Joaquin Murrieta was born in the Republic of the United States of Mexico. His family, highly respectable people of Sonora, brought him up in his native town, where he received a finished education.
During his childhood he was remarkable for his sweet and gentle disposition. There was nothing in him then to indicate that daring, unconquerable spirit which made him so celebrated later. All who knew him in his youth spoke affectionately of his good, noble and generous nature. They were hardly able to believe that the terrible adventurer of California whom we are going to portray could be the same kind, pleasant Joaquin Murrieta whom they knew.
In 1845 Joaquin left his native town in Sonora to seek his fortune in the capital. He was then sixteen years old, tall, well-formed, with a countenance not only agreeable but handsome, and in addition to these physical, qualities he had a great inclination for adventure of all kinds.
When he arrived in Mexico City he went to the home of Señor Estudillo, an old friend of his father, and presented a letter of introduction, by virtue of which he was very well received by that gentleman. Very soon his protector obtained employment for him as a groom in the stables of President Lopez de Santa-Anna.
This position, relatively mediocre, he was made to understand would lead him to the most elevated governmental posts; it was one of the steps of the ladder by which some, not all, began to rise and succeed in attaining power. Santa-Anna was very fond of horsemanship. Joaquin, whose deeds had given him renown in his native country, and who would often divert himself by taming the wildest horses of Texas, saw in the passion of the ruler of Mexico a means of becoming known to him and of winning his sympathy.
Nevertheless, his ambitious hopes were not realized as he would have wished, and he even had to give up some of his claims on account of the jealous suspicions of his comrades, the groomsmen of the presidential stables.