Los Angeles Common Council

Last updated
Los Angeles Common Council
Founded1850 (1850)
Disbanded1889 (1889)
Succeeded by Los Angeles City Council, 1889–1909
First president
Last president
Seats7 seats (until 1867)
10 seats (until 1870)
3 wards (until 1877)
5 wards (1878 onwards)
Length of term
About 1 year
First-past-the-post voting

The Los Angeles Common Council was the predecessor of the Los Angeles, California, City Council. It was formed in 1850 under state law, when the city had only 1,610 residents, and it existed until 1889, when the city had about 50,400 residents and a city charter was put into effect.


From 1850 through 1869, council members were elected at large under a first-past-the-post voting system, in which the top vote-getters were seated. From 1870 they were elected by electoral districts called wards.


Actors recreating the first meeting of the Los Angeles Common Council in 1948. Actors recreating first meeting of Los Angeles City Council for centennial celebration, 1948.jpg
Actors recreating the first meeting of the Los Angeles Common Council in 1948.

The Los Angeles Common Council was created in 1850 as the city of Los Angeles grew from a remote town of 5,000 residents to a city of 15,000 residents. [1] Between its creation in 1850 to 1858, the council had 7 seats and for two years after had 10 seats drawn by lots. [2] From 1870 to 1889, the council had a ward system with three (until 1877) and five (1877 onwards) seats. [3]

The Council had various responsibilities for governing the city, including the responsibility of governing the school system as several members were appointed to serve on a committee for the governance of schools. [4]

In 1857, the officials that were elected on May 6 were deposed and the officials from the previous year were reinstated, though they never took office. [5]


At-large (1850–1870)

Year President
1850 David W. Alexander David W. Alexander Cristobal Aguilar Alexander Bell Julian Chavez Morris L. Goodman Manuel Requena Juan Temple Vacant
Wilson W. Jones Alexander W. Hope Benjamin Davis Wilson Jose Vicente Guerrero Stephen Clark Foster
1851 Ygnacio Coronel Agustin Olvera Tomas Avila Sanchez
Joseph Lancaster GrantJoseph Lancaster Grant John Ozias Wheeler
1852 Manuel Requena John G. Downey Myron Norton Mathew Keller Ygnacio del Valle Narciso Botello
1853John F. Jones William Taylor Barnes Sanford Arnold Jacobi Pio Pico*William R. RandJose Maria Doporto
Henry R. Myles Ezra Drown Juan Maria Sepulveda Collins Wadhams
1854 Francis Mellus Francis Mellus Lewis Granger Solomon Lazard Collins Wadhams Antonio F. Coronel Vacant
Manuel Requena Obed Macy Alexander W. Hope Ezra Drown Vacant
1855 John G. Nichols John G. Nichols Ira H. StuartHorace Z. WheelerJ. W. RossWill Lloyd
Ezra Drown Henry Uhrbrook Cristobal Aguilar Robert GlassPaul R. HuntTimothy Foster
John Schumacher
1856 Manuel Requena Ygnacio del Valle John Gately Downey Nehemiah A. Potter August Ulyard Manuel Requena Ira Gilchrist
Myron Norton George Henry Carson
1857 Antonio F. Coronel Antonio F. Coronel Joseph Mullaly John Frohling Hiram McLaughlinJohn Barre
George N. Whitman
1858 John Strother Griffin John Goller Cristobal Aguilar Phineas Banning David M. Porter Stephen Clark Foster
1859 Nehemiah A. Potter Nehemiah A. Potter Ezra Drown James Baldwin Geronimo Ybarra Arthur McKenzie Dodson Wallace Woodworth
Vincent A. Hoover
1860 Abel Stearns Abel Stearns Damien Marchesseault T.B. Collins Elijah Moulton James Edwards Peter Baltz
James Edwards William Moore Joseph Huber Sr. William H. PetersonDavid Anderson
Wallace Woodworth Wallace Woodworth
1861 Nehemiah A. Potter Nehemiah A. Potter Solomon Lazard Antonio F. Coronel Cristobal Aguilar Ezra Drown Arthur McKenzie Dodson James Brown Winston
1862Augustine PoulainJohn TurnerJacob Weizel Philip Sichel Joseph Huber Sr.
1863 Joseph Huber Sr. James Brown Winston Eli Taylor Felix Signoret
1864 Manuel Requena Jose Mascarel Wallace Woodworth Vincent A. Hoover
1865 William H. Perry William H. Perry Julian A. Chavez John Goller Harley Taft John Jones Juan C. VejarW. S. Van Dusen
1866 Murray Morrison Murray Morrison Elijah H. Workman Louis Roeder John Schumacher Moritz Morris John King Vacant
Jose Mascarel
1867 Antonio F. Coronel
John King Dionisio Botiller Andrew A. Boyle George Dalton
1868Caro W. Childs Henry Wartenberg Mathew Keller Moritz Morris William H. Perry Jacob Metzger
1869 Ozro W. Childs Samuel Bradford Caswell Elijah H. Workman Vacant
Andrew A. Boyle James R. Toberman VacantLuis B. MartinezJuan C. Vejar

Wards (1870–1889)

1870 John Jones Julian A. Chavez Bernard Dubourdin John Jones Vacant William Ferguson George Fall Matthew Teed Vacant Heinrich Dockweiler William S. Hammel Sr.John OsbornVacantVacantVacant
Frank Sabichi
1871 H.K.S. O'Melveny Thornton P. Campbell Oscar Macy Julian Valdes Prudent Beaudry H.K.S. O'Melveny William H. Dennison Elijah H. Workman
1872 Frank Sabichi Joseph Mullaly George R. Long William H. Workman Eulogio F. de Celis William Osborn Heinrich Dockweiler
1873 Julian A. Chavez Jacob F. Gherkins Jose Mascarel Charles E. Huber
1874 Prudent Beaudry Joseph Mullaly Thornton P. CampbellRamon R. SoteloJoseph G. Carmona William Whipple Robinson Matthew Teed Louis Lichtenberger Louis WolfskillThomas Leahy Elijah H. Workman
Thornton P. Campbell
1875Jacob F. Gherkins Jacob Kuhrts William H. Workman D.V. Waldron
1876 Frederick A. MacDougall F. TamietB. ValleJohn S. Thompson Bernard Cohn Elisha K. Green John B. Thompson
1877 Bernard Cohn Joseph Mullaly Cayetano Apalblasa John Edward Hollenbeck C. C. Lips James W. Potts John S. Thompson John H. Jones Albert Fenner Kercheval Elisha K. Green
1878 Samuel J. Beck Ezra Hamilton Louis MeinzerJohn SchaefferVacant Richard Molony Jesse Houston ButlerJohn BobenreithVacant Charles Brode Simon A. FrancisS.H. BuchananVacant Samuel J. Beck Samuel Marshall Perry William H. Workman Nathan Russell Vail William B. Lawlor James Greer McDonald
1879 William B. Lawlor R.L. Beauchet William Norton Monroe Jacob Kuhrts H. SchumacherRichard Molony Edward Falles Spence Elisha K. Green S.H. BuchananO.H. Bliss John P. Moran
1880 Edward Falles Spence J.G. Bower Matthew Teed Jose Mascarel George GephardVacant Bernard Cohn Burdette Chandler Walter Scott Moore
1881 John P. Moran Joseph Mullaly Clinton S. ScheiffelinAndrew S. Ryan Robert Steere J.B. O'NeilGeorge Kerckhoff Otto G. Weyse
1882Charles W. Schroeder Pascal Ballade Henry HammelCharles GassenAlfred Louis BushJoseph W. Wolfskill
1883 Walter Scott Moore Ezra Hamilton William Thomas Lambie Frank R. DayCharles H. JohnsonLoring A. FrenchD.E. Miles Frank Sabichi Daniel Michael McGarryJohn B. Niles
1884D.E. Miles James Velsir John Frederick Holbrook Martin V. Biscailuz Albert Brown Milton Santee James D. Bullis Hiram Sinsabaugh
1885 Hiram Sinsabaugh Thomas GossGeorge L. Stearns Jacob Kuhrts Levi Newton Breed Edward Wadsworth Jones Samuel Marshall Perry Cyrus Willard Jacob Frankenfield
1886 Levi Newton Breed William Thomas Lambie Michael Thomas Collins Matthew Teed Charles R. Johnson Edward Wadsworth Jones John Lovell Joseph HyansHorace Hiller
Edward A. Gibbs
1887John F. Humphreys James Hanley Newell Mathews Thomas J. Cuddy Edward C. Bosbyshell John F. Humphreys Bernard Cohn Burdette Chandler Hiram Sinsabaugh A.W. Barrett
John MoriartyJ.H. Book
1888 Jacob Kuhrts George O. FordC.N. Earl Jacob Kuhrts H.T.D. Wilson John Henry Bryant Anthony McNallyEdward R. Threlkeld Austin Conrad Shafer

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  1. Spitzzeri, Paul R. Judge Lynch in Session: Popular Justice in Los Angeles, 1850-1875. Vol. 87. University of California Press. p. 83-122.
  2. Chronological Record of Los Angeles City Officials,1850-1938, 1868-1869 section, page 11
  3. "Gerrymandering by Number: The Los Angeles City Council". Atlas After Dark.
  4. Splitter, Henry Winfred. Education in Los Angeles: 1850-1900. Vol. 33. University of California Press. p. 101-118.
  5. Chronological Record of Los Angeles City Officials,1850-1938, 1867-1868 section, page 1, second iteration