Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Wolfskill Tries to Foreclose on Del Valles' L.A., SCV Property.

Legal Notice.


Webmaster's note.

One could develop an aneurism, trying to follow the trial of land ownership in the Santa Clarita Valley in the 1850s and 1860s. So, we won't try. There are just too many foreclosure proceedings and too many games of "hide the football" to avoid foreclosure.

What's important here is that around 1858, Jose Salazar, the new husband of Antonio del Valle's widow, borrowed $8,500 from L.A. real-estate mogul and eventual citrus magnate William Wolfskill at 1½ percent monthly interest, compounded quarterly. As collateral, Salazar pledged 6/11ths of the Del Valle family's Rancho San Francisco (known colloquially as San Francisquito). The rancho comprised 48,612 acres of land stretching from Piru on the west to Soledad Canyon on the east. (Eleven is a magic number: Under old Mexican law, ranchos could comprise no more than 11 square leagues. A Mexican league was 4,428 acres.)

By 1860, Salazar couldn't even pay the family's property taxes, much less repay a loan. In 1863, Wolfskill foreclosed on his 6/11ths of the Rancho San Francisco and on the Del Valles' property on the Plaza in Los Angeles. Or at least he tried to.

Whether Wolfskill was ever made whole is a subject for further research. Despite a second attempt at a court-ordered sheriff's sale in 1864 (reported below), Wolfskill did not take possession of the rancho, and the sheriff's sale was not held — or if it was, nothing came of it. By that time, Salazar had already borrowed more money and re-mortgaged the mortgaged property. In March 1865, when the Del Valles sold their rancho to Thomas R. Bard (for $47,519.71), the sale included Wolfskill's 6/11ths stake.

Actually, the Del Valles didn't sell quite all of it. They retained the westernmost 1,350 acres, which became the separate Rancho Camulos when Henry Newhall bought the 46,460 acres that remained of the old Rancho San Francisco at a sheriff's sale in 1875.

Further reading: "Rancho San Francisco: A Study of a California Land Grant" by Arthur B. Perkins, June 1957.


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Click to enlarge.

Sheriff's Sale.

UNDER AND BY VIRTUE of an order of sale, issued out of the District Court of the First Judicial District, in and for the County of Los Angeles, State of California, on the 8th day of April, A.D., 1864, in a certain case wherein Wm. Wolfskill is plaintiff, and José Salazar and Jacoba Feliz de Salazar, Ignacio del Valle, Jonathan R. Scott and Philip Sichel, administrator of the estate of E. Drown deceased, are defendants, and to me, as Sheriff of said county, duly directed and delivered, I have this day levied upon, and shall expose for sale in front of the Courthouse door, in the city and county of Los Angeles, at public auction, for cash, to the highest bidder,

On MONDAY, the 23rd day of MAY,

A.D., 1864, at 10 o'clock A.M., of said day, all the right title and interest of the above named defendants, to the following described piece or parcel of real estate:

The following described real property, situate in the city and county of Los Angeles, State of California, and situate in the city of Los Angeles, nearly in front of the Bella Union Hotel, and bounded as follows: On the North by the land and lot of E. Celis, on the East by Main street, South by the lands of John Temple and West by New High street, be the same more or less, with all the tenements and appurtenances thereto belonging.

Also, that certain tract of land, situate in the county of Los Angeles, being six of the eleven leagues of land corresponding and being the interest of the parties, José Salazar and his wife Jacoba Feliz de Salazar in the Ranch known as the ranch of San Francisquito, bounded by the following points to wit: with the Cuesta of San Fernando, the cañada de los Alamos, the cañada de Castigue, the cañada de los Placeritos, the cañada de Carlos, the cañada which enters Camules, the cañada de los Rincones, the cañada de Soledad, the cañada de Emidio and the cañada Rodarones Blancos, being the same land granted to Antonio del Valle by Juan Bautisto Alvarado, Governor oi California, to which grant of concession reference is made for a more particular description, with all the tenements and appurtenances thereto belonging, or in any wise appertaining, or so much thereof as may be sufficient.

Given under my hand at the city of Los Angeles, this 23rd day of April, A.D., 1864.

THOMAS SANCHEZ, Sheriff,

By A.J. KING, Under Sheriff. ap23rd.


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