Monday, November 09, 2009

Hidden Ranch Location

(GPS: N33 48.280 W117 39.180)

The final part of the hike I have been showing in the past few blogs was this point. Although one can continue another few miles to see the next historic spot I decided that I could hike to it on another day from another trail route. After I came here I wanted to turn around. This picture continues from the the lost blog where the turnoff is the Indian village. I was under the impression that I would have to travel much further to get to what was known as Hidden Ranch. I was mistaken since it was only about 500 feet down the dirt road. The ranch would have been down the road just to the right in the open field.
There was a cattle ranch that existed here: Hidden Ranch.
This is pretty close to it. If you are in the mood you can plug the coordinates into Google Earth, if you have it, and then go back in time to see the ranch in the past. I did it to verify what I was looking for. It was only a few years ago that they took it down. There is an old video of some guys exploring what I assume is the old ranch.
Again, where the ranch would have been.
One of the few remaining structures I could find.
The "wild west" story that I know about this place is taken from Terry Stephenson’s Shadows of Old Saddleback (1930):

"Perhaps no death by violence touched the public career of any man in the county so much as did the killing of James Gregg on June 9 1899, affect the career of its superior court judge, the late J. W. Ballard. The Hidden Ranch at that time was in the hands of Henry Hungerford of Norwalk and George M. Howard of Anaheim. At the ranch with them was Hungerford’s brother, Thomas L. Hungerford. On the evening of June 8, James M. Gregg of Centralia and his brother-in-law, Decatur Harris, and a 13-year-old boy, Clinton Hunt, arrived for the purpose of driving out some stock that Gregg owned. Gregg and Henry Hungerford quarreled. It seems that Howard owed Gregg $10 on a horse trade, and Gregg insisted that Hungerford and Howard accept $7.50 in settlement of their pasturage bill of $17.50.

That night, Gregg, Harris and the boy slept on the ground in front of the house. When Gregg was rolling up his blankets the next morning, Henry Hungerford came out and the dispute resumed. It ended in shooting. The Hungerfords, each armed with a shotgun, and Gregg, with a revolver, fought it out. When the shooting ceased, Gregg was on the ground with charges of birdshot and buckshot through him. The Hungerfords hitched up a horse and drove down Black Star and on into Santa Ana, where they gave themselves up to Sheriff Theo Lacy. In the meantime, Gregg was laid in a spring wagon by Harris and the boy and was being taken to a doctor when, near the Irvine Park in Santiago canyon, the wagon was met by Sheriff Lacy and District Attorney R. Y. Williams. A doctor was found at El Modena and it was at a house in El Modena that Gregg died. The trial before Judge Ballard resulted in the conviction of Henry Hungerford. In those days killings were infrequent and a trial of this kind created an interest that was widespread and intense. Public sentiment was against the defendants. Following conviction, a new trial was sought, and unexpectedly Judge Ballard granted the motion on the ground that not enough evidence had been produced to warrant the verdict. Having presented all the evidence available there was nothing for the district attorney to do but ask for the dismissal of the case. Soon afterward, Judge Ballard came up for re-election, with Z. B. West as his opponent. Judge Ballard’s decision in the Hungerford case was the outstanding issue of the campaign, which was vigorous and which resulted in the defeat of Judge Ballard."