The Story of William Welch and Rancho Las Juntas
Irishman William Welch risked life and liberty on a dark night in 1821 as he "jumped ship" in Bodega Bay. He was 28 years old and had little to lose as an indentured sailor on the British ship, Lady Blackwood, and even less having been a prisoner in Australia. The captain of the ship had come to trade with the Russians at Fort Ross, and he and the ship's carpenter, Joseph Lawrence, set off to seek their fortune. They hitched a ride by launch to San Francisco and then to Los Angeles, where Lawrence stayed. Welch came back North and befriended the Spanish settlers at Mission Santa Clara, where they baptized him "Julian Willis" at Mission Santa Clara. Now he was able to become a naturalized citizen of this new land and further solidified the Spanish's trust of him by joining the army and marrying into a prominent Spanish family of the DeAnza party, Maria Antonia Galindo (her brother, Francisco Galindo, co-founded Concord). At Pueblo San Jose, Welch started on a herd of cattle, but couldn't find his own rancho. Welch applied for a tract of land by Mount Diablo, and received permission from the district's alcalde, Salvio Pacheco. However, Pacheco didn't realize it was the same land he had applied for, and angrily went to the California governor to eject Welch from his land. Welch complied and Ignacio Martinez allowed him to move his cattle to his Rancho El Pinole. In between the Pacheco and Martinez ranchos was a tract of land that lay between the Alhambra and Walnut Creeks, called Las Juntas, which translates as the "joining" of the creeks. However, the American Indians on the land opposed the occupation, and Welch sent his son to build an adobe* to protect the cattle. Finally, after years of struggle, William Welch was granted the majestic Rancho Las Juntas* in 1844. We believe this wine incorporates the same determination and bold spirit of William Welch, and it is with great pride that we, his family, present it to you.
*The adobe was located on the site of the Walnut Creek BART Station.
* Rancho Las Juntas consisted of 13,324 acres in what is present-day North Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Pacheco, and South Martinez