In 1824 Secundino and younger brother Teodoro Robles were the first non-Indians to discover cinnabar deposits. By 1845, when these deposits proved to be rich in quicksilver, Secundino and Teodoro received $13,000 in cash and four of 24 total shares in the developing New Almaden mine. The brothers purchased Jose Pena's 8500-acre Rancho Rincon de San Francisquito for $3500 -- an enormous sum at the time. They built a two-story hacienda on what is now Alma Street, which Secundino nicknamed Rancho Santa Rita after one of his daughters. The Robles family was famous for hosting lavish parties. Entertainment often included bear and bullfights, music and dancing, and even a traveling circus.


  • Title: Teodoro E. Robles, ca. 1865
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1850/1870
  • Location: San Jose (Calif.)
  • Physical Dimensions: Oil on canvas, 47 x 38 in.
  • Provenance: History San José Collection

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