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Don Juan Pablo Grijalva

by Eddie Grijalva

For the record...

Don Juan Pablo Grijalva, soldier, settler, rancher and pioneer -- came to California with the Anza expedition in 1775. At that time there were only five missions, two presidios and a single Rancho of some 120 square yards (140 varas).

 Grijalva's heritages dates to the time of Cortez and his legacy includes the only Spanish rancho in Orange County.

"Juan Pablo Grijalva, Alfar�z (second-lieutenant) at the San Diego Presidio, retired from active duty at age 54 in 1796. [He] petitioned for...Rancho Santiago de Santa 1801. Grijalva received concession documents in 1802 [and] died in 1806."  1

"Grijalva created the first Rancho in what became Orange County," 2 [and was] "a founding father of Orange County." 3 "He was kind of the Pioneer's pioneer [and] was the first to stake a private claim in Orange County."4 [In fact] "the first adobe building in Orange County, outside the limits of Mission San Juan Capistrano, was erected by the grantee* of Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, Juan Pablo Grijalva about the year 1800."5 "The historical traditions of Orange County
begin with the San Juan Capistrano Mission and Juan Pablo Grijalva." 3  Unlike most soldiers, he was held in high regard: "Lieutenant Grijalva...fills his post with honor and stands in high repute."  6

The final quote is by Padre Presidente Fermin Francisco de Lasuen. Lasuen founded nine missions, the last of which took away Grijalva's first rancho at Las Flores.

* In actuality, grants were given only in the Mexican period; this was a concession.


The Grijalva Heritage

The Grijalva story begins in 1518 when Juan de Grijalva led an expedition to the Yucatan. Discovering a large river, the soldiers insisted it be named for Juan and the Rio de Grijalva, so named, flows today. The expedition itself was so successful Gobernador Diego de Velasquez ordered a second command for Hernando Cortez the following year; the result was the conquest of the Aztec empire. 7

Sebastian de Grijalva, a member of the entrada of Panfilo de Navarrez in New Spain, received his command of Sosola y Tenexpa in 1520 which was preserved in the hands of the family through three generations. 8

Hernando de Grijalva helped lead the exploration of the west coast of Mexico in 1533. The San Loranzo, a ship captained by Hernando de Grijalva, became separated from Hernando de Cortez' flagship, and later discovered an island about
four hundred miles west of Colima, New Spain (Mexico) and later put in at Acapulco in 1534. Cortez discovered California as a part of the expedition. 8

Presidio Terrenate

Padre Kino, a Jesuit priest, opened the Sonora territory including Northern Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico from 1687 to 1711. Juan Pablo Grijalva, born near Mission Guevavi (Arizona) in 1741, grew up in Prima Alta Sonora. At that time, there were more than 50 Missions, six Pueblos and perhaps three Presidios. 9

He enlisted in the military at Presidio Terrenate, Sonora, (Mexico) on January 1, 1763. He married Maria Dolores Valencia about a year later and over the course of 12 years, they had two girls. 10

The record shows that he served honorably for ten years, receiving a promotion to corporal and that he could read and write. During his years of service in the garrison of Terrante, Sonora he had nine campaigns against both the Apaches and Seris, and during which he was twice wounded. 11


The Anza Expedition

Juan Pablo Grijalva was second corporal of the Presidio Terrenate when appointed by Juan Bautista de Anza as Sergeant of the Expedition to Alta California. An
important factor of the trip were the women and children -- four of which were born along the way (Bancroft states eight). 12

The initial group of 177 people left San Miguel de Horcasitas on September 29, 1775, increasing the people to 240 at Presidio Tubac. From Tubac the march would slowly descend from an elevation of 3,250 to almost sea level at San Francisco. 12

During the stay at Santa Olaya, Padre Garces overtook the party, having already set out to explore the country toward the mouth of the Colorado. Anza divided his force into three parties under the command of himself, Sergeant Grijalva, and Alfar�z Moraga. 13

Of Grijalva's family, his wife and two daughters, we know some detail. There is a name of Claudio, listed as Grijalva's son, however it proves to be only a young man who changed his last name to Grijalva so he could come on the expedition. The expedition reached San Francisco on June 27, 1776.

San Francisco

Stationed in San Francisco for 10 years, Grijalva participated " 11 barricades in California [where] he made 10 departures with two terminations, in performing these, [included] eight commands to discipline harmful and fugitive Indians. 11

Established on September 17, 1776, the Presidio San Francisco stood on the headland of the peninsula. The Mission Dolores [Mission de Nuestro Sera Pico Padre
San Francisco de Asis a la Laguna de los Delores] was founded about one month later on October 9. 12

Later the next year, a portion of that same group went on to found Mission Santa Clara [Mission Nuestra Madre Santa Clara de Asis de Thamien] on January 12, 1777.
That same year, they also started the first pueblo [Pueblo San Jose del Rio Guadalupe] on November 29 - the foremost reason for the Anza Expedition. 12

During Grijalva's tenure at Presidio San Francisco, both daughters married soldiers at Mission Dolores. Maria Josefa Grijalva, the oldest married Antonio Yorba, then a widower on November 3, 1782. She was then 16, he almost 40, only two years younger than her father. 10

Maria del Carmen Grijalva married Pedro Regaldo Peralta on October 27, 1785. He had come as a boy on the Anza Expedition with his family. She was 14 he was 21. The following year, Juan Pablo Grijalva was transferred to San Diego. His wife went with him, leaving his two married daughters behind. The Yorba family followed by 1789. 10


Presidio San Diego

In late 1785, a vacancy came available at the Presidio in San Diego through he death of Alfar�z Jose Velasquez. Transferring in 1786 to San Diego, Grijalva gained
the promotion, and remained active as Alfar�z until his retirement. 12

The 1788 Registry of the existing Missions, [was taken] by Alfar�z Juan Pablo Grijalva at Presidio San Diego. From Loreto, Baja California to San Francisco, Alta California. 14

Later, Grijalva led a group to Northern Baja California where "...having founded this mission in the mountain range among the Rosario y Santo Domingo, [we] fulfill the orders of the Viceroy on the 27th of March, 1793. The chosen site was
named for the indigenous Casilepe, and now has given it that of San Pedro M�rtir de Verona. He returned again in April of 1794. 15

[Beginning] January 3 1795, [from] San Diego, Grijalva and Grejera, [had] ...taken the census of the missions of the North. Juan Pablo Grijalva on visit(s) to the Escoltas (Military Escorts) de San Miguel, de San Juan, San Gabriel, y de San
Miguel. 14

Padre Juan Mariner in 1795 filed a "report on the survey which we made in company with Alfar�z Juan Pablo Grijalva, Corporal Juan Vicente, etc." Claudio, when in the military, accompanied them to locate the site for the Mission de San Luis Rey de Francia.16 On June 13, 1798 Padre Presidente founded this his last mission.


Rancho Las Flores

1796 March 1st, San Diego Juan Pablo Grijalva, second-lieutenant to the company of the Viceroy, requests his retirement... On the margin you see the endorsement
of Governor Borica.  11

An Indian uprising in 1796 brought Grijalva to Mission San Miguel in Baja California where during the foray his horse was shot out from under him. He was 55 years of age, and retired that same year.  11

He petitioned for Rancho Las Flores (probably around 130,000 acres) the following year. Founded in 1798, the Mission San Luis Rey claimed Las Flores for
agriculture, taking it from Grijalva. We now call Rancho Las Flores, Camp Pendelton.  1

Padre Presidente Fermin Francisco de Lausan, who had founded this mission had praised Grijalva only a few years before. 17


Rancho Santiago De Santa Ana

Not to be daunted, Grijalva traveled up El Camino Real to an area we now refer to as Orange. Receiving a post-retirement promotion to Lieutenant, he again petitioned for land, this time for Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, only about 60,000 acres, about 1801. 1

The dise�o shown on pages 8 & 9 is the first map drawn of northern Orange County. The original resides in the Bancroft archives in Berkley. It is made on linen, in color and is the predecessor of the dise�o of 1809. Three casas were present on the Rancho. 12

In Yorba tradition, Juan Pablo Grijalva was the first to occupy the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana [Paraje de Santiago]. [He] built an adobe on Santiago Creeks south side, just north of El Modena, at the point of the hills. 18

The adobe ruins and evidences of a vineyard are attested by American pioneers in that vicinity as late as 1900. Old settlers also recall that there were tan and tallow vats on the north side of Santiago Creek opposite the adobe so that the ruin may have had some occupancy by vaqueros, employees of the Yorbas, throughout a period of years. 18

Grijalva Testament

1806 June 21, San Diego. Juan Pablo Grijalva: his testament. Conferred by the...Lieutenant graduate, Pablo Grijalva. He leaves his goods to his wife and grandsons, Jos� Antonio Yorba and Juan Pablo Peralta. Nothing is left to his
daughters Maria Josefa and Maria del Carmen. 11

1806 July, 25 San Diego. Rodriguez and Arrillaga: Death of an official. Advised of the death of the...Lieutenant graduate, Pablo Grijalva. 11

...I report to his Excellency the Governor, that I have examined the archives of this garrison, and that I have not found the document which the deceased Grijalva
presented to the Government in order he might place himself with his property in [Rancho de] Santiago. 12

...Dona Dolores Valencia [Grijalva], widow of said deceased...replied that she know[s] from the deceased Captain Don Raymundo Carrillo, that [although] it
existed in his power; that he did not deliver it to her. She heard her deceased husband say that he had presented for himself alone. 12

Actually, there is evidence Grijalva's grandson and namesake, Juan Pablo Peralta, lived with the Grijalvas after 1800, working the Rancho which would some day be his.


Casa Remnants

William Wolfskill passed the point [of Hoyt Hill] in 1831 and saw adobe ruins. The ruins [in 1870] were not very different when he first saw it. 20

Wm. W. Hoyt...on a high spur of the hills just above the present junction of Alameda [Hewes] and Santiago Boulevards, built a ten-room house. It is on the site of the Grijalva Adobe, built about the year 1800. When the Hoyts built their home in 1888 the lava rock that formed the foundation of the adobe was still in place and was used around the new dwelling. Pieces of rusty iron, spurs, bits, etc.
have been found around the site of the first house in Orange County outside the mission village of San Juan Capistrano. 21

"I was born on Hoyt Hill [in 1889], near where the house still stands. I don't remember them [the adobe ruins], but they were there. It was supposed to be the first house in Orange County. There were terraces. They don't show...[but]...they
were made from the stone that was in the [adobe] house and they used the stone to build up the terraces against the driveway. [But the adobe was there]...because the ruins were there...when Father bought the property. I guess they were put together with adobe. They filled the walls with the stones and used the adobe for binding." 22

In 1992, Eddie Grijalva went home. Not to his, or his fathers -- not even his grandfathers. He went home to 200 years ago, that of Juan Pablo Grijalva. Near the Hoyt Victorian, a rock wall helps to shore up a driveway. A neighbor points to a three car garage and states the adobe was there, about 35 years ago. The owner of the house gives one of the old stones from the wall to Eddie, who donates it to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. A piece of the old casa of Juan
Pablo Grijalva is now home -- resting in the Bowers Museum.. 23

Rancho Towns

The Peralta Hills are named for Juan Pablo Peralta - the grandson and namesake of Juan Pablo Grijalva - the original Ranchero of the Rancho de Santiago de Santa Ana. North of the hills by the Santa Ana River is Santa Ana Arriba, (Upper Santa Ana) the townsite and adobe of the Peraltas. 24

Southward near the vicinity of the Portola crossing of the Santa Ana river, is Santa Ana Viejo, (Old Santa Ana) the main town of the area. The name Santa Ana stayed with the river and this place: there is California State Historical Marker
#204 near Lincoln and Orange-Olive road. Later, in the early 1800s, a town started up on the site, called Santa Ana. It grew to the point of having a general store and a mayor, but faded away prior to 1850. 25

The settlement of Santa Ana is mentioned in 1846-47 (Emory), and the name Santa Ana Viejo shows on maps after that time. The modern city of Santa Ana, at its present site south of Santiago Creek, was not founded until 1869. 24

The river is now west of the old river bed - floods have changed the course several times. Santa Ana Viejo was a real town, essentially started by the Yorba family. The Yorba hacienda site overlooks the location of the old town. One Yorba casa sat on the hill where the old Olive grade school is now on Orange-Olive Road, past Lincoln. 25

Near Chapman Ave. on the Santa Ana river was Santa Ana Abajo (Lower Santa Ana), an extension of the town to the north. Also here was (and still is) a favored crossing of the Santa Ana River, El Camino Real the forerunner of Highway 101, now the Santa Ana Freeway, I-5. South of here is the junction with Santiago Creek and the site of El Refugio (the Refuge), one of the earliest haciendas. 25

Edward Trinidad Grijalva
"Grijalva's personal search for his roots has unearthed information that challenges conventional versions of Orange County history."26 "[He] traces his roots back to his cousin, Juan Pablo Grijalva, a military leader during the De Anza trek and colonization. Juan Pablo applied for the first Spanish land grant in what is now Orange County where Eddie was born and raised." 27 

In 1992 he located the remains of Juan Pablos casa in the city of Orange, where Eddie now lives. In addition, Eddie is a Gabrielino Indian which maintains a direct link between the Spanish and Gabrielino of 200 years ago. 3

"Presentations by Eddie Grijalva are a testament to California's heritage and inspire individuals to pursue their own history."2 "Eddie is a bona fide historian/researcher whose credentials include access to the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley." 28 "Spending time with Eddie Grijalva is like touching history." 3

* Again, grants were given only in the Mexican period; this was a concession.

References & Bibliography (see footnote numbers next to text above):

1 - Eddie Grijalva, Orange City Magazine, Fall 1994.
2 - Douglas Westfall, Orange County Publisher.
3 - Paul Apodaca, Educator on Native Americans, Chapman University
4 - Jim Sleeper, Orange County Historian & Author.
5 - Don Meadows - Historic Place names of Orange County.
6 - Padre Presidente Fermin Francisco de Lasuan, Padre Serra's successor.
7 - Bernal Diaz, Conquest of Mexico, 1530s.
8 - The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft Vol XV.
9 - Marie Northrop - Spanish & Mexican Families of Early California Vol I.
10 - Cartes del Teniente Grijalva, 1794-1806. * 
11 - The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft Vol XVIII.
12 - Padre Pedro Font, 1774.
13 - Explicacion del Registro desde San Diego, 1795. *
14 - Con las Memorias de este Presidio, 1794. *
15 - Informe sobre exploradas pro Pedro Mariner, 1795 *
16 - Wayne Dell Gibson, Orange County Historian & Author.
17 - WPA Historical Project, 1936
18 - Francisco Mar�a Ruiz, Concession de Arrillaga, 1810.
19 - William Wolfskill - Told to M. Pleasants, 1870c.
20 - Don Meadows - Historic Place Names of Orange County.
21- Jessie Hoyt Campbell - Cal State Univ Fullerton, Oral History Program, 1976.
23- Laura Saari - Orange County Register, 1992.
24- Excerpted from the Orange Addition, Dec 1994.
25- Excerpted from the Orange Addition, Nov 1994.
26- Brian Langston, Publicist, Bowers Museum
27- Mimi Lozano-Holtzman, Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research
28- Joe Osterman, Orange County Historian

* Bancroft Library Manuscript

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