Juan Soza

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Born: November 24, 1851, in Tucson, Sonora, Mexico (now Arizona)
Died: 1915, in Tempe

Juan Soza arrived in the Tempe area in 1871, and settled at the village of San Pablo, a thriving Hispanic community at the foot of Tempe Butte. Soza was born in Tucson in 1851, and was the great-grandson of José María Sosa, one of the Spanish soldiers who established the presidio of Tucson in 1776. Juan Soza worked for the government as an Indian scout, carried mail on horseback on the Tempe-Tucson route, and drove a stage coach between Tempe and Prescott. He and his brother, Placido Soza, worked for Charles Hayden, extending the Hayden Canal from the old Kirkland-McKinney Ditch, building the mill and ferry, and clearing farm land.

Juan Soza went back to Tucson for a while, married Jesús María Sotelo, daughter of Tiburcio and Manuela Sotelo. They returned to Tempe in 1873. He had rights to free irrigation water for the work he had done on the Tempe Canal, and started a farm on eighty acres west of Hayden's Ferry. Soza later moved to his mother-in-law's land to the east. He became an influential leader in the Hispanic community, and served three terms as deputy sheriff under Carl Hayden.

Juan Soza was the father of ten children: Paulina, José, Juan (Jr.), Ramon, Enrique, Esther, Antonio, Alfonso, Elena, and José María.