Rancho San Simeon

In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain and, in 1834, Mexico’s Secularization Laws were ratified under the governorship of Jose Figueroa. The Mexican government then began transferring the mission lands to private individuals through the Mexican Land Grant system. Jose Ramon Estrada applied to governor Juan Alvarado for a grant of the Rancho San Simeon and his application was approved on December 1, 1842.

According to the original grant, the rancho was bounded on the west by the ocean, on the east by the mountains on the south by San Simeon Creek and on the north by the Rancho Piedra Blanca making the border between the two ranchos the Arroyo Padre Juan also known as the Arroyo del Pinal about a mile south of the south fork of Pico Creek. The rancho was claimed to be one league or about 4430 acres.

In 1845, Estrada sold Rancho San Simeon to Jose Miguel Gomez. Eleven years later, in 1856, Gomez sold the Rancho to Jerome Limass who sold it to Domingo Pujol one year later. On April 3, 1867, Pujol sold the Rancho San Simeon to Ira Van Gorden (often spelled Van Gordon) for $10,000. Although Van Gorden and his family lived on the Rancho he was the one who subdivided it and sold off portions so that the rancho ceased to exist.

In 1858 the rancho was surveyed by Brice M. Henry, Deputy Surveyor for the U. S. Government and the grant was patented to Gomez on April 7, 1865 even though he no longer owned it. According to the official government survey, the Ranco San Simeon contained 4468.81 acres.

1858 U. S. Government survey of Rancho San Simeon

José Ramón Estrada was born in Monterey in 1811. The wealthy and powerful Estrada family, owned 19 ranchos with a combined area of about 350,000 acres, His ancestors married into such prominent families as Carrillo, Lugo, Vallejo and Arguello. His father, Jose Mariano Estrada, had been granted the Rancho Buena Vista in Monterey County and was married to Ysabel Marcela Arguello. Between Don Jose, his brothers and brothers-in-law alone, the family controlled eight ranchos amounting to more than 90,000 acres. Don Jose had been previously granted the 1.5 league Rancho El Toro in Monterey County in 1835. One of his brothers, Don Julian Estrada, owned the Rancho Santa Rosa and his first cousin, Jose Joaquin Tomas Estrada, owned the Rancho Santa Margarita.

In 1835, Jose Ramon Estrada was appointed administrator of Mission Santa Clara and the following year he became alcalde of Monterey. He was married to Maria Gregoria Castro and he died in 1845.

3 Responses to “Rancho San Simeon”

  1. B&J says:


    Since Mexican Land Grants were given to Mexican citizens (and Spanish Land Grants were given to Spanish citizens), Jose is one of the most common first names of grant recipients.

    You can find out which land grant your great aunt’s property belonged to if you can find the last name of the original grantee. Another way is to locate the property and refer to a map of land grants. You can find out more about land grants in Los Angeles County by Googling “Mexican Land grants Los Angeles County”.


  2. Audrey Thomas says:

    Please send your reply to my email or tell me how I can contact one of your researchers. Thank you.

  3. Audrey Thomas says:

    I am seeking information on my family history. My Great Aunt Josephine Faulk purchased a hill/city block in down town LA in the 1800 – 1900’s which was reportedly once a Spanish land grant owned by a “Don Jose……”. Could any of the Don Jose’s who owned property in the Cambria area have owned land grants in down town LA? Thank you.

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