HISTORY OF ELLIOTT POND

In our opinion, developers should celebrate the history of their sites – and every site has history. Elliott Pond’s history is richer than that of most sites, so celebrating it will be a particular pleasure. We’ll celebrate it by telling the history on metal plaques and by naming the streets after the prior owners.


Adrian Beaufort Elliott, circa 1930.


Ruth Sweezey Elliott, circa 1930.


Elliott Pond is graced with Ramona’s pioneer past. Furthermore, since Governor Pio Pico made it part of a Mexican Land Grant in 1844, its owners have included Ramona’s most prominent families – Ortega, Stokes, McIntosh and Elliott. The following short outline shows a slice of California history. Each heading is one of our street names.

Stokes Range Road
In 1840, Edward Stokes, captain of an English whaling ship, married Maria del Refugio Ortega, the 19-year old daughter of his friend, Don Joaquin Ortega, a member of one of Mexican California’s leading families. In 1843 and 1844, Edward and his new father in law received two Mexican land grants totaling 35,000 acres. One of these, the Rancho Santa Maria, comprised 17,700 acres and included all of present-day Ramona. The family used much of the valley as a range to graze cattle. Ramona historians believe that range included the present-day Elliott Pond site, so the word “range” is included in the name.




Adolfo, son of Captain Stokes, with wife Dolores Olvera,
son Aristides and six daughters pictured in Ramona about 1887.


For anyone who wants a lot of details, here’s a paragraph on what happened next: One of Edward Stokes’s three sons, Adolfo, became sole owner in 1870. He, in turn, sold the property in 1872 to Juan Arrambide who, in turn, transferred it to his close associate, a French native named Bernard Etcheverry (who decades before had come to California in search of gold). Etcheverry sold the property in 1886 to a Los Angeles engineer and land promoter named Milton Santee. Santee then started the Santa Maria Land and Water Company (SMLW) which subdivided what is now the townsite of Ramona.

As for why we describe the Ortegas as a leading family of Mexican California, Don Joaquin’s grandfather, Francisco, was a military officer in Father Junipero Serra’s 1769 expedition up California to Monterey. Some believe Francisco was the first European to see San Francisco Bay.

 


Daniel McIntosh Sr.

McIntosh Family, circa 1905.

 

McIntosh Place
In 1915, Daniel McIntosh, Jr. bought the property – the 22-acre portion that is now the Elliott Pond site – from the Santa Maria Land and Water Company. He and his new wife, Myrtle Baldwin, promptly built a 1-bedroom house on a portion now covered by the Ramona Street sidewalk. In addition to the money earned by raising cattle on the property, Daniel made a living as a freighter, hauling goods by horse-drawn wagon between Ramona, San Diego and Julian. In the next three years, three children were born in their small house, Douglas, Donald and Louise. They sold it and the ranch in 1918 to A.B. Elliott.

 


Daniel McIntosh Jr. driving one of his freight wagons. He was among a small number of freighters
who drove a 20-horse team from Ramona to San Diego in the early 1900s.
This painting is by his daughter, Louise McIntosh Shidner (Ramona’s leading historical painter).


A note about Daniel Jr.’s father, Daniel Sr.: Daniel McIntosh Sr. arrived in Ramona in 1872 after living the first part of his life as an adventurer.

Born in Nova Scotia in 1838, he became a sailor and traveled the world on merchant ships for fourteen years. He then settled for two years in Scammon’s Lagoon in Baja California, and while there met and married Romana Murillo. (Romana, not Ramona.) In 1870 the new couple made an arduous journey north, riding and pulling a mule along narrow and dangerous trails to San Diego. In 1872 they acquired two government claims (totaling approximately 440 acres) about six miles east of Nuevo. (Nuevo was Ramona’s earlier name.)

 


Elliott Pond site today.


Elliott Pond Road
In 1918, 23-year old Adrian Beaufort (“A.B.”) Elliott borrowed money from his more established friend, Bruce Dye, and bought the 22-acre ranch from the McIntosh family.

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, A.B. managed to quickly gain credibility and settle into western life. He bought cattle and soon opened a butcher shop, the Enterprise Market.

In 1924, he married Ruth Sweezey and together raised Shirley (born in 1926) and Ralph (born in 1929) on their ranch. (A.B. proposed to Ruth on horseback while riding on 3rd Street.)

During World War Two, A.B. and Ruth supplemented their income by raising rabbits on the site, selling the pelts to the military to make flight jackets.

It was another supplemental income scheme that explains the origin of the pond. It is not a natural feature. A.B. built it in 1944, excavating eight tenths of an acre with a horse-drawn fresno (a hoe). He then kept the area filled by pumping well water into it and by steering rain water into it. An article from the Ramona Sentinel (August 11, 1944) explains what A.B. had in mind.


"Jack" digging the lake in 1944 for A.B. Elliott.

 

From The Ramona Sentinel, August 11, 1944

Mr. A.B. Elliott, proprietor of the Enterprise Market, is having excavation work done on his farm in preparation for a new business for Ramona.

The excavation will be a pond, filled by the winter rains and also by pumping, which will serve as a future happy home for hundreds of turtles. The turtles will be of many different varieties, mostly old fashioned spotted shell, although there will be a few diamond backs and snappers. The eggs will be sold for the table as well as for hatching.

Mr. Elliott says that turtle food cost next to nothing and that they require little care and no fencing. Turtles do not need brooder houses or roosts, and the only drawback to keeping them is that they are somewhat noisy in the springtime.

EDITOR’S NOTE – We suggest Arkansas singing turtles instead of the croakers and barkers that he is evidently planning to import.

A.B. retired from the butcher business in 1960, but continued playing an active part in Ramona community affairs until his death in 1986. Ruth died in 1992.

Old Walker Place
For several years, a man named Walker occupied the southern portion of the Elliott ranch. The Elliotts, even after Walker left, referred to that area as “the old Walker place”, hence the road by that name. It crosses the land he used.

Note to all, especially descendants: we would love more information about the Elliotts, McIntoshes, Ortegas, Stokes and Walker.