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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. April 29, 1942. p. 1
JAPS DISAPPEAR FROM VALLEY AS EVACUATION ON
Thursday Noon Deadline for Transfer to Salinas Center
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 morning - their big trek reversed after nearly a half-century because of the actions of their compatriots in Japan.
Graying and worn by years of labor in the berry and lettuce fields, the original settlers were outnumbered by their children and grandchildren, born to United States citizenship but nevertheless excluded from Pacific coastal areas by the stern necessities of war.
Into the buses went 725 Japanese and Japanese-Americans from the Pajaro valley, to be transferred inland by the army for the duration of the war. Into a dozen huge trucks, ordered by the army, went their luggage, household belongings, bedding, supplies - everything but furniture.
Thursday another 400-odd Japanese will follow the same procedure, to be assembled at the Salinas rodeo grounds pending permanent transfer to inland areas under direction of the army. After noon Thursday not a single person of Japanese ancestry is to be left in Santa Cruz or Monterey counties.
A wave of last minute buying Tuesday had given Watsonville stores a brisk business. Japanese families crowded to buy the clothing and supplies they will need in their new locations.
Looking forward to next winter in colder climate - perhaps in resettlement areas in the Owens valley or in Idaho - the Japanese stocked up on woolen clothing - sweaters, coats, warm clothing for children. Drugs, soaps, perfumes and other supplies were sold by the package. Women's work slacks and denims were practically cleaned out in the rush as the feminine evacuees prepared for field labor in inland areas.
To a Watsonville couple probably will go the honor of being the first Japanese to be married at the Salinas assembly center. Yutaka [unreadable], 26, farm laborer, and Hatsuko [unreadable], 27, beautician, appeared Monday in the Monterey county clerk's office to file their notice of intention to wed. The license will be issued Friday.
Working smoothly under plans laid for several months, army and other federal officials made the transfer quickly. Only a few hours after the evacuees began to gather at the Memorial hall, they were being unloaded, given medical examinations and assigned numbers and quarters at the assembly center recently erected at the rodeo grounds. A few weeks there, perhaps, and the estimated 2500 Japanese from Santa Cruz and Monterey counties will be transferred farther inland.
Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.