Romualdo Pacheco and Graniterock

Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015


Romualdo Pacheco was a colorful and influential Californio, an early Californian of Mexican ancestry, who also happened to be the uncle of Graniterock founder Arthur R. Wilson. He is the only Hispanic to ever serve as governor of California, the first governor who was born in California, and was also an attorney, military officer, diplomat and mining investor. An accomplished sailor and horseman, he is the only California governor ever known to have lassoed a grizzly bear! Graniterock funded the Pacheco Scholarship Award in 1993 in his memory.

Pacheco was born in Santa Barbara in 1831. As a child, he was sent to be educated in Hawaii and later worked as a seaman’s apprentice. He studied law, in 1853 was elected judge of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court, and became a state senator in 1857. During the American Civil War, Governor Leland Stanford appointed him brigadier general of the First Brigade of California’s “Native Cavalry.” After the war he met and married a beautiful and talented young playwright, Mary Catherine McIntyre, whose sister Joanna was Arthur Wilson’s mother. Pacheco became Governor of California, was elected Representative to the U.S. Congress, California lieutenant governor and state treasurer, and for a time was warden of San Quentin prison.   He served as Regent of the University of California, and as a U.S. diplomat was appointed Envoy to the Central American States.

Arthur Wilson’s father had died in 1870, and Pacheco stepped in to help out as a father figure, sharing with his young nephew a love of horses and sailing and encouraging his interest in mining engineering. During the 1880s Pacheco partnered in the San Francisco firm of Hale and Pacheco, which dealt with mining investments.  Romualdo Pacheco died in Oakland in 1899, a year before Arthur Wilson founded Granite Rock Company.

Ninety-four years later, Graniterock established the Pacheco  Scholarship Award through San Benito County’s Mexican American Committee on Education (MACE). Each year, a four thousand dollar scholarship goes to a deserving high school graduate who plans to attend a University of California campus in the fall. Scholarship awards are announced at the Annual Cinco de Mayo M.A.C.E. scholarship banquet. Graniterock is proud to be a part of this tradition, and proud of “Uncle Romualdo,” who is a part of our Graniterock Family history.

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