One Name Changed, One Endured

An item in The San Diego Union of March 16, 1892 entitled, “An Encouraging Report,” began, “A. Verlaque came in from his Santa Maria Valley ranch yesterday and says that farmers will make a good crop if not another drop of rain falls. That the grain is up nicely in the Santa Maria valley, is thick on the ground and presents a strong and healthy appearance, and the farmers generally are much encouraged over the prospect.”

Amos Verlaque was the son of a French immigrant father and an American mother. He’d come to San Diego County with his parents, Theophile and Elizabeth, and five siblings, in 1870. In the early 1880s Amos bought some land near a spring on the main wagon road to Julian. In 1883 he and other family members, while raising grain and sheep, also built a general store and post office which became the first commercial venture in a new town initially called Nuevo.

A few years later, in July of 1895, the Verlaques and their  town were highlighted for a new reason, in an item headlined: “Nuevo is Now Ramona,” The San Diego Union stated, “Word has been received that the post office department has acted favorably upon the petition of the citizens of this valley to change the name of the post office from Nuevo to Ramona….and the change will go into effect as soon as the new bond of J. A. Verlaque as postmaster has been approved by the department, and the blanks containing the new name arrive.”

J. A. Verlaque was Amos’ brother, Jefferson, generally known as Jeff.

The Verlaque name and the family’s role in Ramona’s history live on in the family home, restored in the 1980s by the Ramona Pioneer Historical Society and now part of the society’s Guy B. Woodward Museum.

Sources for this post included historic San Diego County newspapers and the books, Ramona and Round About by Charles R. Le Menager and Historic Buildings of the Ramona Area by Russell Bowen and Leona B. Ransom.

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