Chapter 18: The Coburn Mystery [Original Draft]

The Steeles, sturdy American farmers, possessed excellent business instincts and were among the very few people Loren Coburn didn’t [and couldn’t] push around.

In 1864 Coburn offered the SteelesĀ  title to the southern portion of the Rancho Ano Nuevo in return for a $5000 loan (that Coburn used for a second mortgage on the rancho) and an option to buy which the Steeles quickly exercised.

Notes: During the 1860s the Coburns lived off of the receipts from the Stockton Street livery stable and from renting land at Pescadero to tenant farmers. Loren was becoming the single largest landowner and most litigious individual in San Mateo County. He also purchased 10,000 acres near King City; 1500 acres in Merced County and some building lots in Merced.

In 1866 it was time for a long deserved vacation and the Coburns traveled to the East Coast where they stayed for two years. Perhaps Loren was planning his next move; he did visit his brother Lemmuel, who owned a business that manufactured trolley tracks. Lemmuel had a son called Arzo who would later come west and rent a small house in Pescadero.

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