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February 2021

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Happy Valentine's Day

It’s a season of love as we prepare for Valentine’s Day. When Lewis met Nellie, he asked her father John Gail, the El Toro Postmaster, if he could court his daughter. This 20th century dating practice was when another person would join the date. Victorian virtues were maintained with courting as a family would help determine future spouses. View more images of courting and marriage at the Smithsonian Museum.

El Toro General Store & Post Office, Operated by John Lockwood Gail, 1902-1904

Nellie Gail wrote in her personal memoir, “You see, my dears, I want you to know that this ancestor of yours was no wallflower.” (2019.16.02, page 43) Nellie described her meeting Mr. Moulton in 1903 in El Toro where her father ran the general store. She stated, “One day a Mr. Moulton, one of the ranchers, came in to get his mail and make a few purchases. Father introduced me and I helped wait on him. We exchanged some pleasantries, then, his errands done, he left. Nothing more. My only immediate impression was that he seemed a very nice gentleman of a customer. That was the summer of 1903. Five years later I became Mrs. Moulton.” They had Seattle dates where Lewis visited her during her teaching and principle assignments. Mr. Moulton secured them box seats to Ben Hur at the Grand Opera House in Seattle in 1903. They were married in 1908. The had their honeymoon in Hawaii where they went sight seeing in Honolulu.

Lewis and Nellie Gail Moulton, 1908

Read the O.C. Register article, "Nellie Gail and Lewis Moulton: A love story" on our website:

Local History | Then & Now

This photo of the exterior of the Moulton Ranch house was taken near 1908 when Lewis built this house for Nellie Gail Moulton for their wedding. (2018.39.26) In 1976 the Moulton house was removed from the site which would later become the El Torito Mexican Restaurant at Oakbrook Village Shopping Center next to the Laguna Hills Mall.
Reata Oakbrooke Village Timeline 24391 Avenida de la Carlota #100, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 Today, near the Moulton Ranch homestead, this historic timeline was created by Shea Homes as a Public Art Installation. Visit it to see the local history of Laguna Hills. The street Avenida de la Carlota was aptly named for Charlotte Moulton Mathis, the oldest daughter of Lewis and Nellie Gail Moulton.

From the Archive


Mr Lewis F Moulton
El Toro

Dear Sir

I have heard you have some sheep for sale, I would like to buy 1500 or two thousand heads of sheep. If it is not too much trouble for you please let me know what kind of sheep you have for sale, and the last price a man could buy them.

Favor me with an answer.

I remain yours truly
J B Liben
for A. C. Calkins

Address. A. C. Calkins
Care of first National bank.
Santa Barbara, Co

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