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July 17, 2012 > History: The Mayock Family

History: The Mayock Family

Stonewall J. Mayock came to Gilroy in 1874. He operated the Central Hotel there and became "well-known throughout the entire State." He married Nellie Starbird and they became the parents of Robert and Wellburn. Both boys graduated from Gilroy High School, the University of California and went into business.

Robert (Rob) and his wife, Ann, raised three children Robert (Stoney II), Sally and Douglas. They established their home in Beverly Hills where Rob launched his wine business.

He established a storage and bottling plant business in Los Angeles about a mile from his home and designed his own labels, marketing his wines to restaurants, liquor stores and by mail order. He also worked to educate the public on the use of wine in cooking and meals. Ann took care of the office correspondence, records and books.

The wine industry in Northern California was reborn with the end of Prohibition so Robert looked around for a vineyard and winery. He purchased the Los Amigos Vineyards formerly owned by Edwin Grau and Edward Werner from the First National Bank in 1936.

Edward P. Werner came to Mission San Jose where he became the cellar master for the Gallegos family. Edwin A. Grau, the son of a wine grower, came from Austria and worked in the wine industry for the Salazar family. They became partners and purchased vineyard land on both sides of Washington Boulevard. They established their vineyards there in 1888 and named their property "Los Amigos" in honor of their close friendship.

Later they built a larger winery and home on a knoll above Washington Boulevard. The entrance to the driveway was marked by an ornamented gate. A corrugated iron drainage culvert was installed in 1909. They tried to hang on to their vineyard through the Prohibition era but both died before it was repealed.

The property was about "50 acres on a gravelly hillside, ideal for grapevines." Rob began gradually replanting Los Amigos with grapes used by the great European vineyards and even organized a group of small owners, like Los Amigos that specialized in one wine. He was also a director of the Alameda County Fair Association and a member of organizations related to the wine industry.

Rob continued reading and collecting an extensive library on wines and foods, considered the best in California. He began to write Columns that were expansions of his promotional leaflets for the San Jose Evening News, the Washington Township Register and the Lodi Sentinel. An editor wrote that his knowledge of wines and foods was probably unsurpassed in Northern California. He was also known for his abilities as Chef at barbecues and host for outdoor parties the family held at the Los Amigos home.

Ann was an active leader in community work. She helped organize and was the first president of the Irvington Elementary School PTA in 1938. As a member of the Country Club Research Committee, she also served as club president for a time. Ann was a director of the 1947 Sesquicentennial Celebration in Mission San Jose; her son Stoney was one of the actors. She was pictured in The Township Register in 1948 as the winner of two awards for outstanding wine entries at the California State Fair and described as "one of California's few women vinters."

Rob died in 1945 but Ann continued to operate Los Amigos for several years. Housing developments invaded the privacy of the winery. Ann was forced to sell lots along the highway to pay sewer assessments and then pay to build the line from the road to the house. Finally she had to sell Los Amigos and move away.

The children graduated from Irvington Elementary School. Sally and Douglas were major contributors to "The Cypress" the annual published by the graduating eighth grade class in 1940.

Stoney enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951 and after basic training, served as a combat infantryman in Korea. He passed a four year college exam and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. After flight training, he was designated Naval Aviator in 1954. He then served in Marine Fighter Squadrons in California and Japan. He became a jet flight instructor in 1957. Stoney then became a F9F2 Panther, Blue Angels Marine Corps Representative, flying #2 Right Wing.

He served with Marine Fighter Squadrons in Okinawa, Philippines, Japan and flew many combat missions with F4 Phantoms and F9F Cougars. His last service was as a Research and Development Officer and an Operations Officer. He retired after this distinguished service in 1972. Widely recognized as Lieutenant Colonel R. Stoney Mayock II, he was often invited to be a guest speaker even after he retired.

All three children obtained advanced degrees and were married. Douglas helped out at the winery for awhile as he pursued an operatic career. He was reported to be at the Great Lakes Navel Training Station in 1940.

Sally graduated from Mills College but continued to help her mother manage Los Amigos. Bruce Roeding recalled that she also helped at the special events held by California Nursery.

Sally recalled that moving to the ranch between Irvington and Mission San Jose "provided all kinds of new experiences for her and the family." The area was populated by farmers who worked long hours and had little time for recreation. She observed that her parents were not involved with any social life except the school. When they entertained, it was for friends or family who came from a distance. Sally did not mention her mother's work in community organizations.

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