he was raised at the Temple Homestead, which was sold to his mother by “Lucky” Baldwin, after he foreclosed on a loan made by F.P.F. Temple and William Workman as they tried to save their bank.  Charles’ education, in comparison to that of his older siblings, especially his brothers, was limited.  He attended what would be basically high school at St. Vincent’s College through the late 1880s.

Margarita Thomas W And Lucinda Temple
In this detail of a family portrait from about 1869, Lucinda stands at the right next to her oldest sibling Thomas, who was fourteen years older, and sister Margarita, who was three years younger.

After his mother died in 1892 (along with her mother Nicolasa Urioste Workman and son Thomas during a flu epidemic), Charles and his immediately older brother Walter inherited the 50-acre Homestead.  The brothers eventually divided the property with Charles taking the northern two-thirds and Walter the southern third of the ranch.  They also leased the family’s adobe house, built in 1851, to Giovanni Piuma for his fledgling wine-making business (Piuma later had a very successful enterprise in downtown Los Angeles, where other Italian vintners were operating prior to Prohibition.)

Charles married in 1898 and his wife was Rafaela Basye, daughter of the man who built the Basye Adobe where his sister and brother-in-law lived and where his brother Walter later resided.  Not long into the marriage, however, Rafaela died and her family accused Charles of causing her death.  This led to a duel in which one of the Basye brothers and Charles were wounded and it was reported (more details on this event in a future post) that the two reconciled.

Yet, in 1902, another feud erupted when Charles, who ran the La Paloma saloon at the Temple Homestead and married Susana Castino of a nearby Italian family, got into conflict with another of his late wife’s brothers.  He pulled a gun, arguing later that it was in self-defense, and killed his adversary.  A sensational trial took place in Los Angeles, heavily covered in the press and which will be the subject of another post later.

Charles was acquitted, but it was soon reported that he’d killed his only child, Charles, Jr., though this was found to be false.  Then, it was reported that he’d been arrested because his wife feared some mental collapse, likely because of alcohol, took place.  This, too, was the subject of sensational coverage in newspapers, but Charles was reconciled with his wife and son.

He then sold his portion of the Temple Homestead to Walter and took his family and joined Lucinda and Manuel Zuñiga in Arizona, where he remained for several years.  Rumors were that he left to avoid further conflict with the Basye family, who harbored bitter feelings over what had happened to two members of their family, though this can’t be substantiated.

Tintype Walter And Charles Temple Families 2009.16.21.2
This circa 1906 tintype shows brothers Walter and Charles in the back holding their sons, Charles, Jr. and Thomas W. II, while their wives, Susie (middle) and Laura (right) sit with an unidentified woman (possibly Laura’s mother Francisca Valenzuela).

By 1910, Charles, Susana and Charles, Jr. were back in the region, residing at Santa Monica, and Charles worked as a laborer.  Just after his brother, Walter, received the first revenues from the oil wells found very close to the Basye Adobe, Charles died, passing away in October 1918.  Because Walter recently purchased the Homestead, Charles was buried in the fenced family plot at El Campo Santo.  A few years later, when the mausoleum was built adjacent to the plot, Charles’ remains were reinterred in the structure.

If the woman in black at the bottom right is Julia Davis, her life included some twists and turns, as well.  She was first married, about 1880, to a man named Montague, though nothing is known of that relationship.  This was followed by a second marriage in 1889 to Charles Cruz, a long-time police officer in Los Angeles, though there were no children from either marriage.

Widowed not long after her marriage to Cruz, Julia returned to the Old Mission area where she was born (her father was a nephew of Juan Matias Sanchez, co-owner with the Temples of Rancho La Merced) and where her father, Joseph, was an employee of the Temples before his death in 1875.

Julia had some land across from the old Temple Homestead that had been sold to her mother, Venancia Peña Davis, by F.P.F. Temple and lived there for a number of years, often with some of her brothers.  Ironically, at the time of her death, oil wells were being drilled on her property and some became successful producers.  Her brother, Peter, later did woodwork for Walter Temple when La Casa Nueva was being built at the Homestead and he lived for a time in the Workman House.

A photograph has a certain amount of surface-level content, but it is often the stories that underlie the image that can be very interesting and illuminating.  All four of the subjects in today’s highlighted portrait experienced remarkable ups-and-downs, some typical of what most of us could or may experience and others, like Charles Temple’s personal and legal issues, quite unusual.  When the image was taken in the early to mid 1890s, the quartet all had a quarter-century and more to live and more experiences to be had, but the photo gives us a visual element to their life stories.


Leave a Reply