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Meet Pinole’s First Family

By Jeff Rubin, President, Pinole Historical Society

Don Ygnacio Martinez and his wife, Doña Maria Martina Arellanes, settled with their large family in the Pinole Valley in the 1820s.


Here they built a big adobe home as the centerpiece of their 18,000- acre Rancho El Pinole.


The land was granted to Don Ygnacio for his 41 years of service as a soldier to Spain and Mexico.


The expansive rancho had some 8,000 cattle and 1,000 horses.


Pinole Valley was then a wild place of dangerous grizzly bears and maurauding bands of Indians who attacked the rancheros and stole horses. The Martinez family kept a brass cannon for protection in front of their adobe home.


Don Ygnacio and Doña Martina had 13 children. Nine daughters and two sons survived early childhood — 10 married and nine had families with many descendants.


Rancho life in pre-American California centered on social interaction and marriages among neighboring Spanish-speaking “Californio” Rancho families and some approved English immigrants as well.


The marriages of the Martinez children were: