Antonio Peralta and Rancho San Antonio

This photo of Antonio's family was taken on the front porch of their second adobe home, which was built in 1840. The photo was taken after California had been taken over by the USA. Notice that the family is dressed in the "Americano" style.

Antonio was the third son of Luis Maria Peralta.  He was baptized August 16, 1801, at Mission Santa Clara.  He died February 22, 1879, in Oakland’s Fruitvale distric, and is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Oakland.

Antonio was the first of the Peralta brothers to live on the Rancho San Antonio.  He built the first adobe on Rancho San Antonio in 1821. The house had a broad porch, which faced Peralta Creek.  This was perhaps the first non-native dwelling to be constructed in present-day Oakland.  Not a nail or peg was used in its construction, but all the timbers were tied together with rawhide thongs.  The house was removed from the site after it was shaken by earthquakes, but a few of the bricks are preserved in the Boy Scout House in Dimond Park.

In 1828, Antonio married Maria Dolores Galindo and took her to live on the rancho.  Like Antonio, Maria’s family first came to the Bay Area as part of the the Anza Expedition in 1776.

By 1840 Antonio and Maria had 6 children, and they built a larger adobe home for their family near the first house.  Later they erected an adobe wall enclosing their garden of about two and a half acres, watered by Peralta Creek.  Eventually, this site contained two adobes, and some twenty guest houses, and became an established stop for travelers along the Eastern branch of the Camino Real.  Annual rodeos and cattle roundup, horse racing, games and fandagos  – often took place here.

After Maria died circa 1850, Antonio married his second wife, Maria Dolores Archuleta, on October 15, 1852.  Maria died June 4, 1868.  Antonio had a total of thirteen children.

By 1860, the brother’s land holdings had been substantially reduced, partly to pay for the previous decades’ litigation and to cover newly imposed property taxes.  When Antonio’s 1840 adobe was made uninhabitable by the 1868 Hayward Fault earthquake, Antonio and his family moved back into the 1821 Adobe.  In 1870, after rmoving the debris of the 1840 adobe, the guesthouses, and the hacienda wall, Antonio uilt the rItalianate Vicorian two-story frame house.  By this time, the rancho era was near a close and the values, culture and cusoms of the newcomers had replaced those of the Californios.  Evidence of this transition, including the transfer of wealth, is reflected in the architecture of the 1870 wooden frame house.  It stands in sharp contrast to the adobe residences it replaces; yet also bears little connection to the ornate Victorian homes built a the same time by prosperous Bay Area residents of American or European descent.

Antonio was the last surviving son of Luis Maria Peralta.  He died in 1879.  At the time of his death, Antonio owned his own home and had 23 acres left of the original 16,067 acres he had received from his father.  The property was valued at $15,000 when the estate was probated two years later.  Not a huge estate by the standards of the time, but still a substantial home in his neighborhood.  Antonio had 16 heirs, but the house and land were deeded to Francisco Galindo (husband of Antonio’s daughter inez) in turst in payment of a $5,000 debt.

Antonio’s children fought over the handling of the estate and there are surviving letters that discuss financial problems experienced by the adult children, and the need to sell off land for money.  In the end, the 1870 house and the last 18 acres of Anonio’s share of the land grant was sold by his daughter Inez Galindo in 1897 to a developer named Henry Z. Jones.  The house was moved across the street and a housing development called the Galindo tract resulted.  The last remnants of the 1821 adobe were also removed from the site at the time and some to the bricks were used to build the Dimond Lodge in Dimond Park, Oakland.  Fifty years after the American annexation, the last of the headquarters of the Rancho San Antonio was gone.

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