Polonia Gutierrez, born in 1829, is
the first recorded deed holder of the Montanez Adobe on Los Rios
Street. Sometime before 1850, Polonia married a man by the name
of Montanez and shortly thereafter became a widow. She married Francisco
Canedo in 1853 and after his death in 1870; Polonia married Isadore
Simard, a doctor.
Polonia lived in the Montanez Adobe
for most of her married life and retained the deed to the land.
Polonia was one of four midwives in the village and was also in
charge of the religious education of the children when there was
no priest at the Mission. It was during a terrible drought in 1890
when she and her little group of children are reported to have brought
rain to San Juan Capistrano.
According to legend, Polonia instructed
the children that if they would make a spiritual trek and pray,
it would rain. The first day they made a trek to what is now Dana
Point, but no rain came. The next day they made a trek up Trabuco
Canyon, but still no rain came. The third day she and the children
sang and prayed while walking south to Capistrano Beach. Polonia
and the children prayed while on the beach and they saw clouds start
to form and soon it began to rain. It rained so hard that the village
sent three wagons to the beach to rescue Polonia and the children.
The drought was broken.
Polonia died in 1917 in her late 80s.
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