José Antonio Yorba

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José Antonio Yorba (July 20, 1743 – January 16, 1825), also known as Don José Antonio Yorba I, was a Spanish soldier and early settler of Spanish California.

Spanish soldier[edit]

Born in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia (San Saturnino) in Catalonia, Spain, Yorba was one of Fages' original Catalan volunteers. In 1762, during the Seven Years' War, Yorba took part in the Spanish invasion of Portugal. He became a corporal under Gaspar de Portolà during the Spanish expedition of 1769. He was in San Francisco in 1777; Monterey in 1782; and in San Diego in 1789. In 1797 he was retired as inválido sergeant; and in 1810 was grantee of Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.

California Historical Landmark #204
Yorba's cenotaph at the Mission San Juan Capistrano cemetery

Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana[edit]

In 1810, José Antonio Yorba was awarded by the Spanish Empire the 63,414-acre (256.63 km2) Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana land grant. Covering some 15 Spanish leagues, Yorba's land comprised a significant portion of today's Orange County including where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.

Upon his death in 1825 he was buried at his request in an unmarked grave in the cemetery at Mission San Juan Capistrano. A cenotaph was later placed in Yorba's honor.


He married his first wife, Maria Garcia Feliz, in 1773. After her death, he married Maria Josefa Grijalva, daughter of Juan Pablo Grijalva, in 1782.

The children of Jose Antonio Yorba I and Maria Gracia Feliz (1753 - 1781)[1]
Name Birth/Death Married Notes
Pedro Antonio Yorba 1774 - 1780 Died in childhood
Francisco Xavier Yorba 1776 -
Diego Maria Yorba 1780 -
The children of Jose Antonio Yorba I and Maria Josefa Grijalva (1766 - 1830)[1][2]
Name Birth/Death Married Notes
Francisco Yorba 1783 - 1783 Died in childhood
Jose Antonio Yorba II 1785 - 1844 Maria Josefa Verdugo (1805), Maria Catalina Verdugo (1834), Maria Catalina Manriquez (1836) Maria Verdugo was then daughter of Jose Maria Verdugo. After Josefa died in 1816, Jose Antonio Yorba II married her sister, Maria Catalina Verdugo.
Tomas Antonio Yorba 1787 - 1845 Maria Vicenta Sepulveda [3]
Ysabel Maria Yorba 1789 - 1871 Jose Joaquin Maitorena Grantee of Rancho Guadalasca. Santa Barbara house[4]
Maria Raymunda Yorba 1793 - 1851 Juan Bautista Alvarado
Maria Presentacion Yorba 1791 - 1835 Leandro Serrano Leandro Serrano was the grantee of Rancho Temescal
Jose Domingo Yorba 1795 - 1796 Died in childhood
Francisca Dominga Yorba 1797 - 1814 Jose Francisco Maria Ortega
Maria de las Nieves Yorba 1798 - 1798 Died in childhood
Bernardo Antonio Yorba 1801 - 1858 Maria de Jesus Alvarado, Felipa Dominguez, Andrea Elizalde Among Yorba's many children, Bernardo Yorba would rise the farthest, accumulating ever larger territories for the family's massive cattle herds. Bernardo Yorba introduced irrigation agriculture into California on the Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana. The Hacienda de San Antonio, which was amongst the largest adobe dwellings in Alta California. The city of Yorba Linda is named after Bernardo Yorba.
Juan Pablo Yorba 1803 - 1804 Died in childhood
Teodosio Juan Yorba 1805 - 1863 Inocencia Reyes, Maria Antonia Lugo[5] Prisoner in 1838. Grantee of Rancho Arroyo Seco in 1840. Grantee of Rancho Lomas de Santiago in 1846.[6]
Maria Andrea Ygnacia Yorba 1807 - 1824 José María Ávila
Martin Yorba 1810 - 1812 Died in childhood

Throughout the American and Mormon migration period, descendants of the Yorbas continued to marry into other prominent Spanish families, including the Cota, Grijalvas, Perralta, and Dominguez families. Many of today's recognizable American names in the Southern California area, including the Kraemers and Irvines, also married into these Spanish families. In the early twentieth century, Samuel Kraemer, who had married the last of the "grand" Yorbas, Angelina Yorba, tore down the historic Yorba Hacienda after the city of Yorba Linda refused to accept it as a donation.

The legacy of the Yorba family can be appreciated at the historic Yorba Cemetery, established in 1858, and currently surrounded by Woodgate Park.[7]


  1. ^ a b Jose Antonio Yorba I and Maria Gracia Feliz, archived from the original on 2017-08-03, retrieved 2019-09-16
  2. ^ Maria Josefa Grijalva
  3. ^ Vicenta Sepulveda Yorba
  4. ^ Yorba house Santa Barbara (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-05, retrieved 2019-09-16
  5. ^ Teodosio Juan Yorba & Maria Lugo
  6. ^ Teodosio Yorba p.50
  7. ^ Northrop, Marie E. The Yorba Family Cemetery: California's Oldest, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 1969, pp. 96-103


  • Yorba Linda History, archived from the original on 2009-03-22, retrieved 2019-09-16
  • Yorba Family, archived from the original on 2008-07-24, retrieved 2019-09-16
  • Jose Antonio Yorba I, archived from the original on 2008-10-12, retrieved 2019-09-16
  • Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1882). The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft. San Francisco: A.L. Bancroft & Co. OCLC 2539133
  • Beers, Henry Putney, (1979). "Spanish & Mexican Records of the American Southwest : A Bibliographical Guide to Archive and Manuscript Sources", Tucson : University of Arizona Press
  • Dominguez, Arnold O., (1985). "José Antonio Yorba I", 2nd Ed., Orange County Historical Society
  • Pleasants, Adelene (1931). "History of Orange County, California. Vol. 1", Los Angeles, CA : J. R. Finnell & Sons Publishing Company
  • Mildred Yorba MacArthur, A brief history of the Yorba family, Yorba Linda Public Library, May 1960.
  • Newmark, Haris (1916) Sixty Years in Southern California: 1853-1913, Knickerbocker Press, New York.
  • Northrop, Marie E. (1986). Spanish-Mexican Families of Early California: 1769-1850, Volumes I, II & III. Southern California Genealogical Society, Burbank, California.
  • Pitt, Leonard; Ramón A. Gutiérrez (1999). Decline of the Californios: A Social History of the Spanish-Speaking Californians, 1846-1890. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-21958-8.

See also[edit]