Six Generations of Montebello Residents
Two families and six generations of Montebello residents have shared one house at 233 South Spruce Street in a span of almost 100 years. It began with Mr. James Roy Harralson born in 1888, who arrived here from Republic, Missouri, and built his house on South Spruce Street in the early 1920s. James Roy and his wife Myrtle Mae had a son, whom they named James Sterling Harralson.
James Sterling Harralson or “Jim” grew up in the house built by his father at 233 South Spruce Street, whereas a young man answered our country’s call, after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. James joined the ranks of the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served honorably during World War II.
After the war, James returned back to the home on Spruce Street, where he eventually married Sybil Thompson and started a family of his own. Enter James’ daughter, Ms. Joanne Harralson. Ms. Harralson was born and raised in Montebello and eventually moved to Whittier as she grew up.
Forty years ago, the Harralson family sold the home at 233 South Spruce Street and moved to Long Beach.
This past June, our Community Engagement Sergeant Ray Camuy received a phone call from Ms. Harralson who conveyed to the sergeant the history of the Harralson family and 233 South Spruce Street. Ms. Harralson asked Sergeant Camuy if it was possible for her and her 97-year-old father Jim, to visit the old neighborhood and the house her grandfather built.
Sergeant Camuy offered to contact the current family and convey Ms. Harralson’s request. Sergeant Camuy met and spoke with the current owners of 233 South Spruce Street, Mr. and Mrs. Eduardo, and Ibon Abea, who most graciously invited the Harralson family and Sergeant Camuy to visit his home.
On August 21, 2021, Ms. Harralson and her father, Jim arrived at 233 S. Spruce Street, where they met Sergeant Camuy. Ms. Harralson, who brought a delicious pie and a bouquet of flowers for the Abea family, led her father to his boyhood home. The Abea family led the Harralson’s through the home for the grand tour. Ms. Harralson also had pictures of the original home and photos of several generations of Harralson’s who lived within its walls.
Sergeant Camuy said of the moment when Jim entered his ancestral home being led by Eduardo. “I was absolutely flushed with joy for both families. My face began to hurt from the silly smile I am sure I had. I also felt it was a total privilege to be part of this moment. To witness these two Montebello families come together and share almost a century of family history that has taken place under one roof.”