Book Launch Set for Ernest Marquez’s History of Rancho Boca de Santa Monica

Ernie Marquez in the family cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon.

Life-long resident Ernest Marquez, 97, will celebrate the publication of his latest book, “Rancho Boca de Santa Monica: The 1839 California Land Grant – A History,” on Saturday, September 25.

A launch party will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Pascual Marquez Family Cemetery, 635 San Lorenzo St., in Santa Monica Canyon. There will be refreshments and a chance to meet Marquez, whose family once owned the land that is now Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Brentwood and Topanga.

If one can’t attend, books will be available online and every book will come with a bookplate signed by Marquez. Please RSVP to

The book is the most complete history, with images, of the land where Marquez was born. The land was bestowed upon his ancestors by the Mexican government, long before California became part of the United States. There are more than 100 images in the 160-page book.

William Deverell, Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, wrote the forward, and notes: “Self-trained, a one-man research library of an archivist and historian, Ernie assembled a breathtaking collection of 11,000 photographs . . .That same kind of stewardship and regard for who came before us animates this book. . .It isn’t just the product of a single lifetime’s work. It’s all those other lifetimes woven into its pages, all those family members who lived across so much change.”

In a KCET television feature, the interviewer said, “In this land of newcomers and transplants, Ernest Marquez can trace his California lineage back further than most. Born in 1924 [next to Canyon School] on land that the Mexican government granted to his great-grandparents in 1839, Marquez has devoted much of his life to documenting a family history that began in 1771, when his great-great-grandfather Francisco Reyes arrived here as a soldier in the Spanish army.”

In the 10-minute interview, Marquez said, “I went to the library and got history books about Santa Monica and Los Angeles and couldn’t find anything about our rancho in them. The historians completely ignored our family and our rancho for some reason. If there was some mention of it, there might have been a paragraph or two.”

Marquez set out on a decades-long quest to piece together his family’s history. He sent away to the National Archives for the Land Commission records on Rancho Boca de Santa Monica, the 6,656-acre land grant his great-grandfathers Ysidro Reyes and Francisco Marquez received in 1839. He scoured the region’s archival collections for information about his ancestors and eventually began writing a narrative history of his family.

Prior books authored by Marquez include “Santa Monica Beach: A Collector’s Pictorial History”; “Noir Afloat: Tony Cornero and the Notorious Gambling Ships of Southern California”; “Port of Los Angeles: An Illustrated History from 1950 to 1945”; and “Port Los Angeles: A Phenomenon of the Railroad Era.”

To watch Marquez on KCET, visit: click here.

To order a book, visit or ask Diesel Books in Brentwood to order it for you (310-576-9960).


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One Response to Book Launch Set for Ernest Marquez’s History of Rancho Boca de Santa Monica

  1. Nancy Klopper says:

    Hope you will bring lots of books to the event on Saturday!
    I’d love to buy one!!

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