Avila Beach

Miguel Antonio Nicolas Santa Ana Avila was born Sept 9, 1798 (1796?) at Santa Barbara Mission. He married Maria Encarnacion Inocenta Pico Sept 9, 1826.

When Miguel’s father, Jose de Santa Ana died, Miguel, under guidance from his uncle Francisco was sent to San Francisco to be educated in reading and writing and arithmetic. After twelve years Francisco returned him to Monterey where he was to continue his education but instead he became a soldier about 1816 and was discharged in 1827. He then opened a store in Monterey.

In 1839 Miguel was granted the San Miguelito Rancho. (ed.note land grant # 335 can be found under landgrantsat the beginning of this site)

He built an adobe a mile inland near San Luis Creek. He had vaqueros for his five hundred head of cattle. He served in San Luis Obispo as alcalde

Like many Californios, Avila struggle to protect his lands from the newly arrived Americans. In the late 1850’s, he wrote a series of letters requesting the assistance of Pablo de la Guerra, who was serving in the state legislature, because the town of San Luis Obispo and some of its leading citizens were trying to seize parts of his rancho.”

His rancho suffered a drought in the 1860’s and he was forced to sell some of his land eventually became the town of Avila Beach.

The above italicized paragraph is a direct quote from Testimonios which I urge you to read at the library or to buy from Heyday Books, Berkeley. The account given by Maria Inocentia to her interviewer tells of her tribulations about Miguel's false arrests and how he escaped hanging in Pismo. It’s a great part of our local history.


Cornelio Avila born about 1745 at Villa del Fuerte, Mexico m. 1770 to Maria Isabel Urquidez b. about 1750 at the same villa. Maria buried at Santa Barbara Mission November 23, 1800.

First child:
Joseph de Santa Ana Avila b. about 1700 at Pueblo de Baca, Mexico m. July 3, 1792 at Mission San m.Gabriel to Maria Josefa Osuna b. Loreto, Baja Ca.

Their fourth child:
Miguel Antonio Nicolas Santa Ana Avila b.Sept 9, 1798 (1796?) at Santa Barbara Mission m. to Maria Encarnacion Inocenta Pico Sept 9, 1826

Testimonios…Early California Through the Eyes of Women 1815—1848 Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Sankewicz