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Phil Reader
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Apr 2007 Posts: 392 Location: Live Oak
Patrick Moran.

One quick look at the place names on a map of Live Oak it becomes obvious that the area was settled by Irish immigrants, witness: Corcoran Lagoon, Kinsley Street and Moran Beach.
Most of these refugees from a great famine in their native land came to America in the belief that the move was just a temporary measure. An short time exile before their return home. To seal this belief, a countless number of immigrants would scoop up a pouch of the “old sod” which they vowed bring back home with them.
However in the light of history, this conviction appears to be highly optimistic at best because few Irishmen ever made the return journey home. So the pouch of turf accompanied them to the grave.
But these hardy pioneers left their mark on the mid-county area of Santa Cruz county. They broke the land to the plow, planted and harvested the crops, carved out the roads, founded the schools, and built the homes that created the basis for our everyday life.
One such pioneer was Patrick Moran.
Moran was born Christmas Day, 1836 on his parents tiny farm at Tipperary, Ireland. The family came to America in 1849 and settled in Portland, Oregon, when Patrick was 13 years of age. On November 18, 1866, He married Rose Smith, a fellow immigrant, who was a native of County Cavan, Ireland and two weeks later the young couple moved to Santa Cruz.
The following year, Patrick and his partner, John Sevey, opened a Blacksmith shop on River Street, near the Bulkhead, located between Madam Pauline’s brothel and the stately home of Dr. Benjamin Knight. After a brief stint as a bartender at a downtown saloon, Pat and Rose made the switch over to the farming life.
In 1870, they purchased 220 acres of quality farm land out at Pleasure Point. (Then known as Point Soquel.) Their land, a part of old Rancho del Rodeo, was bounded on the west by Corcoran Lagoon, on the south by Monterey Bay, the west by the lands of Walter Lynskey (34th Avenue) and the north by the Thompson farm. (Portola Drive)
Like many California pioneer farmers they put in a crops prior to building a permanent home. Before long their efforts were rewarded by great success. Over the years the farm developed into a show place for the latest in scientific agriculture. For their home, they built a large sprawling ranch house which stood on a bluff overlooking the beach and lagoon which now bear their name. It was approached by a long narrow lane (26th Avenue) which passed the Thompson place on it’s way to Lower Soguel Road. (Capitola Road.)
The ranch consisted numerous out building including several chicken coops, rabbit hutches, milking stalls and animal sheds. There was a large cavernous hay and feed barn which stood along the lane near Corcoran’s Lagoon and Rodeo Creek. In this barn, Moran kept all of his farm equipment.
On the personal side, the Moran’s began a family which eventually grew to include a total of eleven children. Patrick, like all of his neighbors became involved in local matters. Being a charter member of the Farmer’s Club and the Santa Cruz-Live Oak Grange and served on the county fair board. Also because of his large family, he was a natural to be a longtime member of the Live Oak School Board of Trustees - to which he was elected to four terms.
For twenty-five years the Moran family lived the idyllic life out on Pleasure Point. Then in 1896, their world collapsed. Beginning that year, they, in rapid secession, lost three children. One to Typhoid Fever and two the strong riptides off of Sunny Cove.
Unable to bear all the pain, Patrick, like so many other Irishmen with the fatalism so common in the celtic nature, began to drink excessively. And when drunk he took his pain and frustrations out on Rose and the children. Domestic violence replaced the happiness that once prevailed in the household. So in 1897 Rose filed for a divorce, asking for custody of the children and a division of property. Patrick did not even contest the action nor show up in court., so the judge granted Rose all that she had petitioned for.
On the night of March 25, 1901, the Moran house tragically burned to the ground. Within a year, Rose had sold off all of her holding and moved up to San Francisco.
Following the loss of his family and home, Patrick Moran slipped into the bottle never to emerge. Countless newspaper articles tell of his drunken antics and nights spent in the drunk tank or out on the streets. To the towns people, he became the comic stereotype of the inebriated Irishman.
The end came on August 20, 1904, when Patrick Moran died of a liver ailment.
His obituary ends appropriately enough with the following . “In order to understand the course of “hard luck” Paddy Moran’s life you need to remember this quote made by Mr. Moran during a sober moment, “it was not the passing of time that has did this to me, but the passing of the caskets.”
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