José de la Guerra ( Santander 1779- Santa Barbara 1858)

A Spaniard settling in California

Don José de la Guerra y Noriega was born in Novales, Santander, Spain in 1779. At the age of 13 he went to Mexico, and later joined the army. First as an alférez Making his way up to lieutenant, commandant, deputy, etc… From 1815, De La Guerra served at Santa Barbara, becoming captain in 1817, he was popularly known as El Capitán.

Jose de la Guerra was a visionary in his time. He raised his thirteen children with his wife, Maria Antonia Carrillo, to straddle Hispanic and Anglo cultures. One of his sons, Pablo, achieved great prominence as a lawyer, statesman, and judge. An original signer of the California Constitution and one of the state’s first elected senators, Pablo was an outspoken supporter of Hispanic rights and an advocate for the suffrage of Native Americans. His home and family life remained in Santa Barbara County where he oversaw the running of the families vast properties including Rancho San Julian which he was granted in 1837. It has been lived on and run by his descendants ever since.

A profound love and respect for the land has been passed from generation to generation for over eight generations. In the early 1930’s, A. Dibblee Poett, Francisca’s grandson, became interested in the concepts of biodynamic farming in the country and began practicing integrated systems of raising livestock and growing produce.

Today, his nephew, James Poett, continues the business of raising cattle within a sustainable system on Rancho San Julian, now 14,000 acres of prime grazing land. The ranch, which is graced by forests of California Live Oak, also grows a variety of vegetables, grapes, and lavender, continues a tradition of environmental stewardship, and utilizes solar power in a watering system designed to protect its many creeks and arroyos. His daughter Elizabeth Partridge Poett, who was born and raised on the ranch, has recently joined the family business, focusing her attention on growing Rancho San Julian and