Andres Crosthwaite

Andres (Andy) Crosthwaite was born 1952 and was raised in San Ysidro. He is David Crosthwaite’s brother. They are both descendants of Philip Crosthwaite and Maria Josefa Lopez.

Andy attended Sunset Elementary, Southwest Junior High and Mar Vista High School. He graduated in 1970 and went on to Southwestern College where he met Augie Bareño and together they became active in the Chicano Movement. Andy was part of the United Farm Workers movement, took part in the Egger-Ghio strikes and became part of MeChA. Andy tried to promote Chicano education and worked for the student service center recruiting more minorities to go to college.

Andy grew up on San Ysidro Blvd and then at the age of seven his family moved to Blackshaw Lane. Andy always considered himself to be Mexican American, primarily due to the color of his skin, which was dark. His first language was also Spanish.

After Southwestern College, Andy entered the Teacher Corp Program at San Diego State University. He graduated in 1975 and started teaching at Chula Vista High School. He taught wood working, drafting, U.S. History, social science and also coached football and track. From 2001-2005 he taught at Southwest High School and then returned to Chula Vista High School from 2005 to 2011 when he retired.

From his father, Andy inherited Casa Blanca and the Santa Rosa ranch, which consisted of 100 acres. He still owns 40 head of cattle, six horses and chickens. He sells the cattle as beef in Baja California and he plants oats and hay (up to 900 bales) to feed the cattle. Andy also hosts ’roundups’ where friends and family gather to brand the cattle, roast a pig and enjoy a barbecue. Often skilled musicians, such as mariachi come to play their music for the crowd.

Philip Crosthwaite: The Mexicanized Gringo

During the 1830s until the U.S.-Mexican War in 1846, many American and European seamen and traders came to the Californias. The Irishman Philip Crosthwaite was one of these men. He fought in the U.S.-Mexican War and thereafter became quite prominent, holding political offices and owning vast tracts of land. His descendants remain in San Ysidro and Chula Vista today. They also still own land in Baja California and raise cattle.

Born in Ireland Philip Crosthwaite he came to the East Coast in 1845. A friend encouraged him to take a short sea voyage and together they hopped on board the Hopewell in Rhode Island. Philip assumed they were on their way to a fishing trip in the Newfoundland banks, but after they reached the open sea, he realized the ship was headed for San Francisco. When the ship finally stopped in San Diego, Philip stepped off and wanted to find a way back to the East Coast. However, the very next ship had no vacant seats, so Philip remained in San Diego and became an otter hunter.

At the outbreak of theU.S.-Mexican War, Philip was on an otter hunting expedition and when he arrived in San Diego a Captain Gillespie knocked at his door early in the morning and said, “There can be no neutrals in this country; you must either enlist for three months (as the war will probably be over by that time), or be imprisoned.”

Philip suddenly was thrust into the war, fighting at the Battle of San Pasqual. As historian William Smythe says, Philip was given the responsibility of taking a Californios prisoner of war into his care. Soon, Philip had to protect him from attack by one of the Delaware Indians who did not believe in taking prisoners and wanted to kill the man. Philip prevented the death.

After he was slightly wounded, he performed garrison duty until the close of the war. After the war, Philip stayed in San Diego and married into a distinguished Californios family. Maria Josefa Lopez (b. 1834 and married on June 10, 1848 at the age of fourteen) was the daughter of Bonifacio Lopez, granddaughter of Becino Ignacio Maria de Jesus Lopez and great-grand-daughter of Juan Francisco Lopez who was a leather-jacket soldier in the 1769 expedition.

Several generations of the Lopez family served as soldiers at the Presidio and built the first homes outside the Presidio and in Mission Valley by 1821, and built the Casa de Lopez “Long House” adobe in Old Town in 1830.

Juan Jose Lopez managed the Presidio stock range below the San Ysidro mountains, and was granted the San Ysidro rancho of 27,000 acres purportedly in Baja California east of Tijuana. He built an adobe on his rancho that was destroyed by a Native American attack in 1837. Philip and Josefa Crosthwaite lived for a number of years in the Lopez home in Mission Valley. Their large family included seven sons and three daughters. One daughter married into the Osuna family who owned Rancho San Dieguito (today’s Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach).

The San Diego historian, William Smythe, described Crosthwaite as: “…a well built man, with a full beard and a remarkably deep voice… He was known to be an utterly fearless man, whose courage was proved in many hard encounters. He was a man of strong character and had enemies as well as friends. Part of these troubles were due to religious differences, he being an Episcopalian and his wife a Catholic.”

When Crosthwaite heard about the gold rush, he left to northern California, leaving Bonifacio Ignacio Lopez, his father-in-law, in charge of the mission lands. However, he found no fortunes and returned with a mere forty-seven ounces of gold. Upon his return, he discovered in San Diego that the infantry had taken possession of the mission despite his 1848 lease, which still had two years to run. Crosthwaite next set his sights on public service. San Diego County held its first election in 1850 and he became the first County Treasurer.

In 1861 Crosthwaite left San Diego and took up residence at a newly purchased San Miguel Rancho near Ensenada, Baja California. Philip raised cattle on his ranch, but would often return to San Diego. In 1869 he bought out the merchant stock of Ephraim Morse in Old Town and opened a store with Thomas Whaley in the Whaley House. In 1871 he became the Sheriff of San Diego.

Throughout his time in San Diego, Philip was a deputy sheriff several times, the second Chief of Police of San Diego, a school superintendent, merchant, rancher, the first Master of San Diego Masonic Lodge No. 35, Sergeant of the Volunteer Militia, county clerk, auditor and Justice of the Peace.

In 1874 he once again left for Baja California, spending the next years building up the ranch, including tending to 700 head of cattle. By 1891, three of his sons owned 45,000 acres on which they had 5,000 cattle and 400 horses. They furnished all the cattle butchered for the Ensenada Market.

Andy provided a large number of historic photos for this collection. 

Most of the information about Philip Crosthwaite provided in this excerpt are taken from William Smythe’s History of San Diego (1908)

(Interview March 20, 2016)