Rancho Guajome

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Rancho Guajome
Sheep wash place at Guajome Ranch, ca.1890-1901 (CHS-750).jpg
LocationNear Vista, California
Coordinates33°15′36″N 117°16′12″W / 33.260°N 117.270°W / 33.260; -117.270Coordinates: 33°15′36″N 117°16′12″W / 33.260°N 117.270°W / 33.260; -117.270
Reference no.940

Rancho Guajome was a 2,219-acre (8.98 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day San Diego County, California given in 1845 by Governor Pío Pico to Andrés and José Manuel, Indians.[2] The name comes from a Luiseño phrase involving the word "frog", likely wakhavumi "frog pond"[3] or waxáawu-may "little frog".[4] The grant was south of San Luis Rey River and Rancho Monserate and north of present-day Vista.[5] The site is now registered as California Historical Landmark #940.[1]


Formerly a part of Mission San Luis Rey lands, the half square league grant was made to Andrés and José Manuel, two mission Indians.

The brothers sold the land to Abel Stearns. Stearns held onto the land for a few years before giving it to his sister-in-law, Ysidora Bandini, as a wedding gift when she married Lieutenant Cave Johnson Couts in 1851. Stearns was married to Ysidora Bandini's sister Arcadia.[6]

Cave Johnson Couts (pron. "cow-ts", 1821–1874), was a native of Tennessee and was a nephew of Cave Johnson. Couts graduated from West Point in 1843 and came to California in 1849 as a U.S Army lieutenant in the forces occupying California following the Mexican–American War. Couts left the Army, and settled in the San Diego area. In 1849 he was commissioned to survey and map the pueblo lands of San Diego. He married Ysidora Bandini, the daughter of Juan Bandini in 1851. Couts began buying property and developing political influence in the area. Couts also owned Rancho Buena Vista and Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos. Having been appointed sub-agent for the San Luis Rey Indians in 1853, Couts employed Indian labor to improve the properties.[7][8]

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 Guajome was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[9] and the grant was patented to Andres Solme and Catarina in 1871.[10]

By the time the Couts family settled on Rancho Guajome in 1853, Cave was prospering by supplying beef and leather to the Bay Area during the gold rush era.[3] After Couts's death in 1874, the Rancho was managed by his son, Cave Couts, Jr. (1856–1943).

Historic sites of the Rancho[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Rancho Guajome". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  2. ^ Ogden Hoffman, 1862, Reports of Land Cases Determined in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Numa Hubert, San Francisco
  3. ^ a b Rancho Guajome An Architectural Legacy Preserved by Iris H. W. Engstrand and Mary F. Ward
  4. ^ Fetzer, Leland. San Diego County Place Names A to Z. San Diego: Sunbird, 2005.
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho Guajome
  6. ^ R.W. Brackett, 1939,A History of the Ranchos of San Diego County, California, Union Title Insurance and Trust Company.
  7. ^ Slavery in the Golden State
  8. ^ Michael Magliari, 2004, Free Soil, Unfree Labor: Cave Johnson Couts and the Binding of Indian Workers in California, 1850–1867,August 2004, Pacific Historical Review
  9. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 145 SD
  10. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886 Archived 2013-03-20 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Rancho Guajome Adobe