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Forum Home  <  Family History  ~  Thomas Howell.

Phil Reader
Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:11 am Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Apr 2007 Posts: 392 Location: Live Oak
Thomas Howell
Commonly known as “English Tom” to the local Mexican population, was born in the village of Stoke Damerel, Devonshire, England in January of 1830. As a lad, he had some minor problem with the law and was transported to a penal colony in Australia.
By 1853, he had made his way to California and after a perod of time in the mines, settling in Santa Cruz where he made fast friends with Hugh Pablo McCall, a fellow Englishman and Jean Baptise Molares, a New Orleans Frenchman. All they were married into Çastro sisters from the Gilroy family.
Tom married Eduvigis Margaret Castro Salazar at the Santa Cruz mission in 1855.
They bought a large farm in Rodeo Gulch, sometimes known as Doyle’s Gulch. The couple had at least 16 children, 13 of whom were girls.
Around this last fact swirls countless stories, one of which is both charming and humorous.
Howell’s farm lay at the mouth of Rodeo Gulch were it crosses Soquel Road. In the 1870s, there were a group of wild young banditos who operated out of Branciforte. In order to protect his daughters virtue, English Tom had a small room built into the bottom of his well so that the girls could hide when Los Banditos de Branciforte would ride by. The boys, of course would always stop at the gulch to to water their mounts before thundering on.
However, the old man’s strategy did not work, for in the long run, most of the girls married these wild young men.
In spite of these problems, Howell was a much respected member of the community. He gave the land for a school in the gulch which was named Hazelbrook School. He served on the school board for countless years.
McCall and Molares join him in Rodeo Gulch (also known as Doyle’s Gulch) were farmers and owned more then 300 acres of the old Rodriguez grant, which lay between Villa Braniforte and Rodeo Rancho.
Both Tom and Eduvigis died in the spring of 1905, after they had sold the farm and moved into Santa Cruz.
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Lisa McClure
Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:08 am Reply with quote
Joined: 06 Oct 2010 Posts: 2 Location: Orlando, FL
I am looking for Susan Howell Frey, I believe she was one of Thomas Howell's 13 daughters and married Clemente Frey (my great-grandfather). Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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Lisa (Frey) McClure
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