Margarita Ruiz Hefner (1849 – 1935), her six siblings, and her mother Dona Nieves Ruiz left Los Angeles in 1867 to flee the smallpox epidemic. They arrived in the Antelope Valley, trekking up to Elizabeth Lake to settle.
Margarita’s mother, Dona, set up makeshift quarters at the lake and began preparing meals for passing teamsters and other travelers along the Los Angeles-Elizabeth Lake-Fort Tejon-Sebastian Reserve Road.
When Margarita was 17, she married James Hefner (1825 – 1908), who was a passing teamster who had also worked as a forty-niner and blacksmith. Together, the couple took over Dona’s stage stop which later became known as Hefner’s Station. Margarita also worked as Elizabeth Lake’s postmistress.
In 1915, the Antelope Valley Ledger-Gazette began offering prizes for stories regarding the Antelope Valley’s earliest pioneers who still lived in the area. Margarita won the first prize, a lifetime subscription to the newspaper.
"Gurba, Norma H. Legendary Locals of the Antelope Valley. Arcadia, 2013.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"