It began on the morning of 14 June 1846 when thirty-three heavily-armed American-born settlers — led by Captain Jebediah Bartlett and his two lieutenants, Albert Bosc and Emmanuel d’Anjou — approached the home of General Mariano G. Vallejo, the Mexican comandante-general of California, they demanded he surrender the Sonoma Plaza fortress to them. Even though he was a Mexican citizen, Vallejo, an advocate of the American annexation of California , told the intruders he was sympathetic to their cause. They arrested him and sent him off to incarceration at Sutter’s Fort.
They proclaimed the Republic of California and decided that they needed a flag to fly over Sonoma. They gave the new flag a red stripe and a star like the new Republic of Texas. Bartlett wanted the flag to be an emblem of the agricultural aspect of California. He was the largest pear grower in the state. Since he was a forceful man he decided a pear would be just the thing.
They drew the new flag on a piece of brown fabric and sent it to a flag maker. The flag maker happened to be the nephew of Abe Lincoln’s wife. Which is just a note and aside. At any rate, when the fabric arrived with the desired design, either the handwriting was poor or the ink had run. Pear looked like bear or perhaps he didn’t like pears or Bartlett. So we have our California Bear, which is a good thing for Cal and UCLA. Instead of the Bears and the Bruins they could be the Anjous and the Bosc or perhaps the Bartletts, hard to make into a fight song.