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27 October 2008

Peralta Hacienda Banquet

As reported in August, CGS has been involved in an extensive research project of the Peralta family over the last several months. The research team – Judy Bodycote, Dick Rees and Lavinia Schwarz – was honored at a banquet hosted by the Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (FRIENDS) on Sunday, October 12, 2008. The dinner was held in the Victorian-style home on the grounds of the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park.


Lavinia Schwarz and Judy Bodycote
arriving at the Peralta Hacienda Victorian.


Lavinia Schwarz sent this report:

Last Sunday the three CGS volunteers (Judy Bodycote, Dick Rees and myself) who have worked on the Peralta family tree for Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, were feted at a banquet in the dining room of the Victorian built by Antonio Peralta's son near where the original land grant adobe was built in 1820. It was the first non-native dwelling in the East Bay. A second adobe, constructed in 1840 when the family outgrew the original, smaller structure, was later destroyed by an earthquake. The family moved back into the 1820 adobe and started building the Victorian home where we enjoyed our dinner.

Time for some conversation before dinner.
(Note the antique Peralta trunk.)


Chris Pattillo, Ken Talken and Judy Bodycoat with
the portrait of Ken's great-grandmother, Tonita –
Maria Antonia Peralta Lehmann (1877-1954).

There were fourteen people at the banquet including members of the FRIENDS board – Justin Brown, Ken Talken, who is also a Peralta descendant, Chairman Dale Hagen and Treasurer Mike Falk and his wife Lynne; Deborah Cooper, Collections Curator (retired) of the Oakland Museum; L. Thomas Frye, Curator of the Gold Rush exhibit at the Oakland Museum and former director of the museum; CGS board member Chris Pattillo and her partner Dianne Sierra; Holly Alonzo, Executive Director of FRIENDS and the three of us.

Deborah Cooper, Holly Alonso, Lynne Falk and Justin Brown.


The food was of the time – delicious chili stew, tortillas, mustard greens, potatoes, grapes, figs, bread pudding, champagne, wine, sherry, and chocolates. We were told that at the time the food of the poor and the rich was basically the same. The difference was that the wealthy enjoyed wine and spirits.

Judy Bodycote, Ken Talken, Lavinia Schwarz, Tom Frye and Deborah Cooper.


Dianne Sierra, Dale Hagen, Chris Pattillo and Mike Falk.

The company was delightful and the food was great. We swapped Peralta stories and a good time was had by all. Chris Pattillo and her firm PGA Design did the original landscape design for the park and it was she who thought of getting CGS involved with the Peralta family history. It's been a nice collaboration. Judy Bodycote has done most of the research. Her husband is a DeAnza party descendant (four ancestors) so she was up to speed right away with researching the early Californios. Judy also figured out how to print out a large color-coded family free.

Based on our work, graphic artist Gordan Chan will create a wall mural of the first five or so generations of Peraltas in California. In addition, our CGS research team has created a genealogy database of 700 plus descendants. We hope visitors to the park will be able to access the database to look up ancestors. The banquet was a thank-you beyond anything we imagined.

Photographs courtesy of Dick Rees.

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