Joaquin Soto

Joaquin Modesto Soto, better known as “Jack” was born in Adelaida in 1886. His father, Yrculano Soto, was born in Monterey and later settled near Adelaida where he raised cattle and goats butchering them right there on the ranch. Jack’s mother was Delores Grijalva.

Soto's Market l to r: Ethel Camozzi Head, Hazel Lyons, Harold Lanini, Agnes Soto, Dee Soto with daughter Karen, Pico Soto, Wilfred Lyons, Joaquin (Jack) Soto

Jack was a talented musician who played guitar, violin and piano. In 1910 he married Agnes (Aggie) Irene Magetti, eldest daughter of Louis Maggetti and Lala (Lyla) Galbraith, and they had four children: Margaret (Dolly), Joaquin Yrculano (Pico), Lila (named for her grandmother Lala), and Betty. Jack worked for George Hearst but, in 1915, he went to work for Edward Asebez (his brother’s wife’s brother) at the Hitchcock and Asabez Meat Market which was located at the corner of Bridge Street and Proctor Lane where the telephone company is today. Asebez bought his partner out and, in 1917, Soto bought Asebez out and became the sole owner of the market. Jack added groceries to the store and changed its name to Cambria Meat Market and Grocery.

Soto's Market today

Before 1930, the market was moved to its present location on Main Street. Then, in 1937, Roland Houtz, a local contractor, was hired to tear down the existing store and construct a new one in its place. This is the structure which presently exists on Main Street in Cambria’s East Village. During the construction the market was temporarily located across the street in what had been Randall’s drug store and today is Linn’s Restaurant.

Lieutenant Commander Margaret Soto

In 1929 Margaret Soto left home to attend nursing school in San Francisco. In 1942 she joined the Navy serving in California, New Caledonia and New Zealand. She retired in 1964 as a Lieutenant Commander.


Hesperian School 1920 - Joaquin (Pico) Soto is third from left

As a boy, Pico worked in the store but, in the 1930s, he left to attend Heald Business College in San Francisco after which he returned to the store. In 1941 Pico married Dee Scorup. Dee graduated from Weaver State College and then attended the University of Utah where she received a masters degree in business at the age of 20. She then moved to Berkeley, California where she became a school teacher and then to Cambria where she taught at Coast Union High School in the late 1930s. During WWII Pico and Dee lived in San Luis Obispo where he worked as a butcher at Bay’s Market and she worked for a building and loan company.

They had two daughters: Karen and Janet. After his parents died, Pico sold the business to Karen and her husband, Curt Snow in 1977. Dee retired from teaching in the 1970s and died in 1981. Pico died in 1987.

In 1991, the store was sold to Norman and Penelope Goodin who still own the property. They sold the business to Priscilla Zaninovich in 1993 who sold it to Jim and Judy Burley and Bill and Marsha Banks in 1995. In 2016, then owners Bob and Lucy Smith sold the business to Andre and Marcela Ponce, Joe Vergara and Joleen Tafoya.

Lila left Cambria in 1933 to attend nursing school in San Francisco. She joined the Army in 1942 and served in California, Oregon and England. She left the Army on 1945 at the end of WWII to attend obstetrics school in New Jersey and then returned to San Francisco. In 1949 she went back into the Army where she served in Japan, England and Germany before retiring as a major in 1966. After that Margaret and Lila lived together in a house in Cambria.

Lila (left) and Margaret Soto

Betty worked in the store as a child. After graduating from Coast Union High School she worked for Lockheed in Burbank, Woolworth’s and the County of San Luis Obispo. In 1947 she married Howard Williams and they had three children: Susan, Michael and Lila Jean.

12 Responses to “Joaquin Soto”

  1. B&J says:


    Thanks for that input. All we know about the Soto family is in this article.


  2. B&J says:


    Joaquin Soto’s family says their ancestors came to California with the expedition of Juan Bautista de Anza in 1772. de Anza was of Spanish descent but was born in Mexico.


  3. Elias A. Prieto says:

    Great story,
    I just discovered my great-grandmother’s father was Joaquin Soto.
    She was born in Anaheim California in 1855 and died here in San Diego County in 1916. Any additional info on the Soto family would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Elias A. Prieto

  4. jls says:

    Where did Joaquin’s ancestors come from?

  5. B&J says:


    Thanks for that insight. We knew “Willy” but not very well. He gave us a lot of information about the history of Cambria.


  6. janet soto knudsen says:

    Always nice to read of our family. Yeah to Willy for always having such a great wealth of good history. He was also one of our dad’s best friends. He use to drive my sister and I to school along with the school’s groceries.
    Thank you,

  7. B&J says:


    You’re very welcome!


  8. Linda says:

    Aggie and Jack were my great aunt and uncle, along with Phoebe and Moni.
    Thank you for this article.

  9. B&J says:


    Glad you enjoyed this article. We have sent you high resolution versions of these pictures.

    We got these pictures from Wilfred Lyons whom you can read about here: Wilfred lived his entire life in Cambria and was very interested in its history. He has since passed away but his picture collection now belongs to The Cambria Historical Society ( Maybe you can set up a date to visit their museum and look through their picture archives.


  10. Mandi Williams-Cardona says:

    It is soo cool that my family History is displayed like this, I wish It was continued with each of the families posted. I am the Eldest Daughter Michael Williams and the first Williams Baby born to our family. I love that I can read about my family history online when alot of it has only come in stories. I also would like to know where you aquired pics of my great grandfather and my great aunts because I have never seen them before today and if I could I would like copies.

  11. B&J says:


    What a coincidence! Someone mentioned you to us this very day and said he planned to get some meat from you.

    Your comment is very interesting. We had no idea that members of your family were butchers there for so many years.

    We hoped you enjoyed this article and if you can add anything, we’d be glad to hear it.


  12. michael says:

    i worked for wilfred lyons / jack osto pico and betty williams when i was 13 now im the butcher ther funny huh my dad/ brother /grandfather /greatgrandfather/ were all butchers there pretty cool huh!

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