Rancheros Sought Safety On The Coastside (1840s) Part I

rancho1.jpgrancho2.jpg Photo: Rancho Corral de Tierra, courtesy San Mateo County

The Coastside rancheros found San Francisco a dangerous place to live in the 1840s.

Political turmoil permeated the air–the United States was preparing for war with Mexico–and California was the ultimate prize. As part of the Mexican regime, the rancheros–Francisco Guerrero, Candelario Miramontes Tiburcio Vasquez–were vulnerble and feared for their lives. So they sought haven on the Coastside where enemies would be unable to find them. The Coastside was so remote tht only the mountain lions could track them.

California had already weathered a change of rule as the baton of power was passed from Spain to Mexico. Now, as Americans moved in, a more significant cultural and political change was on the way. This was the setting on the eve of the Gold Rush that brought hoards of Americans to the Golden State.

Guerrero, Miramontes and Vasquez knew one another–they had been stationed in San Francisco under Mexican rule. But most likely it was Vasquez who knew the secret route into isolated Half Moon Bay. He had been the supervisor of Mission Dolores’ livestock and ws familiar with the Corral de Tierra, a 7, 766-acre piece of breathtaking grazing land stretching from Montara to Half Moon Bay.

The Corral de Tierra was so named because the terrain formed a natural enclosure.

Guerrero, Miramontes and Vasquez shared much in common. They had witnessed the dismantling of the harsh
Spanish mission system under which so many Indians had perished. They benefited from the demise of this system as loyal military officers and other deserving individuals were rewarded with tracts of land known as ranchos.

Vasquez applied for and received the southern portion of the Corral de Tierra. Francisco Guerrero, who had held various political positions in San Francisco, also applied for and received the northern section of the Corral de Tierra.

….To Be Continued…