María Soledad Ortega de Argüello
María Soledad Ortega de Argüello (1797–1874) was the heir to Rancho de las Pulgas. The Rancho was granted, re-granted twice, and finally patented by the United States Supreme Court. The land she inherited would eventually become 5 cities on the San Francisco Peninsula. In addition because of the times she was uneducated, so this land would be her only claim to fame.
Granddaughter of Sergeant Ortega of the Portola expedition - reportedly the first European to see the San Francisco Bay, she was one of 13 children. At the age of 25, she married Luis Antonio Argüello, son of José Darío Argüello, in 1822 and moved to the San Francisco Presidio soon thereafter. In November of the same year they move to Monterey, while he was governor, then back to the Presidio until Luis' death in 1830. From then on she ran and took charge of Rancho de las Pulgas.
In 1852, she filed a claim for the land following the rules as set by the United States administration to meet the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Her claim prevailed and was patented by the United States Supreme Court. Instead of the 4 square leagues, as originally granted and court decision, she received 8 (eight) square leagues(35,240 acres (142.61 km2)) by the official survey. She eventually sold any remaining unsold land to the County of San Mateo. In 1859, she moved to Santa Clara County to live with her son where he had purchased a part of Rancho Quito. She remained there until her death.
In 1976, the City of Redwood City renamed a downtown plaza at the intersection of Broadway and Arguello Street as Arguello Plaza. A bust of her was erect in September of the same year in that plaza. The bust is on the edge of the train and bus depot, next to the Broadway train crossing.
- The Arguello Family in California: Part 4, Maria Soledad Ortega De Arguello by Annette O'Connell, Archive News (A newsletter for the Redwood City Archive Association), Volume XXI Number 2, July-August-September 2000.
- DE ARGUELLO v. U S, 59 U.S. 539 (1855) Opinion and ruling of the United States Supreme Court in 1855
- Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886