Biography of Hon. Miguel Estudillo
Riverside County, CA Biographies

A native son of California and one who has ever had her best interests at heart is M. Estudillo, a prominent attorney of Riverside and know serving the people as state senator from his district. He was born in San Bernardino, Cal., September 20, 1870, a son of J. A. and Adelaide Estudillo, both of whom represented prominent families in the early history of the state. As a youth M. Estudillo attended the public schools of San Diego county, from which he graduated in 1888. He then entered Santa Clara College in Santa Clara and graduated therefrom in 1890. Returning then to San Diego, then the family home, he was appointed court clerk by the county clerk and held the position until 1893, which year marked his advent into Riverside, where he received the appointment as clerk of the board of supervisors and held the position until 1895. During this time he was preparing himself for the law and in the above named year he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court in the state of California. He immediately opened an office in Los Angeles and for the following two years carried on a successful practice. Coming again to Riverside he opened an office here and maintained it until 1899, when he went to the City of Mexico to fight a case in the courts and remained there nearly three years, when he again came to this city and resumed his professional labors.

On November 8, 1904, Mr. Estudillo was elected to the assembly of the state from the Seventy eighth district and was reelected two years later and during his incumbency of that responsible office he rendered valiant service to his constituents as well as to the whole state. In 1905 he secured an appropriation of $35,000 for the establishment of an Agricultural Experiment station at the foot of Mt. Rubidoux. It was also at this session of the legislature that the bill transferring Yosemite park to the United States government was passed. It was fostered by Mr. Estudillo and after a stormy series of arguments was passed. It was one of the most talked of bills of that session. By his advocacy of the bill and the active part he took in its passage he attracted considerable attention by his far sighted policies and received personal recognition - from John Muir, the poet, who wrote him several letters and presented him two of his choice works, autographed, "Mountains of California" and "Our National Park." In 1907 he was chairman of the Ways and Means committee of the Assembly and also made chairman of the California delegation at the Fifteenth National Irrigation Congress, held in Sacramento in 1907. He was sent as delegate for the state of California to the National Irrigation Congress at Boise, Idaho, and was an advocate of the Pinchot Roosevelt conservation policies and won out in a fight with Hon. W. R. King of Oregon, in presenting the resolution endorsing these policies. November 3, 1908, he was elected state senator, and in 1909 he made a fight for the local option bill but was defeated. In 1911 he made the fight in the senate for the Wyllie local option measure and carried it through successfully. Here it is but proper to quote from the "Searchlight," the official organ of the Anti Saloon league: "It would be impossible in any newspaper article to pay fitting and full tribute of praise to the members of the California legislature, by whose action the people were given the Wyllie local option law. We may, however, without making invidious distinction, mention the name of Senator Miguel Estudillo of Riverside county, who had charge of the measure in the upper house, and of Assemblyman G. W. Wyllie, who introduced and championed in the lower house the measure, which for all time will bear his honored name. Senator Estudillo introduced the local option measure in the senate two years ago and did yeoman's work in behalf of the measure, which, however, failed to secure approval of the majority of his senatorial associates. At this session of the legislature it was not only fitting but fortunate that the Wyllie bill, after its approval by the assembly, was in charge of the Riverside Senator. . . . Without giving offense to those who opposed the measure, Senator Estudillo met and answered every argument against it, and with unyielding tenacity refused to accept amendments which were intended to impair its efficiency. When at the first hearing in the senate the bill was loaded with objectionable amendments there was pallor in the face of the Riverside senator and a tearful glitter in his eye which indicated how profound and sincere was his interest in the matter. . . . It was well that he did not falter, for the fate of the measure at that time seemed so uncertain that any show of despondency by its champion might have led to its defeat. The subsequent career of the bill was thick set with peril and it required skillful management, unfaltering fidelity, courage and determination to carry the measure safely through and win for it success." In 1909 Mr. Estudillo was chairman of the committee on election laws of the senate which recommended by minority report, the passage of the direct primary law, creating a revolution in state politics and forever destroying machine rule. This amendment passed the legislature in 1911. He was appointed a member of the hold over committee which investigated the school book trust of the state and through their findings justice was meted to the guilty ones. It was during this same session that Senator Estudillo secured an appropriation for a laboratory and improvements for the Rubidoux eaperiment station at Riverside.

Senator Estudillo is a member of the Elks and the Knights of Pythias; the Victoria and Country clubs of Riverside, and of the Jonathan and Union League clubs of Los Angeles. On February 22, 1903, in Los Angeles occurred the marriage of M. Estudillo and Miss Minerva Cook, and of this union there was born one son, Reginald, who is attending the Riverside public schools. Mrs. Estudillo is a direct descendant of James Cook, who came in the Mayflower and whose offspring settled in Winchester, N. H., where Mrs. Estudillo was born. Since becoming a resident of this beautiful city there has been no movement advanced for the general well being of either city or county but what has received his stanch support and he has been foremost in social matters of his adopted city. As a public man he has a host of warm admirers and as a speaker he has a manner of at once commanding the respect and hearing of all within reach of his voice. He has taken a stand for all progressive movements in political circles and is a stanch Republican.

Senator Estudillo received a letter which contains some bits of history, from Charles Hardy an Englishman now a resident of Mt. Albert, Auckland, New Zealand, which says:

"I lived with your grandfather (Don Louis Rubidoux) at Jurupa Rancho, but time plays havoc with rich and poor alike. I am eighty years old on the 21st of March, proximo. I have a daguerreotype of myself taken in San Francisco in 1855, but I, of course, do not care to part with it. I lived off and on with Louis Robidoux from 1856 to 1862, was always welcomed by him to his house and treated with great respect. . . I forget exactly how long I taught there, but think it must have been for about two or three years altogether. I received $50 per month from the state and $15 per month from Don Louis, together with board and lodging.

"The letter to myself from Don Louis, which my daughter told you of, was written in 1862, when I was in San Francisco. It was to thank me for some business which I had transacted for him in regard to the Rancho San Jacinto."

The letter further states that Mr. Hardy asked Don Louis for the hand in marriage of one of his daughters. Don Louis was willing, but the young lady's mother refused because Mr. Hardy intended to take her away to England. The lady married a rancher. Hardy came to California in 1855, from Victoria., Melbourne, Australia; he owned thirty seven acres of land close to the city of San Bernardino; later lost money in gold mining in Bear Lake valley. He further states that Don Louis never went abroad, either on horseback or in his buggy without taking Hardy with him "I was his constant companion and slept in the same room that he did, the large room in the middle of the house. The room in which the boys slept was on one end of it, and the room in which the senora and her daughters slept, on the other end. A young Indian, I think from Sonora, was the family cook."

Of the ancestry of Hon Miguel Estudillo we mention his grandfather, Don Jose A. Estudillo, who was revenue collector and treasurer of San Diego from 1828 to 1830. In 1835 he was a member of the territorial deputation, the law making body of California. While a member of the territorial legislature he was offered the governorship of California, but refused the honor. From 1840 to '42 he was justice of the supreme tribunal, and in the last named year he received the grant of the San Jacinto rancho from the Mexican government. In 1843 he was administrator of the Mission San Luis Rey, and in 1845, judge. In September, 1849, Brigadier General Riley of the U. S. army, appointed him judge of the first instance for the district of San Diego. January 5, 1852, he was elected city treasurer of San Diego, and later elected assessor of that county, being the first to hold that office under the American regime. His ancestors were military men, his father having been captain in the Spanish army. He died in 1853 His son, the father of our present senator, also named Jose A. Estudillo, was a land owner. His wife was a daughter of Don Louis Robidoux, of whom extended mention is made in this history by Hon. E. W. Holmes.

Jose G. Estuclillo, an uncle, still living, was state treasurer of California, 1876 to '80, prior to which he was treasurer of San Diego for twelve years.

History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912

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