California Spanish Genealogy
by SFgenealogy

Poyorena Family
(aka Pollorena)

by Tim Poyorena-Miguel

Pedro Ygnacio Delarrequi Pollorena (Basque) was born in Villa de Sinaloa, Sinaloa, Mexico. He was married to Maria Antonia (Miranda) Rosalia Ochoa on April 20, 1790 in Comondu, Baja, California, Mexico. They had seven children.

Pedro arrived in San Diego early in 1792 and soon became a corporal by 1797.  Finally  ordered to the new territory of Alta, he soon became  in command of the mission San Gabriel and Escolta by July 1, 1798.  He held that post until 1801. In  1805 he settled in Los Angeles and was still living there in 1816.

His son, Juan de Jesus Poyorena, was born in 1792. He married Joaquina Ana Sepulveda of the illustrious Sepulveda family. Their eldest son, Eduardo Poyorena Sr., born in 1825, was married to Maria Antonia Dolores (Colima) Sanchez.  Together they produced Eduardo Poyorena Jr.

On February 1, 1854 Eduardo Sr. purchased inheritance land from Pedro Perez, son of  Tomasa Ontiveros, daughter of  Don Patricio Ontiveros for the sum of $1000.

The land known as “Paso del Bartola” originally granted to Juan Crispen Perez bounded on the east by the Rancho of the “Coyotes,” on the south by Rancho Santa Gertrudes, on the west by the river of San Gabriel and on the north by the Rancho of Puente.

One of the most popular Dons of the period was Eduardo Poyorena Jr.  He was born on October 11, 1853 in Los Nietos, Alta California.

The Poyorena family settled in the area, about 1800, on the Manuel Nieto land grant which was later known as the township of  Los Nietos.

Poyorena's were related to every prominent family of the time, Temples, Sanchez, Vejar, Duarte, Ramirez, Elizalde, Romero’s Verdugo, Carrillo, Davis, Zuniga, Guirado, Sepulveda, etc.

Eduardo Jr. had six children (Joaquin, Maria Dolores Rafaela, Reginaldo, Antonia, Eduardo Alexandero, Lamberto) and often he and wife Dolores (Elizalde born December 1852) often took in orphaned children and acted as legal guardians.

Eduardo Sr., the other founder of the Los Nietos Water Company, the county Marshal (constable), Judge of the planes for Rancho Santa Gertrudes (a position held by only the most respected of citizens); Eduardo and wife Antonia were instrumental in setting up the first school district in Los Nietos and served as the first board of trustees.

Eduardo Sr. also served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (1866-1869) several terms.

The priest from the old mission of San Gabriel would come to the Poyorena rancho and offer holy mass but more frequently from the El pueblo de Nuestra Sonora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula (Los Angeles Plaza Church.)

The parties held at the Poyorena Rancho were renown and often lasted many days. The Ramirez boys were gifted musicians and often played for the Poyorena's fandangos.

Settlers began arriving in 1865 relocating from Texas and other southern states in the aftermath of the Civil War.

There are many versions of how John Gately Downey started the city of Downey. In our family Great Grandfather, Eduardo Sr., sold Downey the property to start his city.

The title of trust shows that Downey purchased a parcel of land from Eduardo Poyorena Sr.  John Downey later moved into the property (Poyorena adobe) and lived there a short time. In 1892, General Peter Swaine bought the adobe and then his grandson Wallace Wiggins remodeled the adobe adding another wing.

Eduardo Sr.’s good friend Rafael Peralta was land poor and to help him out Eduardo bought 2,973.02 acres in distant Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana in 1855. There Eduardo built at least one adobe and lived there for several years.  Today's area of Paularino in Costa Mesa, California is named in Eduardo's honor as well as Paularino park and elementary school.

Eduardo Jr. and wife Dolores are buried at Founders Park, located in Whittier, along with many cousins from the Sanchez (from New Mexico) and Colima/Sanchez families. Four brothers from the Poyorena family married four sisters of the Colima/ Sanchez family.

In 1886 while still on patrol as constable, Eduardo Sr. was in Rendon’s local saloon before his long ride home  when he met Clemente Morillo.  Morillo had told a story to Eduardo, about a man that shot and killed his son.  Eduardo advised him to find out the exact whereabouts of the murderer of his son, and that then he would be arrested. They parted on the best of terms.  Eduardo left the saloon and led his horse down the street.  Just before mounting his horse he ran into a friend, Garcia,  and spoke for a few minutes. Just then Morillo, who had been drinking, stepped out of the saloon and with his colt 45  fired in the direction of the constable his bullet passing through the forearm of the constable and striking his watch, inflicting a severe bruise in his side.  The bullet mutilated the heavy silver watch, but saved Eduardo’s life.  Eduardo did return fire but was so stunned by the wound he received that he handed his pistol to Garcia, who fired twice at Morillo, who ran away in the dark. Eduardo fully recovered and remained constable for another 20 years.

The third son of Eduardo Poyorena Jr. was Reginaldo. He married Leonora Margarita Zuniga. Her lineage shows that in her paternal line she is descended from Don Gaspar de Zuniga, viceroy for Mexico in the state of Monterey from 1595 to 1603 and a Zuniga of the line was a companion of father Junipero Serra when he founded the California missions. Her maternal grandfather, Jose Augustin Davis was a son of mountain man, Martin Antonio Davis, who went to Albuquerque, New Mexico, from Missouri when New Mexico was part of old Mexico. Her maternal grandmother, Venancia Davis, was the daughter of Maria and Jerome (Geronimo) Pena, Luseno Indians who were neophytes at mission San Luis Rey.

Leonora's maternal grandparents, Venancia and Jose Augustin Davis, were married in the old San Gabriel mission (La Mission Vieja) on April 12, 1851, by the reverend Domingo Serrano in the presence of two prominent early Californians, Franciso Pliny Fiske Temple and Margarita Workman Temple.
Jose Augustin Davis, and big brother, Juan de Jesus Davis, sons of Martin Antonio Davis (married to Maria Josepha Sanchez, Juan Matias's sister) and Francisco Sanchez Davis were born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They arrived in California sometime before 1849 with Juan Matias Sanchez and two Basye brothers.  They were great friends and all settled in the old mission district which is the area now occupied by Whittier Narrows dam.

Manuel Maria de las Mercedes Zuniga, father of Leonora, was the son of Jose del Refugio Zuniga and Maria Verdugo Zuniga who were married at San Gabriel mission in 1840. Both Jose and Maria had been married before, he successively to Dolores Maria Romero and Juan Verdugo and she to Teodoro Romero.

Manuel Zuniga’s sister, Maria Zuniga married family friend James Rawson and had a very large rancho in San Jacinto.

When Manuel Zuniga and Carmel Davis (Leonora’s mother) were married Oct. 21 1870, he was 26, and she 19. They were listed as residents of Old Mission, as were their witnesses, Rafael Basye and Jesus Visa.

Nora (christened Leonora) and her sister, Lucinda, and their brother, David, lost their mother when they were very young, and their father then married Lucinda Amanda Temple, daughter of F.P.F. and Margarita Workman Temple. Both Manuel and Lucinda are buried in the Workman/Temple Homestead memorial mausoleum along with last Mexican governor Pio Pico.

Nora’s grandfather, Jose Davis died as a young man and is buried in the adjacent cemetery, El Campo Santo.

Nora and her sister and brother lived with their grandmother, Venancia Davis at Old Mission and visited their father and stepmother at the old Temple adobe which was known as Temple’s Four Corners.

Nora’s grandmother, Venancia Davis, reared her children and grand children on an eight-acre place (Petrero Chico) near the present San Gabriel Blvd. She was born Sept. 3, 1880 at Old Mission and baptized at San Gabriel mission Feb. 6 1881. Her grandmother (Venancia) died when Nora was 14 and after an interval with relatives she married Reginaldo Poyorena and her sister Lucinda married Reginaldo’s brother Lamberto.

Reginaldo and Nora lived in the Poyorena adobe for a short time before buying their own home from Reginaldo’s uncle Bernardino Guirado the owner of the Pioneer store, for $200.  They had 3 children, Rex Jr., Tomas, and Lucinda.

After Reginaldo’s death (1915), Mrs. Poyorena eventually married Joseph Hartnell. She bore two more children, Evelyn Jesse Hartnell and Carlos Santos Hartnell.

The Pasadena street home in Whittier that Nora and Reginaldo bought from uncle Bernardino Guirado and had it moved from Los Nietos to Whittier in 1905, is still standing and is occupied with descendants.

The Bernardino Guirado Store in the early 1900s showing his home in the back that he sold to his nephew Reginaldo and wife Leonora Poyorena for $200.

Leonora Poyorena on the porch of her home that was moved in 1905 from Los Nietos to Whittier. She is holding her son Tomas while her daughter Lucinda and other son Rex Jr. pose. House believed to be built in the 1840s. Photo taken in 1912.

Still standing today (2005) on Pasadena Street in Whittier, California, and still occupied with Poyorena descendants.

Updated 17 August 2005, 11 October 2005
Story and photographs © Copyright 2003-2005 Timothy Miguel
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