Truly a representation of everything California, Leese-Fitch was born in the town of Sonoma. The state of California was also born in this now quiet, rural town. Before the glitz of Hollywood, prior to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the innovation of Silicon Valley – in California there was the town of Sonoma. Early one Sunday morning, General Vallejo, who possessed the land grant that included the town, heard a knock at his door. A small, yet heavily-armed group of Americans requested that he surrender Sonoma. The General, who later went on to serve in the California State Senate, peacefully acquiesced. To legitimize their conquest, the Americans drew a crude rendition of a grizzly bear on canvas along with the words “California Republic.” In the center of the Sonoma Plaza a new flag was raised. The Republic of California was born.