Ygnacio Martínez

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Ygnacio Martínez (1774 – 1848), was an important figure in the development of Contra Costa County, California.


Ygnacio Martínez was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and was a soldier in Alta California by 1822. In 1827, as a lieutenant stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco, Martínez met with the American explorer Jedediah Smith and helped to facilitate the continuation of Smith's northward travels toward the Columbia River.

Martínez was the fourth Alcalde of Yerba Buena (now San Francisco) in 1837. In 1842, he was granted the Rancho El Pinole, which included the Alhambra Valley.[1] A part of the rancho later became the city of Martinez.


Martínez married Martina Arellanes and had at least seven children, six daughters and one son. One of the daughters, Maria, married William A. Richardson.

Ygnacio Martínez died in June, 1848, in San Jose, and is buried at Mission San Jose Cemetery in Fremont, California.[2] The actor Will Kuluva played Martinez in the 1966 episode "Water Bringer" of the syndicated western television series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Ronald W. Reagan, Rory Calhoun played William Richardson in his first visit off the ship Orion to California. Calhoun's then first wife, Lita Baron, was cast as Martinez's daughter, Maria, the future Mrs. Richardson.[3]


  1. ^ "Martinez Historical Society". Martinezhistory.org. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  2. ^ Pinole
  3. ^ "The Water Bringer on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. March 17, 1966. Retrieved September 8, 2015.