History and Historic Sites of the Valley * Then and Now Photos * Lost Crescenta * Rockhaven * Membership
Two hundred years ago here in the Crescenta Valley we might have seen soldiers from the presidios escorting supplies north to San Fernando Mission, along what is now Honolulu Ave., or pursuing Indians up Pickens or Dunsmore Canyons. These soldiers were the "Soldados de Cuera", an elite branch of the Spanish Colonial Army who protected the Missions and the routes between them. They were recruited from the harsh frontiers of North Mexico, and were more heavily armed than the average Spanish soldier -- with pistols, muskets, swords, and their deadly lances. They were considered to be the best horsemen in the New World. Their uniforms were uniquely designed to the local conditions -- leggings to protect against the chaparral, and heavy leather armor and a small shield to turn arrows.
We'll learn about these Soldados de Cuera from someone who is uniquely qualified to talk about them, Don Urquidez. Mr. Urquidez is the direct descendant of Don Jose Maria Verdugo, who was a Corporal of the garrison at San Gabriel Mission, and was granted this land (the Crescenta Valley, and more) for his service to the crown at his retirement. This member of the "first family of Glendale" has studied the Manuel of Arms for these tough California soldados, and takes part in Military reenactments of these historical figures. He'll describe their military tactics, their weapons, and the lives they led.