Guide to the Warner's Ranch Collection MS 156

Finding aid prepared by Amanda Hughes
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
February 7, 2013

Title: Warner's Ranch Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MS 156
Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1851-1960
Abstract: The collection consists of records relating to the area of land in Valle de San Jose in San Diego County known commonly as “Warner’s Ranch.”
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English and Spanish.
creator: Union Title and Trust Company.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Preferred Citation

Warner's Ranch Collection, MS 156, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Amanda Hughes on February 7, 2013.
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Warner’s Ranch refers to a tract of land totaling 45,000 acres in the Valle de San Jose in San Diego County, also sometimes called Valle de Val. It was settled by Jonathon Trumbull Warner originally of Connecticut. Warner traveled west in 1830 and became a Mexican citizen in 1836 when he married Anita Gale and changed his name to Juan Jose Warner. He was granted to rights to Warner’s Ranch by the Mexican Governor in 1844. In 1851, the United States Government issued a patent confirming Warner’s ownership of the ranch. That same year Warner and his family left the Ranch and moved to Los Angeles due to his wife’s illness. At that time, he sold all but a few tracts of land to John Raines. Raines died in 1862 and the land entered probate. The ranch was sold off piecemeal until John G, Downey began buying all of the land, a process that took over 10 years. John Downey subsequently died in 1894 and all but two tracts of land were left in the hands of his heirs; John Downey Harvey, Eleanor Martin, Walter Vail, Peter Martin, Walter Martin and Genevieve Riley. The remaining two tracts were owned by Henry Gage.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of records relating to Warner’s Ranch. There are two volumes of the abstract of title of Warner’s Ranch from 1851 through 1904. The volumes cover deed sales, mortgages, lawsuits with local Indian tribes and several probate proceedings. Also included are documents relating to the exact location of the Butterfield Stage stop in Warner’s Ranch and a petition for a school district to be established in Warner’s Ranch and the surrounding areas.


Collection is arranged by subject.


Material added to collection from Document Files Collection; Warner's Ranch file.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Butterfield Stage Line.
Downey, John G.
Gage, Fannie
Harvey, John Downey
Phillips, Louie
Raines, John
Vail, Walter
Warner, J. J. (Juan Jose), 1807-1895
Abstracts of title
Administration of estates
Cupeno Indians
Estates (Law)
Land titles
San Diego (Calif.)
San Diego County (Calif.)
Stagecoach lines
Warner's Ranch (Calif.)

Box-folder 1:1

"Abstract Warner's Ranch Vol I" (bound book) (some in Spanish), 1851-1874

Entries of interest:

Page 1: Patent issued to J.J. Warner by the United States
Pages 16-39: Deeds and Mortages of J.J. Warner
Page 59: Sale of Warner’s Ranch from J.J. Warner to John Raines
Page 65: Sale of J.J. Warner’s remaining land to his children
Pages 97-230: Probate of the estate of John Raines
Box-folder 1:2

"Abstract Warner's Ranch Vol II" (bound book), 1874 August 11-1904 April 14

Entries of interest:

Page 333: Tax collector deeds tract to People of California for non-payment of taxes
Page 348: Suite brought by John Downey and Louis Phillips against several small holders in Warner’s Ranch, judgment in favor of Downey and Phillips
Page 439: Summary of legal disputes of Warner’s Ranch
Page 472: Raines heirs bring suit against John Downey, judgment in favor of Downey
Page 514: Probate of the estate of John Downey
Page 533: Downey’s estate sues to evict Cupeno tribe from land, went to trial November 1896, judgment in favor of Downey heirs, appealed to the Supreme Court of California in 1901, judgment upheld
Page 573: Last Will and Testament of John Downey and probate of the deceased among Downey’s heirs
Page 651: Raines heirs sell remaining land to Fannie Gage and Walter Vail
Page 678: All claimants bring suit to resolve conflicting titles, judgment lays out final ownership
Box-folder 1:3

Butterfield Stage Station, 1960 August 24-September 19 and undated


Hand-drawn map indicating location of Butterfield Station made by Ida Caldwell Harris
Box-folder 1:4

Miscellanea, 1869 September 13-1958 August 7 and undated


Surveyor’s field notes of Warner’s Ranch with measurements and description
Petition to establish a school district in Warner’s Ranch