In 1849, John Abel Robinson and his two brothers left Boston for the riches and adventure of the gold fields of the Sierra Nevada. For the next five years, John Abel and his brothers struggled to try and make their fortune.  One brother died in Hornitos, California and the other brother returned to Boston.

In 1855, John Abel, injured in a mining accident, began farming near Snelling, Ca. He found he could make a better life for himself growing fruit and vegetables for the miners than he could mining for gold.

John Abel was the first resourceful steward of a property that has remained in our family for over 160 years; five generations of Robinsons have raised livestock and farmed the land along the Merced River.

We are now circling back to our roots in growing trees.  We are excited to be producing some of the highest quality Chandler Walnuts and Nonpareil Almonds in the Central Valley.   We could not have done it without all of our wonderful partners’ time, energy and expertise. We hope you enjoy these high quality nuts as much as we have enjoyed producing them and developing our family’s ongoing commitment to agriculture.

April 1849 John Abel Robinson leaves Boston for the California Gold Fields

May 1855 John Abel Robinson settles on the Home Ranch in Snelling, California marries and has seven children.

1910 – Robinson Brother Cattle Company  is established.

When John Abel’s’ three sons, George Albert, Walter, and Fred, began their operation, they started with the original “Home Place” near Snelling. They gradually brought or leased land for their operation. At one time they operated about 40,000 acres with both cattle and grain in Merced and Stanislaus Counties. George ran the operations. Fred was a trader and Walter was the bookkeeper.

1924 – 1935 Hoof and Mouth Disease

A devastating epidemic of Hoof and Mouth Disease swept through  Merced and Stannislaus counties.  Robinson Brothers Cattle Co. had to kill all of their cattle (approximately 50,000 head were slaughtered)

Until cattle were allowed back on the range, the brothers operated dry land wheat operation and a sheep ranch. They brought eleven shepherds directly from Portugal. Many relatives of these original families still remain in the Merced area. Sheep ranching ended on this land in 1935. For the last few years of this episode sheep and cattle were ranging together on this land, putting an end to the oft told tale that they cannot range together.

1935 – When it was time to return to cattle, Fred went off on his own. The land was divided. George and Walter continued RBCC together until after World War II. They actually should have retired sooner, but all of “George’s Boys” (Robert, Wilbur and Donald)  were off in the war.

After WWII, Wilbur continued his law practice for a while, but when his younger brother (Don) came home from the European front, they decided it was time to keep the family business going. They started a partnership that ran for the next 30 years.

1947-1977 – During these years Don and Wilbur operated a cow-calf ranch on about 13,000 acres. They also raised grain. They gradually leveled several fields for irrigated pasture using the riparian rights on the Merced River as well as MID water. Six miles of the main canal ran through the ranch. Don and Wilbur built a number of stock water dams and improved their Hereford stock with registered bulls.

1955 – Don marries Audrey Coker and they have five children.

1977 – Wilbur retired and Don continued the operation.

Lee, Don’s third son, worked with him for about ten years until he decided to return to UC Santa Cruz. Chris graduated from UC Davis in 1991 and began his lifelong ambition to run the ranch. He took over the operation in 1993.

Present: The operation carries on through the present time with Christopher; who is married to Allison Myers and they have five children of their own.  Their children are proud fifth generation Californians on the grandmother’s (Audrey) side and fourth on the Grandfather’s side (Don).