This collection contains daily equipment used on the Moulton Ranch, a nearly 22,000 acre operation. The Ranch Collection includes chaps, stirrups, spurs, cowbells, saddle pads, saws, and other materials. Cattle yokes and branding irons are also in this collection. These items represent a period in California’s history where there were more sheep heads than people until the growth in our state’s history with rapid transportation methods such as trains. Most of this collection is composed of natural materials like leather goods and shows signs of wear.
Moulton Ranch owned by Lewis Fenno Moulton (1854-1938). Lewis traveled to California in 1874 and originally worked on Rancho San Joaquin, which became Irvine Ranch. Years of hard work and dedication to his industry allowed him to purchase Rancho Niguel. Lewis purchased land with the Fenno family loan. He paid this loan off and took on a business partner in 1892 named Jean Pierre Daguerre (1856-1911). Daguerre owned one-third interest in L. F. Moulton & Co. The business partners originally had primarily a sheep ranch that transformed into a cattle ranch when Daguerre passed away. The Moulton and Daguerre families had a homestead ranch near the modern-day 5-freeway in Oakbrooke Village which became the city of Laguna Hills.
The collection contains Lewis’ prized saddle which is on exhibition in 1874: Into the West. The saddles were handcrafted in the U.S. and Mexico by artisans. Lewis Moulton’s saddle was made by Byon in Fort Worth, Texas. The collection also contains horse tack, ropes, and harnesses discovered on Louise Moulton Hanson’s (1914-2014) Santa Barbara ranch. The museum is exhibiting the J. QUIJADA MAKER saddle manufactured in San Jose, CA on an historic stand with chaps are currently on exhibit with the “LM” barbed wire brand. The lassos, stirrups, water canteen and are some of the key tools a rancher owned.
The ranch equipment collection also contains agricultural elements like a seed bag, sickle, and livestock scales. These farming instruments were part of the lay of the land that were sometimes abandoned on site. See Aliso Viejo Ranch for industrial agricultural equipment that was shared with tenant farmers.