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Watsonville History

On October 10th 1769, Fray Crespi and Miguel Costanso, a member of Portola’s expedition, described crossing a river that the soldiers named “Rio del Pajaro” because they had seen a large grass stuffed bird. The town became known as Pajaro.

In 1851, Judge John H. Watson arrived in the Pajaro Valley because he claimed to own some of Sebastian Rodriguez’ property. Judge H. Watson laid out a township near the Pajaro River. A Santa Cruz County under-sheriff referred to the area where Watson lived as Watson-ville and the name remained.

Watson ultimately lost his claim against the Rodriguez family but he stayed in the area. Sometime in 1862, Watson left Watsonville and moved to Nevada. Watson never returned to



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