Rancho Ojai

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Rancho Ojai was a 17,717-acre (71.70 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day Ventura County, California given in 1837 by Governor Juan Alvarado to Fernando Tico.[1] Rancho Ojai is located on the east side of the upper Ventura River, across from the Rancho Santa Ana grant made in the same year. The grant encompassed present-day city of Ojai, at the foot of the Topatopa Mountains.[2]


Fernando Tico (d. 1862) married Maria Margarita Lopez in 1821. By 1829, Tico had served as alcalde of Santa Barbara. Tico’s wife died in 1834, and he married Maria de Jesus Silvestra Ortega. Tico was granted the four square league Rancho Ojai grant in 1837. In 1845, Tico was granted 29 acres (0.1 km2) immediately to the west of the church at Mission San Buenaventura by Governor Pío Pico.[3] In 1855 Tico (along with José Ramón Malo and Pablo de la Guerra) was elected to the first Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.[4]

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 Ojai was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[5] and the grant was patented to Fernando Tico in 1870.[6]

In 1853, Tico sold the rancho to Henry Starrow Carnes of Santa Barbara. Carnes was a lieutenant in Stevenson's 1st Regiment of New York Volunteers.[7] In 1856 Carnes sold the rancho to Juan Camarillo. In 1864 Camarillo sold the rancho to John Bartlett (Camarillo then bought Rancho Calleguas). In the first subdivision of the grant, Bartlett sold one third to John B. Church, and the remaining two thirds to John Wyeth in1865.[8] Church and Wyeth were associates of Thomas R. Bard, representing Thomas Alexander Scott of the Philadelphia and California Petroleum Company. In 1874, the valley's first settlement was named Nordhoff in honor of an east coast journalist Charles Nordhoff who had publicized this special area. Not until 1917 did the town become known as “Ojai.”[9][10]


  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 Ojai
  3. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 53 SD
  4. ^ Fernando Tico
  5. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 168 SD
  6. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  7. ^ Military Units in Southern California 1853-1862
  8. ^ Mary Gray,1929,History of the Ojai Valley, The Star: An International Magazine, Vol II, No. 1, pp. 14-17, January 1929
  9. ^ Richard Hoye, Jane McClenahan, Tom Moore, 2007, Ojai, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7385-5577-5
  10. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Rensch, Hero; Rensch, Ethel; Abeloe, William N. (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9. 

Coordinates: 34°26′24″N 119°15′00″W / 34.440°N 119.250°W / 34.440; -119.250