An enterprising rancher who has done much for the permanent and healthy development of the commonwealth of California is M. J. Roche, the successful farmer and stockman living on the Alviso Road, one mile north of Santa Clara, on the historic Donohue estate known as the Laurelwood Farm which he leases and operates in sight of the eminent cross erected by Father Colligen to mark the spot where the first Santa Clara Mission, founded in 1777, was located. He was born in County Galway, Ireland, forty-nine years ago, the son of James Roche, the head steward and manager for Edmund J. Concannon, a lawyer of distinction and a wealthy land-owner; and in that capacity, our subject's father bought hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep, and conditioned and exhibited blooded cattle and sheep at the principal fairs in Ireland and England. He married Miss Mary Monroe, and they had eleven children, among whom the subject of our interesting story was the eighth in the order of birth.

The lad was sent to the Christian Brothers' school and then to St. Gerlet's College, in Tuam, and after that he worked at farming and stock-raising and traveled with his father, and bought live stock and attended many fairs. He may be said to have been born in the cattle and livestock business, and to have been in it all his life; so that on coming out to California, when he was less than fifteen years old, he had already received the most valuable training. Arriving in the Golden State, where he was to begin to earn his own way in the world, Mr. Roche engaged with the California Powder Company, at Santa Cruz, and entered the office as a confidential employ of the company's president, the late Colonel Peyton, at the same time that he made a modest commencement in the cattle trade. During fifteen years' employment, he saved enough money to buy a stock ranch of 1500 acres in Monterey County and stock it; and ever since that he has been engaged in buying, raising and selling cattle for beef and dairy purposes.

In 1904, he came to Santa Clara County and leased his present place, consisting of about 900 acres, and in addition he has leased hill land in Santa Clara County. At present he owns 500 head of cattle; but at times he has had four times that number, and he has leased hill and mountain range besides. In order to replenish his herd he has made trips to Nevada, New Mexico and Mexico and other places, to purchase cattle which he gathered together in trainload lots, and he shipped them to his home ranch and fed and later sold them. Mr. Roche also owns an excellent farm at Milpitas devoted to a model dairy. He owns, too, other property in the Santa Clara Valley, and has prospered well. Many years ago, Mr. Roche became a citizen of the United States, and he belongs to the St. Clare's Catholic Church at Santa Clara, and to the Eagles at San Jose.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1166


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight