Rancho Cañada de los Osos y Pecho y Islay

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The Pacific Ocean coastline from Valencia Peak, in present-day Montaña de Oro State Park. All of the land in this photo was part of the old Rancho.

Rancho Cañada de los Osos y Pecho y Islay was a 32,431-acre (131.24 km2) Mexican land grant in Los Osos Valley and the southern Estero Bay headlands, in present day San Luis Obispo County, California.

The grant consists of Rancho Canada de Los Osos (Valley of the Bears) granted in 1842 by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to Victor Linares, and Rancho Pecho y Islay granted in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Francisco Badillo. The grants were consolidated in 1845 by Governor Pío Pico, to James Scott and John Wilson.[1]

The grant extended from the Pacific Coast, along Los Osos Creek and the Los Osos Valley to almost present day San Luis Obispo, and southward encompassed Montaña de Oro State Park and Los Osos.[2][3]


Rancho Cañada de Los Osos (northern portion) was granted in 1842 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Victor Linares; and Rancho Pecho y Islay (southern portion) which was granted in 1843 by Governor Micheltorena to Francisco Badillo. In 1844 John (Juan) D. Wilson and James (Diego) G. Scott bought Rancho Canada de Los Osos from Linares. In 1845 this rancho was combined with Rancho Pecho y Islay to the south, thus forming Rancho Cañada de Los Osos y Pecho y Islay.[4]

Captain John Wilson (1797–1861), a Scottish-born sea captain and trader, came to California in 1837.[5] In 1837 Wilson married María Ramona Carrillo de Pacheco (1812–1888),[6] widow of José Antonio Romualdo Pacheco, who was killed at the Battle of Cahuenga Pass in 1831. Carrillo, was a daughter of Maria Ygnacia Lopez de Carrillo, the grantee of Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa, and María's sister married General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.[7] María Ramona Carrillo de Pacheco was also the grantee of Rancho Suey. Wilson and his business partner, James Scott (-1851), owned Rancho Los Guilicos in Sonoma County and Rancho El Chorro and Rancho Cañada de los Osos & Pacheco y Islay. Wilson also bought Rancho San Luisito and Rancho Huerta de Romualdo. In 1845, Wilson moved his family from San Luis Obispo to Rancho Cañada de los Osos & Pacheco y Islay, built an adobe home and lived there until his death in 1860. Scott also a native of Scotland, came to California with his business partner Captain Wilson.

With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that the land grants would be honored. As required by the Land Act of 1851, a claim for Rancho Cañada de los Osos y Pecho y Islay was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[8] and the grant was patented to John Wilson in 1869.[9]

The rancho was inherited by Wilson's wife, Ramona Carrillo Wilson and their daughter, Ramona Hilliard (1839-1912), who married Frederick Hillard (1822-1890) in 1862. Ramona Carrillo Wilson died in 1888. In 1891, Ramona Hilliard sold the southern portion of ranch to Luigi Marre (1841-1902), and continued to operate the northern portion as leased land. Alden Spooner Jr. first leased in 1892. In 1901 Henry Cowell of San Francisco acquired a note of indebtedness on the Hilliard property and took control of the ranch. In 1902, Alden Spooner Jr. bought it from Cowell's widow.

Historic sites of the Rancho[edit]

  • Wilson adobe. Built by Captain John Wilson in 1845.
  • Spooner's Ranch House.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  2. ^ Diseño del Rancho Cañada de los Osos y Pecho y Islay
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho Cañada de los Osos y Pecho y Islay
  4. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Rensch, Hero; Rensch, Ethel; Abeloe, William N. (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9. 
  5. ^ Martha Voght ,Scots in Hispanic California, The Scottish Historical Review, Vol. 52, No. 154, Part 2 (Oct., 1973), pp. 137-148, Edinburgh University Press
  6. ^ Ramona Carrillo de Pacheco de Wilson
  7. ^ Maria Ygnacia Lopez de Carrillo
  8. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 28 SD
  9. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  10. ^ Spooner's Ranch House

Coordinates: 35°15′36″N 120°50′24″W / 35.260°N 120.840°W / 35.260; -120.840