The Journal of San Diego History
Summer 1974, Volume 20, Number 3

Dear Editor:

I wish to make several comments regarding Kurt Van Horn’s article “Tempting Temecula” in the Winter, 1974 Journal of San Diego History.

First, I feel that Mr. Van Horn has completely confused some points made in my article entitled “The Location of the Indian Village of Temecula” in the Summer, 1972 Journal. He states that I place the village of Temecula “near the Spanish warehouse [El Trojo] excavated by the McCown party,” This is not so. I said that “El Trojo was situated at the northern end of Wolf Valley about one and a half miles southwest of Pauba Ranch headquarters (Wolfs Store).” The Indian village was a quarter mile southeasterly of Wolfs Store and not near El Trojo. I have prepared the enclosed map in order to clarify the locations of these places, McCown’s site and those I discuss below.

There are several of Mr. Van Horn’s statements concerning Temecula during the  early American period which I feel are not correct. Map of Temecula

The Treaty of Temecula was one of eighteen treaties concluded between  California Indian tribes and the three U.S. Indian Agents, including Dr. Wozencraft. All the treaties were rejected by the Senate. In part this was due to the scandalous conduct of the agents and the amount of money required to meet the conditions of the treaties. Perhaps the major reason for rejection of these treaties was that they guaranteed to the Indians reservations which embraced a very large part of the state at a time when the full extent of the gold yielding regions was still not known. The Senate could see no reason to “give away” what might become valuable. In the specific case of the Treaty of Temecula the reservation was not simply “consisting of the original grant [of Pablo Apis to Little Temecula Rancho]”, but all those parts of present-day Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial counties lying north of Warner’s grant, south and east of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Pass area, and west of the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain (sic), perhaps meaning the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains, and, including the Rancho of Temecula. Treaties by and with the United States only become effective after ratification by the Senate. The Indians knew they had signed a treaty but never understood why it was not honored by the Whites. Rejection of the treaty did not cause “the dispersion and decline of the Luiseno Indians” nor did it force them “to assume a nomadic existence in the valley,” as claimed by Van Horn. The village remained a principal Luiseno settlement until eviction in the 1870s.

The record needs to be set straight regarding Cline and Moody and their “Willow Station.” They did not settle on the Little Temecula Rancho but on the Big Temecula Rancho near the junction of Murrieta Creek and Santa Gertrudis Creek. “Alamos,” willows in Spanish, is shown on Lt. Cave Couts’ 1850 “Sketch of Country from the Colorado River to Los Angeles, San Diego, Etc.” [from The Mapping of the Trans-Mississippi West] as being 7 miles north of Temecula (the Indian village) and 12 miles south of Laguna (Lake Elsinore). “Cline & Moody” is shown on “Map of the Ranchos Temecula and Pauba,” dating from after 1884 (from the office of the County Surveyor of San Diego County), as being in the northwesterly portion of Section 35, T.7S., R.3W., within the Big Temecula Rancho, being at the above junction of the two creeks.

Butterfield’s Overland Mail resulted in the establishment of a station at Temecula Ranch (the house of Pablo Apis). This station was later relocated across Temecula Creek at Wolfs Store. Because of the distance to the next station north, Laguna, an intermediate station was established at Willows. The Civil War halted the stage line and disrupted the economic life of the Temecula area. Lt. Thomas E. Turner, on October 5, 1861 made a report of his expedition to Temecula, where his troop camped beside the small lake. He stated that on October 1:

at 12 midnight I left Temecula. October 2, joined Captain Davidson at 4 a.m. at Cline’s ranch. We found here, after marching six miles, good water, but wood and shade scarce.

“at 12 midnight I left Temecula. October 2, joined Captain Davidson at 4 a.m. at Cline’s ranch. We found here, after marching six miles, good water, but wood and shade scarce.”

Also in October of 1861 the California Volunteers marched through the region on their way to Arizona. “The Journal of March of Companies E, G, & H, First Infantry California Volunteers” lists under entry of October 21: “From Kline’s [sic] to Temecula, Indian village, six miles and a half by good level road….” [both quotes from The War of the Rebellion]

The several above references are sufficient to show that Willows, the ranch of Cline & Moody, was 6-7 miles northwest of Temecula Indian village and ranch. Willows had nothing directly to do with the village of Temecula or the later town. Louis Wolfs store was at Temecula, as was the Temecula ranch and the Indian village.

A further point Mr. Van Horn has confused is the question of residents of Temecula. He states that “the little village of Temecula grew and evidently prospered. By 1860 it had a population of 110 (85 whites, 2 blacks, and 23 Indians) with 313 Indians living in the Temecula Indian Village.”

The Census of 1860 has the population of San Diego County listed by township. Temecula Township was a huge region which included present-day Pauma Valley, Pala, Rainbow, Temecula, as far north as Elsinore, to the east to the San Jacinto Rancho, and included Indian villages of Soboba, Coahuilla, and Auguanga. Of the persons listed by Van Horn as residents of the little village of Temecula, Joseph Gifthaler and James Ingalls were located 13’/2 miles southeast of Temecula near Aguanga; Juan Machado was owner of Rancho Laguna around present Lake Elsinore, over 20 miles northwest of Temecula; and Cline and Moody were 61/2 miles northwest at Willows. I find neither John Raines (sic) nor H. S. Burton listed as inhabitants of Temecula Township in the Census of 1860 (photostat copy in my possession). Thus it is clear that what Mr. Van Horn takes to be the village of Temecula is actually the township. Based on the positions of persons on the census rolls I feel that in 1860 Temecula, centered around Wolfs store and exclusive of the Indian village, consisted of less than 20 persons. Mr. Van Horn again lists persons from throughout the township in 1880 as being citizens of “the little village of Temecula.” Mr. Van Horn has arbitrarily added the children of Pablo Apis to the Indian village of Temecula although they lived at the Temecula Ranch, about a quarter mile away and are not shown on the census rolls as being of the village (these 5 persons-ages 10 to 25-account for the difference in the number of Indians at the village reported by Van Horn and myself).

The major point of this letter is that Willows, or “Willow Station,” was not at Temecula. The two existed at the same time several miles apart. But the fact that Mr. Van Horn combined them and made other obvious errors brings into question the credibility of The Journal of San Diego History as a whole. I understand that the Journal staff has no way to verify every assertion or statement made in an article; that the author is expected to insure that his sources are correct. I note that there is also a disclaimer in the Journal to that effect. Despite that disclaimer I believe it is in the best interest of the Journal itself and the study of local history in general that greater effort be made to have articles checked for accuracy before they are published. Once something is in print it is always there to be quoted, correct or not, and in time it becomes gospel.

Thank you for hearing me out and I hope to be able to visit with you personally in the near future.

Leland E. Bibb
San Diego, Ca.


Mr. Van Horn replies

Dear Editor:

The information contained in my article “Tempting Temecula: The Making and Unmaking of a Southern California Community,” which was published by the San Diego Historical Society, was derived from primary materials.

I have received no justification for questioning the authenticity of these source materials and will therefore stand on the article as presented.

Kurt Van Horn
Fallbrook, Ca.