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Hawthorne ~ CA

Hawthorne History
Hawthorne's first known residents were Indians of the Shoshonian linguistic group, occupying the Southbay area as early as the 1500's. Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo caught sight of the area in October 1542, and 30 years later Sir Francis Drake sailed past the nearby coast. In 1769 title to all land in California became vested in the King of Spain, and the Southbay lands were used for the grazing of cattle. In 1822 Mexico obtained title to California from Spain. One of the ranchos subsequently formed was Sausal Redondo, named after a round clump of willows in the area. Sausal Redondo consisted of approximately 22,460 acres and included the present-day cities of El Segundo, Gardena, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Lawndale, Manhattan Beach, Playa del Rey, Redondo Beach, and Torrance.

In 1837 Governor Alverado of Mexico granted title to Sausal Redondo to Don Antonio Avila. When California became a United States territory in 1848 and a state in 1850, disputes arose over the ownership of the rancho. Finally, in 1855 Avila was issued a U.S. Land patent for the rancho and thus became the first legal and recorded owner of the land of present-day Hawthorne.

In 1860 Sir Robert Burnett of Crathe's Castle, Scotland came to California and purchased Sausal Redondo from Avila's heirs. He expanded the sheep and cattle raising operations and planted thousands of eucalyptus, pepper, and fruit trees. Burnett returned to Scotland in 1873 and leased (with an option to buy) the rancho to Daniel Freeman, a Canadian. Freeman restocked the ranch with sheep and cattle and continued planting trees, adding more than 13,000. After the severe droughts of 1875 and 1876, during which he lost thousands of sheep and cattle, Freeman started dry farming and grew barley. By 1880 the area was producing a million bushels of barley a year. Freeman finally used his option to buy Sausal Redondo land and in 1885 received title from Sir Robert Burnett.

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