Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County



Evacuation: Public Proclamation No. 4
by Rechs Ann Pedersen

LOCAL JAPANESE TO LEAVE THEIR MONEY IN BANKS
"To express our appreciation for and faith in the people and city of Watsonville and Pajaro Valley, we assure you that we will keep our money here ... We lived here, did business and made money. We invested here more than $2,000,000 and leave that investment in the Pajaro Valley. We will take advantage of modern methods of banking by mail and we shall do our banking business by mail from the place where we will move in the near future." [ I. Motoki] (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. April 8,1942. p. 1.)


Moving Before the Forced Evacuation

On March 19th, evacuees were advised against about making quick deals when selling or renting property. (see Evacuation: Public Proclamation No. 1) In reality they were not given much time. The next day, the Western Defense Command declared, "It behooves the Japanese and Japanese-Americans to close their affairs at once and be prepared to start moving." (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. March 20, 1942. p. 1) It was a forewarning. Public Proclamation No. 4 was issued six days later, announcing the replacement of the so-called voluntary evacuation with a forced evacuation. After Sunday, March 29, 1942, evacuees would be forbidden to leave the area and had to await evacuation under Army supervision.(Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. March 26, 1942. p. 1.)

Several dozen families hurried to move before the end of the voluntary evacuation. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian.March 30, 1942. p. 1.) Farmers had no option to leave. Since food production was considered vital to the well-being of the country, to leave a farm was considered sabotage. (see Agricultural Labor Shortage)

March 31, 1942:

QUIET EVACUATION LEAVES ONLY 20 JAP FAMILIES
A quiet exodus by voluntary evacuees up to Sunday midnight's deadline leave only 20 families of Japanese aliens and Americans in the northern section of the county to await compulsory evacuation under Army orders...Lawton described the Japanese aliens and citizen alike as "very philosophical and quite calm" in acceptance of the army edict. (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. March 31, 1942. [E] p. 1. Full-Text)

Waiting for the Evacuation Deadline

When the evacuation would take place was not known for some weeks. What had been announced earlier was that the families that remained would first be taken to the Salinas rodeo grounds, called an Assembly Center. From there, they would be transferred to "reception centers."(Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. April 4, 1942. [M] p.8)

April 13,1942:

CENTERS FOR JAPS OK ARMY SAYS
Japanese who will be evacuated from the Pajaro Valley soon ... were assured Monday that living conditions in army established assembly centers will be adequate. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. April 13,1942. p. 1. Full-Text)

The Deadline

On April 21st, the deadline for the evacuation was announced. It was only seven days later: April 30, 1942. In those seven days, all persons of Japanese ancestry were removed from Santa Cruz County.

April 21, 1942:

FINAL EVACUATION ORDERS ISSUED FOR SANTA CRUZ The axe fell Tuesday on Japanese aliens and citizens still remaining in Santa Cruz county for their compulsory evacuation by noon of April 30 ... Santa Cruz county Japanese will report Friday and Saturday of this week to a station established at Veterans' Memorial building [Watsonville]...The evacuees will transported to the Salinas assembly center... (S.C. Sentinel-News. April 21, 1942. [E] p. 1)

April 26,1942:

1196 JAPANESE IN COUNTY TO GO THIS WEEK
The 1196 will represent 216 families who signed up with the Civilian Wartime Control Administration in the memorial in Watsonville Friday and yesterday. Of the 1196 total, the north end of Santa Cruz county will send 86, representing 17 families, most of whom have been resident on berry farms. (S.C. Sentinel-News. April 26, 1942. [M] p. 1 Full-Text)

Disposal of Farms

During this time, arrangement had to be made for the transfer of the remaining farms.

April 17, 1942:

JAPANESE FARM RULES
New regulations to assure fair disposal and continued productivity of approximately 15 farms still operated by Japanese-Americans in the Watsonville and Santa Cruz area were announced today. (S.C. Sentinel-News. April 17, 1942 [E] p. 1.Full-Text)

April 27, 1942:

JAP FARM PROGRAM PLANS GIVEN
Evacuation of all Japanese and Japanese-Americans from Santa Cruz County means that all Japanese farm operations in the area must be transferred to new operators with the next five days ... (S.C. Sentinel-News. April 27, 1942. [E] p. 5. Full-Text )

The Move

The Salinas Assembly Center opened on April 27, 1942. The same day, the first group to leave the County under Army supervision departed. The evacuation continued over the next three days.

April 27, 1942:

63 JAPANESE IN FIRST UNIT TO EVACUATE
Sixty-three Pajaro Valley and Santa Cruz County Japanese, the vanguard of the Japanese-Americans and alien Japanese ... left Monday morning for the Salinas assembly center where they will stay until dispatched to permanent reception center locations. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. April 27, 1942, p. 1.)

April 29, 1942:

JAPS DISAPPEAR FROM VALLEY AS EVACUATION ON
The Japanese, whose mass migration into the fertile Pajaro Valley at the turn of the century marked a milestone in this district's agricultural history, climbed aboard big buses in front of the Veterans' Memorial hall Wednesday--their big trek reversed after nearly a half-century...(Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. April 29, 1942. p.1. Full-Text)

April 30, 1942:

LAST JAPANESE LEAVE VALLEY IN EVACUATION
By noon Thursday, no person of Japanese ancestry remained in Santa Cruz County for the first time in more than a half-century ... Twenty-one buses Wednesday took 689 persons to Salinas ... Five aged and invalids were taken to Salinas by ambulance. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. April 30, 1942. p. 1 Full-Text)

The Watsonville Register-Pajaronian reported on December 18, 1944 that, "A total of 1301 persons of Japanese ancestry were excluded from Santa Cruz county in the spring of 1942, according to U.S. census bureau records. Of this number, 931 were citizens and 370 were aliens."

The Evacuation Out of the County Stops

The order of the evacuation was supposed to be:

  1. Those suspected of sabotage or subversive activity
  2. Japanese aliens
  3. Japanese-Americans
  4. German aliens
  5. Italian aliens(Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. March 5, 1942. p.1.)

However, once all persons of Japanese ancestry had left Military Area No. 1, or were in Assembly Centers, the forced evacuation stopped. Other restrictions on German and Italian aliens were progressively lifted.


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