FIRST -- of the Avila Family to Settle in Saddleback Valley - Laguna Hills, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
N 33° 36.440 W 117° 41.826
11S E 435329 N 3718836
Quick Description: A large historical sign on a trail in Laguna Hills, California.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 2/10/2021 2:29:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM13RP0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member model12
Views: 0

Long Description:
The sign says, "The land that today includes the cities of Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, and a portion of Laguna Niguel was once called Rancho Niguel. This 13,000 acre rancho, named after a Native American village located along Aliso Creek, was once owned by Don Juan Avila. In his many years as a resident of the area, Juan Avila came to be known for his generosity, hospitality, honestly, and prosperous ownership of Rancho Niguel.

Juan Avila was born in Los Angeles to Antonio Ignacio Avila and Rosa Ruiz de Avila of Santa Barbara. He was the first of the Avila family to settle in Saddleback Valley, where he raised cattle for their hides. In 1833, he married Soldedad Yorba; the Avilas later had four children, three girls and one boy. The youngest child, Teotilo Pisano, did not survive childhood, but the three older children, Rosa, Guadalupe, and Manuel Dormaciano, lived to marry and have children of their own. On Jun 21, 1842, Governor Alvarado of California granted Rancho Niguel to Juan Avila as a reward for his dedication to the government as "jue del campo" or judge of the plains. As a result, Juan Avila was given the title of Don and wife Do_a, to signify their ownership of a large rancho.

During the years following the discovery of gold in California, Avila added to his wealth by selling cattle for beef to the northern miners, earning the nickname "El Rico", the rich one. Don Juan was thanked for his kindness. He opened his home to many who traveled along El Camino Real, today the route along the freeway. Stories are told of lavish fiestas given by the Avila family. Their adobe became a center for command celebrations as well as a place of refuge for people in need. The Avila adobe was also the site of a historic meeting at which Commodore Stockton and Brigadier General Kearney convinced Don Juan Avilo to assist the American Army as the Battle of Las Mesa during the Mexican American War.

Juan Avila remained Don of Rancho Niguel until 1865 when he sold the property to Juan Forster and moved to a larger residence in the nearby village of San Juan Capistrano. His wife, Soledad Yorba de Avila, died two years later during a smallpox epidemic. Although Juan lived over twenty years following his wife's death, he never remarried. Juan Avila died in San Juan Capistrano on December 23, 1889, at the age of 77. Hid life spanned the period from Spanish Franciscans, to the Mexican Dons, to the American settlers. He will always be remembered as one of the largest landowners of the area, the Don of Rancho Niguel."
FIRST - Classification Variable: Person or Group

Date of FIRST: Not listed

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bluesnote visited FIRST -- of the Avila Family to Settle in Saddleback Valley - Laguna Hills, CA 2/10/2021 bluesnote visited it