The first people to settle in the area that is now Rancho Dolores were Maria de Dolores and her husband, Pancho Pott in about 1835. They came from the village of San Jose Yalbach where Maria’s father was the Alcalde, the village leader.
The story is that Maria was 13 years old when she and Pancho fled after he stole money from the village that had been collected to send guns and ammunition to Mexico. This was during the Caste Wars in Mexico that began 1847-1882. Thousands of Maya and Mestizo fled to Belize. Pancho and Maria built a sugar cane ranch called Rancho de Dolores in the center of what is now the village. All the early settlers spoke either Maya or Spanish
Maria and Pancho later had a rum distillery where cane was chopped, fermented and bottled. The distillery was located where the school presently . To make a single bottle of rum, a large bucket of cane juice was needed. The cane was cut, grown up and the juice was extracted boiled down and bottled.
Some of the earliest settlers were named Kemo, Cowo, Pott, Tut, Alpuche, Chan, Chi and Cal. Other early settlers were Smith, Old Sosa, Pook, Vasquez, Perez, Sutherland, Meno, Todd, Young, Cadle, Itza and Aguilar. Many of these people were mixture with different cultures including Maya, Mestizo, African, and Arawak Indian.
The first man who could read and write in Rancho Dolores was James Todd. He taught many others to read and write.