THE SPANISH COLONIZATION
The Spanish King ordered the colonization of Upper California to prevent it being taken over by Russians, English, or Dutch. Two ships and two land parties met at San Diego to march to Monterey which Vizcaino indicated as being a fine harbor. With Gaspar de Portola leading, and Pedro Fages as Captain of the soldiers, the expedition left San Diego in July 1769. Father Serra, head of the priests, could not join them because of sickness among the ships' crews.
The expedition passed three Indian villages in what is now Orange County at Olive, Fullerton and La Habra. These villages were made of grass wickiups. Later they passed one by a river they named for "The Queen of the Angels." In 1781, a pueblo was begun there that took the name, "La Reina de Los Angeles."
Pedro Fages became Governor of California. In 1784, he granted land to three of his corporals in the "Leather Jacket Guards" so they could raise cattle. Manuel Nieto received the land that lay between what is now the Rio Hondo and the Santa Ana River. His four children inherited the land at his death in 1804. In 1834, they had it divided by Governor Figueroa, which he did as shown on this "diseno."
Juan Jose Nieto, the oldest son, received the Rancho Los Coyotes, the nearly square area in the center. Buena Park is now located near the center of that rancho. After California became part of the United States, the General Land Office established exact lines. They divided the entire area into townships and sections so every square foot could be identified. In the late 1860's when the ranchos were split up and sold, Ad access easements" for roads were established on the section and midsection lines.
Therefore access was guaranteed to any property. These became the main streets in the towns and the connecting roads between the towns. The county line separating Orange from Los Angeles county was established in 1889. It ,divided Rancho Los Coyotes and placed towns on each side. When the area was still a rancho, it was mostly grazing land for cattle, which was the "money" of the area.
A mule track, called El Camino Real, ran through the area that is now Anaheim. lt divided there and the Lower Road to Los Angeles branched to the west on what later became Los Angeles Street. This is now a part of Anaheim Boulevard between La Palma Park and the Municipal Court. While the road is not clear from there to Magnolia and Orangethorpe Avenues, maps of 1877 and 1888 (Fig. 16) show it turned northwest at that point and crossed Artesia Street near Indiana Avenue. It then passed the old adobe house of Rancho Los Coyotes that sat on the hill just above Malvern Avenue, at about where the south end of Lockhaven Drive is now in New Bellehurst. There are pepper and palm trees there now that were around the old adobe in its last use late in the 19th century.
Juan Jose Nieto sold the rancho to Juan Bautiste Leandry who renamed it "La Buena Esperanza," - The Good Hope - but it was still generally known as Los Coyotes. Leandry died within a few years, and his widow married Francisco O'Campo. It was this couple who occupied the old adobe when the United States army camped there.