Rancho Tinaquaic

Rancho Tinaquaic was an 8,875 acre Mexican land grant given to Victor Pantaleon Linares by Governor Juan B. Alvarado in 1837. Around 1842, the Rancho was acquired by Benjamin Foxen. Foxen, an Englishman, settled in California in 1828. He converted to Catholicism and in 1830 was baptised as Guillermo Domingo Foxen. The following year, he married Eduarda Osuna (whose stepfather Tomás Olivera owned Rancho Tepusquet to the northwest) at Mission Santa Barbara. In 1846, Foxen guided John C. Frémont over the Santa Ynez Mountains. With the belief that he was a traitor to Mexico (of which he became a naturalized citizen in 1837), his property was raided and burned. In 1848, while surveying the damage of one of these raids, a confrontation occured between Foxen and Agustín Dávila of Rancho Corral de Quati led to Foxen shooting and killing Dávila, for which he was sentenced to four years in prison. He returned to Rancho Tinaquaic, and in 1862 divided the property among his eleven children (he too remained until his death).

One of these children, María De La Soledad Ramona, had married Frederick Wickenden two years prior. Mr. Wickenden, another Englishman, arrived in California in the early 1850s after completing work on a railroad in Peru. Penniless, he did a lot of walking before finding employment at a shipping business between San Francisco and San Diego. During his work, he met Ramona Foxen and the two were married July 16, 1860 at Mission San Luis Obispo.

In 1862, Frederick and Ramona Wickenden built an adobe home on their tract of Rancho Tinaquaic, which through frame additions evolved into the large ranchhouse that stands today. They opened a dry goods store and operated a successful sheep ranch, while their home also served as a stage stop along the road between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. In 1874, Benjamin Foxen died and was buried in a field nearby. Ramona resented this, and asked her husband to construct a church with a proper burial ground. That church, the San Ramon Chapel, was completed on an adjacent parcel of land in 1875 and in 1876 Foxen's body became the first in the churchyard cemetery.

The Wickendens continued to live at Rancho Tinaquaic for the remainder of their lives; Frederick passed in 1918 and Ramona the following year. Today, what's left of the Rancho remains in the Wickenden family. A portion has also become home to the Foxen Winery, which maintains an anchor as its logo - in honor of Benjamin Foxen, who chose an anchor as the Rancho's brand as an homage to his time on a merchant ship before arriving in California.

See Also
San Ramon Chapel