The History of Rana Creek Ranch

The History of Rana Creek Ranch

Photo courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

Much of what today is known as Rana Creek Ranch can be traced back to the Mexican land grants of the early 1800’s, in the years immediately preceding the United States’ acquisition of California under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The history of the Carmel Valley itself can be traced back even further to the Spanish expeditions which began what is known today as the “Mission Period” of California’s history. Although there is little information about this region recorded for the historian, a review of the written evidence and oral tradition regarding this region provides what appears to be fairly accurate picture of the colorful life of the Carmel Valley and the Rana Creek Ranch in its early years.
 

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

Rancho Los Tularcitos

Rancho Los Tularcitos

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

Rancho Los Tularcitos Six leagues in the Carmel Valley. Hoover describes the rancho, traces its history, and gives the origin of the name:
Los Tularcitos, the great triangular tract of 26,581 acres covering the Buckeye Ridge and Burnt Mountain,contains a short stretch of the upper pan of the Carmel River. As the river flows through the southwestern corner of the rancho, Los Tularcitos Creek drains into it. This rancho was granted by Governor Figueroa to Rafael Gomez in 1834. In 1852 his widow, Josefa Antonio Gomez de Waltor [ or Wolter(s)], and his children filed claim for the property and received a patent for it in 1866.
Rancho Los Tularcitos passed into the hands of Alberto Trescony, owner of the Rancho San Lucas, in the late 1800s; gradually he sold off all but 2000 acres, which remain in the family. The main portion, however, which still bears the name Rancho Tularcitos, was acquired by the Marble family in 1924. On a hill south and across the mad from the Marble residence is a fragment of an adobe, all that is left of the original ranch house of Los Tularcitos. The Marble home overlooks a seven-acre tule bordered lake, from which the ranch received its name of “the little tules.”
Gomez was a mexican lawyer, born in the State of Jalisco, who immigrated to California in 1830 or 1831. He served as a legal advisor to the government, served as regidor at Monterey in 1835, and was a member of the diputacion in 1836. On March 7, 1831, he married Joséfa Estrada, the daughter of Mariano Estrada. He was reported as being accidentally killed, 1838, at Rancho Tularcitos. The head of the Marble family was John E. Marble, a graduate of the University of Halle in Germany, who purchased the rancho in 1924, later buying the Union Land and Cattle Company, with its extensive acreage now known as the 71 Ranch, in Nevada. He was succeeded by his son, John M. Marble, born in Pasadena, May 12, 1904, graduate of Stanford University and Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, president of the Marble Mortgage Company of Los Angeles and San Francisco. John M. Marble died in June, 1983. The boundaries were described in the Monterey Sentinel, June 23,1855, as “bounded by Barranca Blanco [ White Cliff near Camp Steffani], the Laguna de los Conejos C. Rabbit Lagoon NE of Jamesburg], the Sierra de Los Tularcitos, and the mountains of Jassahaguan.” Located in T16S R2-3E & T175 R2-4E. In the text of the patent, the latter were named Sierra de Tasshhaguan. The land grant was named for los tularcitos or “little tules,” “cattails,” or “rushes”, which earlier gave their name to Tularcitos Creek (q.v). Trask named the rancho “Rancho Tularcita.”

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

A Historical Overview. The Mission Period (1769-1845)

A Historical Overview. The Mission Period (1769-1845)

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

That part of the history of Carmel Valley that can be documented began in 1769, when Captain Gaspar de Portola with his party of soldiers and southern neophyte Indians set camp at the mouth of the Carmel River. Don Gaspar de Portola had been sent by the King Charles III of Spain to relocate and assess the usability of the Port of Monterey and to document the places that presented the most desirable features for permanent settlement. The ultimate objective of this Spanish expedition was to establish secure military outposts within the context of supportive network of agricultural colonies in recognition of the fact that the Russians and the English had begun to show an interest in this unprotected Spanish domain.
Based upon detailed reports of land expeditions like Portola’s, the mission sites were selected, each with its associated gardens, corrals, grazing lands, grain fields, vineyards, chapels, and related structures. The Mission San Carlos de Borromeo ( later named “Carmel’) was rounded by Padre Junipero Serra at the mouth of the Carmel River on June 3,1770, the third of June begin the holy day of Pentecost.
For nearly a half century following the Mission’s rounding, the Carmel Valley was the source of food, building materials, and wool for the Mission as well as the town and Presidio (or garrison) of Monterey. A description of Carmel Valley first appears in a report Governor José Echeandia from two Franciscans, which reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
The Cañada of the Mission begins at the beach commonly called the Rio del Carmelo. It runs from northwest to southwest; it is more or less wide and about 21/2 leagues in length up to the so-called Corral de Padilia. On reaching said corral, it meets the river which is enclosed by two ridges of scraggy rocks. Following the Sierra on the north (because the southern ridge is inaccessible) one comes upon timbers, laurels, chupines, and tularcitos. This is true also of the hills on the other side which, from the mouth of the Carmelo, to the Canada of the Tularcitos, may measure about six leagues. It must be noted however that is this entire stretch of land, there are no more than three ridges (cerros), high mountains up to the Corral de Padilia which is in the near valley of the river, this Cerros de Los Laureles and the Cerro de Los Tularcitos. The remainder on either side is precipices crags covered with brushwood or tules. In a word, the land is useless so far as cattle are concerned. Nevertheless, the horses and mares of the National Service have grazed in years of drought in the locality of the valley christened “La Segunda” even up to the one called “Palo Escrito” which is the other pasture of horses.
January 22, 1828
FR. Vicente de Sarria
FR. Ramon Abella
Mission San Carlos de Borromeo
Note, that although the Franciscans’ description of the land appears to be fairly accurate in most respects, later uses of Los Tularcitos for grazing purposes.
The Franciscans also noted that the Rancho San Francisquito, located a few miles west of Los Tularcitos, was not a place suitable for agriculture due to the altitude and the fact that the narrow riverbeds and the weak currents made the leading of water impossible under the technology of the day. Nonetheless, it appears that the Mission at Carmel was farmed and irrigated by the mission Indians, as taught by the missionaries, through a system of ditches, evidence of which still exists today. In fact, part of the system can still be traced on the grounds of the Carmel Valley Golf and Country Club.
The cultivated Mission lands extended from the area surrounding the Mission up the valley on both sides of the river (mostly on the north side) to Robinson Canyon Road, as is indicated on the map attached hereto as Exhibit “__” It is also speculated that the Indians of the Mission cultivated a vineyard where Rana Creek meets Tularcitos Creek.

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

The Break-Up of the Mission Lands

The mission communities prospered through the early years of the nineteenth century, but the deteriorated rapidly as Spain withdrew political and practical support of the outposts to concentrate on revolutionary battles within other portions of its far-flung empire. In 1813 and 1828, the extinction of the missions was decreed by Act of the Spanish Cortez. The missions were ultimately abolished in 1845.
Neglect of the missions turned to hostility with the establishment of Mexican independence. The years between 1822 and 1833 marked a continuous effort to free California’s vast mission holdings for open colonization. Year after year and with each successive revolution in Mexico, the missions were despoiled of their property through plundering. In addition, Spain hypothecated the mission property for payment of its national debt. Finally, after the successful overthrow of Spanish control by Mexico, the Mexican congress passed a bill to secularize the missions in Upper and Lower California (August 17, 1833). This bill took control of the mission property away from the friars and placed it in the hands of administrators; it also gave civil officers predominance over the priestly class. The President of the Mexican Republic thereafter issued such instructions to Governor Jose Figueroa, of California, who, in turn, on August 9,1834, issued a decree that in August 1835, ten of the missions would be converted into pueblos or towns.

The Mexican Land Grants.


Soon after Mexico became politically independent in 1822, a series of colonization laws were passed authorizing the Governor of California to make grants of land to leaders of colonies and to private individuals. No one person was to obtain more than one square league (4,438 acres) of irrigable land, four square leagues of ordinary agricultural land, and six square leagues of grazing land. Thus, a limit of eleven square leagues was placed on the land that could be granted to any one individual. Under these provisions, most of the land area which was of any value for agricultural purposes in Monterey County was parceled out to private settlers between 1822 and 1846, mostly to retired military personnel in good standing with Church and state or to Mexican citizens, as petitioned, subject to their actual settlement and use. It is in the manner that Rafael Gomez, a Mexican lawyer and the first individual in the Rana Creek chain of title received the Rancho Los Tularcitos from Governor Figueroa on December 18, 1834. The grant of the Los Tularcitos included the vineyard of the Mission, and contained six leagues of land, which may indicate that the land was primarily useful for grazing purposes.

The Mexican Period (1822-1848)

The Mexican Period (1822-1848)

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society


In the few years following secularization, Mexican California developed into a pastoral landscape reminiscent of the 17th and 18th century great haciendas (estates) of Mexico, populated by a widespread network of nearly unanimously related families and a few naturalized foreign born. The export economy of Alta (Upper) California was based almost exclusively on the hide and tallow trade.
The ranchos, pueblos (town), and mission were linked to each other and to the seacoast landings by extensive roadways and horse trails crossing mountain paths and plain. Separated from remote governmental centers by distance and terrain, and bound from within by ubiquitous family ties, the society developed an interdependency that expressed itself to outsiders in a casual view of personal and real property ownership resulting in hazy or unconfirmed legal transactions that shocked many foreign and eastern visitors. Increasingly, tradesman, agents, and explores from the easterns United States wrote scathingly of Mexican California’s wasteful disregard of its potential land wealth, of the succession of inept governorships, and of the poorly equipped military charged with its protection and survival. This sense of anarchy prompted the American acquisition of California via the Mexican War. Moreover, the period of American occupation from 1846 to 1848 was considerably aided by complicity from individuals within the Mexican economic and political structure, who say in an American government a greater potential benefit for themselves.

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

C. The Early American Period (1848-1900)


The signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, ending the Mexican War, effected the transfer of the territory of California to the United States. Under this treaty the land grants which were valid under Mexican rule were to be recognized by the U.S Government. However, with the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill and the resulting interest in the potentially rich lands of the well-watered valleys of California, pressure was brought up on Congress to break up the ranchos of the established Californians, in much the same manner as the Californians and their immediate predecessors had pressured for the release of the mission lands barely two decades earlier.
Disregarding the terms of the 1848 treaty, the U.S Land Commission was formed under the Land Act of 1851, requiring all landowners to prove title to lands acquired prior to American rule. Due to the haphazard manners in which the land grants and records were originally made and kept, and the fact that accurate surveys and descriptions of land were infrequently made, and the consequential overlapping and duplication of many of the land grants, the sorting out of these land claims proved to be lengthy and complicated process. Further complicating the situation, were squatters who had situated themselves on the disputed property boundaries to away the outcome of the litigation. Over the next 30-year period most Californian’s titles were proven correct, however, the financial burden resulting from the litigation, along with the devastating floods in 1861 through 1862 and the ensuing droughts, virtually destroyed the cattle-based ranchos forcing most of them to be parceled out or leased to pay off their debts.

The Cattle-Ranching Era.

The Cattle-Ranching Era.

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

According to census data in 1850, the agricultural population of Monterey County consisted of 780 persons spread out over 65 land grants which covered practically all of the valley area. At this point land had little value, and ranching, which required a lot of it, was a chief enterprise.
As mentioned, the hide and tallow trade was the primary economic activity of the rancho lands during the early American period. Cattle thrived with little or no attention along the unfenced valley.
Cultivation of the soil during this period was very limited, in part, because cultivated land had to be fenced (at the farmer’s expense, not the cattlemen’s) in order to keep the cattle out, and, in part, because the technology for farming had not yet developed beyond wooden plows and hand sickles. In addition, efficient lines of transportation had not yet been established. It was not until this technology was introduced to the valley that agriculture became as profitable as cattle-ranching.
With the coming of the Gold Rush in 1848, things began to change. The large increase of nonproductive persons (e.g., miners) migrating to California caused the price of necessary items to rise dramatically in the short period of time causing the cattle industry to prosper. Before, cattle was raised primarily for hide and tallow to be sold at $2-3 per head, but with the demand for fresh beef high, the ranchers could now obtain prices of up to $35 per head. This prosperity, however, was to be short-lived.

Photo Courtesy Carmel Valley Historical Society

Mexican Land Grant: Figueroa to Gomez


On December 18, 1834, the Governor of California, José Figueroa, issued a land grant of Los Tularcitos to Rafael Gomez, a Mexican lawyer, in consideration of Gomez’s political support. Consisting of approximately six square leagues (26,581.34 acres), Los Tularcitos was the largest land grant in the Carmel Valley.
Gomez started a small head of cattle, planted some grain, and built an adobe structure (remnants of which can still be seen on the property today). However, due to his untimely death in 1838, when he became entangled in the reata of a horse he was trying to drive away from his grain, Gomez did not have time to develop the Rancho to large extent. By 1840, his widow Josefa Antonia Gomez, has abandoned the Rancho. However, Gomez’s songs apparently continued to work the property.
In 1843, Josefa Antonia GOmez remarried to a Captain Charles Wolter, a native German who was master of several ships. Thus, the Widow Gomez became Josefa Antonia Gomez de Wolter. Under her remarried name, Gomez’s widow filed a claim with the U.S Board of Land Commissioners on March 20, 1852, claiming a right to Los Tularcitos under the 1851 Land Act. Eventually, the Rancho was patented to the heirs of Gomez in 186. Charles Wolter became the administrator of the Gomez estate.
U.S.A. Patent to Heirs of Gomez
A Patent 194
A-194 PATENTS
Los Tularcitos
The United States of America to all to whom,’these presents shall come, Greeting: Whereas. It. appears from a duly authenticated transcript filed in the general land office of the United. States, that pursuant to the provisions of the Act of Congress approved the third day of March one thousand eight hundred and fifty one, entitled “ An Act to ascertain and, settle the Private Land claims in the State of California” Josefa Antonia Gomez de Wolter, widow and Felipe Gomez and the other children of Rafael Gomez, deceased, filed their petition on the 20th day of April, 1852 with the Commissioners to ascertain and settle the Private Land Claims in the State of California, sitting as a Board in the City of San Francisco, in which petition they claimed the confirmation of their title to the tract of land called “Los Tularcitos” containing six square leagues a little more or less, situated in the County of Monterey and State aforesaid, said claim being rounded on a Mexican grant. To Said Rafael’ Gomez, deceased, made on the 18th day of December 1834 by Jose Figueroa, then Governor of California, and approved by the’ Territorial Deputation 22nd day of December 1852 rendered a decree of confirmation in favor of the petitioners which decree or decision was, on appeal affirmed by the District Court of the United ‘States for the Southern District of California at a Special Term in 1855 in the case entitled “Heirs of Felipe Gomez Appellant adv. The United States Appellants, “And, Whereas, it appears from a duly certified transcript on file in the General Land Office, that the Attorney General of the United’ States having given notice that appeal to the Supreme Court at the December term 1856 “Ordered adjudged and decreed, that the order granting an appeal to the Supreme Court heretofore made in the cause, be and the same is hereby vacated and that the claimants have leave to proceed under the decree of this Court heretofore rendered. In, this. Cause, as under a final decree” And Whereas, it further appears ;from a duly certified transcript on file in the General Land Office, that is having been satisfactorily shown to the aforesaid District Court, that “a clerical error was made in entering the decree of this Court heretofore, to wit, at the special September Term A.D 1855, thereof rendered, and’ that said error consists in the insertion of the ??????

III Rana Creek Ranch’s Place in Carmel Valley’s History.


Los Tularcitos
The Breakup and Partitioning of Los Tularcitos (1834-1870)
During the pendency of the Gomez heirs’ patent claim, many property transfers took place within the grant boundaries. In Wolter’s capacity as administrator, Wolter sold the entire Los Tularcitos Rancho to John C. Adolph Steffens at public auction on January 28,1854, in order to pay debts of probate and to satisfy the claim of Gomez’s son, Felipe, to his share of the estate (B-175). Thereafter, on March 15, 1854, Steffens convoyed ¾ of the Rancho to Edward Vischer (B-180), a friend of Wolter’s who was an artist and traveling merchant. Thereafter ¼ of such land was converted to Vischer to Julius K. Rose (B-181) who, in turn, quit-claimed such interest to S.M Mezes on April 2, 1855 (B-326).
The above- described events in Monterey County and the Carmel Valley closely parallel the events occurring at the Rana Creek Ranch during the above referenced time periods.
On April 2, 1855, Mezes thereafter conveyed this ¼ interest to John W. Ackerson and S.B Gordon, ⅛ interst each, on February 4, 1859 (D-90). Although Gordon retained his ⅛ interest in the Rancho, Ackerson conveyed his interest to Charles Underwood (E-411), who thereafter transferred the land to Andrew J. Ougheltree on March 14,1870 (I-551). Ougheltree, that same day, conveyed the land from Matthew C. Ireland (I-553).
On June 8, 1854, Steffens conveyed his remaining ¼ of the Rancho to Edward Vischer (B-211).
On February 2,1856, James Bell sued Vischer and forced a public sale of the latter’s interest in ¼ of the ¾ portion of the Rancho previously converted to Vischer on February 13, 1854. Bell then transferred the property to Daniel J. Johnson on July 7,1866 (F-380), who, thereafter, sold it to A.J Ougheltree on August 18th of there same year (F-380).
On March 31, 1855, Vischer quitclaimed ¼ of this interest to Herman Mencke (B-327), who thereafter sold it to Octavius F. Cipriani (B-472), who, in turn, quitclaimed it to Charles Wolter and heirs on April 14, 1856 (B-498). CHarles Wolter then sold the property to Felipe Gomez and John E. Gomez on September 4,1856 (B-568), who quitclaimed the ¼ interest to their mother, Josefa Estrada (her maiden name) de Wolter on May 26, 1856 (D-211).
The remaining ¼ of Vischer interest in the Rancho was sold at public auction, pursuant to the Writ of Execution, to Charles Wolter on February 21, 1856, for the sum of $4,000.00 (C-29). Charles Wolter died testate on September 23rd later the same year, Josefa Antonia Estrada de Wolter, thereafter being appointed the executrix of estate (See,0-398).

2. The Declining Fortunes of the Rancheros.


The prosperous days of the rancheros were relatively short. Along with the influx of people attracted to California in search of gold, came American cattle of better quality which settles in the lands not yet stocked, which were closer to the northern markets. Thus, the new ranchers had an advantage over their Spanish competitors in quality as well as distance to market. As of 1860, it was reported that the only cattle in demand was fat, butchered cattle, as opposed to the leaner Spanish stock cattle. Thus, the stock cattle that was a large part of the southern cattlemen’s income, brought only nominal prices.
The decline in the southern rancher’s market was aggravated by the fact that, during the prosperous period of ranching, many ranchers has contracted heavy debts as startling rates of interest in order to support their standard of living, counting on a turnaround in the market that, for many, never came. Many of these debts were incurred at the gambling tables in the “A la Bola de Oro” in Monterey, a popular gambling establishment of the day.
In addition of the foregoing, the droughts of 1862-1863 and 1863-1864 combined with the overpopulation of cattle on the rangeland, helped to bring about the economic downfall of the rancheros and the breaking up of the ranchero “land monopolies.” Having already mortgaged their land in the easy-spending days of the Gold Rush, most of the Rancheros could not withstand the losses to their stock sustained during these dry years. Consequently, most of the rancheros were forced to sell or otherwise subdivide their land.

3. The Rise of Agriculture


The loss of cattle during the dry seasons from 1862-1864 is often spoken of as the cause of the shift from cattle ranching to grain-farming. However, this actually only served to precipitate a change from an agricultural use which was becoming less profitable to only which was developing possibilities of favorable returns to an increasing number of people. Thus, the change could not have been long delayed had the dry years not occurred.
While the high prices of all food proctus which prevailed during the 1850’s resulted in prospects for high returns in agriculture, mining was even more lucrative during the boom days of placer mining. However, as mining became less profitable, agricultural prospects improved by comparison. As the drought killed off the cattle industry and the ranchers couldn’t pay their debts, the ranchers parceled out or rented (typically in lots of 100 acres or more) their agricultural land which was not needed for grazing. Fences went up and vineyard were cultivated. In Los Tularcitos, coñacs and sherry were allegedly being made since 1834.
Pursuant to a District Court action to clarify the exact holdings of the above title holders in Los Tularcitos, the District Court entered its decree which ordered that, as of April, 1870, the owners of the Rancho were as follows:
Andrew J. Ougheltree- One quarter
Matthew C. Ireland- One- eighth
Josefa Estrada de Wolter, Trustee- One- quarter
(Josefa Estrada de Wolter was to retain a life estate in the property with rents and profits in Trust for Manuel Wolter, Luis Wolter, Carlotta Wolter, Jose Wolter, and Laura Wolter.)
Samuel B. Gordon- One-eighth
Josefa Estrada de Wolter - One quarter
The District Court further appointed referees to partition and allot the Rancho in an equitable manner according to the aforesaid interests, taking into account the improvements each person had placed on their respective properties (See, Volume A District Court Pg.183). Pursuant to the District Court’s Order, the referees did, in fact, partition the land giving the owners of the Rancho the following respective interests in the Rancho:
Matthew C. Ireland- 3883.68 acres
Andrew J. Ougheltree- 6012.18 acres
Josefa Estrada de Wolter- 6012.18 acres
Josefa Estrada de Wolter, Trustee- 6508.84 acres
Samuel B. Gordon- 4008.17 acres
As part of the District Court partition, the Rancho was divided into five lots, as illustrated on page __. Of these five lots, only Lot 4 and a portion of Lot 3 are currently part of Rana Creek Ranch. Note, however, that the plot map appears to show that a portion of Lot 5 may also be part of Rana Creek Ranch.
In 1873, Josefa Estrada de Wolter and Juan E. Gomez, Felipe Gomez, Rafael Gomez, Mariano G. Day and Charles Johnson conveyed their interests in the Rancho to Andrew J. Ougheltree (See 0-396, and 0-398).

2. The Ougheltree Period (1870-1880).


By the 1870’s, Andrew Jackson Ougheltree owned Lots 3, 4, and 5 of Los Tularcitos, and had established a cattle ranching operation. To assure an adequate supply of water for the needs of the land and his cattle, Ougheltree sought out to establish water rights for the Rancho. On December 19,1874, OUghletree entered into an argument with the owner of the Los Laureles Rancho, and the San Francisco investor, N.W. Spaulding and his partner E. Tripp, by which he gave Spaulding and Tripp a right-of-way over the affected portion of the Tularcitos Rancho for the construction of a ditch or flume ( the “Laureles Ditch”) to carry water from the Carmel River to the Los Laureles Rancho. In exchange, Ougheltree was granted a right-of-way to construct a “V” flume across the Laureles Ranch to carry lumber. As a condition to such agreement, Ougheltree was required to provide bridges at crossing (See, Vol. B Agreements Pg.141). Another agreement between the same parties granted similar rights-of-way but provided that the owners of the Laureles Rancho provide troughs to water Ogheltree’s stock (R-288).
On December 23,1876, Ougheltree granted an additional right-of-way to expand the existing “Laureles Ditch” and flume across his property, which was witnessed by Spaulding’s ranch manager, Kinzie Clinkingbeard.
In the U.S Agricultural Census for 1880, it is shown that OUghletree had 100 acres of improved lands (cultivated). Irrigation for Ougheltree’s crips was made possible by appropriation of water from the Carmel River and its tributaries. The Census showed Ougheltree also had leased land - this was for the diary that was located on the property known as the “Tularcitos Dairy” The Tularcitos Dairy was considered a large diary of its time which would have meant 200 cors, more or less.
In September 1882, Ougheltree filed an appropriation claim for waters of the San Clemente Creek, 2.5 miles from its mouth to serve his land. The method of such appropriation was by dam and ditches.
The Agricultural Census for 1880 further showed 100 improved acres and 185 milk cows for S.B Gordon, thus, evidencing the existence of another dairy and further cultivation.
By 1878 the possibilities for sound investment in the Monterey Peninsula had attracted the attention of history’s “Big Four,” Coils Pattern Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker. On November 4,1878 they formed the Pacific Improvement Company, a large holding company with interests throughout the western United States and Central America in real estate development, coal mining, oil fields, railroads, streetcar, and steamship transportation systems and resort properties. In1880, the Pacific Improvement Company constructed the Hotel Del Monte at Monterey, which was compared in the promotional literature of the day to the grand summer hotels of the eastern seaboard. With direct ties and predictably favorable fares on the Southern Pacific Rail Lines and passenger steamers, the Company sought to attract a worldwide clientele, promoting the winter sunshine to Easterners and Europeans while boasting of cool summers to California’s. Water for the hotel operations (east of its 89 suites featured its own bath, in addition to “modern conveniences” for the remaining 39 single rooms, plus kitchen, fire extinguishers, tropical landscaping, and fountains!), was supplied by an artesian well on the premises.
Seeking to provide a company-owned supply of meat and dairy products, in addition to expanding its resort facilities and securing valuable outlying lands, the Pacific Improvement Company purchased all of the Los Laureles Ranch on August 6, 1862, from Frederick Getchell and Frank Hinckley. The deed specifically included the 8-mile long “Laureles Ditch” from Los Tularcitos, the Carmel RIver and all water rights and right-of-way. Plans to secure a continuous water supply for the needs of the Company on the Monterey Peninsula became apparent during August and September of the same year, when Company Director Carlos P. Huntington began.
It appears that the above-mentioned rights-of-way were never reconveyed, but that they were abandoned over time as new technology developed.
Purchasing rights-of-way and water rights from a continuous line of property owners along the Carmel River, from Township 17 South Range 2 East of the public lands to the mouth of the Valley.
(See, attached plot map).
On April 7, 1883, shortly after securing a right-of-way from Rufus Smith of Rancho Los Tularcitos, who claimed the water rights recorded by Ougheltree in 1976, the Pacific Improvement Company filed a Declaration of Intent to divert and appropriate waters of the Carmel River by erection of a dam and use iron pipe 18 inches in diameter, the dam to be erected on the line dividing the northwest and southwest quarters of Section 24, Township 17 South, Range 2 East. Construction of the dam and associated work was carried out in 1883 and 1884 and became known as the San Clemente Dam.
The Company continues to buy up the land surrounding the San Clemente Dam in the early part of the 1900’s, and ultimately become the Monterey County Water Works which was purchased in 1935 by the California Water and Telephone Company, the predecessor to Cal-Am.
It appears that the above mentioned rights-of-way were never reconveyed, but that they were abandoned over time as new technology developed.
Cultivation of the soil seemed to be the only answer to droughts like the one in 1862-1875, the results of cultivation by gang plow, invented the U.S. in 1837 by John Deere, were dearly to be seen. Indeed, Cyrus MacCormack’s reaper meant that a man could produce seven times as much hay as his father, and seventeen times as much wheat! In 1865, barley, and later wheat production, reached considerable importance.
Undoubtedly, the inventions of the 1840;s in the American East contributed immeasurably to the rise of agriculture in the West. Because local agricultural consumption was small, however, it was not until transportation and distribution facilities were developed that agriculture became truly profitable. In 1866, Captain Moss built the landing which now bears his name, from which the Pacific Coast Steamship Company provided service between Monterey and San Francisco. In addition, the extension of the Southern Pacific Railroad southward from San Francisco was an important influence on the development of the country through which it passed. As transportation developed, the ability to export grain and agricultural products grew, and eventually wheat and crops were planted where the flocks and cattle had grazed. By 1881, ranching in Monterey County and the Carmel Valley had been reduced considerably.

4. The Introduction of Dairies.


In addition to the rise in grain and agricultural production, the introduction of dairy cows into Monterey County by the Canadian Carlisle Abbott in 1865 started the butter and dairy product industry in MOnterey County. Although Abbott was later made bankrupt by his financing of the railroad, the dairies continues, in part due to the influence of newly arrived Portuguese, Danish, and Swiss immigrants. In fact, the popular cheese known as “Monterey Jack” originated in the Carmel Valley (the term “Jack” refers to the press in which the cheese is formed, not a person’s name).
Water Usage
Before the construction of the San Clemente Dam (1914), when Monterey County Water Works Co. built the road over Abbott’s Bluff (now Carmel Valley Rd.), the road (wagon rd.) to upper Carmel Valley and Tassajara Hot Springs was via Chupinas Canyon, called Chupinas-Hughs rd., to Corral De Tierra to Salinas-Monterey County Road. Upper Carmel Valley was more connected to Salinas than the lower valley and Monterey Peninsula, thus the reason for Swiss Italian names (landowners) in the region, Francioni, Piazzoni, Berta, and other prominent Salinas businessmen. The Chupinas Rd. was traveled by stage and wagons bringing mail and vacationers to the famous spas and hot springs of the Tassajara Resort. This continued until the period shortly after the completion of the Dam, when the improved Carmel Valley Rd. went all the way to the Tassajara Rd.
The early settlers of the region were rugged, honorable, hard working people; resourceful. They were rather isolated, completely self reliant. They produced their own food, built their own shelter. The only time they went to town was for business or to buy cloth for making clothes or tools they couldn’t make themselves. They proudly maintained their honesty and morals. Old timers recall the time a drifter violated a local girl. He was run down and hanged on top of the mountain alongside the Chupinas Rd. for all travelers to see and as a warning that none of the stuff is tolerated around there.
The Dairymen’s job was a 20 hr. day job. Their day started before dawn chasing down the cows and ended with putting the fresh milk in quart containers and delivering it to the shelf (later ice-box) in the kitchen of the neighbors. Most of the milk went for cheese and the Condensers in Salinas. The early dawn took on a bit comedy appearance as with the first spark of light, you would see funny looking black silhouettes of men, that is, men with stools strapped to the seat of their pants, running around to capture the cows, bucket in one hand and the other free to grab the halter. They had to capture the cows and in one swooping motion hold it as they swung the bucket underneath, squat down on their attached stool, grab a tit and the rest was automatic motion.
Dairies required large volumes of water daily. After the milking, the cows required washing, using 60 gals. per cow; each cow drank 16 to 18 gallons per day depending on the amount of milk they gave. If a cow gave 10 gallons, she had to drink 20 gallons a day. The equipment and working areas were thoroughly washed at the end of each day. Ranchos Los Tularcitos was a good provider of water with the all year running Tularcitos Creek, ample distribution with ample distribution of mountain springs and several creeks located throughout the Rancho.

The Trescony Period (1880-1892)


On June 7, 1880, Ougheltree lost his portion of the original Los ‘Tularcitos to Alberto Trescony, the Italian tinsmith turned businessman/rancher, in a foreclosure sale (1-432). As mentioned previously, many of the ranchero owners were forced to borrow against their property in order to maintain their lavish styles of living during the dry years in the Carmel Valley. The sheriff’s deed conveying the land to Trescony indicated that Trescony purchased Lots 1-4 of the Rancho Los Tularcitos, consisting of 22,570 acres.
Of all the land acquisitions made by Trescony, the Tularcitos grant was the most troublesome in the courts. Pervious to formally acquiring it by foreclosure in June of 1880, Trescony has lent considerable sums of money to the owner, A.J Ougheltree. Part of the sums were used to pay property taxes. In spite of his attempts to discharge his debts through giving Trescony his cattle, Ougheltree and his partner, Matthew C. Ireland, owed Trescony some $37,309.00 by 1880. Trescony foreclosed, gaining title to about 10,000 acres of the Tularcitos. Later, the remaining portions were bought by Trescony, making his total holding over 22,000 acres. However, Oughltree had encumbered Los Tularcitos with easements and had failed to satisfy the heirs of the previous owner, so that Trescony was involved in considerable litigaton lasting until 1888 before the title was ultimately cleared. In addition, in 18883, Trescony had to pay $7,000.00 to Ougheltree to secure a release of all the latter’s claims to the property.
Trescony rented much of Los Tularcitos to ranchers who paid yearly rentals of $.25 to $.50 per acre. Some of the leaseholds were quite large (3,000 to 11,600 acres) while others were only around 700 to 800 acres. Trescony eventually sold off about ½ of the Rancho by 1888. These sales were parcels from 322 to 14,175 acres and were made with nominal down payments with notes or mortgages at 8%-10% interest on the balances. Some of these sales were made subject to Trescony acquiring a clear title in the courts and thus prevented him from liquidating his holdings completely for some time. In some instances, these parcels were sold to previous lessees, which was the case with respect to Felipe Piazzoi and Joseph Steffani. The land not sold or leased (most of the present Rana Creek Ranch holding among them) was used by Trescony for grazing and dairy purposes.
In addition, Ougheltree had established a dairy employing some 30 Chinese as cow herders, milkers, and dairymen; the principal product of which was butter which was packed in firkins and shipped to San Francisco. Trescony had retained the dairy operations after securing Los Tularcitos as condition in the deed from Ougheltree. However, he was not able to continue his dairying after 1879, since his neighbors protested his use of Chinese labor during the Kearney-inspired anti-Chinese excitement and threatened to burn down the ranch buildings if he did not fire the Chinese. It is interesting to note that this threat may have been carried out, as the second story floor beams which still remain on the adobe are heavily charred on the interior side.
In 1885, on neighboring properties, Andrew Blomquist acquired Lot 5 of Los Tularcitos, along with adjoining lands, totaling over 7,000. Blomquist operated a large cattle ranch through which the Tularcitos Creek runs all year due to a large spring at its head. Apparently there was plenty of water for Blomquist’s cattle troughs as well as for domestic purposes, according to Sam Jury, the ranch manager for the Carmel Rancho for forty years. Blomquist’s ranch was taken over by his son, Andrew Jr., and then passed on to Andrew Jr.’s song, Ben.
Ben Blonquist and his two sisters ran it for most of the first half of the 1900’s.
Joseph Steffani purchased 2,062.93 acres and right-of-way from Trescony on December 8,1880. Steffani started up a dairy and operated it, and then later sold the land to Leo Berta along with the dairy. In January 1891, Steffani filed two appropriation claims, one for the waters of Routon Canyon, about 35 feet from where the flume crosses the Spaulding ditch, and the other, for the waters of Canyon Creek to take waters, by damming, of Tularcitos House.
Most of Steffani Ranch was purchased by Berta to establish Berta’s new dairy and cattle ranch. The amount of water required for dairying use is significant, according to Leo Berta, in that dairy cows drink from 12-15 gallons each, per day. Berta had about 180 head average each year during his ownership of the diary. In addition, all the dairy equipment had to be washed and cleaned out at each day’s end.
Berta’s water originally came from a dammed creek that runs along the boundary between Los Laureles and Los Tularcitos, remains of the which can still be found. In addition, Berta apparently piped water from two springs higher up. Sometimes the amount of water used for the day dried out the redwood holding hand, set in the ground, Leo recalled.
In 1889, Alberto Trescony leased 13,000 acres to Carlisle Abbott, the Salinas Valley dairy farmer. It is not clear from the records whether this was the Tularcitos Diary or not. Alberto Trescony died suddenly on October 6, 1892, ironically, in the Abbott House in Salinas. Upon his death, the property, then 14,500 acres, was divided among his heirs. The chain of title showing the conveyance of those portions of Los Tularcitos which are currently part of Rana Creek Ranch is shown at page _.