Cadet Ignacio Martinez, native of Mexico
City, was sent to California with other cadets to "save
the presidio accounts". He began his service at the Presidio
of Santa Barbara in 1799. He arrived on the packet boat Princessa
from San Blas after two weeks at sea. His commanding officer
at the time was Felipe de Goycoechea,
who had been at the presidio for 15 years. Don Ignacio had his
own house and while he did his duty in the ranks with the soldiers,
by custom he lived and fraternized with the officers.
Don Ignacio worked alongside the soldiers, trained in the use
of the musket, pistols, broadsword and lance, the saddling and
care of his cavalry horse and use of heavy leather equipment
for the protection of himself and horse against brush and arrows.
Don Ignacio's other duties were to act as clerk and get to know
the regulations and military law that he would be required to
In 1802 Ignacio Martinez de la Vega married María Martina
de Arellano from the Pueblo of Los Angeles in the chapel of the
Presidio of Santa Barbara.
Governor Arrillaga promoted Don Igancio to Alférez in
1805, and in 1806 the viceroy confirmed his promotion. Alférez
Martinez was reassigned to the Presidio of San Diego to take
over the habilitación (office of paymaster).
As habilitado, Don Ignacio ordered and dispensed supplies,
handled complaints, and kept the company accounts for each officer
and soldier. Martinez administered pension funds and was the
postmaster. He managed money collected from tobacco sales, which
were considerable. The largest revenue at the presidios came
from the sale of tobacco. In one year at Santa Barbara alone
tobacco sales netted 2000 pesos from the sale of 5,345 paper
cigars and 25,331 cigarettes.