Robert and Josefa Livermore and the rancho Las Positas

Robert Livermore was born in Springfield, Essex, England in 1799. In 1816, he decided to join the crew of an English merchant ship. It would be thirty-five years before his family would hear from him again. In 1822, he jumped ship on the coast of California near Monterey. In June of 1823, Robert was baptized at the mission Santa Clara into the Catholic faith. In the early 1830's Robert located in the Sunol Valley where he built an adobe and raised stock and grain with his partner Jose Noriega.

The land grant for Las Positas (near the current Portola Ave.) was granted to Robert and his partner in 1835. Later, Robert would buy out Jose Noriega's interest in the grant. At the time, the only other inhabitant of the valley, besides the Native Americans, was Jose Amador (his rancho was near the present city of Dublin) who received his land grant a short time earlier.

In 1838 Robert married Josefa Higuera Molina at the mission San Jose. Initially an adobe structure served as their house on the rancho. In 1850, a wooden two story house was shipped around the horn and became the Livermore's new home. Later the adobe structure was rented to Nathaniel Greene Patterson who used it as a small hotel, the first place of entertainment in the valley.

Robert Livermore died in 1858, he left behind Josefa and eight children. The eldest son, Robert Jr., had built his home on the southern end of the ranch property. Robert Sr. never saw the town of Livermore, for it was not established until 1869 by William Mendenhall. The adobe house, shown on the left hand side of the painting above, near the creek, was torn down in 1875. Josefa Livermore died in 1879 and is buried with her husband in the mission San Jose. The two story wooden house, also shown above, was torn down in 1953.

If you would like to learn more about Livermore's history

visit our museum at the Carnegie Library building on Third Street in Livermore.

Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the surrounding park!



Link update: November 25, 2000