Princess Louise Caroline Alberta was the sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Relatively unknown to Americans as a child, Louise became internationally famous when it was announced in 1871 that she would marry a commoner, John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, the Marquis of Lorne and heir to the dukedom of Argyll. Although the match shocked the European aristocracy, Louise was supported not only by her mother but also by her mother’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who held a high opinion of Lorne. The marriage also pleased the British and American public.
Lorne rose rapidly in British political life, and in 1878 he was appointed Governor-General of Canada. At the end of the summer of 1882, Louise and Lorne set off on a trip to the Canadian Far West, much of which was still unexplored. Lorne wanted to name the sprawling lands from Manitoba to the crest of the Rockies “Louiseland” after his wife, but he ultimately decided the name was too cumbersome. He instead gave the province Louise’s middle name, Alberta. Louise named the capital of Saskatchewan Regina, the Latin word for queen, after her mother. (Victoria, a small trading post on Vancouver Island, had already been named.)
The royal couple arrived in San Francisco in September 1882, attracting enormous attention. Louise was not only the daughter of the Queen of England, sovereign of one-third of the world’s inhabitants, “she was also the first honest-to-God princess to ever visit California.” In December, the Lornes sailed south towards warmer climates, arriving in Santa Barbara during Christmas week, 1882. They were able to stay for several weeks because Lorne was not required to be back in Ottawa until Parliament reopened in February.
Louise was an accomplished artist, and she spent much of her time in Santa Barbara painting and sculpting. During her stay, she was accorded the signular honor of being the first woman to be allowed into the cloistered gardens at the Santa Barbara Mission. On January 15, 1883, Charles Fernald hosted a dinner for Louise and Lorne in his capacity as mayor of Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara Historical Society has carefully preserved the dining room in the Fernald Mansion much as it was when the royal couple dined there in 1883.
Although only 22 years old, Fernald is strongly built and good with a gun. Carrillo is impressed and offers him the job of sheriff. Fernald accepts, becoming the fourth sheriff of Santa Barbara County. The position is part-time and Fernald opens a law office.
Carrillo’s confidence in Fernald is well placed. Even before he is formally sworn in as sheriff on August 13, Fernald begins driving the criminal element out of Santa Barbara. The History of Santa Barbara County, written in 1890, states: “Fernald’s splendid personal courage enabled him to cope with the deperados who had no regard for life or property. His life was in constant danger in the then unsettled condition of the county and he had many stirring experiences… holding in check the many rough characters who menaced the public peace.”
Packard, Jerrold M. Victoria’s Daughters. St. Martin’s Griffin, New York (1998).
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