Luis Quintero (1726-1810)

Diorama: Founding Los Angeles, 1781 (Los Angeles County Natural History Museum)
Diorama: Founding Los Angeles, 1781 (Los Angeles County Natural History Museum)

Luis Quintero was a one of the original founders of the City of Los Angeles, then known as El Pueblo de Los Angeles, on September 4, 1781. Quintero, described in Spanish records as a free negro, was a tailor from Los Álamos, Sonora. He was married to Maria Petra Rubio, although the date is unknown. Spanish records indicate she was a mulatta. Together they had eight children (one of which was adopted), one male and seven females. All but one of the daughters had the first name of Maria. His son was named Jose.

Before making his way to what would be known as Los Angeles, Quintero arrived at the San Gabriel Mission in either June or July of 1781. Lt. Jose Francisco Ortega confirmed his arrival. Later he joined the other founding members of Los Angeles. Quintero was the last person to sign the founding documents of Los Angeles.

On March 21, 1782, Quintero, along with a few other settlers, was expelled from the young settlement. He had been declared unfit upon arrival, along with two other founders, but it took some time before being officially expelled. Quintero had to forfeit his land, stock, and other government aid with his expulsion.  No explanation is given as to why he was an “unfit” settler.

On March 22 and 25, 1782, Quintero served as the godfather for two Indians confirmed by the noted Spanish padre, Junipero Serra, at the San Gabriel Mission. Quintero joined the expedition to found the Presidio de Santa Barbara on March 26, 1782. He continued working as a tailor at Santa Barbara. There, many of his children were married, mainly to soldiers. The exact dates of his birth and death are unknown.