Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Energy is the key which unlocks the portals of success and perseverance constitutes the path to prosperity. Possessing these qualities in abundance, Wyllys A. Willoughby has wen and retained an enviable position in business circles of Watsonville and also holds a secure place in the esteem of his fellow citizens, for honorable principles have guided him in every relation of life.

He was born August 11, 1875, on his father's ranch in the Railroad district of Santa Cruz county, near Watsonville, a son of O. H. and Mary (Trafton) Willoughby, both of whom are deceased. The former was born in one of the New England states and came to California in the early '50s, locating in San Francisco, where he engaged in the meat business for some time. In the '60s he settled in the Pajaro valley, becoming the owner of a productive tract of seventy-five acres in the Railroad district. He utilized advanced methods in the cultivation of his land and was also a large buyer of stock. He bought, developed and sold two ranches in the Salinas valley and one in the San Joaquin valley, contributing substantially to the agricultural progress of his adopted state. On his homestead he set out an apple orchard and also operated a dairy. He was an earnest worker in behalf of the republican party but never sought office as a reward for his fealty, and fraternally he was connected with Watsonville Lodge, No. 1300, B. P. O. E. To Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby were born six children: Howard, Mrs. J. W. Cutler, John E., Wyllys A., Fred D. and Sarah P.

Wyllys A. Willoughby received his early instruction in the rural school near the home farm and afterward attended the public schools of Watsonville. He aided his father in operating the ranch, taking charge of a large share of the "work", and thus became thoroughly familiar with agricultural pursuits. In 1918 he and his brother, Howard, purchased the business of the Milks-Adamson Company, which they are now conducting under the name of the Pajaro Valley Feed & Fuel Company, enjoying a large and steadily growing trade. For ten years Howard and Wyllys A. Willoughby have been business associates and the efforts of the one ably supplement the labors of the other. They are sagacious, farsighted business men, possessing executive ability and keen powers of discernment, and own the largest and best equipped poultry ranch in Santa Cruz county. It is situated on Fifteenth avenue, in Green valley, and is stocked with eight thousand chickens. The owners of the ranch have become widely known as expert poultrymen, and their business is in a very prosperous condition.

Wyllys A. Willoughby is married and has a daughter, Mary, aged thirteen years. He belongs to Watsonville Lodge, No. 1300, B. P. O. E., of which his brother Howard is also a member. The latter operated the Kelly-Thompson ranch near Salinas and has been prominently identified with agricultural activities in the valley. He is the father of two children, Otis H. and Mrs. Frances Brewer. The brothers have made the name of Willoughby a synonym for business integrity and enterprise in Watsonville and throughout the county, and their worth to the community is uniformly conceded.

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.