HISTORY OF HEMET
Hemet is a city in Riverside County, California, located in the San Jacinto Valley. It has a total area of 27.8 square miles (72 km2), which is roughly half of the valley it shares with San Jacinto. At the time of the 2020 census, the population was 89,833.
The area in which Hemet is located was first inhabited by members of the Cahuilla Indian tribe. Then, in the early 1800’s, it became a cattle ranch for Mission San Luis Rey and was called Rancho San Jacinto. When the missions were broken up by the Mexican government, the land was awarded to Jose Antonio Estudillo in 1842.
The City of Hemet owes its inception and initial growth to two ironic events and the dedication of two wealthy men. The first event was the visit that Ramona author Helen Hunt Jackson made to the San Jacinto Valley in 1883 in order to gather material on the Sobobas, a group of Mission Indians living on the east side of the San Jacinto River. Mrs. Jackson was accompanied to the valley by her interpreter, Abbot Kinney.
During their visit, Jackson and Kinney stayed at various ranches and met numerous valley and mountain residents, notably Charles Thomas and Hancock McClung Johnston. Thomas and Johnston owned ranches in the San Jacinto Mountains where they raised race horses in what was then called Hemet Valley.