Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


The name of Trafton has been identified with the Watsonville neighborhood in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties since pioneer days and the Trafton district in that vicinity takes its name from this family which came in here in the early '50s of the past century. Thomas E. Trafton, one of the best known ranchers of that section and a member of the directorate of the Pajaro Valley National Bank, was born in the Trafton district in the year 1875 and is a son of Charles D. and Eliza (Cathers) Trafton, who are still living and who have eight children, Thomas E. Trafton having three brothers, Henry, J. D. and W. G. Trafton; and three sisters, Mrs. J. M. Ritchie, Mrs. W. J. McGowan and Mrs. Fred Willoughby.

Charles D. Trafton, a substantial landowner of the Watsonville neighborhood, was born in Canada and is a son of David and Sarah (Woodbury) Trafton, the latter of whom spent her last days in California. David Trafton was a native of the state of Maine. In 1840 he became .a resident of Missouri and was there engaged in the hotel and mercantile business until 1852, when he started with his family to make the long overland trip to California, the Traftons becoming a part of a considerable caravan that departed in that year from St. Joseph. Cholera got into the party and at Fort Kearney, David Trafton died, being then fifty-seven years of age. He had rendered service as a soldier during the time of the Mexican war. His widow came on to California with her family and settled in the beautiful Pajaro valley, in the vicinity of Watsonville, where she spent the remainder of her life, her death occurring there in 1891, when she was eighty years of age. At her passing she left a good memory, for she was indeed one of the real pioneer mothers of this region.

Reared on a farm in the Pajaro valley, Thomas E. Trafton received his education in the local schools and has from the days of his boyhood given his attention to farming and fruit growing, being now known as one of the large operators hereabouts. Mr. Trafton is the owner of a fine ranch of three hundred and ninety acres and resides on the old home place of his deceased uncle, the late John Trafton, a large landowner and philanthropist, who died in 1921. Mr. Trafton gives his chief attention to the raising of vegetables and berries but of late years also has gone somewhat extensively into chicken breeding and now (1925) has no fewer than eight thousand Leghorn chickens on his place. Besides his farm interests he is a member of the board of directors of the Pajaro Valley Savings Bank of Watsonville, the largest financial institution in that city.

On June 6, 1905, Thomas E. Trafton was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Webb, who was born in Texas, daughter of W. J. Webb. Mr. and Mrs. Trafton have one child: A daughter, Dorothy. The Traftons have a very pleasant home and take an interested part in the general social activities of the community in which they live. Mr. Trafton is a Knight Templar and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine and both he and Mrs. Trafton are members of the local chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in Watsonville.

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.