Rowland-Workman Party Arrived to Southern California on Guy Fawkes’ Day in 1841


A photo of the original plaque, which was broken at the 1941 centennial ceremony at the Workman House. Image courtesy of the Homestead Museum.

By Paul Spitzzeri

With a glass plaque mounted on a door at his home, now part of the Homestead Museum in City of Industry, William Workman commemorated the arrival on the Old Spanish Trail from New Mexico of what is commonly known as the Rowland-Workman Party on November 5, 1841. For the British-born Workman the date was memorable because it was Guy Fawkes’ Day, an English holiday. For us in Los Angeles 175 years later, we should remember the arrival of approximately 65 Americans, New Mexicans and Europeans as part of a westward movement that included the arrival in northern California of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party the previous day and which preceded the American invasion and seizure of Mexican California just five years later.

Paul R. Spitzzeri is the Museum Director for the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum

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