By Francelia B. Goddard and Allen W. Goddard
Santa Ana is a city of over twenty-seven square miles with a population of 227,400. (editor's note - now approximately 325,000) It is located thirty-three miles south of Los Angeles and twelve miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Ana River and its smaller tributary Santiago Creek are usually dry but are unpredictable in wet years.
The land that became Santa Ana was covered with tall yellow mustard when William H. Spurgeon from Kentucky rode through on horseback October 10, 1869. So high was the wild growth that he climbed a sycamore tree to view the land. He liked what he saw and paid Jacob Ross, Sr., $595 for 74.2 acres. Here he built his city.
Ross had purchased 650 acres from the Yorba family's vast Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. The rancho was a Spanish land-use grant that had been awarded in 1810 to their ancestor, Jose Antonio Yorba, who had served with Portola's 1769 expedition. Jose Yorba had later returned to settle here. In 1821 Mexican rule followed Spanish, and ownership by the U.S. in 1846 gradually brought in such pioneers as the Ross family.