Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
HISTORY OF THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY BY JERRY REYNOLDS
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15. Family Squabbles

Involved in several insurrections, revolutions and counterrevolutions, broken only by an 1834 stint as commissioner of the secularization of Missions San Gabriel, San Francisco Dolores and Santa Cruz, Ygnacio del Valle had resigned from the army in 1840 and settled in Santa Barbara.

There he played the role of a California Don Juan. Ygnacio was heavily involved with María del Carmen Rodriguez and the lovely Manuelita Ortega, all the while living with María Los Angeles Carrillo in her father's home. Señorita Carrillo bore him a son, Juventino, but it would be half a year before the parents finally got married. Was it a guilty conscience, or had Ygnacio suddenly remembered his father's letter?

Seven months after Don Antonio died, on January 1, 1842, Ygnacio and María Carrillo exchanged wedding vows before Bishop Narciso Durán. The couple hustled down to Los Angeles and presented the old don's missive to his son as evidence of his title to the western portion of Rancho San Francisco.

The grieving widow, Doña Jacoba Felix del Valle, still swathed in black, suddenly faced the prospect of losing hold of her inheritance and livelihood. With four sons and two daughters to care for, she needed a strong arm to lean on, and besides, women in old California had few rights. She countered her son's move by marrying José Salazár, her majordomo, or ranch foreman.

The legal battle was joined and, at last, the juéz (judge) awarded 13,599 acres to Ygnacio del Valle, while Doña Jacoba got 21,307 acres and each of her six children received 4,684 acres.

When Ygnacio del Valle first surveyed his new rancho he found a four-room adobe with walls nearly four feet thick, surrounded by the grass huts of the Tataviam Indians. No one knows exactly when the adobe was built, but under Don Antonio it was used as a foreman's quarters. It was called Camulos, which in Spanish means "juniper tree," but Don Ygnacio preferred the Chumash translation, "House of Refuge."

To the Del Valles, it was indeed a house of refuge, for they maintained a large home on the Plaza in Los Angeles, visiting Camulos briefly four or five times a year. Not until 1861 would Don Ygnacio take up permanent residence there — with another wife.


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