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Spanish Colonial Period

San Gabriel Mission

In 1834, the Mexican government secularized the missions and the California lands were taken from the church and turned into private land-grant ranchos. In 1837, most of Claremont became part of the Rancho San Jose owned by Ricardo Vejar and Don Ygnacio Palomares. Palomares’ sister built her adobe home in the center of Memorial Park. The Serrano Indians on Indian Hill worked for the early Spanish settlers. Smallpox outbreaks in 1862 and 1873 took heavy tolls among them and by 1881, the few survivors had left the hill. Many of their descendants now live in Riverside County on the Morongo Indian Reservation. They have now intermarried with the Cahuilla who also live on the reservation so there are no pure Serranos remaining.