Duarte gets its name from Andres Avelino Duarte (1805-1863), who owned 6,595.2 acres here – but only for about twenty years. Born at Mission San Juan Capistrano, Duarte joined the Mexican Army shortly after Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1821. He was eventually assigned overseer of Mission San Gabriel’s outer lands and thus came to desire his own ranch in this area. The Mexican governors of Alta California regularly gave away land grants to ex-soldiers, so on April 28th, 1841, Duarte and his wife Gertrudes (née Valenzuela, 1811 – c. 1906), both illiterate, had Duarte’s friend Felipe Carrillo petition Governor Alvarado for the land. The grant was given twelve days later. The property was then known as Rancho Azusa de Duarte, to distinguish itself from the neighboring Rancho Azusa de Dalton, and the couple and their only child Felipe Santiago Duarte (1828-1863) lived in an adobe on what is now Tocino Drive. They sold off 225 acres of the rancho around 1855, then hard times came and they were forced to unload the rest in 1861-1862. William Wolfskill picked it up.