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Orange County










            Prudencio S. Yorba, a successful rancher of Yorba, Orange County, was born November 1, 1864, a son of Prudencio and Dolores (Ontiveras) Yorba.  The Yorba family may be taken as a type representing the Spanish aristocracy of early California, contemporary with and following the Mission period.  These families were for most part direct from Spain (in the first generation) coming through Mexico, and many of them preferred Spanish to Mexican rule.  The old ranchos were scenes of unbounded hospitality where a guest and traveler always received a warm welcome and an abundance of good cheer.  The Spanish Californians were people of fine social qualities, of pleasing personalities and gracious manners.  The same social qualities are manifested in their descendants of today.  The great-grandfather of Prudencio S. Yorba of this review was Don Jose Antonio Yorba, one of the early Catalans in California.  He was born at the Pueblo de San Saturnino de Moya, Provincia de Cataluña, Spain.  In his youth he joined the army and in a short time was promoted to corporal.  He was with the expedition that landed at San Diego Mission in 1769; when he served his time he settled at San Gabriel Mission.  Imbued with the spirit of adventure, he explored nearly all of southern California lying south of Yerba Buena and fell particularly in love with the section which is now Orange and Riverside counties.  He obtained a grant from the king of Spain for one hundred and eighty thousand acres, embracing land from the present site of Riverside to the Pacific Ocean.  Legally this ranch was known as El Canon de San Antonio de Santa Ana de los Yorba.  After the death of Antonio Yorba, the title thereto passed to his son, Bernardo Yorba.  Antonio Yorba married Senorita Josefa Grijalva, a much loved woman who was widely known for her charitable disposition and her many deeds of kindness.  She was selected as one of the leading characters in the Mission Play, written by John S. McGroarty.  Bernardo Yorba, son of Antonio and Josefa (Grijalva) Yorba, passed away at the age of fifty-eight years.  His first wife was a member of the Alvarado family.  His second wife was Josefa Dominguez, the mother of Prudencio Yorba, the father of our subject; and is third wife was Andrea Pina.

            He improved the rancho and built a ninety-room adobe which was the scene of many magnificent social functions.  The structure comprised two stories and the walls, twenty-six inches thick, were finished in white lime plaster.  It had a dance hall with a polished floor where fandango after fandango furnished enjoyment for the young people.  Only the ruins of this spacious old adobe remain.  Rancho Yorba became one of the richest as well as one of the most celebrated Spanish grants in southern California.

            Prudencio Yorba, Sr., the father of our subject, was born in 1832, at the old adobe homestead, where he grew to manhood and was trained to the pursuits of farming and stock raising.  He obtained his schooling at San Pedro, California.  His wife, Mrs. Dolores (Ontiveras) Yorba, was born on the Coyote ranch in the La Habra valley August 4, 1833, her parents being Juan P. and Martina (Ozuna) Ontiveras, the former a native of what is now Orange County, California, while the latter was born in San Diego, this state, and was also a representative of a very old and prominent family.  Juan P. Ontiveras followed farming in Orange County for many years prior to his removal to Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County, where he devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits throughout the remainder of his life.  Prudencio Yorba, Sr., died July 3, 1885, being survived for a number of years by his wife, whose death occurred November 24, 1894.  Their family numbered twelve children, namely:  Mrs. Felipa Dominguez, the widow of Pablo Dominguez; Mrs. Adelina Carrillo, who died in March, 1933; David J., who lived to be about sixty years old; Mrs. Angelina Kraemer, the wife of Samuel Kraemer, of Placentia, California, who is mentioned at length on another page of this work; Prudencio S., who is the immediate subject of this review; Zoraida, the widow of Coleman Travis; Ernest T., a farmer of Yorba; Mrs. Dolores Ruiz, of Santa Maria, California; and four who are deceased.

            Prudencio S. Yorba was educated at St. Vincent College in Los Angeles.  He owns and cultivates a fine citrus orchard comprising twenty-two acres and is also the owner of the well known Adobe Wall Vineyard, which was originally divided into thirteen lots by his paternal grandfather.  In 1910, however, P. S. Yorba purchased the interests of the other members of the family and is now in possession of the entire tract.  He has a fine home on his ranch and is a highly respected citizen of the community which was named in honor of the Yorba family.  He is a member of the Placentia Mutual Orange Growers Association and a member of the advisory board of Bank of America in Placentia.

            In 1889 Mr. Yorba was united in marriage to Miss Constance Vejar, who was born October 14, 1866.  They are the parents of ten children, as follows:  Prudencio E., born September 20, 1890, and married Maria Cruz; Esperanza, born June 25, 1893, and the wife of Eugene Boisseranc; Ynez E. F., born February 21, 1895; Marco Nicholas, born December 6, 1896; Gloria S. M., born July 30, 1898, and married Harold Lovering; Alma, born February 2, 1900, and the wife of Henry Gier; Alberto, born June 24, 1902, and married Matilda Higuera; Caroline E., born December 2, 1905; Ethelinda, born December 8, 1906; and Idalia E., born January 28, 1909, now the wife of Milton Draper.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 377-379, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.