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Finding Aid to the Yorba-Cota Family Papers MS.1061
MS.1061  
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  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Processing history
  • Scope and contents
  • Access
  • Use
  • Preferred citation

  • Title: Yorba-Cota Family Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.1061
    Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
    Language of Material: Spanish; Castilian
    Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1837-1897
    Abstract: The Cotas the and Yorbas were prominent and wealthy land-owning families who played an integral role in early California history and politics. Pablo Antonio Cota and Jose Antonio Yorba both participated in the Portola expedition and were granted vast stretches of California land as a result. This collection consists of legal documents pertaining to the Yorba and Cota families ranging from 1837 to 1897. The documents relate to land ownership, lawsuits, wills, and financial dealings.
    Language: Spanish and English.
    creator: Cota Family
    creator: Yorba Family

    Biographical/Historical note

    The Cotas the and Yorbas were prominent and wealthy land-owning families who played an integral role in early California history and politics. Pablo Antonio Cota and Jose Antonio Yorba both participated in the Portola expedition and were granted vast stretches of California land as a result.
    The Cotas:
    Pablo Antonio Cota was born circa 1744 at Loreto in Baja California. On July 4, 1768, he enlisted as a soldier at the age of 24. In March of 1769, he traveled with the Portola expedition to San Diego, thus establishing the Cota family in California. Pablo Antonio Cota died on December 30, 1800, and was buried at the Presidio of Santa Barbara. He was 55 years old at the time of his death having served as a presidio soldier for 32 years. He and his wife, Dona Rosa Lugo, had a daughter, Maria Los Angeles Cota de la Torre, who was born at Santa Barbara in 1790. At 13 she was married to Don Jose Joaquin de la Torre, cadet and commissary at Monterey, and afterwards secretary to Governor Sola. She died at Monterey in 1877, aged eighty-seven years, after seventy-four years of married life. She left three sons, three daughters, forty-three grand- children, thirty-four great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren.
    Maria Ysabel Cota de Pico was born in Santa Barbara, May, 1783. At 19 she married Jose Dolores Pico, one of three brothers who came to California with the first Mexican colony as officers in the military service of the Spanish Vice-royalty in Mexico. Her husband died in 1827, after fifty years of military service. Of this marriage were born thirteen children, who, with their cousins, the Castros, children of their father's brothers, and allies by marriage, were all powerful in the affairs of government in California at the time of the American invasion. Maria Ysabel Cota de Pico was over 86 years old when she died. Her descendants numbered over 300, including one of the sixth generation; nearly all live in California and they bear the names of the most prominent native families, as well as of many leading American citizens intermarried with them.
    In the 1830s the Cota family received several large land grants between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, California which served to further their power and prominence in California and its history.
    The Yorbas: Jose Antonio Yorba, originally from Catalonia, Spain, was a young corporal when he participated in the Portola expedition which passed through Orange County in July of 1769 on its way toward Monterey, California. He is credited with the discovery of the Santa Ana Canyon during this expedition. He married Maria Josefa Grijalva in San Francisco on May 17, 1782. Their first three children were born in the Monterey area while Jose Antonio was in the army. In 1789 the family moved to San Diego after he had been assigned to the presidio there. Eleven more children were born to the family between 1789 and 1810. Juan Antonio retired from the army in 1797 and, with his father in-law, Juan Pablo Grijalva, he began grazing cattle on the land that was to become Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. When Jose Antonio Yorba, along with his nephew, Juan Pablo Peralta, applied for their land grant they were required to get permission from Grijalva's widow, Maria Josefa. On July 1,1810, Governor Figueroa granted the 62,516 acres to Jose Antonio Yorba and Juan Pablo Peralta.
    The Yorba family is said to have once owned “all the land between Riverside and the sea.” The original Yorba land grant, given to Jose Antonio Yorba by the king of Spain in 1769, included what are now Corona, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Olive, Costa Mesa, and El Modena, California.
    References:
    Hardwick, M. R. (n.d.). Californians and the military: Alférez Pablo Antonio Cota (1744-1800. Retrieved from http://www.militarymuseum.org
    Member of ‘oldest farm family’ succumbs. (1950, May, 2). Los Angeles Times.
    Mary Scully, 86, of early Yorba family succumbs. (1952, August, 27). Los Angeles Times.
    Ernesto T. Yorba, pioneer county citizen, passes. (1948, July, 1). Los Angeles Times.
    Marsh, D. (1994). Santa Ana, an illustrated history. Jacksonville, FL: Heritage Publishing.
    Meadows, D. (1963). The house of Bernardo Yorba. Santa Ana, CA: Pioneer Press.
    ‘Dancing’ Cotas to delight audience at queen of missions. (1949, August 3). Santa Barbara News-Press.
    Storke, Y.A. (1891). A memorial and biographical history of the counties Of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo. Retrieved from: http://files.usgwarchives.net/ca/santabarbara/history/1891/amemoria/pioneers224gms.txt

    Processing history

    Initial inventory created by Southwest Museum staff, circa 1941. Descriptive notes for finding aid created by Maritxu de Alaiza, 2012 August 30. Finding aid completed by Anna Liza Posas 2013. Final processing of collection and publication of finding aid made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

    Scope and contents

    This collection consists of legal documents pertaining to the Yorba and Cota families ranging from 1837 to 1897. The documents relate to land ownership, lawsuits, wills, and financial dealings.

    Access

    Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application or contact library staff at rroom@theautry.org.

    Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred citation

    Yorba-Cota Family Papers, 1837-1897, Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.1061; [folder number] [folder title][date].

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Cota, Leonardo.
    Cota, Manuela Nieto de.
    Cota, Ynez Yorba de
    Figueroa, Francisco
    Peralta, Juan Pablo
    Sepulveda, Family
    Wolfskill, Francisca
    Wolfskill, Lewis
    Yorba, Bernardo, 1800 or 1801-1858
    Yorba, Teodorio
    Actions and defenses
    Affidavits
    Baja California (Mexico : Peninsula)
    California -- History -- Sources
    Correspondence
    Deeds -- California
    Land grants -- California
    Land tenure -- California
    Legal documents
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History -- Sources
    Maps
    Memorandums
    Rancho Los Alamitos (Calif.)
    Receipts (financial records)