Few early residents of El Monte and vicinity can recall more vividly their experiences or more colorfully describe events and conditions of the pioneer days than can Timoteo Repetto, who was born January 24, 1866, within a stone’s throw of the site of the old original San Gabriel Mission (first known as Mission Vieja) and situated some four or five miles southwest of El Monte.
Born of Italian and Spanish parents, Timoteo Repetto is a son of Alexander and Cruy (Alvitri-Serrendell) Repetto, the former being born in Genoa, and the latter a native of California coming from one of the early Alvarado families who resided in Los Angeles. Alexander Repetto was born in 1808 and early in life graduated from a medical school, later serving as a surgeon in the Italian Army. Later he took up work in the Catholic Church and was educated for priesthood. His plans changed, however, before his appointment was confirmed and in about the year of 1848 he emigrated to America. Soon after his arrival in New York, lured by the reports of gold, he joined the thousands in the “great trek” to California. Being unsuccessful in his first attempts, he soon became discouraged at prospecting and engaged in herding and raising sheep and goats, in the district sough of the present City of Alhambra. He also applied in a limited way his early training in medicine among the ranchers and other people of his acquaintance, more from a humanitarian standpoint than for profit. He passed through many trying years filled with misfortune and privation, but with undying faith in divine Providence, he persevered and ultimately build up his herds and by the early fifties had acquired a ranch of 35,000 acres. This ranch was a portion of the old Lugo Ranch and was situated south, southeast, and southwest from the present city of Monterey Park. He remained active in the management of his ranch until a short time before his death, which occurred in 1881.
Timoteo Repetto, the subject of this sketch received his education in the old La Puente School, now known as the Temple School, and remained at home assisting his father in caring for his herds and in operation of the ranch until the latter’s death. Engaging as a laborer on different ranches for a few years, young Repetto finally became interested in professional athletics.
Perfecting an act in acrobatic bar work, he obtained an assignment on an orpheum circuit in about 1883 and for twenty years followed this profession, traveling and exhibiting throughout California and Mexico. In 1903, he gave up his show profession and returned to his mother and took up the management of the old home southwest of El Monte where he had been born. Here he remained, having acquired the ranch by inheritance from his mother, who died four years following his return. The place now consists of about sixteen acres of excellent farmland, and in addition to the products of the soil, Mr. Repetto is also the fortunate participant in the revenue of a small oil well.
In May 1884, at the San Gabriel Mission, Mr. Repetto was united in marriage with Marie Hernandez, who was a native of Mexico, having been born in the State of Jalisco. No children were born to this union. In religion, both Mr. and Mrs. Repetto were devout members of the Catholic Church. Mrs. Repetto died in 1930.
Politically Mr. Repetto supports the Democratic ticket, although for years he was a loyal Republican. Of a retiring nature, Mr. Repetto has often declined to serve as a public official, although he has always been interested in the general welfare of the country and community and especially in the maintenance of good schools. For a number of years he was prevailed upon to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Temple School District. Although having passed his allotted three score and ten years, Mr. Repetto remains hale and hearty, and continues active in the promotion of his ranch activities. He maintains keen and active interest in current events and contributes whenever possible to the upbuilding of the community.
Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.