In Her Own Name

Casa de Juana Briones, Los Altos, California, 1962.

When I bought my first house, it never occurred to me that just a few generations earlier I might have lost all claim to it when I got married. Women’s property rights in America went through a lot of changes between my great-grandmothers’ time and mine. The new United States of America largely adopted British common law. That system defined a married woman as chattel of her husband. He controlled her property, her earnings, and even her children. Once an American woman married, she ceased to be a separate legal entity. For instance, the Tennessee legislature in 1848 declared that married women lacked “independent souls” and thus should not be allowed to own property.

Out West, it was a different story. Under Spanish and later Mexican law, married women could own property. When Mexico surrendered California to the United States in 1848, the United States guaranteed the property rights of former Mexican citizens, including women. The California state constitution even went so far as to specifically protect a married woman’s right to own property. It would take the rest of the states more than fifty years to catch up.

Juana Briones de Miranda, a woman of Spanish and African descent, was one of many who benefited from Mexican, and later, California property law. In 1844, after separating from her abusive husband, she bought the 4,400 acre Rancho La Purísima Concepción near what would become Los Altos, California. Even though the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago technically guaranteed Mexican people their property rights, in practice the American government made it extremely difficult to claim those rights. Against these odds, Juana Briones succeeded in retaining her title. She litigated her case for two decades, eventually taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court where she received an American patent in 1871. She was one of twenty-four Mexican women “rancheras” who proved their land claims under United States law by 1886.

Plat Map for Juana Briones’s Rancho La Purisima Concepcion, 1863.

Juana Briones built a large adobe house on her rancho, planted apricot orchards and raised thousands of cattle. She passed enough of her land to her daughters to ensure their financial independence. Her house in Los Altos Hills survived more than 150 years before it was demolished in 2011.

Juana’s fight to retain title to Rancho La Purísima Concepción in her own name paved the way for future generations of women like me to own property and pass it on to our daughters. Juana’s original adobe may no longer be standing, but every married woman who owns a house is part of Juana’s house. Let us remember our intrepid foremother: pioneer, rancher, farmer, businesswoman, curandera, and force to be reckoned with. Thanks, Juana Briones, for having our backs.

The second woman from the left in this photograph may be Juana Briones.

95 thoughts on “In Her Own Name

  1. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine stock ticker

  2. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine how to get

  3. Pingback: plaquenil 3 mg tablet

  4. Pingback: states banning hydroxychloroquine

  5. Pingback: beans keto diet

  6. Pingback: can heart patients take ivermectil

  7. Pingback: printable dapoxetine coupons

  8. Pingback: stromectol for h pylori

  9. Pingback: soolantra 12 mg tablet uses

  10. Pingback: ivermectin 6mg uses

  11. Pingback: prednisone 20 mg cost

  12. Pingback: ivermectin pills walgreens

  13. Pingback: stromectol drug

  14. Pingback: over the counter viagra in usa

  15. Pingback: cialis professional review

  16. Pingback: cialis erection

  17. Pingback: sildenafil pills uk

  18. Pingback: meritkiing

  19. Pingback: elexusbet

  20. Pingback: Eurocasino

  21. Pingback: madridbet

  22. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  23. Pingback: eurocasino

  24. Pingback: eurocasino

  25. Pingback: meritking

  26. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  27. Pingback: tadalafil citrate 20mg

  28. Pingback: azithromycin penicillin

  29. Pingback: sildenafil tablets 120mg

  30. Pingback: meritroyalbet

  31. Pingback: viagra coupon discount

  32. Pingback: cialis canadian pharmacy

  33. Pingback: injection augmentin

  34. Pingback: omnicef mrsa

  35. Pingback: cephalexin disage

  36. Pingback: azithromycin classification

  37. Pingback: azithromycin 250

  38. Pingback: zithromax otc

  39. Pingback: azithromycin schwangerschaft

  40. Pingback: clindamycin mechanism

  41. Pingback: wiki keflex

  42. Pingback: augmentin similac

  43. Pingback: celecoxib generic 02844

  44. Pingback: slovar po psihoanalizu laplansh

  45. Pingback: do-posle-psihologa

  46. Pingback: bahis siteleri

  47. Pingback: qQ8KZZE6

  48. Pingback: D6tuzANh

  49. Pingback: SHKALA TONOV

  50. Pingback: Øêàëà òîíîâ

  51. Pingback:

  52. Pingback: chelovek-iz-90-h

  53. Pingback: tor-lyubov-i-grom

  54. Pingback: film-tor-2022

  55. Pingback: hd-tor-2022

  56. Pingback:

  57. Pingback: Psikholog

  58. Pingback:

  59. Pingback: Link

  60. Pingback:

  61. Pingback: psy

  62. Pingback: chelovek soznaniye mozg

  63. Pingback:

  64. Pingback: 3fossil

  65. Pingback:

  66. Pingback: bucha killings

  67. Pingback: War in Ukraine

  68. Pingback: Ukraine

  69. Pingback: Ukraine news – live

  70. Pingback: The Latest Ukraine News

  71. Pingback: site

  72. Pingback: stats

  73. Pingback: revatio

  74. Pingback: Ukraine-war

  75. Pingback: movies

  76. Pingback: gidonline

  77. Pingback: mir dikogo zapada 4 sezon 4 seriya

  78. Pingback: web

  79. Pingback:

  80. Pingback: video

  81. Pingback: film

  82. Pingback: liusia-8-seriiaonlain

  83. Pingback: smotret-polnyj-film-smotret-v-khoroshem-kachestve

  84. Pingback:

  85. Pingback: rodnoe-kino-ru

  86. Pingback: sY5am

  87. Pingback: Dom drakona

  88. Pingback: JGXldbkj

  89. Pingback: aOuSjapt

  90. Pingback: ìûøëåíèå

  91. Pingback: psikholog moskva

  92. Pingback: A片

  93. Pingback: Usik Dzhoshua 2 2022

  94. Pingback: Dim Drakona 2022

  95. Pingback: TwnE4zl6

Comments are closed.