RLC Adobe - The Foreman's Room
Backstory and Context
Sr. Rocco – an immigrant from Spain – was listed as the manager of Rancho Los Cerritos on the 1850 Census probably lived in the room nearest the entry gates – a room that would have served as both his bedroom and office. At Rancho Los Cerritos, Temple’s workers raised about 15,000 cattle, producing valuable cowhides for export (leather boots, saddles) and tallow (cow fat) rendered locally for use as candles and soap. Temple ventured into the Hide and Tallow trade in the mid-1840s when a single cowhide was worth about $2 and the fat from one cow about the same. As thousands and thousands of gold miners arrived, beef became a marketable commodity. By 1853, an estimated 300,000 people had emigrated to California from all around the world, spurring the first cattle drives in American history – from ranchos like John Temple’s in Southern California to the gold fields in the high Sierras and to large towns like Sacramento and Stockton. The value of each cow (if slaughtered near a prosperous mining town) quickly jumped to about $80/head. The market soon settled down to about $20/head, but what a difference a decade made for Temple’s fortunes!