Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


An enterprising, progressive merchant whose valuable experience has often been of service to his many appreciative patrons, is Lawrence P. Chavoya, the popular dealer in feed and grain at Monterey, a city and county in which he and his family are peculiarly at home. Their association, in fact, with the history of California extends back to a period considerably antedating the beginning of the American occupancy, when, as another historian has aptly put it, the olden days formed an era widely different from that of the twentieth century. Then the holdings of the landowners were vast, and the rancheros under the heroic Spanish regime constituted a picturesque aristocracy with many characteristics that naturally gave way to the matter-of-fact, realistic American incomer, who soon divided the tracts into small farms and for the first time fenced the ranges, introducing methods and appliances quite different from those followed or employed by the native rancher. With this early agricultural practice the Chavoya family was closely identified, for several generations of that excellent, rugged stock had operated in the rich coast country-leaders socially, politically and industrially.

Santa Clara county, for example, was the native haunt and home of Alexander Chavoya, who made his advent to this world there in 1833 and who continued through his long and busy life to remain in California, evidencing the deepest and most helpful interest in the development of its resources and in its prosperity. His native ability and his valuable experience were reflected in his appointment as one of the responsible superintendents for the famous rancheros, Miller & Lux, for whom he both bought and sold sheep. He was also superintendent of the Newhall rancho in Monterey county for ten years, laying aside his cares only in 1905, when he passed away at the ripe old age of seventy-two, highly honored by all men. He had married Miss Magdalena Gulnac, a native daughter, born in 1844, and they were blessed with ten children, all worthy sons and daughters. Mr. Chavoya came of a strain distinguished for longevity, one of the grandfathers living to be ninety, and a grandmother attaining her eighty-fifth year.

Lawrence P. Chavoya has passed all of his years in the central part of the state, and is a true native son. He was born August 10, 1861, at San Jose, where he both began and finished his education. When his parents moved to Monterey county he naturally accompanied them and near San Lucas he first cast his lot in the agricultural field, liking it so well that he continued to farm for a considerable period. He also served for years, with characteristic public-spiritedness, as a trustee of the local schools. After a while, however, the lure of the city brought him into town, where he established both a retail and a wholesale hay, wood and feed yard, and little by little built up an enviable business. His enterprise, leading to his always having on hand just what was most wanted, and his unimpeachable integrity, making him absolutely dependable in all of his dealings, contributed to win for him a large circle of satisfied customers. Always public-spirited, he never ceased to endorse and support movements having for their real object the ultimate, lasting good of the community. This interest in community welfare, led to his serving in Monterey as a trustee of the high school.

Lawrence P. Chavoya married Miss Mary Heron, daughter of the well known pioneer, Peter Heron, but she passed away in the autumn of 1906, at the early age of thirty-eight, the mother of two sons and a daughter: Merle L., Harold J. and Marie A. Chavoya. In September, 1909, Mr. Chavoya remarried, taking for his second bride Miss Ida C. Kendall, a native of Nevada but at that time a resident of the Bay City. Mr. Chavoya has long been prominent in the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Fraternal Brotherhood, the American Yeomen and the Native Sons of the Golden West, and it would be difficult to find any "old timer" held in higher esteem.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.