Land Patents
Mining History


Family History


History and Settlement. Carrisa (Carrizo) Plain
San Luis Obispo County, California

Photo by Larry Vredenburgh, Carrizo Plain California 2006.

Today the Carrizo (Carissa) Plain is known for it's wildflow displays
but prior to the late 1980s most of the plain was cultivated.

Carrisa Plain, Carrizo Plain, really what is the name? After looking at a number of newspaper and other published references I would have to conclude Carisa or Carissa is usually used, however the residents of California Valley, refer to the location as Carrisa Plains. For example consider the Carrisa Plains Elementary School. So where did Carizzo come from? I think the source may be the US Geological Survey's 1912 topographic map of the area. Ever since, every topographic map referred to the area as Carrizo Plain. A 1959 "History of the Carrisa" compiled students at the school states that "Carrizo is the original Spanish spelling for the grass reed from which the Plains received its name." This is correct, Carrizo is the Spanish spelling. But for the sake of the local residents - I will use Carrisa here.

And by the way, be sure you to visit the Bureau of Land Management's Carrizo Plain National Monument website for more information about "Carrizo Plain"!

I have not attempted to write a history of the settlement of the Carrisa Plain, I thought I would let others do it for me. The County Histories point to the website https://www.archive.org/ these are large documents, but they have been nicely scanned and have had OCR run on them - so they are searchable.


BLM Land Patent Information pertaining to Carissa Plain

All Patents (MS Excel File)

Terminated Patent Applications (MS Excel File)

Census Data

1900 - 1930 Census Information (This is my unfinished attempt to transcribe census data from microfilm - MS Excel File)

County Histories

Angel, Myron, 1883, History of San Luis Obispo County, California, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers (Thompson & West: Oakland) 391 pp. Entire Document (pdf)

Storke, Yda Addis, 1891, A memorial and biographical history of the counties of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura, California ... Containing a history of this important section of the Pacific coast from the earliest period of its occupancy to the present time, together with glimpses of its prospective future; with ... full-page steel portraits of its most eminent men, and biographical mention of many of its pioneers and also of prominent citizens of to-day (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago) 677pp. Entire Document (pdf) Excerpts pertaining to Carrisa Plain (Word Doc.)

Morrison, Annie L. Stringfellow and John H. Haydon, 1917, History of San Luis Obispo County and environs, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county and environs who have been identified with the growth and development of the section from the early days to the present (Historic Record Company, Los Angeles) 1038 pp. Entire Document (pdf)

Various References and Links

Another Place and Time: Voices from the Carrisa Plains, by Craig Deutshe (2013)

Angel, Myron, 1911, La Piedra Pintada (Painted Rock)

Various Newspaper References to the Carrisa Plain 1885 - 1926 pdf

Excerpts from the San Luis Obispo County Tribune pertaining to the Carrisa Plain pdf

El Saucito pdf

Dennis Gardner, 1967, The old and new Carriza Plains, The California Traveler

Morrison, Annie, 1926, The Painted Rocks of the Carisa, National Motorist

A History of the Carrisa Plains, Compiled by Ted Fisher and students of the Carrisa Plains School, 1959 pdf

Satellite Image Shows Off the World's Largest Solar Farm (March 7, 2015)

NASA Earth Observatory: Carrizo Plain Topaz Solar Farm (March 5, 2015)

Biographies (MS Word & pdf)

Frank E. Fotheringham pdf
Manuel S. Gularte pdf
Niels Johnson pdf
Percy Jennings Margetts pdf
Frank Nunez pdf
Isaac S. Van Matre pdf
Patrick O'Donovan pdf
Michael W. Phelan pdf
Henry Sanford Willson pdf

Carrisa Genealogy

In my own family genealogy research I have run into counties here and there across the fruited plain that have begun their own county genealogies. What this means is that if your ancestor ever lived in one of these counties they are collecting information about them - very handy. These websites provided the seed of the idea for this project.

I have begun assembling the family history of the residents of the Carrisa Plain. There are 1,483 people in this tree. Of course many folks, or their relatives lived somewhere other than the Carrisa. This information is available on my ancestry.com family tree. If you have a subscription to Ancestry.com my tree is at:https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/28802917?dtid=100 This tree has a number of photos and documents attached to the individuals.

If you don't have an ancestry.com subscription, here is another option. Though frozen in time, Nov. 13, 2020, I exported my on-line family tree to a GEDCOM file. You can download it and use it in a genealogy program.  Ancestral QuestLegacy Family Tree, and RootsMagic have free versions. Download my GEDCOM file (to download right-click link and select "save target as..") into a new family tree. Expect LOTS of errors, since it was exported from the online version of ancestry.com and undoubtedly it will have different data fields. Also, the software might not be happy that the file contains MANY disconnected families!


Since Jessica Smith was kind enough to inform me of a broken link on Nov. 11, 2020, and asked nicely, I will pass on her message to you.

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Here’s the link - https://www.dnaweekly.com/blog/myheritage-vs-ancestrydna/

Learning about our ancestors helps us better understand who we are—it also creates a family bond, linking the present to the past, and building a bridge to the future.


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Comments, Questions? Write Me:

Larry Vredenburgh: vrede@bak.rr.com