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Francis (Franicsco) Ziba Branch

Francis (Franicsco) Ziba Branch (1802-1874): Francis Ziba Branch was born in upstate New York in 1802 and left his family at an early age to make his own way in the world. In 1830, after various experiences including sailing ventures on Lake Erie, he joined, at St. Louis, a trading party bound for Santa Fe. While there Branch joined the Wolfshill trapping party and came with them to California in the Spring of 1831. A few of the party decided to remain, Branch among them. He married Maria Dominga Manuela Carlon (1815-1909) in 1835 and he and his wife were granted land in the vicinity of San Luis Obispo. Later, by right of his own grant [Santa Manuela Rancho, granted in 1837] and two others [Pismo and Huer-Huero] which he claimed through his wife’s family and by purchase, he became possessed of one of the largest land holdings in the county. His business prospered and in 1874 he died, leaving a large family to share in a considerable estate. (www.oac.cdlib.org)

The three eldest Branch sons married three Robbins women, who were 1st cousins to the Dana siblings.  According to Juan Francisco, “…I remember Don Francisco as a fine man, slightly built but very hardy, and much interested in education.  He even sent to New York for a tutor for his children.  He built the first schoolhouse at Arroyo Grande and held many public positions in the new county of San Luis Obispo after its formation.” [Blond Ranchero, p. 75]

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