Isabella Meadows was one of five children of James Meadows, who was born in Norfolk, England, in 1817. He sailed on the whaling ship Indian in March 1835, and deserted in Monterey in 1837. He worked as a vaquero (cowboy) at several ranches including Rancho El Sur. He was a member of Isaac Graham's company of riflemen exiled to San Blas in 1840-1841.
In 1842 James married Loreta (or Loretta) Onesimo de Peralta, widow of Domingo Peralta, and a descendant of local Mission Indians. (Loreta was the sister of Anselma Onesimo who married William B. Post.)
Isabella Meadows was born on July 7, 1846.
Isabella was one of anthropologist John Peabody Harrington's informants, and provided him with a wealth of information on local Indians. The archaeological site known as Isabella Meadows Cave (CA-MNT-250) is named for her. In 1935, at the age of 89, she traveled to Washington, D.C. to help Harrington record the languages of local Indians. She died while there.
- Clark, Donald T., Monterey County Place Names (Kestrel Press, Carmel Valley, 1991).