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The Flanders Ranch

The exact date of the settlement of the Flanders family in the area of what is now Moran Road between Arnold and Avery is unknown, but as they traveled over the early emigrant road into Calaveras County in 1849, and left an account of their visit to the Big Trees, they would have undoubtedly passed by the land that they later homesteaded (Costello, ed. 1988:16).

The family had certainly settled on the land by the 1870s, as in May of 1879 Ira M. Flanders sold the timber rights to the pine trees on his land to John Manuel for $300. He reserved the cedar timber for himself, as well as the right-of-way to haul timber across the property (Calaveras County Bill of Sale Book C:360). Manuel had a sawmill near the junction of Love and Moran roads, on the east side of Love Creek Road. A portable mill, he moved it all over the mountains, including the present location of the Meadowmont Golf Course (Clarence McKay, interview of August 1968, in Frances Bishop Notes). The Flanders pasture is also depicted on a historic map of the area, surveyed prior to 1876 (General Land Office 1877).

In October of 1891 Ira Flanders patented his land: the SE ¼ of Section 32 and the SW ¼ of Section 33, T5N, R15E,(Calaveras County Patent Book 2:435), and Lot 4, Section 4, and Lots 1 and 2 of Section 5, T4N, R15E, and the SW ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 32, T5N, R15E.MDBM. He filed for the patents as early as 1880 (Calaveras County Land Patent Maps), however, and filed a water right in 1884.

The water right noted that it began at the northwest corner of his homestead and extended through his homestead and preemption claim. The water, from Moran Creek, was “conveyed by means of two ditches, each about the same size, to wit: being 18 inches wide on the top, 12 inches on the bottom and 15 inches in depth.” He claimed the water to the extent of 150 inches measured under a four-inch pressure, intending to use it for irrigating purposes on his ranch. He stated that the water had been claimed and sued by him for the last eight years (since ca. 1876) (Calaveras County Mining Claim Book 1:160).

The Flanders residence and barn were located on present Flanders Road, in the Pinebrook Subdivision. The site is indicated today by an open meadow and a few remnant apple trees.

At least one of the ditches is still flowing, although much silted-in, and courses from a small dam on Moran Creek. It courses southeasterly around the hillside, to eventually dump into an unnamed drainage which flows southwesterly into Moran Creek. However, its original terminus is unknown. The right-of-way for the ditch was erroneously noted as a “miner’s ditch” in the White Oak Land Exchange deed in 1984 (Calaveras County Official Record Book 687:514). As the ditch is still flowing, and has recently been sandbagged, it apparently is now maintained by the Pinebrook Property Owners.