Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos

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Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos was a 8,975-acre (36.32 km2) Mexican land grant in present day northern San Diego County, California given in 1840 by Governor Juan Alvarado to Jose María Alvarado.[1] The name means little valleys of St. Mark. The grant was located between Rancho Rincon del Diablo of Alvardo's father, Juan Bautista Alvarado on the east and Rancho Buena Vista on the west, and encompassed present day San Marcos.[2][3]


José María Alvarado (1813-1846) and his wife María Lugarda Osuna were granted the two square league Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos in 1840, but less than a year after taking possession, he sold the rancho to Lorenzo Soto. Lorenzo Soto (1821-1863) was the son of Francisco Soto of Rancho San Lorenzo Baja.

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 Vallecitos de San Marcos was filed with the Public Land Commission in 1852,[4] and the grant was patented to Lorenzo Soto in 1883.[5]

Lorenzo Soto married first Maria Rosa Soto, and after she died in 1857, he married second María Ygnacia Morena. In 1859 Lorenzo Soto acquired Rancho Buena Vista from Jesus Machado. After Lorenzo Soto’s death in 1863, his widow, María Ygnacia Morena de Soto in 1864 married Tomas Alvarado (1841-), part owner of Rancho Monserate. Tomas Alvarado sold Rancho Vallecitos de San Marcos to Cave Johnson Couts in 1866.[6]

Cave Johnson Couts (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 lieutenant with the U.S Army forces occupying California following the Mexican–American War. Couts left the Army, and settled in San Diego. 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 Guajome and Rancho Buena Vista.[7] Having been appointed sub-agent for the San Luis Rey Indians in 1853, Couts employed Indian labor to improve the properties.[8][9] After Couts died, his son, Cave J. Couts, Jr.(1856-1943), took over management of the rancho.[10]

In 1886, a land title dispute by a Soto heir was settled in favor of the Couts heirs.[11]

See also[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 Vallecitos de San Marcos
  3. ^ Lynne Newell Christenson, Ellen L. Sweet, 2008, Ranchos of San Diego County, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7385-5965-0
  4. ^ United States. District Court (California : Southern District) Land Case 192 SD
  5. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  6. ^ R.W. Brackett, 1939,A History of the Ranchos of San Diego County, California, Union Title Insurance and Trust Company.
  7. ^ The Life and Times Of Col. Cave Couts
  8. ^ Slavery in the Golden State
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ Inventory of the Cave Johnson Couts Papers, 1832-1951
  11. ^ Burroughs v. De Couts, 1886, Reports of Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of California, Volume 70, pp.361- 374, Bancroft-Whitney Company

Coordinates: 33°08′24″N 117°07′48″W / 33.140°N 117.130°W / 33.140; -117.130