1829 – 1917

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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