The following entry is typical of the more than 2700 entries in Monterey County Place Names. Pleyto, or at least Pleyto's location, is now under water.The references and abbreviations are explained here.

(Note: because of formatting differences, this is not an exact representation of the printed page. A more accurate file in Adobe PDF format is available here)



Pleyto This former settlement was located at the junction of Pleyto Road and the road to Bradley along the S side of San Antonio River, but the site is now completely under water, inundated by the creation of San Antonio Reservoir (Lake San Antonio). The town was planned by William Pinkerton, who bought a large portion of Rancho Pleyto in 1868. Pinkerton was married to Mary H. (Mollie) Earl. In 1875, Paulson reported:

Pleito Station is a small collection of buildings, which, by a stretch of courtesy, might be called a town….It is nearly ninety miles south-east from Salinas City. The hotel at this place is a very comfortable, home-like place, whose wholesome and substantial fare is refreshing and sustaining. The store is at present closed, but will be re-stocked and opened in the Spring by the enterprising hotel proprietors. The Stage Company has a large and and complete stable here. This is the last town or village in the southern extremity of the County. A party of forty-three persons recently reached here from Kentucky; many of them immediately purchased land, and all expect to settle in this vicinity.


In 1894 Pleyto had one store, one hotel, one blacksmith shop, and a post office, but by the 1960s the town had disappeared even before the reservoir was created. It took its name from the land grant, Rancho Pleyto (q.v.). Variant names: Plato, Pleito. The time-table issued by the Coast Stage Line effective May 18, 1871, listed the stage stop as "Plato Ranch."


Ref: Coast Stage Line time-table, 1871 [reproduced in Pierce 1977:162]; Paulson 1875:254; Gonzales Tribune, January, 1894; Salt 1951:4; Gudde 1969:251; Stewart 1970:377; Howard 1973:79-80; Gillett 1990:15; Hoover 1990:221


Map: 1892SAN, 1898HAR, 1901CEN, 1904SCA, 1907GLO, 1907WEB, 1908CRA, 1908RAN, 1910REC, 1913DEN, 1915SPC, 1916CAL, 1919BRA, 1920HIG, 1923SPR, 1926CRC, 1935SPR, 1946THO, 1951CAL, 1979BRY as Pleyto; 1877COX as Pleyto Station; 1882COL as Pleito; 1898HAR also shows Pleyto Store; Harrington 1931:reel 88:576 shows Pleito Store; 1872ASH as Pinto


Pleyto Campground This is one of the Lake San Antonio campsites operated by the Monterey County Department of Parks. It is located off Pleyto Road and comprises a campground, general store, picnic and marina area on the N shore of Lake San Antonio. Named for the former settlement, Pleyto.


Map: 1969GEN, 1986CAA, 1987OFF as Pleyto Campground; 1986CAA, as Pleyto Forest Camp


Pleyto Post Office The post office at Pleyto had a checkered career. It was originally approved on December 14, 1870, under the name "Pleito" and was established on the Soledad and Santa Barbara Stage Road in NEQ Sec.16 T24S R9E. Service was discontinued August 26, 1872, but the office was reopened on November 6, 1874, only to be closed again August 12, 1876. The Record of Appointment of Postmasters shows that the office was reopened in the NWQ Sec.9, still under the name "Pleito," on October 6, 1884, but that the name was changed to "Pleyto" on December 8, 1884. Apparently the Superintendent of the San Francisco office of the Railway Mail Service did not receive prompt notice from Washington that the Pleito Post Office had been reopened on October 6 for he wrote, on October 9, 1884, this letter to the Postmaster at Jolon:

 Sir: You will please notify the patrons of your office whose mail is directed to Pleito (there being no post office by that name) to instruct their correspondents that mail intended for them must be directed to Jolon postoffice, as mail matter directed simply to Pleito, California, is immailable and will be sent to the dead letter office in accordance with the instructions of the Department. I understand that many newspapers are directed to subscribers at Pleito. You will take every mode possible to rectify this matter. Respectfully,J. L. Wilden, Sup’t.  

Wilden’s letter must have cause problems; in the January 17, 1885, issue of the Salinas Weekly Index, the publisher and proprietor, W. J. Hill, printed a a response from Thomas T. Tidball, postmaster at Jolon,, to an earlier inquiry:


Jolon, Jan. 10. 1885


Friend Hill: In response to your inquiries concerning the mail matter for Pleito, I have to say: Last month a postoffice was established at "Pleito." Since then the name has been changed to "Pleyto," and all matter intended for that place and thus addressed will reach the destination without delay.

 Before the establishment of that office, all matter intended for Pleyto — whether written "Pleito," "Pleyto," or Jolon — was taken from the mail at this office and forwarded in a private bag to Pleyto Station.  

Much of the mail for that office, especially newspapers, still comes to this office (Jolon) in our local pouch, which, arriving in the middle of the night, is not distributed until next morning; consequently any mail for Pleyto has to lay over until the next night.

 If mail, intended for that locality is plainly addressed "Pleyto," it will go through in the way pouch and reach there promptly  

Yours truly,

 T. T. Tidball.  

The Pleyto office closed for the last time February 14, 1925. Edward Wobken was the first postmaster.


Ref: Record 1832-1971; Salinas Weekly Index, October 16, 1884 (Wilden letter), January 17, 1885 (Hill letter); Frickstad 1955:108; Wilkerson 1968:2; Salley 1977:174; Wilkerson 1984:8; p.c. RW November 12, 1990, March 12, 1991 enclosing copies of Index letters


Map: Site Location 1837-1950 (as of 1884, 1887 and 1917), 1884USP, 1887USP, 1889USP, 1893USP, 1896USP, 1898HAR, 1906USP, 1907GLO, Map of Land Owned by Wm. Pinkerton et al in Lot No.1 of the Pleyto Rancho…H. F. Cozzens, April 1916, 1918USD as Pleyto P. O. or Post Office; 1898HAR shows Pleyto P. O. and Pleyto Store in NWQ Sec.10 T24S R9E about 1 m SSE of Pleyto; Wilkerson 1984:6 as Pleyto (Pleito) Post Office