Mr. Joe Callizo researched the first homesteaders that patented rights to lands on and surrounding the Reserve.  Because the Reserve and surrounding lands were outside the limits of Rancho Locoallomi grant, the lands were acquired through homesteading.  Kate B. Swartz patented a 160-acre parcel in the northern one-half of Section 14 on July 30, 1878.  She sold the parcel to Andrew Eagen on April 13, 1880, who in turn, sold it to Ernest V Stafford on January 17, 1881.  Earnest V Stafford patented a 90-acre parcel in the southeast one-quarter of Section 14 on May 20, 1884.  He named his ranch “Mount Olive ranch”, of which 18 acres were cultivated for grapes, olives, apples, prunes, peaches, almonds, and other varieties of fruits.  This is the area in which the Darby Lodge now sits.


The Stafford family sold an 80-acre parcel of their ranch in 1920 to Frank and May Robinson.  After Frank’s death in 1935, the property was deeded to Dr. and Mrs. Ernest W. Cleary in 1935.  Mary Edna Cleary was the younger sister of Frank Robinson.  Dr. Cleary purchased the 152.91 acre Stafford-McManaman Tract at public auction on September 15, 1942.  He later purchased the rest of the land.

Dr. Ernest Cleary was a renowned orthopedic surgeon from Burlingame, California.

The determination of Dr. and Mrs. Cleary that the land be preserved as an undisturbed natural area, appreciated for its wilderness values, led them to sell the land at a fraction of its market value in order to establish the Reserve in 1962.  Maintenance and administration of the Reserve are the responsibility of the Biological Field Studies Association, a non-profit corporation of natural scientists and concerned citizens, whose effort were responsible for successful purchase of the land.

At the close of the purchase negotiations, Dr Cleary wrote: “With a deep sense of fulfillment, custody of the mountain is being placed in the hands of men who will understand it’s significance.  It is good to know that its unique values will be cherished, its treasures enjoyed, and put to constructive use.”