ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Flores-Daniel Outlaw Gang

Updated on July 15, 2011

Outlaw gangs are as old as the history of man. In fact the word "thug" (Thugz) can be traced back to around 1200 A.D. to gangs in India. But during the 1800's, Americans became fascinated by outlaw gangs such as the James Gang, Doolin-Dalton Gang, Billy the Kid’s Gang and many others. And throughout history, these gangs have often been glamorized. However, it should not be forgotten they were merely common thugs.

Such was the "Las Manillas" (the Handcuffs) later to become known as the Flores-Daniel Gang (1856-1857.) Led by Juan Flores and Pancho Daniel. This widely feared gang terrorized southern California stealing horses, cattle, and robbing travelers, sometimes killing their victims. Though regarded by white settlers as marauding outlaws, Mexican-Americans hailed them as folk heroes defending their rights and fighting American oppression.

According to Horace Bell, noted Los Angeles Ranger, soldier, lawyer and journalist, Juan Flores was born to a prominent family. He was a dark complexioned fellow of medium height, slim, graceful and about twenty-two years old. Bell described him as having a “…tiger-like walk, always seeming to be in the very act of springing upon his prey. His eyes neither black, grey nor blue, greatly resembling those of the owl—always moving, watchful and wary, and the most cruel and vindictive-looking eyes that were ever set in human head.”

Flores was first arrested in 1855 for horse stealing and imprisoned in San Quentin. However, he escaped in October, 1856 and soon joined up with another outlaw, Pancho Daniel. These two desperados recruited a number of other area Hispanics, including: Anastasio García, Espinoza, Andrés Fontes, Chino Varelas, Faustino García, Juan Cartabo and "One-eyed" Piguinino.

They became a formidable and notorious gang raiding areas of San Luis Obispo and San Juan Capistrano. One of the largest gangs in the state, "los Manilas" terrorized the area for the next two years stealing horses and cattle but also, committed armed robbery and murder.

Somewhere around early January 1857, Flores made plans to rob a wagon traveling from Los Angeles to San Juan Capistrano. For some reason they missed the wagon somewhere along the road. So, instead the gang ended up instead in San Juan Capistrano where they proceeded to ransack the store of local Russian-Polish merchant Michael Krazewski. Wounding his store assistant and making off with everything they could carry on their two horses, they promised to return the next day.

True to his word, they did return and this time murdered German shopkeeper George Pflugardt and pilfered other stores as well. Los Angeles County Sheriff, James R. Barton, quickly formed a posse to capture the outlaws. And on January 22, 1857, Sheriff Barton and Deputies William H. Little, Charles K. Baker, Charles T. Daly and three others, all armed to the teeth, set out after the Flores-Daniel Gang. The posse headed south.

The following morning the posse stopped for breakfast at Rancho San Joaquin, southwest of present-day Santa Ana. The owner, Don Jose Sepulveda, warned the men they were extremely outnumbered and should get reinforcements before facing their quarry. Unfortunately, they ignored the warning.

After tracking the gang about 12 miles south, they were ambushed in a canyon. They tried to return fire. However, someone at the ranch had removed the ammunition from their weapons. Without firearms, the lawmen scrambled for cover, but Sheriff Barton, Constable Charles Baker, Deputy Charles Daly, and Constable William Little were shot and killed. They became the first lawmen in Los Angeles County to lose their lives in the line of duty. The remaining three managed to escape and report what had happened.

Within two hours, another posse of about 60 men went out after the outlaws. James Thompson, who would later become Los Angeles County's new sheriff, led the posse. They soon found the mutilated bodies of the four officers. With righteous indignation, the posse continued on and managed to arrest 52 of them. In yet another posse, led by General Andres Pico, two of the most notorious gang members were lynched.

Anywhere from fifty to seventy Mexican-Americans were arrested on having affiliations with the Flores-Daniel gang. According to a reputable historian of the time, John Boessenecker, only four were confirmed as actual members of the gang. And between February 1857 and November 1858, eleven other suspected members of the Flores gang were lynched.

After eleven days on the run, Flores was brought in by a 120-man posse with "practically every man, woman and child present in the pueblo" which was estimated to be about 3,000 people. Flores was tried and hanged near the top of Fort Hill, later to be known as present-day downtown Los Angeles, February 14, 1857. Immediately prior to his execution, Flores addressed the crowd from the scaffold, stating "he bore no malice, was dying justly, and that he hoped that those he had wronged would forgive him.”

The trap door was sprung however, the noose was too short. Flores instead died from suffocation instead of a broken neck.

Pancho Daniel, eluded arrest for about a year before being captured. He was hanged on November 30, 1858. In all more than 100 gang members were either captured or killed.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Ted, check some of my other stuff, I've written quite a few old west stories over the last several weeks

    • profile image

      Ted Jay Cook 

      7 years ago

      I'm an old west fan. Thanks! I hadn't read the story of these outlaws before.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)