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).