Collections Spotlight: Carrillo Family Album

September 28, 2021

Eric Stanley, Associate Director and History Curator

Carrillo family album gifted to the Museum by Ben Roark, Jr.

The Museum of Sonoma County recently acquired a family album and scrapbook from the Carrillo family. As many Santa Rosa residents know, the Carrillo family arrived here around 1837 with matriarch Maria Ygnacia Lopez de Carrillo, namesake of Maria Carrillo High School. After the death of her husband, she moved with nine of her children from San Diego to Sonoma. She obtained a government land grant in her own name and managed a cattle ranch on the northern frontier of Mexican California.

Marta Carrillo, daughter of Maria, and two of her children in the 1890s.

While the album and scrapbook don’t go back that far-after all, photography was just being born- they do reveal multiple generations of the Carrillo family in Sonoma County in later years. One image shows Marta Carrillo, daughter of Maria, and two of her children in the 1890s. She and her husband, Joaquin, maintained a house on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa that provided a gathering place for many members of the Carrillo family, including those living in Sebastopol. Joaquin ran cattle, much like the Californio ranchers of the past. His cattle brand can still be found in the records of the County Recorder. Marta and Joaquin had ten children. Their son Juan, also in the picture, went to Mexico, became a successful businessman and helped support the family. Marta died in 1905.

Rosario Chantry Carrillo and her daughter Eunice.

Other images from the album show Rosario Chantry Carrillo and her daughter Eunice photographed around the turn of the twentieth century. The decorative comb just visible in Rosario’s hair may be a subtle nod to her heritage. And finally, a front page of the Pacific Rural Press from 1942 shows Dolores Carrillo of Sebastopol at the Sonoma County Fair holding her two pigs. The family photo album was graciously gifted to the Museum by Dolores's son, Ben Roark, Jr.

Dolores Carrillo at the Sonoma County Fair holding her two pigs, Pacific Rural Press, 1942

Families like the Carrillos reveal the deep roots of Hispanic heritage in Sonoma County. It is a heritage not locked in the deep past, but one expressed across many descendants and generations that are still part of Sonoma County to this day.

The Museum of Sonoma County maintains a permanent collection of over 18,000 objects, documenting the region's rich history and celebrating local artists.

More About MSC's Collection:

Museum of Sonoma County
475 Seventh Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 579-1500

Follow & Like

Related imageImage result for facebook icon greyImage result for instagram icon grey

The mission of the Museum of Sonoma County is to engage and inspire our diverse community with art and history exhibitions, collections, and public programs that are inclusive, educational, and relevant.