Solano County

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Among the native sons of California there are few now living who have attained a greater seniority than has the venerable Jose Gillermo Juan Higuera, a member of one of the old Spanish families of the settlement about the old San Gabriel Mission in what is now Los Angeles county. He has been a resident of the territory now included in Solano and Napa counties since the year following the passing of the Spanish possession of this country, having come here in 1849, the year after the Americans took possession and the year in which the great gold rush began. Now, in the pleasant "evening time" of his life, Mr. Higuera, who is living comfortably retired at Vallejo, can look back upon the events that have led up to the surprising development of this region since that time, and in this genial retrospection he takes much pleasure, having many a good story to tell of conditions as they existed here in the days of his boyhood.

Mr. Higuera was born at the San Gabriel Mission, June 26, 1837, and is a son of Jose Leonard and Maria Antonia (Gillen) Higuera, the former of whom was born in Lower California, a son of an officer of the Mexican army who was later stationed at San Diego. Jose Leonard Higuera also became an officer of the Mexican army and was thus serving when California was ceded to the United States in 1848, his son, Jose G. Juan Higuera, then being eleven years of age. In the next year the latter, then but a lad of twelve years, came up into the bay country here in the employ of Curtis & Clark and was engaged with others in rounding up wild cattle that were roaming throughout this region, the base of these operations having been at Suscol in what now is Napa county. That was the beginning of his gainful activities. Afterward he was engaged in mining operations and in such other work as he found to do until he had attained man's estate, and after his marriage he settled down at Napa in charge of the Tobin ranch. In 1888 Mr. Higuera settled on a ranch of his own, a tract of forty acres in the immediate vicinity of Vacaville, and began farming on his own account, giving particular attention to fruit culture. His wife died there in the fall of 1907 and not long afterward he retired from the farm and moved into the city of Vallejo, where he since has made his home. In addition to the farm lands which he still owns, Mr. Higuera has considerable valuable real estate in Vallejo and is accounted one of the county's substantial citizens. He built the apartment house in which he is now living, at No. 739 Georgia street, in 1917. Since 1922 he has been practically retired from active service in connection with his affairs, his sons now being in charge of the details.

It was in 1871 that Jose G. Juan Higuera was united in marriage to Miss Felicita Romero, who was born in Mexico, a member of one of the old Spanish families there, and who died in September, 1907. Mr. Higuera has ten children—six sons, Leonard, Joseph, Gregory, John, Gabriel and Miguel, and four daughters, Mary, Dolores, Nettie and Clothilde, and he also has two grandchildren.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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This page was last updated 27 Oct 2007

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