Friday, May 16, 2014

Branding iron mystery

Someone walked into the Orange County Archives today with three branding irons he'd acquired from a descendant of Vincente Yorba, Jr. I traced the brands and posted the tracings above. The center one looks like a variation on Bernardo Yorba's original brand from the 1830s/1840s, but it's not exact. Do any of you sharp-eyed readers know the "who" or the "when" of these brands?

I can tell you some places these brands do not appear: They aren't in the "Historic Brands of Orange County" guide in Jim Sleeper's 2nd Orange County Almanac of Historical Oddities. They don't appear in the 1919 California Brand Book (the only edition I have at hand). They also don't appear in the little chart of rancho brands at First American Corp., which is also reproduced in Cindy Tino-Sandoval's Images of America: Yorba Linda. They are also absent from the county's old Brand Book and the other filed brands at the Orange County Archives.

So now the ball is in your court. Please leave your comments in the comments section below. Thanks in advance for any light you can shed.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was there any other information that came with them? Did they come from a family document?

Chris Jepsen said...

They're not from a document. I traced the actual metal. There was a photo of one of the Yorbas holding the brands sometime in the past 20 years or so, but no other documentation (at least none that I got to see).

Papa said...

Chris-
When I was in High School (OHS '73)
we leased the Forster Ranch off Camino de Estrella in Capistrano. There was still about 3500 ac. left of one of the Rancho's given to Juan (John) Forster by his Brother in Law Pio Pico. In the working corrals leading up to the squeeze chute there were dozens of old brands on the planks including the one in the middle and maybe the one on the right. Wish I had taken pics. I know the Forster family had ranches all over CA & OR, maybe they were Forster family brands from other states.

Anonymous said...

The solver of this mystery gets to bend over and have a red hot A+ branded into his/her rear end.

outsidetheberm said...

Well, now we've got some incentive!

Chris Jepsen said...

My thanks to the Saddleback Area Historical Society which just printed these mystery brands in their newsletter. Several of their members have called me so far to discuss them.

So far, only Eddie Grijalva had actual guesses for me. He thinks the first one might be an Ortega or Arguello brand. He thinks the middle one might be from the Penasquitas Rancho down in San Diego. And he thinks the third one might be a brand used by the Forsters.

Any of those guesses might be right, but so far I haven't been able to vet them. Again, I appreciate everyone helping get to the bottom of this.

Anonymous said...

The one on the right looks like the one registered to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros out of San Luis Obispo.

melanie goss said...

I was going to tell you that someone on the Santa Ana Canyon site on Facebook said the last one looked like Ontiveros.This has been a question asked a lot recently.

A Yorba said...

Have you checked out:
California's Cattle Brands and EarmarksAuthor(s): Ana Begue de PackmanSource: The Quarterly: Historical Society of Southern California, Vol. 27, No. 4 (December1945), pp. 127-149Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Historical Society of Southern CaliforniaStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41168069 .

Chris Jepsen said...

I think we're maybe getting warmer here. All three are reminiscent of Ontiveros brands, but they don't match.

The one on the left bears a slight resemblance to the brand registered to Guadalupe Ontiveros in Book 3, page 61 of Cattle Brands at the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office. But there are a lot of differences too.

The brand in the center is close to one issued to Patricio Ontiveros in San Luis Obispo in 1857, but there are some clear differences here also.

The one on the right looks just a little like one granted to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros in SLO in 1857, but again, it's definitely not close enough that I believe it's the same brand.

BTW, I'm looking at page 160 of Virginia Carpenter's "The Ranchos of Don Pacifico Ontiveros" for reference. Of course, it's possible that Carpenter did not find or include every last one of the Ontiveros brands.

Chris Jepsen said...

A. Yorba: Thank you! Phil Brigandi was looking for that reference for me the other day, but didn't find it. The article proved at least one useful thing: The early Yorba brands included some variations on the basic design, and the brand shown in the center here would have fit very nicely within that range of variation. I think it's now pretty safe to say that the center brand is a Yorba brand. But we still have nothing solid on the other two. The one on the right bears a partial resemblance to Jose Perez's brand from Rancho San Pasqual, but...

steak branding iron said...

He thinks the first one might be an Ortega or Arguello brand. He thinks the middle one might be from the Penasquitas Rancho down in San Diego. And he thinks the third one might be a brand used by the Forsters.Thanks for sharing all that great information..