Chief Juan Antonio and his band of Cahuilla Indians helped white settlers in the San Bernardino area defend their property and livestock against outlaws during the 1840s and 1850s. In late 1851, Juan Antonio, his warriors and their families, settled at nearby Saahatpa. During the winter of 1862-63, a smallpox epidemic swept through Southern California killing many Native Americans, including Juan Antonio. Cahuilla tradition asserts that the U.S. Government sent Army blankets that were contaminated with smallpox. After this disaster, Saahatpa was abandoned.