Stuart's Rancho was a small settlement twelve miles northeast of Encinal in south central La Salle County. The community seems to have been located on the property of William A. (Peg-leg) Stuart, one of the leading citizens of La Salle County during the 1870s and early 1880s. Stuart was born in Tennessee; he moved to La Salle County about 1857 and became a prominent landowner in the Fort Ewell area. He was married to a woman of Mexican descent, and, according to one account, was particularly influential in the local Mexican-American community. From September 1881 to March 1882 Stuart's Rancho served as the first county seat of La Salle County; the county court was housed in Mrs. Ford's Hotel.