Pio Pico, the governor, of Mexico in 1843 granted 48,801 acres along the northern side of the Río de los Santos Reyes (river of the Holy Kings), later being called the Kings River, to Manuel Castro of Monterey. The land grant to Castro was one of few land grants that was upheld by the U. S. Land Commission. This required a new survey to compare the grant to the original Mexican “diseño.”
The survey was conducted by T. J. Dewoody and was finished on January 4, 1864. Although the commission confirmed Castro’s title he was heavily in debt and losing the land to his lawyers. In 1852 about 8,800 acres were sold to Jeremiah Clarke, Castro’s attorney. Then in 1858 Castro failed to pay Clarke $310 and Clarke was awarded another 36,000 acres. Castro never occupied the grant.
Jeremiah Clarke eventually gained control of the entire land grant. In 1880 Clark leased Rancho Laguna de Tache to the Polley Heilbron & Company for a term of 10 years, with an option of purchasing the land. Clarke’s wife, Charlotte, was able to retain the property after she had Jeremiah declared mentally incompetent and after several court cases, she prevented Polley Heilbron & Company from purchasing the Rancho. Charlotte later sold the Rancho to Charles A. Laton, a San Francisco capitalist and Llewellyn A. Nares, an Englishman (for whom the towns Laton and Lanare are named) in 1896.
diseño – (historical) A rough map required to accompany Spanish and Mexican land grant petitions made in Alta California prior to the Mexican-American War.