Leaving California to participate in the 1862 La Paz gold rush in Arizona, Jose Maria Redondo and his brother Jesus were among the discoverers of the Pichaco gold placers. Establishing a 1,000-acre ranch in Yuma, Ariz. Redondo constructed 27 miles of irrigation and began raising wheat, barley, alfalfa, hay and sugar cane. By the mid-1870s, Redondo had become a prominent merchant, political leader and the one of the wealthiest men in Arizona. In 1878, he was elected mayor of Yuma. Redondo is credited as the first person to settle in the Yuma area and the first to raise wheat and establish a gristmill there. His obituary in the daily Arizona Sentinel in 1878 called him the father of Yuma County.