Rancho San Jose del Valle

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Rancho San Jose del Valle (also called "Rancho Agua Caliente" or "Warner's Rancho") was a 26,689-acre (108.01 km2) Mexican land grant in present-day San Diego County, California given in 1840 by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to Jose Antonio Pico, and then given in 1844 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Juan Jose Warner.[1] The most northeasterly grant made within present-day San Diego County, it was bounded on the west by Palomar Mountain, and on the south by Buena Vista Creek and Rancho Valle de San Jose, and encompassed present-day Warner Springs.[2][3] The western part of the grant is under the waters of Lake Henshaw, formed in 1922 by a dam on the San Luis Rey River.


In 1840, Governor Alvarado granted José Antonio Pico,[4] whose brother Andrés Pico was then administrator of the mission, made formal application for "the place called Agua Caliente", belonging to the Mission San Luis Rey. Continued trouble with the Indians probably caused Pico to abandon the land.[5][6]

Jonathan T. Warner (1807-1895), better known as Juan José Warner, was in born in Connecticut. He settled at Los Angeles in 1831 and in 1836 married Anita Gale, daughter of a Boston sea captain, who had been brought to California when five years of age and placed in the care of the Pico family, by whom she was adopted. In 1844, Governor Micheltorena granted the six square league Rancho San Jose Del Valle to Juan José Warner.[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 San Jose del Valle was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[9] and the grant was patented to Juan J. Warner in 1880.[10] A claim by Juan J. Warner for four more square leagues (Rancho Camajal y Palomar) west of Rancho San Jose del Valle was rejected.[11][12]

By about 1875, Louis Phillips and John G. Downey (1827–1894) owned most of the southern four square league Portilla Rancho Valle de San Jose and the northern six square league Warner Rancho San Jose del Valle.[13] In 1880 Downey became sole owner.

The rights of the Cupeño American Indians to occupy the land became a controversial matter. In 1901, the US Supreme Court concurred with the finding of the lower courts that a U.S. Government patent of ownership conferred absolute ownership, and the Indians were ordered ejected.[14][15]

Historic sites of the Rancho[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 San Jose del Valle
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rancho San Jose del Valle
  4. ^ Portrait of Jose Antonio Pico, the elder brother of Pio Pico and Andrés Pico
  5. ^ Richard F. Pourade,1963, The Silver Dons, The Union-Tribune Publishing Company, San Diego
  6. ^ R. W. Brackett, 1951,The history of San Diego County Ranchos, Union Title Insurance and Trust Company, San Diego, California
  7. ^ Lynne Newell Christenson, Ellen L. Sweet, 2008, Ranchos of San Diego County, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7385-5965-0
  8. ^ Kathleen Flanigan ,1996, The Ranch House at Warner's, The Journal of San Diego History , Fall 1996, Volume 42, Number 4
  9. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 218 SD
  10. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  11. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 358 SD
  12. ^ Diseño del Rancho Camajal y Palomar
  13. ^ Gage v Downey, 1888, California unreported cases: being those determined in the Supreme Court of California, Bender Moss Company
  14. ^ Barker v. Harvey, U.S. Supreme Court, 181 U.S. 481 (1901)
  15. ^ Lewis, Frank D. (August 1903). "The Warner Ranch Indians: And Why They Were Removed To Pala". Overland Monthly. XLII: 171–173. 

Coordinates: 33°17′24″N 116°40′48″W / 33.290°N 116.680°W / 33.290; -116.680