MS 156 Warner’s Ranch Collection

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Union Title and Trust Company.
Warner’s Ranch Collection
MS 156
Date [inclusive]
0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
Collection materials are in English and Spanish.
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.”

Preferred Citation

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

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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.

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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.

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Collection is arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection February 7, 2013

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

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.

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.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Butterfield Stage Line.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Cupeno Indians
  • San Diego (Calif.)
  • San Diego County (Calif.)
  • Warner’s Ranch (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • 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
  • Deeds
  • Estates (Law)
  • Land titles
  • Mortgages
  • Stagecoach lines

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

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Collection Inventory

“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

“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

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


Hand-drawn map indicating location of Butterfield Station made by Ida Caldwell Harris

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


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