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The earliest member of Boronda family to arrive in Alta California was Manuel Boronda, he was born in 1750 near Guadalajara, Mexico. As a corporal in the Spanish Army he accompanied Fr. Serra’s expedition to Alta California. In 1790, he was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco. When he was 42 Manuel Boronda was married at Mission Santa Clara to Gertrudis Higuera. She was the 14 year-old daughter of another California Spanish family whose parents had settled in Monterey. Even though he was in the Spanish Army, Manuel also conducted a class for boys (1795-97), by doing so he became the first teacher in San Francisco.

In 1811, He and his wife moved to Santa Cruz, Manuel retired from military service and with his family moved to Monterey. At that time Monterey only had around 400 residents. Back then military families lived in small buildings on the presidio grounds. This was at the original presidio that was located at Lake El Estero near the Royal Presidio Chapel. Outside the presidio walls there were a few land grants and some were given to retired soldiers. During this period he also taught school to Monterey schoolchildren, as he did when he taught children in San Francisco. Manuel became the first schoolteacher outside the presidio walls to teach in the pueblo of Monterey.

In 1817, Manuel built an adobe house, assisted by Indians and friends. It was one of the few houses at the time that was located outside the presidio walls but within walking distance of the church. Paths to the house were flanked with whalebone. Of Manuel and Gertrudis Boronda’s children, eight grew to adulthood. All three boys had the first name, José, and the five girls each carried the first name, María. Manuel Boronda passed away in 1826 and was buried at San Carlos Cemetery. His widow maintained the boys’ school in Monterey for awhile, along with her youngest daughter María Petra, whose husband also taught through the 1840s. Gertrudis later moved to Santa Barbara to live with another daughter. She is buried at the Santa Barbara Mission. When you refer to the Boronda Adobe you have to know that there are three Boronda Adobes. There is the first one, built by Manuel Boronda in Monterey. It is located on Boronda Lane, off Fremont St. The adobe home that was his sons, José Eusebio Boronda, is located on Boronda Road in north Salinas. The third is in Carmel Valley, was the home of his other son, José Manuel Boronda, which is located on Boronda Road in Carmel Valley.José Manuel Boronda was born in 1803. Records tend to vary, with some claiming he was born in Santa Clara and others in Santa Barbara. He was married to Juana Cota in 1821 at the San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey. Juana was from Santa Barbara. Her parents were Manuel Antonio Cota and Maria Gertrudis Romero. During the large Cattle Ranch Era, the José Manuel Boronda family acquired Ranch Los Laureles in Carmel Valley. Judicial possession was given in 1840. During the same year, the Boronda family, including José Manuel, his wife, Juana, and their 15 children, settled at the ranch. The Boronda family became the first permanent settlers in Carmel Valley. Ranch los Laureles was named for the California Bay Laurel tree. The name seems to have first appeared following a 1776 journey when a party of Carmel Mission Indians came upon a spot they described as “Laurelles Canyon.” At the ranch, the Borondas raised cattle, horses, and farmed. José Manuel also became known for his horsemanship. During the early years, the only neighbors the Borondas had were the Indian, Juan Onésimo, his daughter Loretta and her husband, Domingo Peralta. After her husband died, Loretta married James Meadows and the property west to the Borondas became known as the Meadows tract. In 1851, the Los Laureles Ranch’s co-owners, Vicente Blas Martinez and his wife, Maria Josefa Mesquita, sold out their share to the Borondas.

On one occasion, José Manuel’s horsemanship went a little too far, when...
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