By Mabel Plaskett

             Among the earliest settlers along the Coast of Monterey County was Manuel Lopez, who with his wife, came straight from Mexico in about 1870, filed on a homestead and built a house close to the sea just south of Point Lopez.

            The house set on a flat that had once been an Indian camp. Many Indian relics, mortars, pestles, spearheads and arrow heads were found there.

            The Lopez’s had eight children, four sons and four daughters; Luciano, Pedro, Nicolas, and Aniseta were the names of the boys. The girls were Perfidis, Cipriana, Marie (nick-named Natcha) and Regina.

            As other coast ranchers, the Lopez’s raised hogs and cattle and had fine saddle horses. The family were all good riders. Marie, who married Frank Cosio, rode in rodeos and won many trophies at Salinas “Big Week” as this show was first called.

            THE GIRLS were adept in the art of lace making, crochet and Spanish drawn work, taught them by the mother learned from the Sisters in a Mexican convent.

            The father, descended from the Spanish Dons, was a fine figure of a man, loved children and often performed antics to amuse them. These children had a fine free life. The boys loved to go out with Wilbur Harlan in his row boat to catch fish. Mr. Harlan, made his boats of yellow pine, which grew only on the high ridges. He kept it moored at the little cove by Harlan rock and if a high sea washed it out or demolished it, Mr. Harlan, with infinite patience promptly built another boat.

            The family loved the home by the sea, but when the older boys contracted serious colds, they blamed the dampness of the location and moved to a higher altitude, building their new home beside a lovely spring near a big sycamore.

            In spite of this precaution, three of the boys and one girl died of lung trouble, and within a short space of time. The old grave yard at the Boronda place close by showed four new graves, marked with wooden crosses with the names of Pedro, Luciano, Nicholas and Perfidia.

            PERFIDIA left a little daughter Eliza Hidalgo, who was reared by the Lopez family. Miss Lu Harlan recalls she and Eliza started school together at the Redwood School with Mr. Silliman, father of Assemblyman James Silliman, and Ed Silliman of Salinas, as their teacher.

            The Davises, Harlans, Borondas, Gamboas and Twitchells as well as the Lopez children attended this school, which was then situated up the ridge near Borandas. It was later moved to its present site close to the coast road.

            Mrs. George Harlan remembers there were 22 pupils when she first taught Redwood School. The Redwood District was later incorporated with Pacific Valley and the few school children living near Lucia are now transported to Pacific Valley School.

            Aniseta, the only boy to live to manhood married a school teacher, Miss Bertha Jones. They lived on the ranch for a few years and then with their four children moved to Modesto where the family still lives. Aniseta died two years ago.

            CIPRIANA married Izaac Dani and both of them have passed on. Regina (called Rena) married Henry Rich, whom she met while working at Tidballs Hotel in Jolon. Henry, a brother of Mrs. Ed Sans was hauling lumber for Sans Sawmill at the time. This couple lived a few years in Ben Lomand and then moved to a ranch in the Upper Milpitas where they lived happily for many years, rearing a family of nine children. They later lived in Pine Canyon where Mr. Rich still lives near his son Woodrow, (better known as Bud).

            The girls are all married and live in San Jose, Salinas and Holister, Mrs. Rich is buried in Holister, having passed on several years ago.

            Eliza married Than Dani and now lives in Salinas. Her husband is gone and her children married and settled in homes of their own.

            The father Manuel Lopez is buried beside his four children on the coast. There is little left to designate the location of the old Boronda Cemetery—fences have fallen to decay and cattle graze over the unmarked graves. The mother spent her last days in Pine Canyon and is buried in King City Cemetery.

            THE PLACE near the sea on Lopez Point, now belongs to George Harlan and the upper ranch is part of the Lucia ranch owned by Bill Earl and John Smart of King City.

Mabel Plaskett
Author Mabel Plaskett

Mabel Sans Plaskett was born in Coralitas near Ben Lomond in the Santa Cruz Mountain area of California. Her father Edward Robert Sans ran a saw mill near Pacific Valley, along the Nacimiento – Ferguson road to the coast at Highway One. It was there she met Edward Abbott Plaskett, her husband. Mabel wrote about the coast and the pioneers of the 19th and 20th Centuries.