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Don Jose de Ortega Chapter

National Society Daughters of the
American Revolution

Canoga Park, California

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Chapter History

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The Don Jose de Ortega Chapter of the NSDAR was organized October 9, 1970, at the Andres Pico Adobe, Mission Hills, with 24 Charter Members and Muriel Drew Fisher as the Organizing Regent. Named for Don Jose de Ortega (1734-1798) ancestor and 5th generation grandfather of member, Marcia Havens Stowers, the chapter was eventually located in the West San Fernando Valley, California, city of Canoga Park.

Don Jose de Ortega

Jose Francisco de Ortega was a child " of honorable lineage and robust health, " born in Zelaya, Guanajuato, New Spain (Mexico), in 1734. Although we know little about his childhood and teen years, we know that on October 1, 1755, at the age of 21, he enlisted as a soldier at the Royal Presidio of Nuestra Senora de Loreto, Antigua, (Baja) California. He married Dona Maria Antonia Victoria Carrillo, born 1741. She lived on his Refugio Ranch with their ten children while Ortega traveled in the service of New Spain.

Commissioned " Explorer of the Trails " in Governor Portola's 1769 expedition from San Diego to Monterey, he was the chief scout on the expedition that culminated in the Spanish discovery of San Francisco Bay. Rising rapidly through the ranks, he became a Lieutenant in 1773 and served for 8 years as Commandante at San Diego, during which time he went with Fray Lausen and twelve soldiers to explore the site which became Mission San Juan Capistrano. This Mission holds an account of his military record.

Ortega assisted in the founding of Mission San Buenaventura and the Royal Presidio at Santa Barbara. En route from Santa Inez to Santa Barbara, February 3, 1798, Don Jose, by this time a Brevit Captain, died. He is buried at the Santa Barbara Mission Cemetery. His wife, Dona Maria, who died in 1803, is buried at the Presidio. The Don Jose de Ortega Chapter, placed a memorial plaque in the Santa Barbara Mission Cemetery to commemorate this hard working, greatly trusted and much traveled Commandante.

Don Jose de Ortega's Signature
Joseph Fran Co Ortega
Courtesy Henry E. Huntington
Library and Art Gallery
Don Jose de Ortega's Signature

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