Great Value for El Monte Landlords
The area, beside the San Gabriel River, was part of the homeland of the Tongva people for thousands of years. The Spanish Portolá expedition of missionaries and soldiers passed through the area in 1769-1770. The site was within the Spanish land grant Rancho La Puente. Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was the center of colonial activities in the area.
Using the Old Spanish Trail route at the end of 1841, a group of travelers and settlers, now referred to as the Workman-Rowland Party, arrived in the Pueblo of Los Angeles and this area in Alta California from Santa Fe de Nuevo México. The Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe was continued east via the Santa Fe Trail trade route, established in 1821 as a trail and wagon road connecting Kansas City in Missouri Territory to Santa Fe, still within México.
From 1847, The Santa Fe Trail was also connected westward through the Southern Emigrant Trail, passing by the El Monte area, to the Pueblo of Los Angeles. Immigrant settlement began in 1849, El Monte was a stopping place for the American immigrants going to the gold fields during the California Gold Rush. The first permanent residents arrived in El Monte around 1849-1850 mostly from Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, during a time when thousands migrated to California in search of gold. The first settlers with families were Nicholas Schmidt, Ira W. Thompson, G. and F. Cuddeback, J. Corbin, and J. Sheldon.
These migrants ventured upon the bounty of fruitful, rich land along the San Gabriel River and began to build homesteads there. The farmers were very pleased at the increasing success of El Monte's agricultural community, and it steadily grew over the years.
In the 1850s the settlement was briefly named Lexington by American settlers, but soon returned to being called El Monte or Monte. It was at the crossroad of routes between Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and the natural harbor at San Pedro. In the early days, it had a reputation as a rough town where men often settled disputes with knives and guns in its gambling saloons. Defense against Indian raids and the crimes of bandit gangs, such as that of Joaquin Murrieta, led to the formation of a local militia company called the Monte Rangers in February 1854. After the Monte Rangers disbanded, justice for Los Angeles County, in the form of volunteer posses, as in the 1857 hunt for the bandit gang of Juan Flores and Pancho Daniel, or a lynching, was often provided by the local vigilantes called the "El Monte Boys".