Ridge Route Communities Museum & Historical Society
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By Bonnie Ketterl Kane


In the 1850's Rafael Reyes and his sons drove their cattle through the valleys of the San Emigdio Mountains in search of greener pastures. The Reyes' were the owners of Rancho Los Vergenes in the Triunfo area of today's Agoura Hills and a drought forced the family to search for new grazing lands in the mountains to the north. The area they chose was to the west of the present Lockwood Valley in the Upper Cuyama Valley now known as the Ozena area. In the years that followed, a spacious adobe was constructed near a water source, now known as Reyes Creek, where the family homesteaded.

Reyes Ranger Station about 1860Reyes Ranger Station about 1860

The oldest son of Rafael and Maria Reyes was Jacinto Damien, better known as J.D., who served as the first U.S. Forest Ranger in that area for over thirty years. Another Reyes son, Peter - or Pedro - became the area's mail carrier and on his way back from the coast would also carry bags of water filled with fish to stock the area creeks.

Ozena Post Office Ozena Post Office

Homesteading to the east of the Reyes family was a german immigrant by the name of Martin Scheideck. He had traveled to the United States with a friend Gebhardt Wegis. The young men had left their beloved homeland to avoid enlistment in the army. They came to California and searched for a place that would remind them of southern Germany. The two men walked from San Luis Obispo to the Upper Cuyama where they both homesteaded. Gebhardt married one of the Reyes daughters, Rosa, and they went on to establish that well known family.

Martin Scheideck constructed an adobe home and store with a wine cellar below. From the store he also ran a post office and was known to serve his hard cider to his postal customers with a bucket of candy available for the children. He also became known as Judge Scheideck as apparently an itinerate lawyer had left him a handsome set of law books that he had read thoroughly and would therefore be called on to settle disputes .

Additional information may be found in "A View from the Ridge Route" series