chief Juan Antonio of the Mountain Cahuilla

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raised and mentored from childhood to be a wise leader

 

Juan Antonio's Mountain Cahuilla 

The Cahuilla were settled in Politana in 1845, to protect the herds of horses and cattle of the Bravado Rancho from the raids of bandits and the native tribes from the nearby mountains, the Mohave Desert and Utah.


They remained there until 1851 when the Rancho was attacked by the Red Barber gang, a band of Americans and euro immigrants, claiming to avenge the killing of three Americans in the Cajon Pass, by two men of the Bravado family. 


As they had done many times before against other bandits, under the authority of the local justice of the peace, Juan Antonio and his men chased all but one of the gangs into San Timoteo Canyon, cornered them in a box canyon, surrounded and killed them with arrows. 


Word of the incident was mistakenly seen by many of the local Americans as an Indian uprising against them. 


A Militia force from San Diego County was sent to quell this supposed uprising, led by Joshua Bean. Judge Hayes held a hearing and subsequently found their actions had legal justification. 


However, the resentment of local Americans at the killing of fellow Americans led Juan Antonio to move his people away from white settlements in the valley to Saahatpa.