1956: California Dons – Recollections of Life in a Mission Town Over a Century Ago

California Dons, by Ralph LeRoy Milliken, describes life on Rancho Santa Ana. It was first published by Academy Library Guild in 1956 and republished in 1976 by Valley Publishers in Fresno. It is now out of print. For used copies, visit http://www.alibris.com

From the book’s jacket:

“Here is life in the mission towns and on the vast Mexican land grants in California a hundred years ago. The pattern of living develops around the protagonist, Estolano, as he grew from boyhood to early manhood. These were days when boys made pets of grizzly bears and girls rode to church in ox carts.”

“This book, although fiction, is based on the life of Señor Don Estolano Larios who was born on the Santa Ana Ranch near Mission San Juan Bautista. He was a member of one of the area’s earliest families.”

“In his later years Señor Larios [b. 1855] visited the author, who is a generation younger, in Los Banos. He planned a two-week visit, but remained three and a half years. His personal recollections covered several hundred typewritten pages.”

Milliken Museum
P.O. Box 2294
Los Banos, CA 93635



Published in: on January 1, 1956 at 7:03 pm  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As a 14 year old, I spent a week on the Rancho Santa Anita in the company of David Farragut Ashe. One of the most memorable experiences was the Casa Grande. I am curious as to what happened to the house after the passing of Mr. Ashe? I still miss him, he was quite a character and said he was my “Uncle Grandfather”. The family story, and connection to him was that he and my grandmother, Anne Daily were engaged while in college, but that the engagement didn’t work out. The Rancho was a beautiful place and I enjoyed my time there.

    • Hi Dennis:

      Great to hear from you. The Casa Grande is still there.

      I will write to you. Thank you for sharing your memories.


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