Love, Honor, and the Power of Law

Donna C. Schuele

in On the Borders of Love and Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780520272385
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520951341 | DOI:
Love, Honor, and the Power of Law

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This chapter examines the effort of an elite Californio, Antonio Ygancio Ávila to pass down, in his last will and testament, his 22,500-acre rancho to his eldest son in the midst of a rapidly changing legal system following California’s statehood. Under the tradition of Spanish-Mexican patriarchy, wealthy landowners found ways to preserve their status and honor across generations, partly through the mechanism of inheritance. In the emerging legal landscape—including the creation of county probate courts—new opportunities arose for family members to contest the older legal order. The chapter traces the long battle over the Ávila estate in a legal environment in which individual interest was to trump collective family concerns.

Keywords: honor; probate courts; patriarchy; Spanish; Mexican; California; legal; family

Chapter.  11156 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Local and Family History

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