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Early copy of this extremely rare map showing the partition of Rancho Mission of San Diego, pursuant to a court case as determined in January 1886, one of the most important early land cases in the early history of San Diego, which resolved ownership claims to more than half of the modern City of San Diego.

The Rancho Mission (or Ex-Mission) of San Diego patent was originally issued to Santiago Arguello by the US Government on September 1, 1876. Following the issuance of the patent, ratifying Arguello's original grant from the Mexican Government to Arguello in 1846, prior to the Mexican-American War, various persons commenced litigation to establish ownership of various parts of the Rancho. The claims were based upon transfers made by Arguello and his successors after the original Mexican Land Grant was made, some of which were made well after San Diego became a part of the United States, following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

The partition lawsuit illustrated by this map ultimately sought to establish title between Juan Luco and Juan de Toro. The initial determination by the Superior Court was made in 1886 and is illustrated in part by this map and documents which would have been prepared at the same time following the court decision. The case remained on appeal until it was resolved in 1891 by the California Supreme Court.

The map covers the region from the California Southern Rail Road right of way near Sorrento Valley in the North to Chollas Creek in the South. In the southeast, the map extends to Spring Valley. In the East, the map extends to the Cajon Ranch. The central part of the map locates Murphy Canyon Road and Mission Valley, with the Roads from San Diego to Poway, the New Road from San Diego and the Road from San Diego to El Cajon among the major roads noted. The map would seem to correspond with the present location of Interstate 5 in the West and State Highway 94 in the South, with the large tract of land excepted from the partition consisting of Old Town and New Town, San Diego.

Among the more interesting points located on the map is the "Bee House," almost certainly a reference to John Stewart Harbison's homestead on the Sweetwater River, which he settled in the Spring of 1874, or one of the other major honey producing farms in the area. Ironically, 1885 was probably the high point of honey production in the City of San Diego, as a series of lawsuits by area fruit growers commenced in 1885 would have the effect of driving the industry out of San Diego over the next few years. The map also coincides with a land boom within the City, which would peak over the next several years and include the development of Coronado and several other major urban neighborhoods within the city.

The map includes many early placenames and the location of springs, important early houses, early schools, landowners and other long since abandoned points of interest.


The original map is of the utmost rarity.

We locate no examples in OCLC or in any California institutional collection, although the map is referenced in at page 229 of A Bibliography Relating to The Geology, Palentology, and Mineral Resources of California, Bulletin 30 of the California Division of Mines. The map is also referenced in San Diego County Place Names A to Z by Leland Fetzer (p.71). So, it must be assumed that an unrecorded example exists in one or more California archives.

Rand McNally & Company Biography

Rand McNally & Co. is a large American map and navigation company best known for its annual atlases. The company got its start in 1856, when William Rand opened a print shop in Chicago. He was joined in 1858 by a new employee, Andrew McNally. Together, the men established their namesake company in 1868. Originally, the company was intended to print the tickets and timetables for the trains running to and through Chicago; their first railway guide was published in 1869.

By 1870, they had shifted from just printing to publishing directories, travel guides, and newspapers. Their first map appeared in 1872 in a railway guide. The map was produced using a new wax engraving method, a cheaper process that gave the company an edge.

By 1880 Rand McNally had entered the education market with globes, wall maps, and geography texts for students. In 1923, Rand McNally published the first Goode’s World Atlas, named after its editor, Dr. J. Paul Goode. For generations afterward, this would be the standard classroom atlas.

In 1899, William Rand left the company, but McNally and his family remained, controlling the company for over a century. In 1904, they published their first road map intended for automobiles and by 1907 were publishing Photo-Auto Guides, which combined photography and mapping to help drivers. In 1924, they produced the Auto Chum, a precursor to their famous road atlases. Rand McNally would remain the leader in road maps and atlases throughout the twentieth century.

In 1937, Rand McNally opened its first store in New York City. Ever on the frontier of technology, Rand McNally pioneered the scribing process for printing tickets in 1958 and printed their first full-color road atlas in 1960. Arthur Robinson developed his now-famous projection of Rand McNally in 1969. By the 1980s, the company was exploring digital reproduction and digital databases of maps for truckers. In the 1990s, they lead the charge to develop trip-planning software and websites. Today, most of its products are available online or in a digital format, including maps for tablets and phones.