Born c. 1820, in San Miguel Horcasitas, Sonora, Mexico
Died: May 27, 1893
Mariano Gonzales came to Tempe about 1875. He was apparently one of several brothers who came to Tempe in the 1870s. It is likely that Mariano, as well as Juan, Ramon, Manuel, Jesus, Jacobo, and Genaro Gonzales, were all members of a wealthy ranching family in the state of Sonora in northern Mexico. Political turmoil in Sonora in the 1860s forced the family to abandon their lands and cattle near San Miguel Horcasitas.
Mariano Gonzales was a farmer. When he first arrived, he did work for Charles T. Hayden and the Tempe Irrigating Canal Company. He claimed land along the Kirkland-McKinney Ditch east of Tempe, and along the San Francisco Canal, on the west side of Tempe. By 1877, he had built an adobe house near the Salt River. The Mariano Gonzales House still stands in Tempe. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in the valley.
Mariano Gonzales married María Antonia Ramirez in Sonora. They had six children: Carmel, Mariana, María, Antonio, José, and Miguel. In 1875, two of their daughters were married in Tempe. Carmel married James Lindsey and Mariana married Tempe pioneer James T. Priest. Mariano Gonzales became a naturalized citizen in 1878.