Muscupiabe Drive

Image of Michael C. White
Michael C. White
On April 29, 1843, Governor Manuel Micheltorena granted to Michael C. White the Muscupiabe Rancho. In the mouth of Cajon Pass, the rancho was established for the purpose of heading off Indian stock thieves coming from the Mojave Desert through the pass. White built a fortress-like house on the piedmont between what is now known as Devil and Cable canyons. He lived there only nine months and his family was with him there only six weeks. He lost his stock to the Indians, and instead of protecting other landowners, who were helping support the establishment, he abandoned it. In 1853, claim was made to the United States Land Commission, White to receive half the land, and his attorney the other half. In 1859, he sold his half to Henry Hancock who surveyed the Rancho and by a "fortunate" circumstance increased its size from 1 league to 7! In old age, White was reduced to poverty on his ranch San Isidro, near the San Gabriel Mission, which he was forced to sell to settle debts.

He believed Americans had treated him badly, and swindled him of lands and other property.1

According to his granddaughter, Esther V. Rockoff, White built a simple adobe shelter near what is now Walnut Avenue, near Riverside Avenue. Later, it was used as an animal supply depot for a stagecoach, which operated between San Bernardino and Cucamonga. In 1961, The Rialto Jaycees raised money to preserve the adobe, and it was moved to the Rialto Civil Center, where it may be seen today.

Image of a Rialto Adobe, 1923
Rialto Adobe, 1923

Michael White was also known as Miguel Blanco. He was born in Kent, England in 1802.At 13 years of age he was apprenticed to the master of a ship in the whaling business. He was left ashore in Baja California, and then followed a series of adventures and sailing which took him to ports in Mexico, California and the Sandwich Islands. In 1831 he married Maria Del Rosario Guillen, daughter of Miguel Ontionio Guillen and Eulalia Perez at the San Gabriel Mission. He participated in the revolution against Micheltorena, in the Gold Rush of 1849, and was acquainted with many Los Angeles and San Bernardino Valley pioneers. He had thirteen children, and died about 1885 in Los Angeles.

1 White, Michael C. and Savage, Thomas, California All the Way Back to 1828, from Bancroft Dictation, 1877, Glen Dawson, Los Angeles, 1956, p. xv.

[See also: Nick Cataldo's article on Muscupiabe Drive]

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