2017-06-16 / Family

Close-knit family has roots deep in town

Their story in Moorpark dates back more than 100 years
By Caitlin Trude

READY FOR FATHER’S DAY—Four generations of the Hernandez family call Moorpark home. They are, above, John “ Tono” Hernandez, 82; Joshua Hernandez Jr., 12; Billy Hernandez, 59; Marcus Hernandez, 27, and Joshua Hernandez, 37. At right, the first generation family member, Charlie Hernandez, emigrated from Mexico in 1905. Most of the family members continue to live in Moorpark, citing its “small-town feel” and “fantastic schools” as to why they love it here. READY FOR FATHER’S DAY—Four generations of the Hernandez family call Moorpark home. They are, above, John “ Tono” Hernandez, 82; Joshua Hernandez Jr., 12; Billy Hernandez, 59; Marcus Hernandez, 27, and Joshua Hernandez, 37. At right, the first generation family member, Charlie Hernandez, emigrated from Mexico in 1905. Most of the family members continue to live in Moorpark, citing its “small-town feel” and “fantastic schools” as to why they love it here. Wherever the Hernandez family goes, they can always count on having a family member in their corner—almost literally.

“My grandpa lives maybe two blocks away and my dad lives a block away,” said Joshua Hernandez, 37. “We’re pretty much within a 3-mile radius (from each other) on both sides of my family.”

In fact, four generations of Hernandez men have called Moorpark home.


Courtesy of the Hernandez family Courtesy of the Hernandez family Their roots date back more than 100 years, said Joshua’s grandfather, John “Tono” Hernandez, 82.

John’s father, Charlie Hernandez, emigrated from Mexico to Moorpark with his family in 1905 at age 2. He became a rancher and lived in town on Charles Street for most of his life before he died in 1992. He and his wife, Sally, had four children together.

John made his living as a ranch hand and then a construction worker. He and his wife, Pauline, have six children.

Their eldest son, Billy Hernandez,

59, and his wife, Elizabeth, have three children: Joshua, 37; Laureen, 32; and Marcus, 27.

Like his father, Billy worked in construction. For the last decade, he’s made his living as a truck driver.

What’s kept him and his family here, Billy said, is Moorpark’s small-town feel and its safe streets.

“It’s a great town,” he said. “It’s a good place to raise a family (and) the schools are fantastic.”

Billy, who grew up on First Street, and then Second Street, said he’s seen the town evolve tremendously since he was a young boy.

“Where I grew up was the main town,” Billy said. “Everything else was all farming community. I got to see the changes here from (a) little place to what it is now.”

“I’ve also seen it grow,” Joshua said. “Not as much as my dad, but before the department (stores) and Target and all that, it was all just flat. I was able to see changes off the freeway. I was able to see the bridge from the 118 (Freeway) to the 23 (built).”

Marcus, currently a Thousand Oaks resident, reflected on early family outings in Moorpark.

“I remember going to church and seeing (hot) air balloons from where Target is at now— it was just a field—and after church, we’d go to the edge of the hill and just watch the air balloons take off,” he said.

Joshua said he likes the small, tight-knit community he calls home.

“I would say every day, I see someone I know,” he said.

Though he and his wife, Jovie, and his three children tried living in Simi Valley in 2002, they loved their hometown so much, they moved back six years later.

And although Marcus has tried living away from his native city, he always finds himself drawn back to the town that raised him. He plans to make Moorpark his permanent home within the year.

“What kept me back is the family,” he said. “I moved to the Valley . . . and it didn’t have that comfortable, homey feel to it. What family can say they go two streets over to visit their grandpa still?

“(Moorpark is) small and everybody knows everybody,” he continued. “Some people don’t like running into people they know at the store, but I love running into an uncle or a cousin almost all the time at a store or restaurant.”

Billy said it’s a déjà vu experience for him when he shares some of his favorite traditions with the younger generations in his family, such as his annual fishing trips.

The Hernandez family said the best part about keeping Moorpark as their home base is that they don’t have to travel far to get together for holidays, sports activities and game nights.

“Everyone in my grade back in high school was always like, ‘You need to get out of Moorpark’ or, ‘Moorpark’s so boring,’ but I don’t think they have the family here to back them up,” Marcus said.

“Now I know for sure that this is going to be where I raise my family too,” he added.

“Moorpark’s been good to us,” Billy said. “I’m proud to be a part of Moorpark.”

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