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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rancho Los Meganos was a 13,316-acre (53.89 km2) Mexican land grant in present day Contra Costa County, California given in 1835 by Governor José Castro to Jose Noriega. "Meganos" means "sand dunes" in Spanish. Rancho Los Meganos extends eastward from present day Antioch along the San Joaquin River to the Old River. The rancho lands included present day Oakley, Knightsen, and Brentwood.[1]


Jose Noreiga arrived in California in 1834 and received the between three and four leagues Los Meganos grant in 1835. John Marsh bought the rancho from Jose Noriega in 1837.[2] From that time Los Meganos was also known as the Marsh Ranch. In 1851, Marsh married Abbie Tuck, and in 1854 started on a new house (the Stone House).[3] But Abbie Marsh died in 1855, before the house was finished, leaving Marsh and their young daughter Alice. John Marsh was murdered in 1856 by disgruntled employees who felt that he had cheated them out of their wages.[4] [5][6]

A claim was filed with the Public Land Commission by John Marsh in 1852 and the grant was patented to daughter Alice Marsh in 1867.[7][8] Alice Marsh married William Walker Camron in 1871. In 1871 son Charles P. Marsh mortgaged the rancho and lost it to the Savings and Loan Society (of San Francisco) who sold the property to James T. Sanford of New York.[9] In 1878, the Savings and Loan Society foreclosed on Sanford and held the rancho until 1900, when the Balfour Guthrie Investment company purchased the rancho.[10]

Historic sites of the Rancho

  • Stonehouse. Marsh house completed in 1856.[11]
  • Site of the Murder of Dr John Marsh.[12]


  1. ^ Diseño del Rancho Los Meganos
  2. ^ J. P. Munro-Fraser, History of Contra Costa County, California
  3. ^ Love, Life and Death on the California Frontier
  4. ^ Carol A. Jensen, 2008,Brentwood, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN: 9780738558257
  5. ^ Karen E. Hurwitz, 1972, The History of John Marsh and Rancho De Los Meganos, Morning News-Gazette.
  6. ^ Hoover, Mildred B.; Hero & Ethel Rensch, and William N. Abeloe (1966). Historic Spots in California. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804744829.  
  7. ^ Report of the Surveyor General 1844 - 1886
  8. ^ United States. District Court (California : Northern District) Land Case 107 ND
  9. ^ Sanford v. Savings and Loan Society
  10. ^ Frederick J. Hulaniski, 1917,The History of Contra Costa County, California, Elms Pubishing Co., Berkeley
  11. ^ John Marsh House - Brentwood, CA
  12. ^ Site of the murder of Dr John Marsh (#722)

Coordinates: 37°57′00″N 121°40′48″W / 37.950°N 121.680°W / 37.950; -121.680



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