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Here's the Story Behind the Adobe in the Graveyard

The unmarked home is just beyond the chapel and has a little wishing well out in front.

Recently, several people have asked about the adobe that is located within Oakwood Memorial Park, 22601 Lassen St., here in Chatsworth.  The adobe is just behind the chapel and it has a little wishing well out in front. It is not marked but it is known to be the home of the Francisco Miranda family.

Miranda came to California from Mexico in 1868.  He lived in San Benito and then Los Angeles.  He met and married 19 year-old Maria Benito Sales/Solis on Aug. 23, 1876, at the San Juan Baptista Mission.  The couple later came to the San Fernando Valley and homesteaded the property that is now the cemetery. They lived here on the ranch from the 1880s through the early 1900s.

The Chatsworth Historical Society has pictures of some of the Miranda children who attended the Santa Susana School in the early 1900s. And we know that the Miranda family lived in Chatsworth in 1900 because they are listed in the United States Census for that period.

They were a large family that became a part of the community.  They were friends of the early family of Rueben Ahlstrom.   Ed Ahlstrom remembered staying several weeks with the family and being cared for by Mrs. Miranda when his younger sister was born.  The late Ed Ahlstrom was a member of the Chatsworth Historical  Society and contributed historical information, pictures and material about early Chatsworth to the Society.  He was the grandson of Ann and Neils Johnson, the first English-speaking family to live in the area that became Chatsworth.

In the 1900 Census the Miranda Family was the 5th family enumerated on the first day of June, 1900, and the enumerator was Francis  M. Wright.

The family members were listed as:  Francisco, head of the house, 54; Mary, wife, 44; Ramon, son, 20; Frank, son, 19; Dolores, daughter, 17; Lupe, daughter, 15; Rosento, son, 14; Maggie, daughter; 13; Inez, daughter, 10; Rosie, daughter, 9; Theodore, son, 7; Antonio, son, 5; Jennie, daughter, 4; and William, son, 2 years of age.  Several other relatives were listed as living at that address including a grandson, a sister-in-law, a niece and a nephew.

Franciso Miranda died in 1905 at the home of his daughter and was buried in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.  Later in 1937 Miranda's body was moved here to Oakwood, to rest on his former property. Maria moved into Los Angeles sometime after Francisco's death and died in 1955.  Oakwood Memorial Park started in 1920 so the Miranda family was scattered by that time.

Mrs. Gerri Mares, a great granddaughter of Francisco and Maria Miranda, lives in San Diego.  She became a member of the Chatsworth Historical Society and donated pictures and information to the group and has participated in events here in Chatsworth.

The Chatsworth Historical Society is interested in finding other descendants of the Francisco Miranda family and is constantly seeking more information about this early family and other early settlers in the area.

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If you would like to learn more about the Miranda family and other people from the past you may visit the local museum at The Homestead Acre, 10385 Shadow Oak Drive, within Chatsworth Park South at the west end of Devonshire Street.  The museum is open the first Sunday of every month from 1-4 p.m.  There is no charge and plenty of free parking.



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