Gradually almost all of the vast Mexican ranchos were lost by the grantees through occupation by squatters and through sale.
Valencia had to give up the Rancho Acalanes when he fell into debt and was forced to sell his acreage. The buyer was William Alexander Leidesdorff, a successful Yerba Buena (San Francisco) financier and politician whose father was Danish and whose mother was a black from the West Indies.
Fleeing a broken romance in New Orleans, Leidesdorff arrived in San Francisco in 1841 and soon was named American Vice-Counsel. He was later elected the first American alcalde (mayor) of the new town.
William Alexander Leidesdorff, second owner of the Rancho Acalanes, probably never lived on his property, and it’s possible he never actually saw the land. He died in 1848 at the age of 39.
The Moraga family’s loss of the Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados culminated a long series of legal and sometimes physical fights with encroaching Americans. Confusion over land titles added to the break-up of the rancho.
History has thrown most of the blame for the loss of the rancho on the shoulders of Horace W. Carpentier, a real estate speculator. He obtained the Bernal half of the land by buying up various mortgages and by 1886 was owner of the entire rancho.