“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Watsonville in Santa Cruz County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)


Judge John Howard Watson


—1813-1882 —

Watsonville Marker image. Click for full size.
July 2, 2009
1. Watsonville Marker
Inscription. After the California gold discovery in 1848, the rush was on from all parts of the nation to the mining regions of the West Coast. In early 1849, a young man named John Howard Watson arrived in California to seek his fortune. Stories have been handed down that prior to that he lived in Georgia and Texas, married, killed a man, read some law and owned a slave.

Soon after his arrival, Watson was elected to the State Assembly but resigned in 1850. A month later he was elected judge of the Third District which was comprised of Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. He resigned again the next year, apparently always looking for greener pastures.

In 1852 Fecundo Rodriguez sold two square leagues of the Rancho de los Rodriguez, or Bolsa del Pájaro, to Judge Watson and Durell Gregory for $400. Later that same year, Sebastian Rodriguez sold “all of the one undivided half part of that tract of – Rancho Bolsa de los Rodriguez” to them for $4,000. This was the site of the village of Pájaro, the future Watsonville.

In 1861, Judge Watson left Watsonville for Nevada and was never to return. He became Justice of the Peace in Mountain City after trying his hand at mining. He died in Elko, Nevada on August 2, 1882.
Location. 36° 54.769′ 
Watsonville Marker image. Click for full size.
July 2, 2009
2. Watsonville Marker
N, 121° 45.561′ W. Marker is in Watsonville, California, in Santa Cruz County. Marker is on Main Street (California Route 152), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Watsonville CA 95076, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Patricks Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Apple Annual (about 400 feet away); Where Strawberries are Sweeter (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Mansion House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lest We Forget (approx. 0.2 miles away); This Gun Was Used (approx. Ľ mile away); The Lettunich Building (approx. Ľ mile away); Judge Julius Lee House (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Watsonville.
Also see . . .  City of Watsonville Website. (Submitted on July 28, 2009.)
Categories. Notable PersonsSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 659 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on . • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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