Contra Costa County












HON. HENRY V. ALVARADO.  Through his broad knowledge of the law and his successful administration of the district attorney’s office, Mr. Alvarado has not only gained influence throughout Contra Costa county, but also has added luster to an honored family name.  He is descended from pure Spanish ancestry and is a son of Don Juan Bautista Alvarado, upon whom history confers the distinction of being “the ablest of native Californians.”  During boyhood this eminent man enjoyed exceptional advantages.  In the mission at Monterey he carried on classical studies and received the personal assistance of Governor Sola.  At the same time he acquired a knowledge of military science.  While still a very young man he entered public life and became secretary of the territorial deputation or California legislature.  In 1836, with JosJ Castro, he raised the standard of independence, deposed Colonel Gutierrez, declared Alta California independent of Mexico and a free and sovereign state, and established a congress to enact the special laws of the country.  The success with which he carried this revolution to its consummation caused the people to hail him as their leader.  By the constitution of 1836 Upper and Lower California were united into one department.  In 1838 the government of Mexico recognized Alvardo[sic] as “governor intercino” and in 1839 appointed him “governor proprietario,” or constitutional governor of the Californian, and this office he held until the appointment of Manuel Micheltorena, January 19, 1842.  Personally he was of autocratic disposition, a man born to command, not to follow.  The unlimited power which he wielded as governor was never abused, and his name has passed into history as that of a patriotic Californian and brilliant leader.  From the close of his term as governor until the American occupation he was first collector of the custom house at Monterey and later colonel of the military forces of the department, known as “Defensores de la Patria.”


During 1849 Governor Alvarado moved to the San Pablo rancho and there he made his home until his death, July 13, 1882, at the age of seventy-three years and five months.  He had married Martina C. de Alexandria, daughter of Francisco Marie Castro, and a native of Monterey.  In 1875, seven years before his death, she passed away at sixty-three years of age.  They were the parents of six children, name:  Mrs. Delfina Carrick, now deceased; John C., who prior to 1880 engaged in the practice of law in San Francisco, but since then has made his home in England; Augustus F. and Celinda L., both deceased; Adelina, widow of Major Frank Tedford, and a resident of New York City; and Henry V., of Martinez.  The last named was born on the San Pablo rancho July 15, 1857.  His early life was spent on the home place, after which he became a clerk in the law office of his brother in San Francisco.  While there he took up the study of law and later, when returning home to take charge of the ranch, he continued his professional studies at intervals, as opportunity was afforded him.  After being admitted to the bar he began practice at Martinez, where he now makes his home.  He still owns the Alvarado homestead at San Pablo, but no longer actively superintends the property.  In 1902 the Republican party nominated him for district attorney and he was elected by a large majority, since which time his attention has been given to the duties of that office.  By his marriage to Annie V. Chevesich, a native of California, he has two daughters, Lucille and Grace.  In fraternal relations he is a member of Mount Diablo Parlor No. 101, Native Sons of the Golden West, in which he is past president, and is connected with Martinez Lodge No. 41, F. & A. M., of which he is past master.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

­­­­Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 407-408. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2015  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library