Rancho Potrero de Santa Clara

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Rancho Potrero de Santa Clara was a 1,939-acre (7.85 km2) Mexican land grant in present day Santa Clara County, California given in 1844 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to James Alexander Forbes.[1] The name refers to the "pasture lands" of Santa Clara Mission. The grant was between the Santa Clara Mission and the Pueblo of San José, south of the present day San Jose International Airport.[2][3]


James Alexander Forbes (1805–1881), born in Scotland, came to Yerba Buena in 1831. He moved to the Santa Clara Valley, where married Maria Ana Galindo, whose father, José Crisóstomo Galindo, was the majordomo of the Santa Clara Mission.[4] Forbes was granted the one square league Rancho Potrero de Santa Clara in 1844. Forbes sold the Rancho to Commodore Robert F. Stockton in 1847.[5][6]

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 Potrero de Santa Clara was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[7] and the grant was patented to Robert F. Stockton in 1861.[8]

In the 1862 Stockton sold the rancho to Charles B. Polhemus and Henry Newhall, who planned to run railroad tracks through the valley.


  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. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho Potrero de Santa Clara
  3. ^ Early Santa Clara Ranchos, Grants, Patents and Maps
  4. ^ James Alexander Forbes:The Mischief-Making Renaissance Man Archived 2010-09-24 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Rensch, Hero; Rensch, Ethel; Abeloe, William N. (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4482-9.
  6. ^ Paul W. Gates, 2002, Land and Law in California: Essays on Land Policies, Purdue University Press, ISBN 978-1-55753-273-2
  7. ^ United States. District Court (California : Northern District) Land Case 77 ND
  8. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886 Archived 2013-03-20 at the Wayback Machine

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Coordinates: 37°21′00″N 121°55′12″W / 37.350°N 121.920°W / 37.350; -121.920