1. Carl Ambrose
The Ambrose family originated on the island of Flores in the Azores. The south end of the island we are told, where the original name had been spelled Ambrosio. It was not a common name even on Flores.
The best known member of this family was Carl Ambrose of Monmouth. He was born in 1894 to parents Joao Ambrosio and Maria Silva. He came to the San Joaquin Valley in 1913. During the first half of the twentieth century, he was known as one of the most famous festa cooks in central California and as head agent for the New York Life Insurance Company. He was said to be a relative of the well-known Ambrose brothers of Fresno who owned and operated a popular bar and grill. He was from Lajedo on Flores as were many other early day Fresno immigrants. Indeed, in the early years of this century, the southern end of Fresno, around Hanoians market and the Roma Winery, was called Lajedo because of these numerous families which also spilled over into Easton and Kerman. However, we were once told that although Carl had lived and migrated from there, he had not been born there?
In the period between the beginning of the Great Depression and the early 1950s, nearly every Portuguese family in the central San Joaquin Valley had a New York Life policy. Ambrose was their agent, and that saved many homes and families from ruin. During the hard years, Ambrose kept many Flores families who couldn't pay "on the books" by relinquishing his fee, using part of his salary, or extending temporary credit. So in time he had a legion of loyal customers.
Ambrose was a great fat man who had diabetes and spent most of his time in bed surrounded by piles of business papers. When he wanted something from his wife or his daughter, he had a big loud bell that he would ring. The neighborhood wives were scandalized about this and there was much gossip. Since we were cousins who lived right next door, we heard a lot about it in my youth.
When Ambrose had to make a business trip to the city or to the coast, he would get up, dress in all of his finery, with his many lodge pins, fire up his old green Buick for a long while, gunning it all that time, and be off for the day or a few days. My father, who always liked automobiles and had once raced midget racers at the big track at the Italian Amusement Park in Fresno, was greatly amused that the old Buick would run at all with such treatment!
Ambrose would come into his own during the Portuguese festa season in the spring. He was among the best known of the Old World festa cooks in California. He always cooked at Kerman and at Easton/Fresno because of their Flores connections. He also usually cooked at Riverdale, which was at that time the biggest of all of the regional festas. Sometimes, when he felt up to it, he would cook at Selma and Lemoore. I can remember him cooking at other towns and over on the coast as well but not frequently. He was so much in demand that the various festa committees would have to invite him years in advance.
His festa cooking was done in a very ritualistic fashion. From the selection of the beef, to its blessing, killing, cleaning, seasoning, roasting, it was all done in the style that had been used in the Old Country for centuries. Then it was all repeated for the bread, the broth, and the many secret seasonings!
Once a year Ambrose and his cronies would practice the ancient Azorean art of the matanca: the killing of the pigs! He had a large pen just across the street from his house where he raised hogs. My mother couldn't stand the squealing of the poor beasts as their blood was drained out for the morcelas. So she would pack up all of us kids, and we would move to her aunt's in Hanford for the weekend. It was during those times that we discovered the many fine ethnic restaurants in that city, especially the Chinese.
Ambrose was an important man in all of the Portuguese lodges and clubs in California mostly for business reasons. He didn't have the time, the health, or the inclination to head one up, but he was always a loyal supporting member. Many of these lodges were also insurance companies with burial policies. Ambrose never thought of them as competition for his business, but encouraged his families to have both types of coverage. Those who could afford it usually did so.
Ambrose had gotten a much better education than the typical Azorean immigrant. It was said that he once was destined for the Church. He was highly thought of and was a close friend of the wealthiest and most influential Azoreans of his time: Antone Joseph, who once owned vast tracts of land around Monmouth and planted most of the extensive groves of eucalyptus trees in that area; his brother-in-law, Joe V. Rodgers, Hanford millionaire businessman; Mrs. Vierra of the Terry District, matriarch to the earliest Portuguese families in the area, and the extensive Enos and Rocha families of Selma.
He married Lucille Sebastian, the daughter of Jose Jacintho Sebastian of Monmouth. J.J. was a very wealthy man who had been one of the first important raisin growers in the Selma area when everyone else was growing peaches. He was one of the founders of the Sun-Maid Raisin consortium in 1913.
J.J.'s wife, Theresa de Mello, was a bit of an aristocrat of that clan. They had three children: Mary (Sebastian) Rosa/Rose; Lucille (Sebastian) Ambrose; and her twin brother, J.J., Jr., who died as a baby in 1903. Theresa had a brother in the Monmouth area. His name was Manuel Mello. He never married, never learned English, owned a vineyard, lived with an army of cats, and kept thousands of dollars in gold coins in coffee cans. He was considered a lovable old eccentric and was called by one and all, "Ti Manel."
Theresa Sebastian died in 1924, and in 1925, J.J. married the young widow, Clara Margarida (Leal) da Silveira e Terra Brum. J.J. liked the fact that both his wife and her husband had "well born."
Carl and Lucille Ambrose lived in a small cottage on the Sebastian ranches just a stone throw from Sebastian's big house. It was almost completely overgrown by a huge Cecile Brunner rosebush! There was a one car garage, a very small fenced front yard with a goldfish pond, and a lawn hardly big enough to sit upon. Out back there were several big sheds full of Carl's business papers. They had a son, Stanley Ambrose and a daughter, Shirley (Ambrose) Ball.
In 1930, Lucille Ambrose died. Carl decided to keep his son at home with him but to give his daughter to Velvina Pimentel, a maiden cousin, to raise. Thus the siblings were raised apart in separate homes in different places.
Carl married a second time to Belle Bettencourt George whose family came from farther up the San Joaquin Valley. They had a daughter also named Lucille Ambrose. We were the same age and went all through grammar school and high school together. Bell Ambrose was one of the nicest women around. She always made everyone feel welcome in her home, and she was a great cook. In later years, her mother, an unusually beautiful older woman, lived with them for a long time. Belle's maiden sister, who often visited, eventually married Kack Bettencourt. No relation?
Eventually Stanley finished high school and moved away. In later years he owned a tobacco shop in Atascadero, California. Later still he retired in Hawaii.
The Ambrose family had a fat old black and white fox terrier named Spot. He spent more and more time at our house and eventually became our dog.
Belle used to allow me to go through Carl's tons of old papers in the sheds to look for stamps for my collection. Now I wish we had access to those papers for the historical and genealogical materials that they contained!
After J.J. died in 1942, Ambrose went to court to obtain clear title to his little cottage. He had also inherited the twenty acres right across the road from his house but not the land his home stood on?
His Step-mother-in-law, Clara Sebastian, went down into the basement of the big house which was an interesting place and an archive. Here were stored stacks of old early day catalogs, newspapers, Life magazines, great earthenware jars of molasses, honey, and sugar, shelves of canned goods, and all of Sebastian's papers. I once found lost Portuguese coins in the dirt portion of the floor. Clara found all of the cancelled checks and bills for everything which was used to build the little cottage, even down to the nails! So Clara won the court case which caused much bad blood for many years.
It was ruled that who so ever outlived the other should have the house. So there was a long lasting competition between Carl and Clara to try to outlive the other. Carl won eventually and moved his little house across the street onto his own land. He died in Hanford in 1958 at the hospital in Hanford, Kings County. He was buried in Fowler, Fresno County. Young Lucille took his death very hard.
Lucille Ambrose married a fellow from Oakland, California. We were told that he was named Jack Ambrose and that she later had two sons, one of whom was also named Carl Ambrose. They lived in Santa Rosa, California.
Belle Ambrose was remarried to Mr. Manuel J. Machado and went to live in Santa Clara, California.
Ronald L. Silveira
221 S. Nardo Ave.
Solana Beach, CA 92075
2. Frances Amelia
Francisca Amelia, and her two sisters, Noza Amelia and Luiza Amelia, arrived at Boston on June 16, 1866 on the ship Bash Fredonia from Faial, Azores. Francisca was born April 14, 1849 at Lejes, Pico.
She met Joaquin J. Utra De Fario at Provincetown, Massachusetts. Joaquin
was born on October 15, 1846 on the island of Pico and died
on December 26, 1926 at Elmira, California, Solano County. He became a U.S. citizen on November 6, 1876. He was engaged in fishing for eleven years out of Provincetown working the summers on large fishing boats.
At the age of twenty-seven, he and Francisca, who now went by the name of Frances, left Provincetown for California. They brought with them their daughter who is my grandmother, Mary Fari, born October 1, 1873. They had a son who died as an infant. His name was Joe Fari who was born on January 1873 at Boston and died at Boston on December 30, 1872. They lived on a dairy in San Luis Obispo for about three years. They then moved to Elmira in Solano County renting the Darling Ranch on Lewis Road which they rented for twenty-two years.
During this time they had five more children:
(1) Paul Anthony Silva Silvey was born on April 30, 1881 on the Darling Ranch and died January 13, 1962 in San Francisco. He is buried in the Silvey vault in Dixon, California. He was a grammar school teacher, grades third and fourth. He graduated from Stanford College and was involved in politics.
(2) John (Jack) Silva Silvey was born on May 31, 1883 on the Darling Ranch and died August 26, 1967 at Palo Alto, California. He married Pauline Steever. He drove for the Western Trucking Line and worked for Pacific Gas and Electric in the transportation department. He was the unofficial mayor of Barron Park. They lived in Palo Alto and had three children. Frederick R. Silvey was born on April 12, 1912 in San Francisco. Edward C. Silvey who married Millie (last name not known), and John L. Silvey.
(3) Joe Silvey was born on October 7, 1877 on the Darling Ranch and
died December 24, 1947. He married Sarah Hughes, a native of Ireland. They
lived in Los Gatos, California and owned a hardware store near Palo Alto.
They had one daughter, Frances Elizabeth Silvey who married Bill Gabbard.
She was born November 28, 1916 and died August 16, 1980. When Joe and Sarah
died the hardware store was passed along to Frances. Frances and her husband
Bill had two sons.
Dwight Christopher Gabbard was born February 13, 1953 at Palo Alto, and Leland Joseph Gabbard who was born February 13, 1948 in Los Angeles. These two sons now operate the hardware store.
(4) Manuel Silva Silvey was born on August 29, 1879 on the Darling Ranch. (The Darling Ranch is near Elmira, California, on Lewis Road, near the railroad tracks and the on the east side of the creek.) He died on November 11, 1908 and is buried in the Silvey vault in Dixon, California.
(5) Susan Fari Silva Silvey, was born in 1875 in Solano County and died as an infant. Her place of burial is not known.
(6) Mary Maria Silva Silvey born in October 1,1873 in Boston, Massachusetts. Death and burial unknown. She married Joseph Fero Martin, who was also known as Joe Martins (Martin) Martinez. He was born March 14, 1861 at Pico, Azores and died April 10, 1927 at Elmira and is buried in the Silvey vault in Dixon. His church may have been Calheta de Nesquin Madalena, Pico. Joe Martin came to San Francisco in 1880 and worked in the lumber industry along the coast of Monterey County. He later lived in Newman, Stanislaus Co., California. He lived with his cousin John B. Alexander who was born June 1839 in Portugal and married Jessie Gonsalzes, born 1849 in Portugal. They had eight children. (Clara Alexander was born April 1880. Katie was born on October 29, 1882 and married an Affonso. Katie Affonso was Joe Martins' godchild. William Alexander was born April 1886. Then were Frances Alexander; Mary Alexander, who lived in Aptos; Delphina Alexander who married an Alves and lived in Modesto, California; and the three other children's names are unknown.)
After raising these five children, Joaquin J. Utra De Fario, who was
also known as Joseph Silva Silvey, and his wife Frances purchased 320 acres
of land and raised sheep, cattle, horses, grain, and pasture. I understand
they did good. They built themselves a three bedroom house on a hill which
Around 1900, Joe Martin met my grandmother, Mary Fari Silva Silvey. He was living at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco at the time. They were married on December 14, 1902 at the ranch house of her parents. Mary (Mamie) was born October 1, 1873 in Boston, Massachusetts and died May 26, 1962 at Elmira and is buried at the Silvey vault in Dixon. Joe made wine form figs and grapes for extra money and worked on the railroad. They had one child, Maud Frances Martin, born March 15, 1904 and died October 9, 1982 and is buried at Silveyville near Dixon. Maud was born at the Martin Ranch east on Fox Road next to the Holdender Ranch. They then bought a house in Elmira on the corner of Edward Street and A Street which was right next to her mother's house.
Maud married Charles A. Johnson who was born October 30, 1887 at Elmira on the Johnson Ranch. He died March 3, 1965. His father was Andrew Johnson was born October 5, 1844 at Hanhals Kungshacka, Sweden and died September 16, 1911. Charles' mother was Bertha Peterson who was born July 20, 1865 at Ostervall Skog, Varmland, Sweden and died February 12, 1900 and is buried at the Silveyville Cemetery.
Maud and Charles had three children:
(1) Frances Johnson was born October 2, 1935 at Fairfield, Solano County. She married Frank LaVerne Patten on June 15, 1958 in West Sacramento at the Lady of Grace Church. Frank was born on November 10, 1934 in Trenton, Nebraska. They had one child who was Michael Laverne Patten, born April 29, 1959 at Sacramento. Frank worked as an electrician and Frances as a secretary. They also raised cattle, sheep, and horses.
(2) Irene Johnson was born on December 3, 1936 at Elmira. She married Michael Rose on April 30, 1970 in Durant, Oklahoma. (Her first marriage was to Fred Becherer who was born at St. Louis, Missouri in 1935 and died 1993 at Fortworth, Texas.) Irene works as a secretary and lives in Fortworth. She has one child, Richard Becherer who was born November 9, 1957 at Albuquerque, New Mexico. He married Tonya Hudson in 1995 near Euless, Texas. They have one child, born October 14, 1996 whose name is Kathryn Becherer.
(3) Charles Johnson Jr. was born July 13, 1938 at Woodland, Yolo County.
He married Shirley Yates on May 21, 1966. (His first wife was Pat Weber
from Ohio.) Shirley was born May 31, 1932 in McClurg, Missouri. They had
one child Ronda Lynn Johnson who was born October 13, 1966 in Woodland.
Her step-sister is Monica Greg who was born May 21, 1961 in Fairfield.
Her brother is Mitch Greg.
Charles Johnson works as an auto mechanic.
Michael Laverne Patten was born on April 29, 1959 in Sacramento. His first wife, Tina Smith, had no children. His second wife was Gail Barnett of Fairfield, California. His third wife, Meredith (Winters) Sinclair was born on November 2, 1970, and they have one daughter, Danille Patten who was born on October 14, 1992 in Walnut Creek, California. Danille has a half-sister, Kathryn Garza who was born on October 14, 1992, and a half-brother, Sam Garza born on November 8, 1993. Both were born in Walnut Creek.
These are my cousins:
Katie Alexander was born on October 29, 1882 and died April 22, 1953 at Crows Landing. She married Frank A. Affonso, Sr. They had four children. Adeline married Bettencourt of Gustine; Agnes married Machado of Newman in July 1935; Dorothy married Swanson; and Frank A. Affonso Jr. married Adeline Marion.
Joseph Enos Oliveria married Rita. They had two children. Rosa married Serpa. Another cousin is August Enos. There too is Jerry Borges who was born in 1898 and died November 27, 1977. He married Thelma Perry, and they had four children. She had a sister Madline Perry.
Carol Ann born December 23, 1941. Mary Julia married Elmer Reid Stephens on March 29, 1930 at Prescott, Arizona. Jerry Jr. born December 5. Nancy Lee was killed in a skiing accident at Lake Berryessa on September 23, 1971. Patricia Lee married H.E. Moore and had a child who died at birth in Vallejo on November 7, 1930.
Emmanuel Ferreira was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1878. His mother
was Frances Marcainna Perreira (Perry) and father was
Frank Perreira (Perry). Emmanuel married Mary Agnus who died in June 1913. They had four children.
Francis Ferreira was born June 1898 at Somerville, Massachusetts and
married Everett W. Wallster. She died January 13, 1957 at Weymouth, Massachusetts.
They had four children. Gerald F., Eunice,
Pauline, and Phyliss. Phyliss married a Gallant at Roslindale and lived at 46 Crescent Rd., North, Weymouth, Massachusetts.
Robert Ferreira was born at Somerville in August 1912. Margaret Ferreria was born August 10, 1901 at Somerville. Ed Ferreria was born in 1917.
Joseph Perry was born in Azores and died in Mountain View, California and buried in Dixon. His sister was Isobel Silva of Oakland. The name of his wife is not known but they had one daughter, Maume or Marian F. Perry who married Costmor Horsion Clark on June 2, 1908 in Dixon. They had five children. Muriel, Evelyn Loris, Lawrence, Antone (lived in Hayward) and George.
Matheu Gonsalves was born in the Azores and his wife was Mary or Maria Ferreira. She died in 1964 at the age of ninety-one. (Her sister is Frances Ferreira Mariano) They had three children: Frank Gonsalves was born in 1894 on the Gonsalves Ranch and died on December 7, 1976. He graduated from Vacaville High School in 1912 and was a rancher all of his life. He had no children and lived at 119 Luzena St., Vacaville. John Jameson Gonsalves was born in 1900 on the Gonsalves Ranch in Solano County off Peabody Road. He died January 28, 1981. His daughter Marjorie Porter of Tennessee had one child. His sister is Mamie Gonsalves, born too on the Gonsalves Ranch and married a Garrett of Santa Cruz around 1908.
Frances Ferreira, the sister of Mary Gonsalves, married Frank Mariano. They had one child, Magune Mariano who married Edward Earnest Abila on August 19, 1926.
Joseph S. Enos was born in 1876 in the Azores. He lived in Somerset, Massachusetts. He died in 1963. He married Mary Rose Marcell who was born in 1895 in Fall River, Massachusetts and died on June 6, 1982. They had one child, Joseph Enos of Fairfield. Joseph had one brother, Manuel Enos of the Azores, and one sister, Jennie Silva of Burlingame. Joseph and Mary own 945 acres of land near Travis Air Force Base. Travis bought 42 acres of it. They are part of the air base's history. Mary was nicknamed in 1966 Mary Mother Travis.
Manuel Azevedo was born in 1907 at Suisun City, California and died
on March 19, 1983. He married Roberta M. and was a dairyman for thirty-five
years at Gridley, Dixon, and Solano County. They had four children: Manuel
Azevedo died in 1961. Marvin V. Azevedo died in 1982. Dennis L. Azevedo
lives in Davis, California. Patricia Azevedo
lives in Sacramento.
Manuel Azevedo had two brothers and a sister: Joe L. Azevedo of Dixon,
Anthony Azevedo of Boys Spring, and Mary Wedge of Sacramento. As of1983,
Joe L. Azevedo lived with his son, Joseph
(Butch) Azevedo and his wife Vicki. They had two children: Anne Marie Azevedo, age fifteen in 1994 and Joe Azevedo, age twenty-one. Annie Marie is a character actress for children television. Vicki and Joseph Azevedo are self-employed in a hay and feed business in Dixon.
6630 Fox Road
Dixon, CA 95620
3. Judy Reis Avila
My Dream Come True
At age sixteen I was ready to try my wings, fulfill my dream, and find out what life in America was really like. I had dreamed of coming to the United States since I was ten years old.
Around 1951, my father, Henrique Teixiera Reis, was able to obtain a visitor visa to come to the U.S. for about a year. My Uncle John (Joao Teixeira Reis) had made all the arrangements so that my father could come help him build a house in Pacific Grove, California, on a beautiful Jewell Avenue lot very near the ocean. Leaving a wife and five little girls behind was not an easy decision for my father; even a year seemed a very long time, but my mother, Virginia Reis, was brave enough to say that she would stay in Norte Pequeno, Sao Jorge, and take care of things so that he could take advantage of this opportunity of a lifetime.
When my father returned fourteen months later we were all very excited
to see him and all the nice things he had brought back for us. But I was
the most excited one when he asked if any of us girls would like to go
to America to live with Uncle John and Aunt Mary.
I was the first to raise my hand and scream, "I will! I will go!."
The following year Uncle John and Aunt Mary traveled to Sao Jorge with the idea of taking me back with them to the States. It turned out to be a disappointment for them and for me - because of immigration laws and lots of red tape, I was not permitted to leave the country. A couple of years later they tried again to send for me as a student, but I was too young and not far enough along in my studies to qualify for a student visa. For the next four years they kept trying to send for me and I kept praying and hoping that someday I would go.
It was in early March 1958 that my family received a letter from the American Consul, asking to meet with me on the island of Sao Miguel as soon as possible. I was so excited that I was shaking inside - my prayers had been answered! Since I had never been off the island of Sao Jorge, to visit Sao Miguel was extremely exciting. After a quick goodbye kiss to my mother and sisters, my father and I left Sao Miguel on March 6, on a small ship (Umelas), thinking that if we were lucky we could catch a ship back the following week and maybe someday I'd be granted a visa.
When we arrived in Sao Miguel, it was like a merry-go-round. We met with the Consul, and after a few questions he told me I must go back to the island of Terceira to get my passport. After that, he'd grant me a visitor visa. This was all too good to believe, but we did what he said, and on March 21, I said goodbye to my father on Terceira with a broken heart. I had never had the chance to say a real goodbye to my mother and sisters.
I arrived in California on March 20, after a much-delayed and stormy trip. Two extra days and nights in New York with a vocabulary of 20-30 English words was a bit scary, but that is another story. I was so happy that my dream had come true and nothing else seemed to matter.
Uncle John and Aunt Mary were in San Francisco to pick me up. It seemed like a very long ride to the Monterey Peninsula; I was full of stories and so wound-up from the excitement of having my feet in California. I settled in with them in the Pacific Grove home my father had helped build. I loved my own bedroom and the beautiful garden, full of vegetables and flowers. All the neighbors were so friendly and they all tried to teach me English. I started some night classes for foreign students, and in the fall I started school at Pacific Grove High School.
America was everything I had dreamed of. There were ups and downs, good days and lonely days, but my worst fear was that my visa was expiring in six months and I could very well be sent back to Sao Jorge. My uncle and aunt started adoption proceedings a few months after I arrived in the hope that it would give me legal residency. The adoption involved more red tape, many trips to the immigration office in San Francisco, and endless questions. After it was legal and final, we were disappointed to find out that it would not give me legal residency because I was over fourteen years old.
Now what? Should we ask for another extension in my visa? I had already been granted a few more months. I kept going to school, which I liked very much. The teachers were very nice and helpful, and I had made some new friends. I also had a new name: I was no longer Maria Jesualda Reis, but Judy Maria Reis.
One day my "dad" (Uncle John) said, "We are going to Carmel to talk to our lawyer, Senator Fred Farr, to see if he can arrange something to keep you here." And we did. After several visits and hundreds of dollars, Senator Farr proposed a bill, called H.R. 2128, to be introduced in Congress, asking special permission for me to stay in the United States. For several months we prayed and had every neighbor, friend, and teacher write a letter in my behalf. (I still have copies of many of those letters). For instance, our local funeral director wrote,
I know the adopted parents, Mr. and Mrs. John T. Reis, very well
they are fine neighbors of ours. They have a nice home and are without
children of their own and are financially able to give this girl what we
Americans want for our children: namely security, education, and religious
Finally I received a note from Congress stating that my bill had passed and had been approved and signed by Charles M. Teague, M.C. I could stay in the U.S.
Becoming a legal resident was certainly a milestone and gave me a great feeling of peace. Of course, my heart always longed for my family back home and all of the ties to the Portuguese community there. I kept in close touch by writing long letters to my parents and sisters. Here in California, I attended all of the Portuguese activities, dances, and festas, where I would meet many more people from the Azores.
In 1960 I met a young man, Guilherme Avila, from the island of Pico.
He had been living in Canada for three years and had come to California to visit his uncle, who also lived in Pacific Grove. We seemed to have a lot in common; his parents and most of his family
were also back home in the Azores, and we seemed to feel the same pains and the same joys.
We fell in love, and after writing letters for two years and two more visits from Canada, we were married in 1962. Our main dream was to go back home to meet each other's families as soon as we could afford it. Our dream came true four years later, in 1966. We decided to go back for a year and just relax.
Guess what? I got pregnant there with our oldest son and had to cut the trip short by three months so our baby could be born in the U.S. The year we saw our families again was very special, and the time we all spent together was important and rewarding. My sisters were all grown up; one had married and had two little girls, and the other three were still at home with my parents. Luckily, two of my sisters, Teodora (or Dora) and Leonor, were able to come to the States in 1967, the same year I returned. They both helped me raise our new son, David, and six years later we had another son, Duart.
Now almost forty years later some of these memories are as vivid as if they had happened yesterday. Maybe that's because every day we see things that remind us of the past. Both my parents and my adoptive parents are gone, but we remain living in Pacific Grove, and, except for a few trips to Azores and Canada, we have never left. My sisters Dora and Leonor both began families of their own, and both now live a few blocks away from me. Our son David has remodeled the house that his two "grandfathers" built, and it means a lot to us to see him living there.
As for me, I'll always be grateful for the opportunity I was given in my life; to my parents for letting me go, and to my adoptive parents for taking me in.
Pacific Grove, CA
4. Antonio Silveira Bettencourt
Name in Latin Pronunciation is Bettenis Cortis
I would like to explore the philosophy of the Bettencourts which started
with the name in the 8th century. Originally was formed in
France from the Bethun River and their work as bailiff for the lords of property. Here they learn to be entrepreneurs is the only way to
own property. During the 9th to 11th century they own horses and small plots in the Provinces of Normandy and Picardy. By the 14th century there were Bethencourts from Rouen to Arras. As being horsemen they maintained a private army with schools to teach horsemanship with military maneuvers of hand to hand combat. The Bettencourts were well into lordship in property.
Jean de Bethencourt in 1400 took ownership of a sailing vessel and got permission to sail to the Canary Islands. He left Dieppe, France with a crew and two nephews, Henri and Maciot in 1402. Jean setup a settlement of Grainville, Tenerife and explored the Islands of Lancarote, Fuerteventura, Ferro and Grande Canaria. Maciot negotiated with Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal for property in Madeira Islands. His brother Henri went to Avila Castle where he took over the old castle property in 1418. Then two of Henri's sons went to Madeira Island. Henrique de Manezes Bettencourt in 1450 went to Ribeira Brava and started the sugar processing business while his brother Gasper went to Agua del Mel and started in the soap business.
Then into the picture came Willem Van der Bruyn from Bruges, Flanders the one dealer of the cloth industry. Mr. Bruyn in 1436 moved to Funchal, Madeira by permission of Prince Henry the Navigator where his sister Isabel was Queen of Flanders. Here in Madeira he continued the dye business with supply from Madeira and Azores Islands. The urzela and pastel plants are indigenous to these islands as his son conferred in Terceira where he married Barbara Silveira whose father, Willem Van der Hagen with his ship moved people from Bruges, Flanders to the Islands of Terceira and Faial and his children changed their name to Silveira.
By the early 16th century the Bettencourt's arrived at Vila da Prais, Terceira where they became acquainted with the dye business. Joao Bettencourt married Leoner Alvares and had seven children. Couple of boys married into the Silveira family and moved to the Island of Sao Jorge to look for urzela and pastel plants. One went to Topo and the other went to Vila das Velas and established a port. They found a large volume of urzela plants in an area near Calherta from Manada to Urzelina.
Then came the end of the House of Avis and the Portuguese kingdom became the House of Habsburg with the Spanish king of Filip I. This is when the Bettencourt's horsemanship with little military exercise tried to defend the islands. The idea of moving inland came about 1583 some 600 feet above sea level and six miles from Velas. Where the village of Beira was constructed and they acquired property to form a self-maintained community working with the dye business until the middle of the 18th century. This brought new ideas to develop the economy of the area. The dye business built the Bettencourt Castle in Angra, Terceira. It is now a city library.
Sao Jorge had to go into a new business by increasing the size of dairy herds and excess milk was made into cheese. Business was very slow in developing so lots of people had to find employment by outside means. In the 19th century the people had to work for another country industry. My grandfather went aboard a British sailing vessel to look for whales. Antonio Silveira Bettencourt was a whaler for 15 years traveling the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Whaling was big business in the 19th century because the dye business died too soon and cash reserves were to low to get into whaling business to supply the processing plants. My grandfather came into San Francisco Bay twice in his sailing experience. In 1885 he came back to Beira, Sao Jorge and got married to Ana Bernardo da Silveira and had 10 children. He told many great stories of California. One was that California was mostly marshland that near the railroads was usable as farmland. He also mentioned about taking the northern sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific which was not recorded until 1905.
My father was born in 1892, the number four child. He worked with his father in the pastures and milked cows and took the milk to the creamery. When he was 17 years of age, the Portuguese Army was going to conscript him into military duty when he was 18. He left Beira, Sao Jorge in 1910 from Velas to Angra and by steamship to New York in the United States of America. He then took a passenger train to Oakland, California. From here he ferried to San Rafael where he worked in a certified dairy that was shipping milk to the city of San Francisco. My father was milking 30 cows twice a day for $30 a month. He had to wear white clothing while on duty and lived in the bunkhouse. He felt he was being too controlled in this job but felt he had much leisure time and decided in 1914 to go to Hayward, the Freitas dairy ranch which is now the State University of California, Hayward. This situation had more freedom of taking the milk to the creamery and riding horse to herd the cows in the pastures or working with German people in the hay press.
My mother was born in 1898 of Francisco Jose Pereira and Ana Bernardo Lemas in Beira, Sao Jorge. She came to New Bedford, Massachusetts in United States of America with her brother Manuel in 1913. She worked as a maid for the owner of the City Ice House where he owned a large home on Rockdale Avenue. The owner boarded school teachers where my mother learned a lot of English. She had a lot of schooling in Beira. She worked for six years on this job until she got married in 1919.
My father's brothers who were living on the East Coast came West and formed a partnership of Antonio, Jose and Joao and went together in the dairy business near Crows Landing on the road to Modesto. Here my father stayed for two years from 1916 to 1918 to develop his own business with his own cows. Then he decided to go east to Stevinson, California where he had a partner of Mr. Brazil to the 100-acre ranch which was located on Lander Avenue and the west end of Westside Boulevard. Here he saw a new bridge being built over the Merced River and was married to my mother. Here is where I was born in 1920.
My father and mother had four children which was a sister and two brothers for me all born on the ranch: John S. Bettencourt, Robert J. Bettencourt, and Anna Mae (Bettencourt) Guerriero. Then in 1933 my mother became very ill and spent much of her life in hospitals. The United States and California governments helped a great deal in trying to cure the illness she had, nervousness. Because of her, the state neuropathology doctors made great progress in the study of the brain.
Soon my father found an opportunity to buy a forty-acre ranch in Livingston, California. In September of 1920 he took his cows down Westside Boulevard walking his cows to 12437 West Magnolia Avenue. The ranch is located two miles south of Livingston on the Donnelly estates. Here he milked his cows for three years and paid off his ranch. So he sold his dairy because of Merced Irrigation District built a canal nearby and was also tired of pumping water to irrigate the alfalfa fields with his ten horsepower Fairbank engine. At the same time the federal government was destroying dairy cows due to an invasion of hoof-and-mouth disease. My father decided to go into growing sweet potatoes, watermelons and blackeye beans because the ranch was shield with eucalyptus trees along Magnolia Avenue. He also used the eucalyptus wood for cooking, making his own soap, heating hot water in butchering a hog and hot house for sausage. My father and mother loved their Holstein cows and ranch. He also remodeled his home and electrified the ranch in 1927 and went back to milking cows where he survived the Depression and the travails of life. My father and mother had four children. My brothers and sister were born at the ranch they are: John S. Bettencourt, Robert Bettencourt and Anna Mae Guerriero. My father became a citizen of the United States on June 21, 1957 with naturalization paper. My father Joao Silveira Bettencourt died September 24, 1970 and my mother Maria Santa Pereira died on August 18, 1989 in a convalescent home. My father and mother's beloved ranch was sold in 1975.
Bettencourt, J. Moniz de. Os Bettencourt das Origens Normandas y Espansao Atlantica. Lisboa: Ramos, Alfonso y Moita LDA, 1993.
Guill, James H. Azores Islands: a History. Tulare, CA: Golden
Shield Books, 1993.
843 Brennan Way
Livermore, CA 94550
5. John Silveira Borges
John Silveira Borges and Maria Daudelina Silveira were but two of the many Azoreans to immigrate to this country in the early 1900s. The following is a capsulization of their lives.
Joao/John, born 7 May 1890 in Topo, Santo Antao, Sao Jorge Island, and his brother Alex (b. 15 May 1893) were the result of a long love affair between their parents Joaquin Silveira Borges and Izabel Emilia Azevedo. She was a comely woman but from a humble background. Joaquin, on the other hand, was of a higher class and forbidden by his mother to marry beneath his station. Only after his mother's death did Joaquin take his lover as his bride. Unfortunately by then he was gravely ill and would soon die.
Izabel had four sons from a previous marriage: Abel Azevedo (6 September 1870 - 14 September 1947), Manuel Azevedo (7 May 1877 - 1 January 1935), Joe Azevedo (? September 1879 - 13 November 1950) and Virgino (Birth and death dates not known). Of the six sons reared by Izabel only Virgino remained on the island. The others would settle in California's Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Apparently Abel was the first to come followed by Manuel, John, Alex, and Joe.
At age twenty, John Silveira Borges was ready to leave his homeland. There was little reason to stay. His father had been dead for many years, and his mother married a man with whom John did not get along. Remaining on the island would only assure this young man an unpromising future. There was, however, one thing John had in his favor. He had family already established in America. This in itself would make the proposed transition more palatable . . . it was time.
Thirty (30) December 1910 was the date penned on the passport from the Republica Portuguesa. The blue-eyed twenty year old was about to embark upon his greatest adventure -- incognito. His passport identified John as Joao Silveira Jordao. Family tradition has it that this ruse was necessary to circumvent Portuguese military conscription laws. This was far from a unique situation facing young Azorean males wanting to expatriate.
John first set foot on American soil in early 1911. It is not known through which port of entry he came, probably New York, possibly Boston. He reached San Francisco after a seven day transcontinental train ride then registering at the "hotel Silveira" on Pine Street. The Silveira catered to Portuguese "greenhorns." The patrons called it "Casa de Moneta." (This writer is unsure of the spelling or meaning.) It was at this hotel that many dairy operators would find hired help. Within a short time John would be employed by a Spanish lady who owned a dairy operation across the Bay in the Sausalito area of Marin County.
The job paid $25.00 a month. Milking was done twice a day in the open while cows were tethered to posts --rain or shine. Being an ambitious sort, John took on additional duties. He would awake before the others mount a horse and drive the herd down from the pasture to the milking area. Each milker was responsible for milking a certain number of cows. This was known as a string. John was no different than the other milkers, he had his own string to milk. If one of the strings were short an animal, John would have to stop milking, mount his horse, find the missing animal, drive it to the milking area and only then could he resume work on his string. The procedure would be repeated in the late afternoon. John developed into an exceptional horseman and became extremely adroit with a lariat. Searching for cattle grazing over large areas of steep, hilly, pasture land in a cold driving winter rain on horseback (at least half of the time in the dark) could not have been a pleasant experience. But it did pay $5.00 a month more.
Manuel Azevedo lived in Mill Valley area of Marin County for several years before his half brother John's arrival. In 1903, Manuel married a beautiful young girl from Norte Pequeno, Sao Jorge. Her name was Adelina Augusta de Azevedo (different family). She was born 7 May 1886 (d. 12 December 1942) to Maria Joaquina de Azevedo and Maria's lover. Adelina's father left Sao Jorge for America promising to send for Maria and their child. This reunion would never take place. Maria Joaquina would eventually marry Francisco Jose da Silveira and from this union three daughters would be born -- Maria (18 May 1892), Mariana (24 July 1893), and Deolinda (17 August 1902).
Adelina left her mother, stepfather and three sisters while she was little more than a child. She would live for a time with her father in Mill Valley before meeting her future husband Manuel. According to oral family history Adelina's father's name was Thomas, and he lived in the Novato area of Marin County. Later a copy of her death certificate was obtained and reviewed. Per the certificate, her father was Antonio Thomas. His death certificate shows his father as Manuel Azevedo Borba of the Azores.
Together Manuel and Adelina would have three children, all born in the Sausalito area of Marin County: Elias, Frank, and Mary. Soon after John's arrival, the Azevedos left Marin and eventually settled near Gridley, Butte County, California. John would soon follow. Brother Alex would arrive within a few more years.
By 1915, John was ready to settle down and raise a family. He began to correspond with Adelina's half-sister Maria Daudeline Silveira. He would woo his future bride by sending her letters containing romantic poetry. Maria must have been impressed because she would recite those poems from memory well into her 90s. John requested Maria's picture. He took that picture and one of himself to a photographer. The finished product was one picture with John (appearing to be) standing next to Maria. Maria really didn't want to leave her home. However, she acquiesced to her father's coaxing to take advantage of the opportunity to improve her lot in life.
It took seven days to sail to Ellis Island and an additional seven days, by train, to come overland to California. By the time her destination was reached, all her clothing was covered with soot and smelled of smoke. Much to Maria's surprise, John was not at the train station to meet her. He sent his brother, Manuel Azevedo, to pick her up. As if this was not strange enough, Manuel tried to convince Maria not to marry his brother -- that he was crazy and not good for her. The biggest surprise was yet to come. John shaved his head just prior to meeting Maria. When the two finally met; he simply said . . . I'm the guy who wrote you, do you still want to marry me. Maria said . . . that's what I'm here for. Now, whether Manuel was truly serious in his warning to his future sister-in-law or whether Manuel and John cooked this whole thing up as a test is entirely up to speculation. Manuel and his wife Adelina (Maria's half-sister) were witnesses at the wedding, which took place in Gridley on 21 August 1915.
After a few years, Adelina and Manuel Azevedo would go their separate ways. She would marry Manuel Lopes and would have two more children -- Edward Thomas Lopes (19 July 1918 - 8 January 1990) and Adeline Lopes (4 August 1919 b- 2 February 1927). Ed's middle name was in honor of his mother's father Antonio Thomas.
John and Maria had their first child, a son, on 20 May 1916. John Jr. was born in Gridley, California. Two years later their daughter Mary was born 15 April 1918 also in Gridley. William, their last child, was born in Tracy, San Joaquin County, California on 23 July 1935.
By 1920, the Borges family was living in the Marysville area of Yuba County. John was working on the Henry Reyes (Reis) dairy. Possibly his brother Alex worked there too. One year the rains were exceptionally heavy. The dairy was situated near one of the rivers and rising waters posed a threat to the dairy herd. John rode toward the river and began driving the cattle away from danger when water began to rush across the pasture, literally lapping at the hooves of his galloping horse.
Brother Alex would arrive in America as a cabin boy aboard a small sailing vessel and land in Providence, Rhode Island. The trip took forty days; the year was 1912. Alex met Deolinda Silveira, in much the same manner as brother John met his wife Maria (Deolinda's sister). The ladies were both "picture brides." Deolinda left her family in Norte Pequeno, Sao Jorge in 1921 aboard the San Vicente. The six-day trip to Boston turned into sixteen days due to mechanical problems. She confided to her grandnephew that shortly after meeting Alex in person, she discovered he lied about his age. He had indicated he was younger than he really was. This angered Deolinda. She married him anyway on 2 April 1921 in Modesto's St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Their son Manuel was born 20 January 1922. He was the first child to be baptized in Hughson's Sao Lazeo Catholic Church. There was one other child born to this union; however, it did not survive infancy.
In the early 1920s, the Borges brothers and a cousin named Julio (last name possibly Azevedo) formed a partnership in a dairy operation on the Casewell ranch near Ceres in Stanislaus County. Julio's brother Alexander worked for the partners. Julio married a local Ceres girl. As with many such venture, the partnership would dissolve and everyone went their own way. John moved to the Musselman ranch near the Ceres High School. Alex went to Riverbank, and Julio left the dairy business altogether and became a dry farmer.
John moved his family once more. This time be bought a small ranch just north of Banta and south of Mossdale in San Joaquin County. The land was newly subdivided and virgin. In 1925, when he bought the place, there wasn't a post in sight. Maria was not particularly enthralled with the move to such a desolate area. Here they started their own dairy operation and on which they would live the rest of their lives. Alex would purchase a ranch just up the road from John. He, Deolinda, and young Manuel would arrive in the Banta area 3 March 1928 and begin their own dairy.
Dairy cattle in San Joaquin County were not certified tuberculosis-free. If testing proved positive for just one animal, the entire herd was lost. Such was the plight of many area dairymen, including John and Alex. Later they had the opportunity to get back into the business. Cattle had to be purchased in "certified" areas such as Eureka, California and Yearington, Nevada. These animals were shipped by train to Banta. A law required the cattle to be off-loaded, fed and watered after so many hours of travel. John started a new dairy, as did brother Alex.
During World War II, youngest son William found his father seated at the kitchen table in tears with a letter clutched in his hand. John's mother had died. he would return to the "old country" just once. In 1947, John, Maria, William, Alex, Deolinda, and Manuel would all board the Santa Cruz and sail to the Azores. There they visited family in Norte Pequeno and Sao Antao, Topo on Sao Jorge Island. John decided to see his stepfather who was ill and bedridden. John, still harboring hard feelings over the maltreatment his mother suffered at the hands of his stepfather, could not contain his anger. He threatened to pick up his stepfather and throw him to the pigs. He thought better of it and left his boyhood home for the last time.
As years passed, John's health began to fall. He had suffered a fracture to his hip -- this writer's earliest recollection of his grandfather was of him on crutches. He was also dying of cancer. Only after several agonizing years did John Silveira Borges pass on. He died 8 April 1957. Uncle Alex Silveira Borges died 28 May 1972; Aunt Deolinda died 11 June 1985. Grandmother Maria (Silveira) Borges lived into her 94th year. She died on 2 January 1986.
Maria and Deolinda's sister Mariana remained in Norte Pequeno for many
years. There she married a Gonzales and gave birth to her four
children: Maria, Tony, Gaspar, and Deolinda. Eventually, Mariana and all her children came to California. She died the morning of her granddaughter's wedding -- 10 June 1989.
John Borges Jr. said at his Uncle Alex's funeral " . . . and another legend passes on." Within that statement lies the reason for this critique, this collection of family stories and personal memories - - lest we forget.
5533 Sapunor Way
Carmichael, CA 95608
6. Jose Silveira Brum and Rosie Francisco Vargas
Jose Silveira Brum was born on February 2, 1889 to Antonio Silveira Brum and Anna Guilhermina Leal in Castelo Branco, Faial. His mother died when he was nine months old. Jose and his father, Antonio, came to Warm Springs, California in 1897, when Joe, as he came to be called, was seven years old. Joe was educated at Warm Springs Grammar School.
Joe first engaged in farming with his father on the Stanford Ranch in Warm Springs. His father remarried to Maria Sarmento (1875-1934 - see story on Manuel Sarmento) who was also born in Castelo Branco, Faial and had immigrated to California in 1905 with her young son, Edwin A. Sarmento (1901-?). Antonio and Maria had two sons of their own, Tony, born in 1911, who died as an adult, of tuberculosis, and another Joe, who was born in 1914 and died in 1921. Antonio and Maria lived in Warm Springs. They are buried in the Centerville cemetery with their young son Joe (the second).
Joe S. Brown became a naturalized citizen in 1912. At this time, he was a self-employed merchant who owned the Warm Springs Store, a grocery and general merchandise store. The Warm Springs Store was built in the 1880s on the south corner of Warren and Warm Springs Boulevard. The first proprietor was Jacob Steinmetz who sold it to Manuel T. Azevedo and Joe Brown. The Warm Springs Post Office was also located at the store and Joe was appointed U.S. Postmaster, January 8, 1913, a position that he held until his death. Joe registered for the World War I draft in June 1917. He enlisted at Hayward, California in Company H, 364 Infantry on April 2, 1918 and served overseas at St. Meheil, Meuse Argonne and Ypores Lys. He was honorably discharged as a corporal on April 29, 1919 at Camp Kearny, San Diego. Manuel Azevedo ran the store while Joe served in the army and Joe was eventually able to buy him out.
After the war, Joe settled back into his job at the Warm Springs Store. One of his early duties was to take the 1920 Federal Census of Warm Springs in January of that year. Joe visited the Warm Springs residents by horse and buggy. One afternoon he saw a young lady, who had previously caught his eye, Rosie Francisco Vargas, who was just leaving her job of cleaning the Warm Springs Schoolhouse. Joe offered her a ride home, which she accepted, and told her that he would soon be calling on her family home to take the census. Rosie was the daughter of Azorean emigrants, Joe Francisco Vargas of Castelo Branco and Anna C. Lourenco of Flores (see their story). Rosie born May 2, 1904, was raised, along with nine siblings on property belonging to Henry Curtner, where her parents were share crop farmers.
Joe invited Rosie to a dance at the home of his father, Antonio. Joe showered her with attention at this dance and the courtship began. They were married in Mission San Jose on October 4, 1920 with her sister, Minnie Vargas Sarmento, and her husband Manuel as their witnesses (see Manuel Sarmento story). They established their home at the grocery store where Rosie became an active partner in the business. The store was the hub of activity in Warm Springs. Besides being the post office, where Rosie acted as postal clerk, the store also housed the local library, which had been organized on February 20, 1912. Rosie became the Alameda County Librarian at this branch. Joe was a station agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad Station in Warm Springs. The store also carried appliances and Rosie and Joe set to work in installing and servicing the stoves they sold. The store had a hall upstairs which served for local meetings and for family get-togethers for Rosie's siblings and their families on holidays. Their home was attached to the store but they purchased an off-site home in 1934.
The Browns were very active in their community. Joe was a trustee of the Warm Springs school from 1918 to 1929 and school board meetings were sometimes held at his store. He was also one of the first commissioners of the Warm Springs fire district which was formed in 1945. Joe belonged to the American Legion Post 195 and several Portuguese organizations including I.D.E.S. , U.P.E.C., S.E.S., and A.P.P.B. Joe served as Supreme President of the I.D.E.S. in 1933-34. Rosie was a member of Sao Gabriel Council 84 of the S.P.R.S.I. and was a member of its drill team. She marched in parades along with her sisters Adeline and Florence. Rosie served as secretary for the council for over twenty-five years.
Joe died on August 28, 1957 at his home on Brown Road in Warm Springs. He was given a full military funeral and was buried on August 31, 1957 at the San Bruno Military Cemetery. Rosie assumed the duties of postmistress on June 30, 1957 and was designated "Acting Postmistress" on July 11, 1957. She was officially confirmed Postmistress of Warm Springs on May 13, 1959. She continued in this post until the city of Fremont was unified and all postmasters became station agents. Rosie retired and leased the store to several families in turn, Tony and Annie Lawrence, John Feliciano and Walter Stienmetz and then Lillian and Louie Rodrigues. The post office moved to another location and Rosie carried on as its station agent. Rosie remarried in1960 to Ray Morgan. Rose Morgan died on December 17, 1979 and is buried at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Warm Springs.
Joe Silveira Brown and Rosie had one daughter, Evelyn, who was born on December 12, 1921. Evelyn was a graduate of Warm Springs Grammar School, Washington Union High School in Centerville, and Heald Business College. Evelyn married Leonard E. Rose (born October 26, 1920 in Princeton, California to Azoreans emigrants William Walter Rose and Mae Cardoza of Flamengos, Faial). Evelyn and Leonard were married December 22, 1945 at St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. Evelyn was employed as registrar of Washington High School in 1941 and worked as secretary to the superintendent from 1942 to 1983. During these years she was affectionately known as "Brownie" to the many students that attended the school. She retired in 1983 as an administrative secretary. Her long employment at the high school make her a well-recognized local resident. Evelyn lives in Warm Springs area where her parents played such important roles. Today, one lonely palm tree stands faithful watch over a gas station which was built on the site where once stood the Warm Springs Store. (Genealogical information is available on Joe S. Brown's ancestry.)
Country Club of Washington Township. History of Washington Township.
2d ed. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1950.
New Deal Historical Society. Who's Who in the New Deal. California ed. Los Angeles: V.E. Thurman, 1939.
Susan Vargas Murphy
700 Selsey Ct.
Sacramento, CA 95864
7. Dutra Correia
Dutra Correia -- Coelho Cotta
The Dutra Correia family came form the village of Castelo Branco in
Faial and traced their ancestry to one or another of the Van Hurteres.
The first ones to arrive in California were my great-aunts. Maria Dutra Correia married an Antone Alves who was a gardener at the fashionable Del Monte Lodge in Monterey. I don't know who sponsored her unless her husband-to-be sent for her. It was about 1880.
In due time she sent for her seventeen-year-old sister, Luisa, who came to America on the first steam-driven boat to go to Faial. She was betrothed to someone else, but married a Tony Rosa from a different island. Antone Rosa owned a large amount of property in Gonzales. They had nine children. Their large dairy was on the River Road, across the Salinas River from Gonzales.
With two aunts to give her shelter, my father's sister Maria left Faial in 1900 for the Monterey home of her Aunt Mary and married her prosperous cousin, Antone Alves, who had a hog and chicken farm on English Avenue between what is now Highway One and Del Monte Avenue.
This set up the situation where Mary (Maria) would send for her brothers one by one as they became draft age. Thus, my father, Francisco Dutra Correia, who was the youngest in his family, finally came to America in March of 1914 in steerage on the Italian steamship, Roma. Ahead of him had come his brothers Jose and Antonio, who were ten and five years older than he.
On their mother's side, they were Vargas and Claude, but, because correspondence was minimal, they lost touch with the maternal side of the family. All we knew was that a Vargas uncle had met each one at Ellis Island, given him a few days shelter, and put him on a train for California. The other Vargas uncles had gone to Brazil from Castelo Branco.
Of the Claudes, I know nothing except that my Aunt Mary always insisted that my father looked like them. My Faial cousins claim that their maternal grandmother was surnamed Claude; but notes taken from one of my Rosa cousins talk of a Luisa Claude Correia. It may be that both the maternal and paternal grandmothers were Claudes. It was a small village and people were very clannish there.
When I was in Faial, I was waited on at the bank in Horta by a man who looked like my father; but because of the pressure of time, I did not have the presence of mind to ask him his name. To this day, I wonder if he was a Claude relative. My cousin, Manuel Correia Goularte, said he knew of no relatives in Horta. He was the son of my Aunt Luisa Correia who stayed in Castelo Branco because she had married Antonio Goularte.
The only other Dutra Correias we know of as relatives were Jose Dutra Correia was a first cousin of my grandfather, Tomas Dutra Correia. He had a dairy on Moran Road in Crows Landing. He was born in 1873 and came to New Bedford by sailing ship at the age of 17. It was a harrowing trip because they ran out of provisions before the month-long voyage was done. They arrived in port on July 20, 1890. As did the others, he took the train to California and had the misfortune to be on a train that had a head-on crash with another. he was pried out of the car alive, but many passengers were killed.
On his arrival, he went to work at a Carmel dairy for $15 per month. He had a sister who married a Mr. Victorino; so the Victorinos were my father's second cousins. In 1906 he married Mary Alvernaz.
A man known to be his cousin, who visited him once, was another Jose Dutra Correia of Providence, Rhode Island. I corresponded with him once before he died, hoping to get more family information. he wrote saying he was from Castelo Branco, also, and that all the Dutra Correias were related. I have heard of some Dutra Correias in the Tracy-Patterson area, but my father never mentioned them. They are probably descendents of one of my great-grandfather's other brothers.
My father had a first cousin named Anna Correia who married a Joe Caldeira. They lived near Concord and had two sons, Joe and Lawrence. Anna was the daughter of Francisco Dutra Correia and Anna Vargas and had grown up next door to my father on the road called Ramada da Lombega in Castelo Branco.
After my father had repaid his sister and brother-in-law, he went inland to find work on the dairies in the Los Banos area of Merced County. By 1918, he had his own dairy business on the Twin Barns Ranch on Highway 32 near Volta.
A mile east of this ranch, also known as the Alice White property, was the Los Banos Creek Ranch where my mother's family was running a small dairy operation.
The first Cotta to come to America, who was a relative of mine, was Antonio Coelho Cotta, my grandfather. He was an illegal alien who was smuggled into Providence, Rhode Island. He came from the village of Doze Ribeiras in Terceira. Vavo became a citizen after a few years, sponsored by his American employers, and went back to the Azores Islands to marry his sweetheart, Maria do Rosario Linhares.
My Linhares relatives lived on the Caminho De Cima in Doze Ribeiras. My great-grandfather was a Mendonca and her relatives lived in nearby Santa Barbara. We had several Mendonca second cousins in the Los Banos area.
After their marriage, my Cotta grandparents came to America to settle in Massachusetts. Their honeymoon was the month-long trip on the sailing ship Dom Manuel in March or April of 1900.
They worked on a farm in Massachusetts where my Uncle Tony Cotta was born in December of 1900. A few years later, my grandmother went back to the Azores to visit her family and stayed for five years. In 1903, my mother was born in Doze Ribeiras and lived there until she was almost five years of age. About 1908, they returned to Massachusetts via Ellis Island where my grandfather (Vavo) met them.
By that time, my grandfather was working on a railroad gang repairing roadbeds, and had rented the upper floor of a house on Pearl Street in Mattapoisett. They lived in Massachusetts until March, 1914, when they took the train to Volta, California. The money my grandmother had earned doing odd jobs, such as a cranberry picker, laundress, and kitchen maid for seven years, paid for their trip and start in dairy business.
My grandfather apparently had an older half-brother whose last name was Bento. My mother was in touch with two female cousins who were probably his children; Serafina Airozo of Visalia, who lived on Linda Vista Drive, and Delfina Lemos who lived on East Cameron Street in Hanford, California. There was also a Manuel Bento Sousa who was a relative -- or was he Manuel Sousa Bento? He worked for my father for a few months during the 'thirties.
She also was in touch with various Linhares cousins in Massachusetts, because her uncles Frank, John, Manuel, and Jesse had all settled there.
My parents met in the Los Banos area in 1918 or 1919. They were married in Newman in May, 1920. The Crows Landing Dutra Correias were their sponsors and gave the wedding feast.
In 1920, my father went into partnership with my Cotta grandfather. Now he had two dairy businesses; the one with multiple partners on the Twin Barns Ranch and the smaller one with my grandfather. The latter was moved to Gustine in 1922 where they lived for five years on the Andrew Silva ranch on Carnation Road.
In 1927, the partnership was dissolved and we moved back to my father's original business, Frank Correia Company. He ran a business at that location until 1940, although it was now Correia Brothers. This partnership with his brother, Antone, ended in 1934.
When my father died in 1945 at the age of 49, he was president of the Los Banos Dairymen's Association, a co-operative creamery; president of the California Dairymen's Union; and chairman of the Farm-Labor-Consumer Committee to Control Inflation.
My mother outlived him by 45 years and had a whole different life until she died at 87. For twelve years she worked for Dr. Pimentel as a nurse's aide, and then remarried. Her second husband was John (Jack) Faria. She outlived him by twelve years, dying in 1990.
In my book, A Barrelful of Memories: Stories of My Azorean Family, you can read about the joys, sorrows, and humorous adventures of these two families as they leave their island homes and try to make their way to America, and their lives during World War I, the Twenties, and the Great Depression of the Thirties. You may contact me for additional family information or copies of my book.
Pauline Correia Stonehill
4920 Anna Dr.
San Jose, CA 95124-5140
8. Antonio Fialho
Salao to Sunol
A Brief History of Antonio Fialho
Antonio da Rosa Fialho was just fifteen when he decided it was time to leave his home village of Salao near Cedros, Faial and join those already starting the migration to the New World. This was 1866 and the central Portuguese government was moving to increase the size of the Portuguese armed forces and draft more young men into the military. As Antone would later tell, it was a choice between being drafted or signing up on one of the many whaling ships moving through the Azores and take his chances in the New World. Of course, he chose the latter and started a one to two year journey that eventually took him to the San Francisco Bay of California.
The Salao/Cedros region of Faial was well known at that time as a farming and cattle raising area and in 1867, near the time that Antonio left, a census of farm animals noted 2600 cattle, 16,400 sheep, 400 goats, and 650 pigs. This was the business of the Fialho and Marianna Thomasia, both of families with long histories in that part of Faial.
His journey on the whaling ship took him down the east side of South America, through the Straits of Magellan, up the west coasts of South, Central and North America. It may have been an interesting trip but it had its trials and hardships. Antone told of being ordered up the main mast during terrible weather with threats of climb or get thrown overboard. The Portuguese government had been given permission to hunt the highly prized California whale so San Francisco Bay was a natural stopping place for repairs and resupplying.
It was while berthed in the South Bay that Antonio made another decision about life. He decided to leave the whaling business. This didn't quite have the blessing of the ship's captain so Antonio headed for the hills above Mission San Jose, perhaps traveling as far as the area north of Livermore. In the process, Antonio da Rosa Fialho became Antone Silver, as indicated by the 1870 census, and even later, Antone Silva.
Some time prior to 1870 Antone took a job as a farm laborer with Charles Wahaub who, at the time, had a ranch on the Vallecitos road about three miles east of Sunol. How long he worked for the Wahaubs is not known but it started a relationship that was to last for years. One story is that he quickly went into business for himself cutting and selling wood to the local ranchers eventually saving enough money to buy land in the Twin Peaks area near what is now the Calavaras Reservoir.
He started the cattle raising business and by the time he married Maria de Ceo Simas on July 14, 1881 was known as a fairly well off cattle rancher owning about three sections of land in the hills above Sunol plus some smaller properties and two saloons in the town of Pleasanton. Maria, like Antone, was from the Azores but had been born in nearby Lajes do Pico, Pico on July 24, 1864. Thus, Maria was just ten days short of being seventeen when she married Antone in the St. Joseph Cathedral in San Jose, California. Maria's parents, at the time of their marriage in 1863 had the rather unmanageable names of Francisco de Simas da Silveira and Maria Rita Coracao de Jesus Pereira. Deferring to a simpler name Maria adopted the maiden name of Mary Simas.
Antone and Mary lived most of their early married lives in their mountain home. Antone spent so much time there that he became known to his business associates as Antone da Serra, i.e., Antone of the mountains. Seven children were born there, Mary, Manuel, Anthony, Rosa, Francis, John, and Helena. All went well until 1894 when, in a tragic four month period three of the children, Rosa, John, and Helena, contracted diphtheria and died. Within a year the family had bought and moved to a 110 acre farm in the Sunol valley just across Highway 680 from the Sunol golf course. In Sunol, two additional children were born, another John in 1897 and finally, my father, Joseph in 1898.
Even though Antone loved the mountains, he could be quite social and never let a visitor leave his home without serving up some of his homemade wine. In fact, if the visitor said the right things, he would often return home with a couple of gallons of Antone's finest. When Joseph was older, wine making became his special task and, to this day, can describe in great detail the process he used in making the 100 gallon batches. On February 14, 1897 Antone became member number 77 of the Mission San Jose Council No. 10 of the U.P.E.C. He used his birth name of Antonio Fialho and indicated his age as 43 years, within one year of his actual age and closer than any other he gave during his life in the U.S. An interesting point is that each succeeding U.S. census added more than the usual ten years to Antone's age so that by the time he died in 1940 he had "achieved" the grand age of 97 years even though his real age was ten years less.
The family continued their ranching and farming ways in Sunol. By this time, Antone had acquired a fair amount of farming equipment and supplemented the family income by harvesting other farmers' crops, sometimes as far away as Half Moon Bay. This was mostly conducted by the children and Joseph remembers making the day long trip across the bay with the harvest machine and the haybailer.
Mary never did quite recover from the loss of her three children and after an extended period of illness died on November 23, 1907 of an unspecified lung disease. She was forty-three years old and Joseph, her youngest child, was just eleven days short of his ninth birthday. Mary, joined later by Antone, is buried in the St. Joseph Cemetery in Mission San Jose (Fremont, California). Joseph's sister, Mary took on the responsibility of raising the younger children.
Six of Antone and Mary's nine children lived to adulthood and spent most of their early lives in the Sunol area. Some followed the farming and ranching ways of their father but generally most went on to other occupations. For example, Anthony became the fire chief of the volunteer fire brigade in Sunol; John became a mechanic, at one point owning his own garage and repair shop in Sunol and Joseph did road maintenance for Alameda County as a grader operator. Joseph is the last living child and lives with his wife Marjorie in Newark, California. He is now 98 and at his birth on December 4, 1997 will turn 99. Joseph has two children, William and Barbara who are both married with two children each and who live in the Fremont/Livermore area.
Antone and Mary brought their heritage and culture to the new world with them but like so many Portuguese immigrants made the necessary adjustments during their time here. Antone spoke three languages fluently, Portuguese, English, and Spanish. These were the languages he needed to live successfully in his new home. Antone was not literate, his will is marked with an "x" , but he and Mary made certain their children took advantage of the educational opportunities of their adopted country. Their children and all who followed reaped the benefits of this insightful attitude.
William J. Silver
2142 Mercury Road
9. Rosa d'Avila Garcia (Rose Davis)
My mother told me an interesting thing that happened to her that I'll relate.
Her name was Rosa d'Avila Garcia. Years earlier an uncle had immigrated and d'Avila Garcia was a mouthful so the men on the ship called him Davis and that name stuck and other family members that immigrated adopted the name Davis as their own. So Mother's American name was Rose Davis.
She arrived in Providence, R.I. on the ship Madonna on July 31, 1911. With her was her mother, Maria Joaquina; father, Antao; and brother, Manuel.
Rose was born February 20, 1902 in Ribeirenha, Pico making her almost 9 1/2 years old when she emigrated. She remembered how deathly ill all the passengers were on the rough sea.
but the story . . . she had never seen nor ever tasted bananas and during the train ride from R.I. to Clarksburg, CA, she ate one. Loved it so she stuffed herself with more and of course ended up a very sick girl.
Her parents told her that until she was four years old she never spoke a single sound or word and sometime after her fourth birthday she just started talking. Her father always told her that once she started talking, she never stopped.
When she was just sixteen years old her parents arranged her marriage to her first cousin against her will. (I was from her second husband.) Her husband was a thirty-three year old bachelor and she said that at the time of her marriage she was just a girl and this first cousin was an "old man". It lasted a long sixteen unhappy years.
I just had to write what she told me.
1445 Earl Dr.
Reno, NV 89503
10. Alfred L. Leal
This is My Story
Alfred L. Leal
I, Alfred L. Leal, also known as just, Al Leal, have a story to tell about my parents who were Portuguese immigrants. I was born in Selma, California on October 2, 1925, the last of six children. My father was John Lear Sr. who was born April 11, 1886 and my mother, Minnie (Fulimania) Rogers or Rodrigues, was born February 19, 1897. I believe the name Rodrigues was shortened to Rogers. My father was born in the town of Sao Joao on the island of Pico in the Azores Islands. My mother was born in San Luis Obispo, California and later went back to the Azores with her father when she was a young girl. My grandfather was named Joaquin Manuel Leal and was born April 14, 1849 also in the same town as was his wife Rosa Emilio "Margarida" Gregorio, my grandmother. Dad's father was a mill operator/owner and lived high on the island's peak in order to take advantage of the favorable winds to operate his mill. My father, John, had four brothers (three of whom were named Manuel but only one Manuel survived). His brother Manuel, the only survivor, was the last of the Manuels to be born. It was customary to choose the same name for those who later survived. Two brothers Antonio/Antone or Tony, was the first of the boys to be born on December 7, 1875 and Manuel was born on November 29, 1883. My dad, John, was the last of the boys to be born on April 11, 1886. There were four sisters in my father's family: Maria Rosa (Mary) Leal the first to be born on October 13, 1873, Clara Margarida Leal, born February 14, 1880, and Maria Da Navidade Leal was born December 30, 1888. Oh! I forgot, Rita Conceigao Leal was born on October 1, 1877. Maria was the only one to remain in the Azores of all the children until her death in 1981, at the age of 93. All of the other children migrated to the USA and settled in the Selma/Caruthers area in the state of California. There is little or nor record of my mother's family at this time.
As was said before, I was the youngest of six children, five boys and one girl, to be born to my father John Leal Sr. and my mother Minnie Rogers, October 2, 1925 in Selma, California. John Leal Jr. was the first of the boys to be born on January 20, 1917 in Selma, California as were all of the Leal family. Joseph (Joe) Leal, the second eldest boy was born August 1918, and Joaquin (Jack) Leal, now deceased, was born July 1919. Next in line was my only sister, Mary Leal Yost, who was born October 9, 1921. Next was my older brother, Louis, who was born July 1925. Last to born of course was me, Alfred (Al) born October 1925. I will start with the oldest of the Leal family, John Jr. who is now 81 years old and tell a little of each and their families. John married Jessica Amarino of Selma, California and they had one daughter Cheryl Ann Leal who is presently not married and does not have a family at this time. His wife Jessica is now deceased, after spending years in a veterans hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area and was buried in Selma, California in 1995. My brother John, is now in a nursing home near the town of Easton, California. The second eldest brother is Joseph "Joe" Leal who lives in Selma, California. Joe married Emily Alves of Caruthers, California and they have two children, Rose-Marie Leal and Richard Leal. Rosemarie married Michael Collins of Fresno and they have two boys Thomas Collins and Chad Collins. Neither are married or have children at this time. Rose-Marie has a second marriage to John Grossi, but have no children from this marriage. Richard Leal, who is deceased, married Louise Gavagrosa and had three children, Jennifer, Gail, and James. Next in line is Joaquin "Jack" Leal, named for his grandfather and married Evelyn Machado of Lemoore, California. and they had two sons, Charles and David Leal. Neither are married or have children at this time. Next is my sister Mary Leal Yost who married Victor Yost of Sanger, California and they had two children Linda Yost and Michael Yost. Both are teachers in high school and in college. Linda is single and lives in Visalia, California and Michael is married and has two adopted children and lives in the state of Washington. Victor Yost is deceased and Mary Leal Yost lives in Sanger. Next is Louis Leal who was in the land leveling business in the Hanford/Lemoore area. He married Mary Silago of Tulare, California and they have one son, Robert. Robert married Mary Maciel of Laton, California and they have four children, Jimmy, Stacie, Dannell, and Chad. All are presently in school. Mary Silva Leal, his first wife, is deceased and Louis remarried and is living in Hanford, California.
Last of course was me. Alfred (Al) Leal from Fresno, California and the youngest of the Leal family. Being the youngest of a family of six children, especially during the depression and being raised during this period was quite an ordeal. My father lost his ranch and had to earn a living as a share-cropper, a carpenter, and farm laborer. Before the start of WW II he was able to rent ranches and farm in some very difficult times. My oldest brother John, was not able to go to high school as he had to work and help my dad. He also was in the CCCs and later was drafted in the military. Brothers Joe, Jack, and Louis were not able to finish high school during these very difficult times. After the war, Jack served in the Army and I was able to finish high school. I enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and became a cadet in the flying training program. I complete my training and served as a B-25 pilot until 1945 - but did not serve overseas. I served in Air Force Reserve until 1979 and retired as a Lt. Col. Under the G.I. Bill I was able to go to college and work part-time. I received my B.A. in 1949 and did graduate work in 1949-50. I also did part-time grad work finishing my M.A. in 1967.
I married Jo Ann Webb in June of 1951. We had three children, Michael Allen Leal, born October 9, 1952, Debbie Ann Leal born September 15, 1959, and son Mark John Leal was born September 24, 1961. I retired from teaching in 1984 and my wife Jo Ann retired from Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1993 and we now reside in Fresno, California. That is my side of the story of the Leal family who migrated from the island of Pico in the Azores to the USA. Special Note: My cousin, Ron Silveira, has written about his side of the Leal family. His grandmother, Clara, Leal Silveira Sebastian, was my dad's sister, born Clara Margarita Leal, February 14, 1880 in the Azores. Also many thanks to Ron Silveira on his work with the genealogy for our families.
Alfred L. Leal
1169 E. Walthen Ave.
Fresno, CA 93710
11. Thomas Leal
This is my Story. I am Dorothy Leal Potts, the granddaughter of Thomas Leal. I was born in Port Costa, California in 1929. I have been living in Rodeo, California since I was 4 months old. I married Frank Potts in 1950, and we have 3 children. I worked in the library for the City of Richmond for 25 years before I retired in 1993.
Thomas Leal Ferreira came to the United States in 1906 from Praya do Norte, Faial. He stayed for a short time in Providence, Rhode Island, probably where his brother was living. His brother, Antonio, was a skilled carpenter. He helped build "Our Lady of the Rosary" Church in Providence. Thomas came to California and worked as a laborer in the north central area, including short time in Colusa. In 1915 he sent for his three oldest children: Maria and Jose first, then Francisco. Thomas moved to the Crockett area where he had a dairy ranch and raised pigs in the place called Eckely, between Port Costa and Crockett. He was living on the ranch in 1920 when he sent for his youngest son, Antonio Leal. He did not bring his wife and three other daughters to the United States. He said girls gave too much trouble. Antonio, better known as Tony, worked with his father on the ranch delivering milk to Crockett and Port Costa and thrashing hay for farmers in the area.
In 1927 Tony married Isabel Marshall of Port Costa. Her parents were Joao Machado, known then as John Marshall, of Ribeira Seca, Sao Jorge and Emilia de Mello of Porto Formoso, Sao Miguel. She was known as Amelia. Amelia's father was a very poor farmer with a small piece of land in Porto Formoso. All the Machado brothers changed their name to Marshall when they came to the United States.
John came to the United States on the SS Olinda's last voyage in 1895. He was so sick, he pledged $100 to the Holy Ghost if he got to the United States safely. He lived in Massachusetts, in the Fall River and New Bedford area, where his sister Guilhermina Augusta da Silva was living. Their mother, Isabel Augusta deAvila, was from a middle class family in Ribeira Seca. Their father, also named Joao, came from Sao Miguel to Sao Jorge and worked as a farmhand in Velas. Their mother worked for a well-to-do family in Velas. Joao and Isabel were married in Velas in 1872.
Amelia came to the United States in 1899 with her brother Francisco to Fall River, Massachusetts. John and Amelia were married in Fall River in 1901. Amela's brother Frank and John's sister Maria were also married in Fall River in 1901. John and Amelia came to California in 1903. They had 10 children. Their oldest son, John, drowned when he was 4 years old. John was a deckhand on the Southern Pacific train ferries. These ferries, largest in the world, carried full trains across the bay between Port Costa and Benicia, California. The last ferry sailed out of Port Costa in 1930.
Tony and Isabel moved from the ranch in 1929 to Rodeo, California. In 1934, Tony with the help of his father and friends, built his home in Rodeo. He lived in the that house until he died at the age of 91, in 1991. He worked for the California and Hawaiian Sugar Refinery for 30 years. Tony and Isabel had three daughters who still live in Rodeo. They are Agnes, Dorothy and June.
Thomas' son Francisco, known as Frank, married Deolinda Carrea of Luz, Graciosa and they had 3 sons, Thomas, Calvin and Lawrence, and one daughter who died at the age of seven. Thomas worked for Sugar City Building Materials Co. in Crockett. He is now retired. Calvin was an electrician for the California and Hawaiian Sugar Refinery. He is now retired. He lives in Rodeo in the house his Father built. Lawrence worked in the probation department for Contra Costa County. Thomas and Lawrence live in Crockett. Frank has his own wood and coal business. He had the first Christmas tree lot in Rodeo and Crockett.
Thomas' daughter Maria married Manoel Lawrence and lived in Berkeley, California where they raised their one daughter Martha. Martha married Warren Schiff, who was a college professor in Worchester, Massachusetts.
Thomas' son Joe married Elvera Davilla of a well known family living in San Pablo, California. When Tony left the ranch, Joe took over the dairy business with his father. Thomas couldn't get along with Joe's wife and soon left the ranch to do odd labor jobs in the Bay Area. Joe and Elvera raised two daughters and one son. Their daughter Eleanor lived in the valley. She is now deceased. Their son Norman Leal lives in Sunnyvale, California. When the dairy business become poor, Joe and Elvera moved to Manteca, California where they raised sweet potatoes and watermelons.
Thomas returned to Praya do Norte in 1934 to spend the rest of his days with his wife and daughters. His wife was Ignacia Francisca, the daughter of Francisco Silveira Duarte and Maria Ignacia de Silva of Capelo, Faial. Ignacia was born in Praya do Norte in 1863. Thomas and Ignacia lived in the section called Praya de Cima. The road where their house was located led down to the beach. Only a rock wall covered with vines remains of the house. Ignacia lived only two years after Thomas returned to the Islands. Thomas lived with his daughter Amelia in his house until he died after the big earthquake of 1957.
Thomas and his sons just used the name Leal. The Ferreira was dropped. Thomas was the last male Leal Ferreira in Praya do Norte. Thomas was born in Praya do Norte in 1871, the youngest of five children of Jose Leal Ferreira, Jr. (yes, his birth record says Jr) and Ignacia Francisca de Andrade. Ignacia was the daughter of Jose Dutra de Andrade and Maria Angelica Moitoso of Capelo. Jose and Ignacia had three daughters and two sons. Jose who was born in Capelo in 1829, was the grandson of Manoel Leal Ferreira who was born in the place of Sao Joao, Pico in 1756. Manoel was a delivery man between the middle islands of Pico, Faial and Graciosa. His boat was large with six oars. Manoel married Ignacia Maria, daughter of Jose Garcia Pereira and Maria deRosa of Capelo in 1803. They lived in Capelo the rest of their days. Manoel and Ignacia had five sons and two daughters.
Manoel was the great grandson of Pedro Leal Ferreira and Maria Gularte. Records seem to indicate they were from Lajes, Pico. They moved to Sao Joao before their son, Pedro was born in 1679.
Manoel's oldest son Jose was born in Capelo in 1803. He married Ann Maria Silveira de Avila, daughter of Francisco Pereira de Faria and Ignacia Rosa, in 1826. They lived in Capelo until around 1840, when they moved to Praya do Norte with their family of one son and four daughters. Ignacia was a very common name in Faial.
Manoel's parents were Francisco Leal Ferreira and Rita Maria. Both were from the parish of Sao Joao, Pico. Rita was 14 years younger than Francisco, who was born in 1717. They had 10 children; six sons and four daughters. Francisco died in 1802 in Sao Joao at the age of 85.
Francisco's father was also named Francisco. He married Maria da Rosario, daughter of Joao Martins and Maria Gularte of Sao Joao, in 1708. They had ten children; six sons and four daughters.
Franciso was the son of Pedro Leal Ferreira and Maria Gularte. Records seem to indicate Francisco was from the parish of Santissima Trinidade of Lajes, Pico, as were his brother Manoel and sister Maria.
Pedro's son Manoel married Catarina Rosa in 1696 in Sao Joao, Pico. His daughter Maria married Joao Garcia Sarmento in 1687 in Sao Joao, and his son Pedro married Maria Isabel Garcia in 1704, also in Sao Joao.
1120 4th St.
Rodeo, CA 94572-1535
12. Candido Machado Luis
Candido Machado Luis
The Life of an Azorean Immigrant in Marin and Sonoma Counties, California
Candido Machado Luis began his life on an island in the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He was born in the parish of Ribeira Seca on the island of Sao Jorge (Saint George), where his family had lived for many generations, at least as far back as the late 1600s. Candido was born July 16, 1856, the last born of his family.(1) In 1872, when he was 16 years old, he left his homeland, like his brothers Frank (three years older) and Manuel (five years older), and headed for the U.S.(2) He left behind he parents, two brothers and two sisters, and his childhood sweetheart Rosa Faustina Azevedo. Rosa's family was just as longstanding in Ribeira Seca, and they attended the same parish as the Luises. (3)
For the next five years Candido worked and remained single. He learned to speak a foreign language, English, so he could communicate with those around him. He also learned the habits and customs of the Anglo-American culture around him, different in so many ways from those of his homeland.
Candido eventually settled in Marin County, California. After many years of separation, Rosa and her family immigrated too, arriving also in Marin County.(4) Candido and Rosa were married in 1883, the year after her arrival, when he was 27, she 26.(5)
Census records locate Candido's brothers Frank and Manuel in California also. Frank, a dairy farmer, lived in Marin County from at least 1880 through 1910.(6) By 1920, when he was in his 60s, he had moved north to Glenn County.(7) Manuel seems to have settled first in the Sausalito area, from about 1880 through 1900, then later in Hanford, Kings County near Fresno, by 1910 and until 1920.(8)
A family sending at least three of its young men to the U.S. must have been a dramatic event. It was not unusual, however, as the political situation in the Azores, as well as the rest of Portugal, was difficult at best for the common people from the early 19th century on. The then current government had dismantled the power of the Catholic Church, thereby doing away with the main provider of education for the people. The old system of nobility was abolished in favor of a new one with a greatly expanded noble class which needed far more of the resources of the common people than before. The gap between the rich and poor, the educated few and the illiterate masses was enormous; voting rights were strictly limited; forced labor was common.(9) Certainly there were stories brought to the Azores of a better, or at least different, life in other countries visited by traders and fishermen. Up to 200,000 natives of the Azores left for the U.S. in the course of the 19th century.(10) Like them the Luis family probably had envisioned more opportunity for their sons if they embarked for the U.S.
The official means of emigrating was to procure legal permission to leave the islands, but this, and the money to buy passage on a ship, was generally not available to the common man. It was more likely that a young man would sign on with a Massachusetts whaling ship and then abandon the job in Massachusetts or on the California coast. He might also sail by cod fishing ship from the Azores to the western North Atlantic. Sometimes passage was purchased by the family for one member, who would then send back money for others to follow.(11) It seems likely, for several reasons, that Candido arrived by fishing boat. Preliminary searches of official ships' passenger lists for ports in Massachusetts, New York, and California have turned up no Candido Luis.(12) It is said that Candido's sister's husband owned a boat and that he brought people to the U.S. to Boston, from the Azores. He would have brought Candido to join his brother Frank, who was already in the U.S.(13) Finally, a Manuel Lewis who may well be Candido's older brother, listed in a census that this eldest child was born in Massachusetts, while the others were all born in California. This supports the idea that he, and maybe his brother, journeyed first to Massachusetts before their trek west.(14)
Stories of gold may have brought young Candido to California. His eldest daughter told that when he first came to California he went to Plumas County, where his brother Frank lived, to try his hand at mining. At the time the area was well known for gold mining. Later he worked in Marin County, California milking cows to supply the demand for milk in the growing city of San Francisco. He also hired on as a foreman in Novato, plowing marshland and creating fields for farming.(15)
Candido and Rosa lived in Novato at the time of their marriage. For the next twenty years they raised their family and moved from one farm to another, either in Marin or Sonoma County. It seems that, true to the custom of the time, they would rent a ranch for two or three years, then move to bigger or better one for a few more years until they were able to rent an even better one.(16)
Four of Candido's first five children, Louis, Mary, Marion, and Joe, were baptized at Mission San Rafael Arcangel in San Rafael, indictating that he lived in eastern Marin County at that time, 1884 to 1891. When he registered to vote in 1888 he was working as a dairyman in Gallinas, about two miles north of the current site of the Marin County Civic Center.(17) Two years later daughter Lillian was born in 1890 at Black Point, farther north, at the mouth of the Petaluma River.(18) Just the next year son Joseph was born at Nicasio in the middle of Marin County.(19)
Births of the last four children indicate more moves. Son Candido claimed he was born in 1893 on a ranch west of San Rafael (which may have been where his older brother Joseph was born, too).(20) The Luis family then moved to Sonoma County for a time and lived on Old Adobe Road, where son John was born in 1896(21) and perhaps daughter Julia in 1897.(22) The last two children, daughters Julia and Rosa, were both baptized in the Church of the Assumption of Mary in Tomales (1900 and 1903, respectively).(23)
The Luis family stayed in the Tomales area for a longer stretch than any of the previous residences. They were there in 1900,(24) and the 1910 census shows that they rented a ranch in the vicinity of Petaluma and Fallon Roads.(25) Daughter Julia graduated from Aurora Grammar School in Tomales around 1911.(26)
In the course of all the pregnancies and child rearing and moving from ranch to ranch, Rosa developed terminal breast cancer. Her death was surrounded by events that left indelible impressions on her family. The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 struck on April 18. The Lewis family resided within a few miles of the epicenter, and the chimney fell off their house. On April 21, three days after the devastating tremor, Rosa died at age 48.(27) Her passing left Candido with nine children, the youngest under three years old. The ground shook, the chimney fell off the house, and the mother of Candido's children had died.
With several children of age and having left home, Candido rented another ranch on Old Adobe Road in the Sonoma Mountains near Petaluma, in Sonoma County, where he was renting a dairy.(28) Finally, on October 13, 1920, well after the passing of his wife, and when all his children except the eldest son Louis had left home, Candido purchased a ranch in Sonoma County, just across the Petaluma River from Black Point in Marin County. It was valued, according to the revenue stamps paid, at $25,000.00. Candido bought the land form the adult children of a family in New York. The deed describes the purchase as two tracts, one of 140 acres of arable land inside the levee, and another of 305 acres of arable land, including a wharf, warehouse and creamery with all its fixtures.(29)
This was Twin House Ranch, aptly named for its farmhouse which appeared to be two identical house side by side and connected together. It was a spread of 445 acres bounded on the south by the Petaluma River. Official surveys give its exact dimensions, but the stories of Candido's grandchildren tell the truth about it as they knew it in the 1920s. They visited, all of them, with their families, at least once a year, around Grandfather's birthday in July. They drove along the levee, where the road was banked and it felt like the car might roll over into the ditch. They were met by grandfather's dogs, barking wildly and maybe one running alongside the car. The kitchen had clean bare wood floors, with salami hanging to cure. The smell of delicatessen permeated the room.(30)
The wharf at Twin Houses jutted out into the Petaluma River. Candido's eldest son would bait a large hook in the evening, then leave the line out all night, and have a nice big bass in the morning.(31) The grandchildren generally played between the house and the wharf, which had no railing. Falling off meant sink or swim, so the wharf was off limits. Not off limits enough, though, to keep them from venturing out to test their luck in forbidden territory.(32)
Candido initiated one granddaughter to the "terrible" taste of red wine, which he kept in the tank house. During Prohibition he grew grapes and fermented his own wine. He was known to drink a lot, and when he and other men in the family were drinking, the children didn't go into the house.(33) Another story tells that when he had been drinking too much he would lie in the street drunk in Petaluma. The old timers would pick him up, throw him in the back of his wagon and slap the horses, when knew to carry him home.(34) He apparently took to drinking after Rosa's death.(35)
As a person Candido Luis was a tall man with a big voice. His generosity showed in offering his grandchildren rabbits or even a goat.(36) At the same time, he occasionally had little patience with his own children. One daughter remembers crawling under the table, thus provoking her father to pull her ear until it bled.(37) Candido had a unique approach to making insurance payments. A nephew, whose father collected the annual fee for I.D.E.S., the Portuguese insurance association, remembers accompanying his father to Twin Houses to request payment. His father explained that Candido Luis never paid in advance, as was customary, for the year to come; he paid for the year just finished!(38)
Candido's arrival in the U.S. coincided with the onset of a large influx of immigrants from southern Europe, Latin peoples from Portugal and Italy. While immigrants from Anglo-Saxon and Germanic groups had been arriving for many generations and were easily integrated into the American populace, there was resistance to these newcomers, who, it was felt, differed so significantly in their ways and customs from the norm. They were lazy and uneducated, often even illiterate, and of a lower class. Furthermore, it was known that the Azores was settled by "undesirables" from mainland Portugal. It was their descendants who were, in the period 1870 to 1910, making themselves known in California.(39) Against this backdrop of mistrust and bigotry, Candido, first alone, then with Rosa, set about to make a life for himself and his family.
Certainly discrimination affected the Luis family. Even to mature adulthood daughter Julia only reluctantly admitted her Portuguese roots. She claimed instead to be French, still Latin, but more acceptable in her mind, and she chose to marry a man of English descent.(40) Many efforts were made to integrate into American culture. Candido became a naturalized citizen and anglicized the spelling of his last name; the children all went to school and learned to read, write and speak English; and the family farm, rather than handouts, sustained them all. This fits the pattern of early immigrants from the Azores, whose first generation farmer settlers rented the land, worked hard, saved their money, then bought land of their own.(41)
Candido Luis, native of the Azores Islands, citizen of the U.S., dairy farmer, grandfather, died at the hospital in Petaluma on January 9, 1933 at age 77. The official cause of death was leucoplakia of the gums and carcinoma of the jaw.(42) Leucoplakia is a treatable condition more often affecting the elderly. It is caused by smoking or chewing tobacco. One of his daughters told that Candido pulled his own teeth, and that this had somehow caused or contributed to his death.(43) His granddaughter, age 12 at the time, remembers that her grandfather chewed tobacco and that something wasn't healing. When Candido was ill, his son-in-law took time between milings to drive his father-in-law by car to the hospital in Petaluma, where he eventually died.(44)
Candido was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Tomales, next to his wife Rosa who had preceded him there more than 25 years earlier. His estate was administered by eldest son Louis who remained on the farm, operating it temporarily. By his last will and testament, Candido divided his estate among his children as follows: Louis received one-third of the real estate, comprising the Twin House Ranch, as well as all of the personal property (40 hens, a separator, a tow board, 38 tons of hay and the 1934 crop of hay, estimated at 80 tons), plus cash on hand in the amount of $79.37. The remaining two-thirds of the real estate was divided equally among all nine of Candido's children, including Louis.(45) The entire farm was then sold two months later for $13,026.00 and the proceeds distributed as decreed.(46) The other, more valuable part of Candido Lewis' legacy is the memory of this man in the minds of his children and grandchildren, a man who brought the language and ways of his homeland to a new country, faced the challenges its people presented him, and fashioned, in his own way, a new life for himself, his family, and his descendants.
(1) Church records of the Parish of Ribeira Seca, Town of Calleta, Island
of Sao Jorge, Azores Islands.
(2) U.S. Census Soundex records for 1900 and/or 1920 give 1872 as the year of immigration for all three. In the 1910 U.S. Census Candido claims to have arrived in 1875, which is consistent with conflicting stories remembered of his having arrived at age 16 or 19.
(3) Pedigree charts of Candido Machado Luis and Rosa Faustino Azevedo prepared in 1989 from parish church records by Jose Leite da Cunha for Alice Streeter Kellar, 2313 Grosse Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95404.
(4) 1900 Census, Marin County, CA, Tomales Township, Supervisor's District no. 3, Enumeration District no. 63, sheet no. 1, p. 93, family no. 16, June 4, 1900.
(5) Marin County, California, County Recorder's Office, Marriages, Book A, p. 581.
(6) 1880, 1900, 1910 U.S. Census Soundexes, California.
(7) 1920 U.S. Census Soundex, California (Family History Library film no. 182350.
(8) U.S. Census Soundexes for California, 1800, 1900, 1910, and 1920. Preliminary research in census records indicates that this Manuel Lewis immigrated the same year as Candido and Frank Lewis: 1900 U.S. Census Soundex (Family History Library film no. 1242304).
(9) James H. Guill, A History of the Azores Islands (Tulare, CA: Shield International, 1993), p. 352.
(10) Ibid., p. 354.
(11) Ibid, pp. 352-353.
(12)Inquiries with U.S. National Archives Office in Boston, New York, and San Bruno, CA by Alice Streeter Kellar, 1995.
(13) A story told to Alice Streeter Kellar by her aunt Mary Lewis Machado in a 1967 telephone conversation. Alice's mother Julia Lewis Streeter told the same story.
(14) 1900 U.S. Census Soundex, California. The 1910 and 1920 census Soundexes list Manuel with another wife, Mary, who who also born in Massachusetts. Note: the family connection of this Manuel is fairly certain, but not absolutely proved yet.
(15) Story told to Alice Streeter Kellar by Mary Lewis Mancebo, 1967.
(16) Lois Mello La Franchi to Alice Streeter Kellar, telephone conversation April 29, 1996.
(17) Great Register of Marin County, Year 1890.
(18) Lois Mello LaFranchi to Alice Streeter Kellar, April 19, 1996.
(19) San Rafael, CA, Mission San Rafael Arcangel, Church Records 1817-1907, p. 109 (Family History Library film no. 0909236.
(20) Kandido Rufus Lewis, Delayed certificate of Birth, Marin County, CA, County Recorder, no. 098589, May 1957 (Family History Library film no. 1295780, item 5).
(21) Paul Lewis to Alice Streeter Kellar, date unknown.
(22) Floyd Irving Streeter telepone conversation with Judy Kellar Fox, July 5, 1995.
(23) Certificates of Baptism, Church of the Assumption of Mary, Tomales, CA 94971-0082.
(24) 1900 U.S. Census, Marin County, CA, Tomales Township, op. cit.
(25) 1910 U.S. Census, Marin County, CA, Tomales Township, Supervisor's District no. 2, Enumberation District no. 53, sheet no. 6B, family no. 90, April 22, 1910.
(26) Floyd Irving Streeter telephone conversation with Judy Kellar Fox, July 5, 1995.
(27) Marin County, CA, County Recorder, Certificate of Death, no. 44, filed May 24, 1906; age determined from birth record, Parish of Ribeira Seca, Island of Sao Jorge, Azores Islands.
(28) 1920 U.S. Census, Sonoma County, CA, Vallejo Township, Supervisor's District no. 1, Enumeration District no. 165, sheet 5B, p. 291, family no. 116, February 18, 1920.
(29) Sonoma County, CA, Recorder's Office, P.O. Box 6124, Santa Rosa, CA 95406, Deed Book 391, pp. 158-160.
(30) Alice Streeter Kellar, written reminiscences of her grandfather Candido Lewis, July 1994.
(31) Gene Mello (grandson), as told to Judy Kellar Fox, June 1996.
(32) Louis Mello LaFranchi (granddaughter), as told to Judy Kellar Fox, June 1996; Alice Streeter Kellar, written reminiscences, op. cit.
(33) Alice Streeter Kellar, written reminiscences, op. cit.
(34) Floyd Irving Streeter (grandson), telephone conversation with Judy Kellar Fox, July 16, 1994.
(35) Floyd Irving Streeter, video interview with Judy Kellar Fox, July 20, 1994.
(37) Julia Lewis Streeter, as told to Judy Kellar Fox during yer youth.
(38) Tony Azevedo (nephew), as told to Judy Kellar Fox, June 1996.
(39) Emily Yates Mowry, "Portuguese Colonies of California," Out West 1(January 1911), p. 114.
(40) Julia Lewis Streeter, as told to her granddaughter Judy Kellar Fox in childhood.
(41) Emily Yates Mowry, op. cit., p. 116.
(42) Sonoma County, CA, County Recorder, Certificates of Death, no. 6, filed January 10, 1933.
(43) Julia Lewis Streeter as told to Judy Kellar Fox, about 1962.
(44) Alice Streeter Kellar as told to Judy Kellar Fox , June 20, 1996.
(45) "Order Settling Final Account and Decree of Distribution", filed August 24, 1934, Sonoma
County, CA, County Recorder, Deed Book, no. 371, pp. 33-36.
(46) Indenture of October 4, 1934, Sonoma County, CA Recorder, Deed Book, no. 380, pp. 133-134.
Judy Kellar Fox
9395 SW 190th Ave.
Aloha, OR 97007
13. Joe Enos Maciel and Anna Francisco Vargas
Jose Ignacio Maciel was born on May 5, 1895 to Antonio Ignacio Maciel and Isabel Augusta Lopes, in Pedro Miguel, Faial. He had one older half-brother, Manuel Ignacio Maciel (November 2, 1884-1954) and two younger siblings, Maria Augusta Lopes (June 24, 1899-196?) and Joao Ignacio Maciel (June 10, 1902-1964). The family lived on the street "Rua Velha" (now Rua do Calvario) on property that is the site of a beautiful old windmill. At the age of 18, Jose took out a passport on June 20, 1913 in order to avoid military service. On the day that Jose left for America, his father arose early and went out to this fields, as he could not say goodbye to this son. He arrived in Providence, Rhode Island on July 12, 1913 aboard the S.S. Madonna, bringing among his few possessions, a cherished Azorean viola that he carried in a rough hewn case. Joe Enos Maciel, as he was soon to be known, caught a train and went to live with a cousin, Maria, who had married Tony Rodrigues in Mission San Jose, California.
Joe first found work as a farm laborer picking apricots. He continued to work on farms in the Mission San Jose and Warm Spring areas, working as a gardener, on haypress teams and doing dairy work. Joe was 6 feet, tall by Azorean standards, and was know for his strength. He acquired the nickname "Jose Grande" because he could often win challenges of strength among the farm hands. He was able to pick up a sack of grain with his teeth and toss it over his shoulder. This nickname followed him to the local "chamarrita" dances where he became well known for playing his viola and singing the Azorean "O Desafio," a spontaneous poetic song contest between two players. Joe's quick wit and tongue gave him a natural advantage in this art.
It was at one of these dances that he met Annie Francisco Vargas (February
10, 1900, Warm Springs, CA) who was one of ten children of Azorean emigrants,
Joe Francisco Vargas (August 13, 1860, Castelo Branco, Faial - see story
on Joe Francisco Vargas) and Anna Caetana Lourenco, born August 1, 1870,
Santa Cruz, Flores. Annie was taken by the handsome viola player and scoffed
when he heard her girlfriends refer to him as a "greenhorn". When dancing
with Joe, she was quick to tattle on her friends, thereby turning Joe's
attentions to herself. This plan worked well for Annie. She saw Joe at
church and at chamarritas and he was a visitor to her parents farm with
his friend Tony Travassos over a two year period. Joe often rode his motorcycle
to the dances. One rainy night he asked
Annie to take viola home for him in order to retrieve his viola, he asked Annie to marry him!
Annie and Joe were married on August 21, 1916 at St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. Annie, ever practical, chose a tailored suit for her wedding outfit. They took the train from Niles to Oakland for a week's honeymoon. Their honeymoon room had a piano which fascinated the 16 year old bride and her 21 year old husband. From Oakland they took a ferry to San Francisco for a day, rode street cars, looked at clothing stores, ate at restaurants . . . all great luxuries to the young farm people. They took a train back to Warm Springs and were disappointed when no one was there to meet them. Their disappointment turned into embarrassment when, as they walked home, they were met by Annie's sisters and brothers who "tin canned" them with a serenade of musical instruments and the banging of pots and pans.
Annie and Joe first lived with Annie's parents in Warm Springs. Joe farmed potatoes with Annie's brothers, Alvino and Joe Vargas, and also worked on a haypress team. Annie worked at the Centerville cannery. In 1917, the young people rented a little house on Ellsworth Street in Mission San Jose and Joe milked cows at the Steven's farm and continued to work on the haypress. The first child, Anita was born on March 4, 1917. After Anita's birth, Annie contributed to the family income by cooking for the haypress team. Annie's mother took care of Anita while the young parents lived in the little portable cookhouse during the haypress season. Annie cooked for about 8 men, among them were Tony Medeiros of Mission San Jose, Frank Serpa of Warm Springs, brothers John and Manuel Andrade of Warm Springs, and her husband Joe.
Annie adhered to a grueling work schedule during the haypress season.
She was up by 3:30 to put her coffee on. Between 4 and 5 a.m. the crew
at a large breakfast consisting of leftover beans and potatoes, bacon and
hot cakes. Annie was off to the fields by 8 a.m. with a snack of rice pudding,
muffins and coffee. The men returned to the cookhouse at noon for a hot
cooked "dinner". At 4 p.m., Annie returned to the fields with another snack.
She would then ride her sulky into town to buy meat and provisions for
the next day, returning in time to prepare a hearty meal for the men who
came in at 8 or 9 p.m. for their "supper". Portuguese beans, which Annie
cooked almost every day for 75 years, were a staple of these meals. The
workers slept in tents. Annie and Joe slept on a mattress on the floor
of the cookhouse. Annie made $90 a month and Joe made $300
a season. The season lasted 6 weeks to 2 months.
In January 1920, Annie and Joe bought ten acres in Warm Springs on what is now the location of the Franciscan Shopping Center (named for the middle name "Francisco" that Annie, her 9 siblings and her father carried). There they farmed walnuts, apricots and prunes until the spring of 1928. During this time, their children Isabel (August 6, 1923), Tony (October 9, 1925) and Manuel (February 29, 1928) were born. While keeping the Warm Springs property, the family moved to Hidden Valley Ranch (Rancho del Valle Escondido) in the spring of 1928. The ranch, once a popular resort and spa and later owned by Leland Stanford and Frank Kelley, in turn, was purchased by the Sisters of the Holy Name in 1927. Joe and his brother-in-laws Joe F. and Tony F. Vargas share cropped the ranch for the sisters from 1928 to 1940.
The Maciel children grew up on this ranch which they referred to as
the "Sister's Ranch", "Hidden Valley" or the "Stanford Ranch". They attended
Warm Springs Grammar School while Annie and Joe worked hard through the
Depression years. Luxuries were rare as, even on good farming year, the
children learned that they must always save up for an inevitable bad year.
Newspaper was used for wallpaper and their mattresses were filled with
hay which could be refilled when low, or discarded when soiled. Clothing
was often made from the material of flour sacks which Annie bought in 100
pound quantities. The family wore their best to church on Sunday and all
shoes were polished every Saturday night. The hard work was occasionally
interrupted with picnics to Martin's Beach in Half Moon Bay, to
Watsonville, or to Pacific Grove. Joe continued to play his viola at chamarrita house parties with his father-in-law and brothers-in-law who were all musically inclined. The highlight of the year was the Mission San Jose Festa. Anita, Tony, Isabel and Manuel would save up change to indulge themselves in the ultimate treat of pink popcorn and orange sodas.
During there years Joe, who never learned to read or write more than
his name, studied hard to become a citizen. Annie, who had lost her citizenship
by marrying an alien, helped Joe memorize the information for the citizenship
test. Frank Gomes, a roadmaster, from a more prominent local Portuguese
family, helped many of the aliens with the citizenship process. Joe was
granted U.S. citizenship on November 16, 1928 in Oakland, California. Annie,
who was angered that she had lost her citizenship, did not hurry to regain
hers. She took the oath of allegiance to the U.S. many years later, on
May 5, 1960 in San Francisco, CA.
Daughter Anita, married Tony DeValle, (born December 2, 1907 in Newark, CA to Azorean emigrant Joe Ignacio DeValle, born August 20, 1871, Castelo Branco, Faial and Minnie Perry, born about 1873 in Watsonville) on January 10, 1937 at St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. The Holy Names Sisters made plans to sell their ranch and the Maciel family moved on, to farm first, the Leal ranch on Driscoll Road, Irvington, in 1940, and then the Hirsch ranch in Warm Springs. Daughter Isabel married Ernest Vargas (born February 7, 1918 in Livermore to Azorean emigrant Manuel Pereira Vargas, see his story, born February 9, 1882 in Castelo Branco, Faial and Rosie Pereira Vargas, born December 8, 1888 in Warm Springs, CA) on September 14, 1941 also at St. Joseph's Church.
In 1945, Joe and Annie and their two sons moved to the Patterson Ranch
in Newark. Their daughter Isabel, and their first grandchild, Susan, also
made this move with them, as Isabel's husband, Ernie, was in Japan for
the occupation. The family moved into the old farm house on the property
and share crop farmed for the owners, Will and Henry Patterson. This farm
was part of a 6,478 acres amassed by their father, George Washington Patterson,
between the years 1856 and 1895, and part of which, is still preserved
today as a living museum farm called "Ardenwood". Joe Maciel joined other
Portuguese who farmed this large area for the Patterson family. Among them
were Henry Andrade (born February 19, 1896 in Decoto to Azorean emigrants
John Andrade Macedo of Candelaria, Pico and
Annie Josepha Frances of Feteira, Faial), and Tony Cabral. Joe Maciel took much pride in his farming and was often first to buy whatever new tractor or farm implement that was on the market.
Sons Manuel and Tony joined their father in the farming during the 12 years that they spent in Newark. Tony married May Goularte (born January 6, 1929 in Niles to Azorean emigrants Joaquin Goularte, born February 19, 1887 in Salao, Faial and Adelaide Garcia, born August 23, 1894 in Candelaria, Pico) on November 16, 1947 at St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. Manuel married Evelyn Marie Cardoza (born April 29, 1931 in San Lorenzo to Azorean emigrant Manuel Souza Cardoza, Ribeidas, Pico and Viola Dutra born September 15, 1903, CA) on April 18, 1948, at St. John's in San Lorenzo.
The Patterson ranch had 40 acres of walnuts and many fields that were planted with various crops such as tomatoes, corn, cauliflower and sugar beets. Annie did all of the books and payroll for the operation. She continued to cook her hearty meals on a daily basis, often killing chickens that she raised to accompany her daily beans. A large eucalyptus grove grew on the ranch and many "hobos" took up residence in it. Annie would often provide them with meals when they came begging at her door. Annie and Joe always had a grandchild staying with them during the Patterson years. They were treated to tractor rides with grandpa Joe and each grandchild had a glass jar that was filled by grandma Annie for the grandchildren's farm "labor" wages. Joe suffered a stroke around 1956 which forced him to become an overseer to his sons' work.
While never returning to his native Faial, Joe kept in contact with his siblings by mail and often helped the families by sending clothes and money. After the eruption of the Capelinos volcano on Faial in 1957, Joe sponsored and sent for two of his brother Joao's sons, Silvino and Alberto Maciel and their families, who lived with Joe's daughter Isabel and her husband while they got their start in this country. Eventually Joe's brother Joao, wife Maria, and the remainder of his children (Maria, Joe, Manuel, John and Mario, all currently of Newark and Tulare) followed to California. Joe's sister, Maria Augusta Lopes also came to America and settled in the New Bedford, MA area with one of her daughters. Only descendents of Joe's half brother, Manuel, remain in Pedro Miguel today.
In the fall of 1957, "Joe E. Maciel and Sons" and families moved to Vernalis, in the San Joaquin Valley. Joe continued on as the "boss and final say" in the business even as his health declined. They lived in Vernalis for two years and then moved to a house on Kasson Road in Tracy from 1961 to 1968. In 1969 they moved one final time to the San Joaquin River Club and were enjoying their 53rd year of marriage when Joe died of cancer on May 16, 1970. He is buried in the Tracy Public Cemetery.
Annie lived with her daughter, Isabel, and son-in-law Ernie, in Tracy, for about 15 years until Isabel's death on October 16, 1989. Annie enjoyed a passion for gardening and cooking during these years at her daughter's house. Besides an ever-present pot of beans on the stove, Annie also would have chocolate chip cookies for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who came to visit her. She often commented that, with all these "modern conveniences", housework was like "playing" to her. Annie is alive at this writing at the age of 97 in a rest home in Sacramento, California near the homes of her grandchildren Susan Vargas Murphy and Emanuel Vargas. Her thoughts and heart continue to rest in her early days in Warm Springs.
Anita Maciel DeValle (1917) lives in Warm Springs where she and her husband, Tony (1907-1983), raised son Gregory DeValle (1947) currently a Vernalis resident.
Isable Maciel Vargas (1923-1989), and husband Ernest, a Tracy resident, children: Susan Vargas Murphy (1944) of Sacramento and Emanuel Vargas (1954) of Folsom.
Tony Maciel (1925) and wife, Mary, live in Tracy and have: Linda Mineni
(1949) of Modesto, Michael Maciel (1950) of Tracy, Joseph
(1952-1952), Gail Faria (1953), Annette Spencer (1956) both of Modesto, Edward Maciel (1958) of Bakersfield, Joan Orth (1960) of Modesto, Jane Williford (1960) of Tracy, Rene Maciel (1962) of Modesto.
Manuel Maciel (1928-1975) and wife Evelyn (1931-1995) lived in Tracy
where they raised two children: Connie Shepherd (1951) of
Salinas and David Maciel (1954) of Mountain View.
Annie and Joe Maciel have 23 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren, with two more expected as of this writing.
Extensive genealogy has been done on this family.
Holmes, Philip. "Stanfords Cultivated Warm Springs Resort." The Argus, 16 February 1992. (About Hidden Valley)
Kennedy, Keith. George Washington Patterson and the Founding of Ardenwood. Cupertino, CA: California History Center and Foundation, De Anza College, 1995. (About Patterson ranch)
Susan Vargas Murphy
700 Selsey Ct.
Sacramento, CA 95854
14. George Elijeh Marshall
"Your great grandfather was born in Rhode Island and then lived in Oakland, California before moving to San Diego. He mentioned that some of his family lived in Portugal."
That was just about all I had to go on. The sum total of family guidance I was to receive. The following story has been pieced together without the benefit of an elder proofreader to verify family facts. I have tried to be accurate, but time will tell.
My great grandfather, George Elijeh Marshall, was born in Providence, Rhode Island on October 22, 1874. He was a devoutly religious man who studied the Bible as a daily routine. I have been told that he was deeply affected throughout his adult life by the premature loss of his wife, Lillie. His nature was that of a good and honest man.
George was the first born child of Joseph Marshall and Anna Joaquina Martin. Both parents were from the Azores. Although the Azores are autonomous Portuguese Islands, they are not Portugal, per se. This distinction is important, since my single thread of family guidance was specifically directed towards Portugal in continental Europe. I was quite surprised to discover my Atlantic Island background, when a more European heritage was anticipated. My Azorean roots now have a more intriguing hold on my imagination than I ever expected.
George had three brothers, all of whom died before reaching the age of three. They were Joseph (born June 3, 1876) and died July 7, 1876): both events occurring in Providence), another Joseph (born December 3, 1877 in Providence and died March1880 in San Francisco), and John (born in June 1879 and died in April 1880: both events occurring in San Francisco). George also had a sister, May, who was born in November 1882 in San Francisco. I have very little information about her, other than that she was living in Oakland in 1903 (according to the Oakland City Directory).
George Elijeh Marshall's father was Joseph Marshall. I have suspected, from talking to several researchers of Azorean genealogy, that Joseph Marshall may very well have been addressed as Jose Machado before coming to the United States. Joseph Marshall was born in August 1846, in the Azores. Joseph was a naturalized citizen, according to the 1900 federal census. I believe that he possibly began residing in New Bedford about 1867, and later arrived in Providence about 1871. He was a sailor or possibly a whaler. I have found in my research, a Joseph Marshall listed as a crew-member of a bark named Endeavor. It was engaged in whaling out of New Bedford, San Francisco and New York prior to 1868. The captain of the ship was Henry P. Taber. There was also a marine insurance representative named Dennis Wood on board the 1868 voyage, to take notes for his company. His log of the whaling trip was quite interesting. This ship left New York on November 14, 1868 and sailed for the Pacific Ocean by way of Cape Horn. By October 5, 1869, the ship made it all the way to the coast of New Holland, which was the term used for the west coast of Australia, at that time. After a successful trip to the Pacific, the Endeavor returned to port in New York on October 2, 1870 and was broken up in 1873.
The Joseph Marshall listed, as a crew-member of this 1868 voyage, was 21 years old, 5'9'' tall, dark hair and dark eyes from the island of Faial. There were other shipmates also listed as being form Faial: John Rodrick, Robert S. Simmons, John B. Morgan, and Joseph Sands. If these five sailors are actually Azoreans from Faial, it is noteworthy that they all have Anglicized surnames on this ship roster. I assume that Joseph Marshall may also have had his Portuguese name Anglicized (from Machado?), as well. Just because the Joseph Marshall listed here is the correct age, was in the Rhode Island area at the correct time, and because I later heard from a family member that Joseph was possibly a whaler, many not mean that this is my Joseph Marshall. However, it is presently an assumption to work from.
In the 1867-68 New Bedford City Directory, there is a Joseph Machado listed as a cooper (maker of barrels and casks), living at 120 South First. Interestingly, next door at 124 South First, is a Joseph Martin listed as a fisherman. It is possible that these two men are the same Joseph Marshall and Joseph Martin who were brothers-in-law later in Providence in the 1870s and in Oakland in the 1880s. I don't know if these two Josephs are in fact my family, but it is worth further investigation.
Joseph's parents are listed on his Providence marriage registration as Thomas and Maria, both of the Western Islands. I would assume that they have actually have been addressed as Thomaz and Maria Machado in the Azores. I do not have any information regarding siblings of Joseph. I will discuss later, the possibility of Joseph having a sister named Mary, who died at the 2127 Adeline St. address and was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Oakland. She may have been caring for Joseph's children, after the death of his wife, Anna Joaquina Martin, in 1889.
George Elijeh Marshall's mother was Anna Joaquina Martin. She was born about 1840, 1842 or 1852, depending on which reference I am citing. Probably the 1842 date is most accurate. She died on November 12, 1889 at 2127 Adeline St. Her parents are listed as Antonio and Anna Martin, both from the Azores. In the 1870 federal census for Providence, Anna Martin is 27 and listed as a tailoress. Also in this house, is Rosa Martin, age 24, also a tailoress. Additionally, Joseph Martin, age 22, is a fisherman living in the same house. (This same residence also housed the Oliver family, which I will discuss later in the Oliver section.) I am not certain what relationship exists between Joseph and Rosa Martin (known brother and sister) and Anna. Anna could be a sister or cousin, I presume.
Anna is probably related to these two above-mentioned Martins, as well as a third Martin listed in civil and church records of Providence and Oakland in the late nineteenth century. Joseph Rose Martin (born on May 20, 1851 in Faial, Azores, died August 7, 1923 in Oakland) and Rosa J. Marin (born about 1845 in Faial, Azores and I think, died June 4, 1907 in the Oakland area) are the children of Peter Rose Martin and his wife Anna, of Faial.
The third Martin family member in Providence that is possibly related to Anna Joaquina Martin is Mary Martin. She was born in the Azores about 1840 and according to the 1875 Rhode Island state census, lived in Providence in the same house with Joseph and Anna Marshall on Trenton Street. I believe that Mary Martin had a son, Antonio Martin, who also lived in the same house with the Marshalls in 1875 and later in the Marshall household in San Francisco, as well. I will discuss more about Antonio, later. A discussion of how Mary Martin may fit into this relationship also will be discussed later.
Peter Rose Martin (Joseph and Rosa's father) could possibly have been the brother of Antonio Martin (Anna Joaquina Martin's father). Or were Peter Rose Martin and Antonio Martin the same person? Maybe Peter Rose Martin and Antonio Martin are cousins. These are just rhetorical questions for now. I do not yet have accurate details at the time of this writing. I do know, however, that these Martins were closely involved with one another during the marriages and baptisms of their respective families in St. Joseph's Church on Hope Street in Providence. I still do not yet have any details for baptisms and marriages occurring in Oakland.
Marriages and Godparents
Interestingly, Joseph R. Martin married Philomena Oliver on November 27, 1872 in Providence and Joseph R. Martin's sister, Rosa Martin, married Philomena's brother, Justin M. Oliver, on July 5, 1873 in Providence. These two Oliver siblings also had a sister, Emilia Oliver (born about 1848 in the Azores and died December 4, 1907), who married Joseph G. Nunes on February24, 1873 in Providence.
Joseph and Anna Marshall's marriage in St. Joseph's Church, was witnessed by Joseph and Philomena Martin and by Manuel J. Nunes and Julia Reis. Joseph and Philomena Martin witnessed Justin and Rosa Oliver's marriage. Joseph and Anna Joaquina Martin witnessed Joseph and Emilia Nunes' marriage. Jose Martin and Samuel West witnessed Joseph and Philomena Martin's marriage.
Joseph and Emilia Nunes were the Godparents (or Padrinhos) of my great grandfather, George Elijeh Marshall. Justin and Rosa Oliver were the Godparents of George's brother Joseph.
It might to helpful to elaborate on the extended family members, as I know them at this time. There is the great possibility that there are errors or omissions, but this is what I have at the present time.
Extended Martin Family
Joseph R. and Philomena Martin were married in St. Joseph's Church on Hope St. in Providence. They moved to Oakland around 1880 with two children who were born in Providence, Rhode Island: Samuel A. Martin was born on March 23, 1874 and Mary Martin was born on July 6, 1876. I don't know what became of Mary Martin. Samuel Martin, however, married a young woman named Mary (born about 1876 in New York) in about 1896. They had two children in Oakland that I am aware of. Clarence Martin was born about 1897 and his sister, Eveline, was born about 1898.
Joseph R. Martin remarried after Philomena's death. He married Etta Adams, who was from Nevada. They had one daughter that I am aware of. Their daughter, Rose Marie Martin, was born in Oakland on August 29, 1903, and she died on September 25, 1968 in Oakland. Rose Marie married Thomas J. Lord, and they had one child, Charles Lord. Rose Marie Martin Lord is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Piedmont.
Joseph remarried once more to a woman named Rita, who was born in 1848 and died in Oakland on January 1, 1919. Joseph was listed as a contractor when he died.
Rosa J. Martin Nunes was born about 1845 in Faial and died in Oakland on June 4, 1907.
Extended Oliver Family
Justin M. Oliver (born January 1841 in Faial, Azores and died September 26, 1929 in Oakland) married Rosa J. Martin in Providence, Rhode Island on July 5, 1873 in St. Joseph's Church. Justin's parents were Joseph and Mary Oliver, from Faial. In the 1870 federal census, Joseph is not listed in the household with Mary, Philomena, Amelia or Justin. Actually, there is a Joseph, age 30, but this is really Justin Oliver. Perhaps Joseph, the father, had already died. Mary Oliver died in Oakland on October 3, 1890. As mentioned earlier, the Oliver family is listed in the 1870 federal census as living in the same household in Providence as the Martin family. The Olivers listed are: Mary (age 50), Amelia (age 22), listed as a dressmaker, Minnie (age 19), also listed as a dressmaker, and Joseph (age 30, the correct age for Justin), who is a mariner.
Justin and Rosa Oliver had four children: Mary (Mamie) Oliver was born in Providence on November 15, 1878; Teresa May Oliver was born on April 4, 1879 in Providence and died on December 10, 1880 in Oakland; Joseph Oliver was born in Oakland on June 1885; and a second Theresa Oliver was born March 1886 in Oakland and she married Manuel Silva of Oakland about 1907. Theresa and Manuel Silva had a daughter, Dorothy, in about 1907 in Oakland. I believe that Manuel's family possibly lived on Adeline Street as well. There was a John and Mary Silva living just several houses away from the Justin Oliver household on Adeline St. In the 1910 federal census, this John and Mary Silva have two children in their house, Augustine (age 29) and Josephine (age 25), as well as Josephine's husband, Harry King (age 27), and their son, Alaysious(?) age 10 months.
Justin Oliver was a barber in the Oakland area at 465 Sixth St. and at 844 Broadway. In the 1900 federal census, Justin is listed as a naturalized citizen.
Philomena Oliver Martin was born about 1851 in Faial and died August 11, 1880, just three months after moving to Oakland.
Emelia Oliver Nunes was born about 1848 in Faial and died December 4, 1907.
Extended Nunes Family
Joseph G. Nunes (born in 1845 in the Azores and died August 20, 1900 in Oakland) and Emelia had three children who were born in Providence. James (John?) Nunes was born about 1872; Annie Nunes was born about 1874; and John J. Nunes was born about March 1875. The 1875 Rhode Island state census also lists in the same Joseph household, Emelia's mother, Mary Oliver (age 60 - mother-in-law, widowed) and Mary Worgas (possibly Vargas, age 38, sister-in-law, single). I do not know who this Mary Worgas is at this time. Is she Emelia's sister? She does not seem to fit into the Oliver family listed in the 1870 federal census. Since she is listed as a sister-in-law, maybe she is the wife of Justin's brother?
Joseph and Emelia had three more children after they moved to Oakland. In the 1900 Oakland City Directory, there are eight Nunes family members residing at 214 Haven Street. They are: Joseph G. Nunes, Emelia Nunes, Miss Christina E. Nunes, Miss Ella S. Nunes, John (James?) Nunes, John J. Nunes, May (Mamie) L. Nunes, and Miss Valentina I. Nunes. I cannot place Annie, born in Providence, in the previous list. In the 1910 federal census, Emelia Nunes is recorded as having had a total of six children, so the names given in the 1900 Oakland City Directory, are probably her six children, her husband and herself. By 1910, the records show that only four of these six children were still alive. Christina E. Nunes died in 1902.
Extended Lemos Family
Joseph Machado Lemos was born about 1850 in the Azores. He worked as a machinist for Judson Manufacturing Co. in Emeryville, near Oakland. Joseph married Maria Amelia Silva on September 1, 1902 in St. Joseph's Church on Chestnut St. in Oakland. Maria (Mary) Silva was born on December 6, 1862 in Faial to parents, Jose Silva and Anna Fialho, both of whom were also born on Faial. Maria arrived in the United States in about 1894 and lived in the Oakland area since 1902. The Lemos family lived at 2434 8th St. Joseph and Maria had a child, either Mamie Lemos or Mannie (Manuel)Lemos, born in 1905 in Oakland. The 1910 federal census lists a daughter Mamie Lemos. I have no further information of this child, other than he/she was listed as the informant on his/her mother's death certificate in 1948. On the death certificate, Mannie Lemos is listed as still living at the 2434 8th St. address.
Joseph M. Lemos is not found in the Oakland City Directory prior to 1903. This is interesting, since I cannot find a listing for Joseph Marshall on Adeline St. after 1903. I have not found a listing for Joseph Machado Lemos in the 1900 federal census for Alameda or San Francisco. In the 1910 federal census, however, he is listed with Maria and Mamie. I don't know enough about this Joseph Lemos yet. Who was he? He is buried with other family members in the St. Mary's Cemetery plot. How is he related to the others buried there? Curiously, in the register of burials, there is an arrow connecting his name with the name of my great-great grandmother, Anna Marshall.
Still very puzzling, is the posthumous name change (in different colored ink!) on the death certificate for Mary Marshall to Mary Marshall Lemos. Nobody knows who made this change, or for what reason the name Lemos was added. Is Mary the sister of Joseph Marshall? Did Joseph Marshall decide to change his and his sister's names in 1903? Or was Mary Marshall actually the first wife of Joseph Machado Lemos, and he later changed her name? This is all just conjecture for now, but I hope to decipher the correct relationships of these family members in the future.
It should be noted, at this time, that I am obviously using the Anglicized names for these family members. This leads me to a point, which should be apparent to the reader: I am citing details of my Azorean ancestors with a notable lack of personal texture woven into the fabric of the story. I would have loved to refer to poignant personal events contained in the family Bible or recollections of an aged patriarch or matriarch about the rich cultural heritage of their youth. For some reason, personal or sociological, my ancestors of Azorean descent did not effectively plant the seeds of family history with the younger generations. Possibly, there was an eagerness to become "American" and they quickly shunned their origins. Or maybe, their efforts to share the rich heritage from which they sprang in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, fell on apathetic ears. I'll never know why these proud people with fascinating stories of their hard work and many sacrifices, would not be compelled to instill that history in their children and grandchildren. But that is unfortunately what happened in my family.
I literally had only a few small fragments of my Marshall heritage before 1995. When I cheerfully discovered, from Rhode Island civil records, that George Marshall's father, Joseph Marshall, was from the Western Isles, I believed that this referred to the Outer Hebrides and Inner Hebrides. These islands are located between Scotland and Ireland and are called the Western Islands on modern maps. Since other members of my family are of Scottish origin and Marshall seemed to be a British Isles surname, this seemed a logical assumption. I eagerly ordered microfilms for these Scottish islands to see which town they might have come from. I was having difficulty finding any Marshall's in these microfilms. It was only when I inquired, weeks later, about which of the Hebrides Islands might be a point of emigration, that I was informed that the Azores were actually called the Western Islands or Western Isles in the nineteenth century.
When I spoke with my father about this, he recalled being told something vague about a Portuguese connection, but had no specific information and was never really sure if this connection was direct or indirect. He had never heard of any Azorean references. There were obviously many historical Scottish-Azorean-Madeiran ties, both commercially and personally, i.e. the Drummond/Escorcio family. It was thought that perhaps my Marshall family from the British Isles had worked or lived in Portugal. That is about as much direction as my family could provide. Nobody knew anything about my Marshall family prior to Rhode Island and even the Rhode Island connection was cloudy. Certainly, no one from my father's family had any suspicions that their surname was anything other than Marshall. Marshall was all they had known.
The name Marshall is usually derived from the Portuguese surname Machado, according to published sources. There are other Portuguese surnames, which theoretically could have been my original name: Maciel, Marciel, Marcela, Marchao, Macedo, Macieira, Madruga, Maduro, etc. I have not yet confirmed my Machado name origin, but I am hopeful to do so soon. Since it appears possible that my family surname is actually Machado, my efforts in the future will be directed towards confirming the island of Faial as the point of emigration for my Marshalls. So, I will be trying to find the birth of Jose Machado to parents Thomaz and Maria Machado. My hope is to locate a town or village where some ancestors can be traced. The other families would hopefully be addressed as Martins, Oliveira, Lemos and Nunes when search Faial records.
So, where does someone get information about a family history apparently lost to those who should care the most about such knowledge? Our government does such a terrific job collecting data. Though not always sure what to do with it, they are determined to retain it for posterity. Thank goodness!
All of what I have found out about my Azorean family has been gathered via census records, marriage records, birth records, death certificates, city directories, church records, library searches and the generosity of many people around the country. The nature of this type of information in the absence of any personal recollections lends itself to the statistical feel of my family story. I wish it could be otherwise.
It can be an adventure relying on census records alone in piecing together family histories. An example of this challenge was my attempt to locate my Marshall family in Providence in the 1875 Rhode Island state census. I looked through microfilms on the streets of Providence around the Governor Street location known to be where my great grandfather was born. I did find an Antonio Marshall in the area, but he was single. I also found an interesting family on Trenton Street. The Mitchell family lived at 202 Trenton Street, which is only blocks away from Governor Street. The father was Joseph Mitchell, age 30, and the mother was Annie, age 33. Joseph is listed as a gunsmith. They had a son named George (age 7 months) born in the Azores and another "son" named Antoine Mitchell (age 12) from the Azores. Also listed is a boarder named Mary Martin, age 35 from the Azores, as stated in this census listing.
Another example of frustrating records research was encountered in the federal census of San Francisco, 1880. There is a listing for Joseph and Hannah Marshall. Joseph is age 40, from Portugal and is a laborer. His wife, Hannah, is also 40 from Portugal. They have a son named George, age 5, born in Rhode Island. Also listed is their stepson, Antonio Martin, age 17, who drives a milk wagon and is from Portugal. There is no listing for Mary Martin in this household.
What is apparent from those two census forays, is that census takers often used their phonetic skills in the recording of people's names. This is a very basic fact for anyone using census records for research. The Azorean Portuguese accent most likely was misunderstood when the names were recorded. Although, I knew that people's names may not actually be what they were recorded as, it still took me more time to understand who I was looking directly at, than it would have, if I had been more experienced. Slowly, I made some sense of these families. Anyway, it seems obvious that Annie Mitchell and Hannah Marshall are both, in fact, Anna Joaquina Martin, my great-great grandmother, the wife of Joseph Marshall and the mother of George Elijeh Marshall.
I do not know if Mary Martin is Anna's sister, but it is a possibility. In the listings of births in Providence in 1875, George Elijeh Marshall is listed as the first child of the family. He did not have an older brother. Therefore, I might assume that twelve-year-old Antoine Mitchell, mentioned in the 1875 Rhode Island state census, is actually seventeen-year-old Antonio Martin, as listed in the 1880 federal census of San Francisco. He very possibly is the son of the 1875 boarder and surmised sister, Mary Martin. Also, it is interesting that Antonio is the name given as Anna's father's first name. Maybe, if Mary and Anna are sisters, then Mary naming her son after her (and Anna's) father is another factor suggesting sibling status. So, the 1880 census listing of Antoine as a stepson may be true, if Mary Martin had died and Joseph and Anna took him in as their stepson. This is conjecture, but again it is a working model for further investigation.
One of the very few early Marshall stories I am aware of, was of George Elijeh Marshall coming across the United States with his family from Providence to San Francisco by wagon on the Oregon Trail. George and his family settled in San Francisco on Natoma Street, as recorded in the 1880 federal census. That year, George lost both of his remaining brothers, Joseph and John. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Oakland. They lived at 2127 Adeline Street near other family members in the Martin, Oliver and Nunes branches. Joseph Marshall worked as a machinist in the Emeryville area of Oakland for Judson Manufacturing Company, as did other family members. George Elijeh Marshall was a musician in Oakland. I have been told that he played the mandolin. It could possibly have been an Azorean Guitar (Viola dos Dois Coracores), which approximates a mandolin in size and shape. This talent was to serve him well later when he moved to San Diego. He started the Marshall Academy of Music in San Diego, where he taught music. He later was a barber in San Diego.
George's sister, May, was listed in the Oakland City Directory in 1902 as a hairdresser. Joseph's wife, Anna, died in 1889 at the age of 49. She is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in the Piedmont area, near Oakland. I have still not found when or where my great-great grandfather, Joseph Marshall, died or is buried.
Lastly, an Oakland enigma. One small piece of paper with the name "Johnny Fagundes" was given by my grandfather to my mother. I am not sure if there is a family relationship, but the implication was the Johnny Fagundes was very close to our family in Oakland. No further information was given to me. I did locate by census records, a Fagundes family, just houses away on Adeline Street in Oakland. In the 1900 federal census, there was a John L. Fagundes (born April 1869 in the Azores). He married in 1895 to a Mary A. (born August 1875 in the Azores). They had three children by 1900: Mary (born February 1895 in Oakland), Harry (born September 1896 in Oakland), and John "Johnny?" (born January 1900 in Oakland). This Azorean Family is not yet directly connected to mine, but this note from my grandfather indicates that this Fagundes family was personally very important to him.
St. Mary's Cemetery
The following people are buried together in Plot #F-5-5/6 in Piedmont,
California, near Oakland:
Philomene Martin - age 29, died Aug. 11, 1880
May Oliver - (actually Teresa May Oliver) - age 1 yr., 8 months, died Dec. 10, 1880
Anna Marshall - (my great-great grandmother) - age 49, died Nov. 12, 1889
Mary Oliver - (mother of Justin, Emelia, and Philomena) - age 80, Oct. 3, 1890
Annie Oliver - age 5, March 1, 1892
Mary Marshall - (death certificate posthumously changed to Mary Marshall Lemos, I do not know why! - could she be the sister of my great-great grandfather Joseph Marshall? Her burial was paid for by Joe Marshall) - age 52, Oct. 25, 1898
Rita Martin - (third wife of Joseph R. Martin) - age 71, Jan. 1, 1919
Joseph M. Lemos - (Joseph Machado Lemos. Unsure of who this might be. Is he my g-g-grandfather? Is this Machado referring to my Machado name? Very unlikely, but I am still researching the possibility. Coincidentally, he also worked at Judson Mfg. Co., lived at 2434 8th St., Berkeley, was married twice) - age about 70, July 1, 1921.
Joseph R. Martin - age 72, Aug. 7, 1923
Mary A. Lemos - (second wife of Joseph M. Lemos. Her parents listed as Jose Silva and Anna Fialho -from Faial) - age 85, April 17, 1948
Rose Marie Martin Lord - (daughter of Joseph Martin) - age 65, Sept. 25, 1968
The above cemetery plot has helped in guiding me towards other family
members' relationships. I have not pieced them together yet, but I hope
there is a common thread here somewhere.
The following people are buried together in Plot #R17-18:
Joseph G. Nunes - age 57, Aug. 22, 1900
Christina E. Nunes - age 17, Jan. 31, 1902
Julia Almeida - age unknown, possibly infant, Aug. 12, 1914 - uncertain relationship
Emilia Nunes - age 82, Dec. 6, 1926
George Clarke - age 38, Dec. 28, 1933 - uncertain relationship
The following people are buried together in Plot #Q18:
Rosa Oliver -age 62, June 6, 1907
Justin Oliver - age 83, Sept. 30, 1929
Marriage of George E. Marshall
George E. Marshall married my great grandmother, Lillian C. Mockel, in 1897 in Oakland. They were neighbors on Adeline Street. Lillian Mockel was born as Matilda Mockel on July 15, 1879, in San Francisco. Her parents were both from Darmstadt, Germany. Her father was George Mockel (born in 1855 in Darmstadt and died on December 8, 1892, in Oakland). I believe he was a chef at the Fairmont Hotel and later at the Palace Hotel. Lillian's mother was Lena Will (born in April 1960 in Darmstadt and died on April 26, 1909 in Oakland). Lena immigrated to the United States in 1876.
George and Lena Mockel had six other children, in addition to Lillian. They were: George, Hermina, Edward, Phillip, Henry and Louis. George Mockel (the father, not the son) died at a young age in 1892, leaving Lena with seven children. In 1893, Lena remarried a man named Lawrence Koch (born in November 1847 in Germany and died on August 27, 198 in Oakland). Lawrence immigrated to the United States in 1858, and was naturalized. He opened his home to all six of Lena's unmarried children, in addition to Lillian and George E. Marshall and their infant daughter Leonora. Lena and Lawrence Koch later had three children of their own: Herman, Rose, and Hannah. They resided on Adeline Street.
Many of the Mockel family members still live in the Oakland area and in San Francisco. These Mockels have been very helpful in sharing their genealogy information with me. My discovery of any family at all in the East Bay area was due to serendipity and the generosity of two never-before-met first cousins, twice removed. Several years ago, I actually started telephoning people in Oakland with the last name of Mockel in an attempt to locate anyone with a recollection of my family in Oakland. Surprisingly, I found a kind man named Donald Mockel who instantly recognized the Adeline Street address as next door to his own parents. Although I have not actually obtained direct Azorean family data from the Mockel family, they have shared several personal stories and touching memories which have greatly added to understanding the atmosphere and personality of the Adeline Street neighborhood earlier this century. There were many other Azorean families on Adeline Street at that time. They mentioned in particular, the family of Manuel and Mary Peters, next door at 2129 Adeline. Manuel and Mary had three children as of 1900: George, John and Mary. Daughter Mary Peters married Allen Shaw in 1908 and had a son named Edward. Dorothy Mockel recalled that Mary Peters (the mother) was well known for helping out young Azorean adults new to the Oakland area. She was affectionately called "Mother Peters." The Mockels also recalled that my great grandparents, George and Lillian Marshall, had moved to San Diego earlier in the century.
Let me relate a story about Dorothy Mockel Connell, Donald Mockel's sister. On her very first birthday in 1917 in Oakland, she received a small stuffed animal from her Aunt Lillie (my great grandmother Lillian Marshall in San Diego). Dorothy told me that for some reason, her mother had saved this small toy, as well as the Christmas card and postcard that came with it, for all these years. When I spoke with her by phone for the first time, she recalled that she had saved these gifts and graciously offered to send the package to me, so I would have something of my great grandmother's. Since I had never seen a photograph of my great grandmother, this small toy and the handwritten notes accompanying it, were special gifts that I have since shared with my family.
Children of George and Lillian Marshall
George and Lillian Marshall (my great grandparents) had four children while living in Oakland: Leonora Mary Marshall (born April 1898 in Oakland and died March 2, 1919, in San Diego), Ozra Lillian Marshall (born on October 22, 1901 and died in 1989 in Grover City, CA), George Lawrence Marshall (my grandfather, who was born on September 1, 1904 in Oakland and died on September 27, 1996 in San Diego), and Richard David Marshall (born August 15, 1906 and died March 29, 1928 in San Diego). Ozra Lillian Marshall married Albert Greenfield Wallace in San Diego on May 31, 1921. Ozra played the mandolin. They had two children: David Wallace (born in 1925) and Alberta Leonore (Lee) Wallace. David Wallace married Ruth Stevens. Alberta (Lee) Wallace married Lloyd Farrell and had three children: Lloyd Jr., Linda and Lydia. Albert Greenfield Wallace died on May 18, 1973. Ozra later married William Noble in 1977.
Lillian Marshall died on December 27, 1927 in San Diego
George Elijeh Marshall died on September 5, 1963 in San Diego
My grandfather, George Lawrence Marshall married Margaret Helen Kroner. He worked in the dairy business for forty-four years in San Diego. Margaret's family was from Raton, New Mexico. Margaret died on August 12, 1986.
My father, George Lawrence Marshall, Jr., was born in San Diego on May 9, 1925. He married my mother, Dorothy M. Little, on July 6, 1947. They have five children: Dennis, Kathleen, Robert, Julie and Lori. My father was the first member of his family to graduate from college. He has a Masters Degree from the University of California at Berkeley, in Engineering. He was completely unaware of his extensive family connections, past or present, which were all around him in the East Bay while he was a student at Berkeley. He was truly surprised to learn of the extent of his family in the Oakland area going back to 1880.
Many people have passed their extensive recollections of family histories
on to interested relatives. Others have their legacy of
detailed family stories buried along with their caskets, never being repeated or reminisced upon. I started with virtually no knowledge of an Azorean heritage. My efforts have been to try and gather available details about my Azorean line of descent, in the hopes that the gaps of knowledge my be filled in by interested family, close or distant cousins, or hopefully, someday, by myself.
My parents have five children. They now have fourteen grandchildren, twelve of whom have directly descended from George Elijeh Marshall. We five children and twelve grandchildren are all Californians, but each of us have one root of our respective family trees reaching across the entire United States, beneath 2000 miles of the Atlantic to a group of islands peeking out of the ocean. I have tried to shed some light on my Californian-Azorean family background in the hope that some reader may see a branch of their tree somewhere and make a personal connection to their own family. By the intertwining of genealogy branches, the world can indeed seem a smaller and more personal place for us all.
Descendents of Thomas Marshall (Thomaz Machado)
1. Thomas Marshall (Thomaz Machado) was born in Western Islands.
Maria was born in Western Islands. (The Western Islands was another name for the Azores Islands.)
2. Joseph Marshall (Jose Machado) was born in August 1846 in Western
Islands. Died after 1900 in Oakland, CA (?). Anna Joaquina Martin was born
in 1842 in Faial, Azores Islands. Married
January 12, 1874 in Providence, RI. Died on November 12, 1889 in
3. George Elijeh (Pa) Marshall was born on October 22, 1874 in Providence,
RI. Died on September 5, 1963 in Lakeside, CA. Lillian C. (Matilda) Mockel
born on July 15, 1978 in San Francisco. Married in 1897 in Oakland, CA
(?). Died on December 27, 1927 in San Diego.
Joseph Marshall was born on June 3, 1876 in Providence, RI and died on July 7, 1876. Joseph Marshall was born December 3, 1877 in Providence, RI and died March 1880 in San Francisco. John Marshall was born about June 1879 in San Francisco and died April 1880 in San Francisco. May Marshall was born November 1882 in San Francisco (?).
4. George Lawrence Marshall, Sr. was born on September 1, 1904 in Oakland, CA and died on September 1, 1904 in El Cajon, San Diego County. Margaret Helen Kroner was born on May 17, 1904 in Ratan, Colfax County, NM and died August 12, 1986 in San Diego. Ozra Lillian Marshall was born on October 22, 1901 in Oakland, CA and died about 1989 in El Cajon, San Diego County. Albert Greenfield Wallace was born on January 14, 1900 in Evanston, IL. Married on May 31, 1921 in San Diego. Died on May 18, 1973 in San Diego. Second husband of Ozra Lillian Marshall, William (Bill) Noble was married about 1977 in San Diego. Died in El Cajon, San Diego County. Richard David Marshall was born on August 15, 1906 in Oakland, CA and died March 29, 1928 in San Diego. Leonora Mary Marshall was born April 1898 in Oakland, CA and died on March 2, 1919 in San Diego. (For further genealogy information contact author)
Dennis R. Marshall
873 Robert Lane
Encinitas, CA 92024-5640
15. Joseph William Marshall
I grew up living next door to my grandparents, Joseph and Mary Marshall, Sr. Grandpa built his little brick house next door on an acre of land in Bonita, a suburb of Chula Vista.
Grandma had a green thumb and prided herself in the beautiful azaleas and zinnias that she grew around the house. She spliced several different plants together and had flowers of different colors growing on the same plant. She also spent much time crocheting lace doilies and baby clothes. She never used any patterns and could crochet rapidly while watching television.
Grandpa put up a flag pole in front of the house. I can remember how proud he was of being an American. Every single day, no matter what, my grandfather put up the American flag!
"America is the best country in the world. There is no other country like it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise," he told me many times through the years. I never thought too much about it until later, sometime after Grandpa had died.
My father, Joseph William Marshall, Jr. had served in the army in World
War II. He was the youngest of nine children and had been born on the East
Coast in Massachusetts where he grew up, met my mother and married. After
the war, my grandparents and parents decided to move to San Diego. My father
found employment with a large company called Consolidated. It was a defense
plant and most work was contracted through the government. After a period
my father's background needed to be checked in order for him to be cleared to work on confidential government contracts. This led to our discovery of my grandparents' secret.
One day while father was at work, he was approached by government officials.
They asked him why he had lied about the place of birth of his parents.
My father was astounded. He had no idea what they were talking about! He
restated that both of his parents were born in Massachusetts. He knew that
because that was what he had always been told since he was a little boy.
There was nothing to lie about.
My father was a very proud and honest man.
The next words that my father heard could have knocked him over like a ton of bricks. The officials stated, "Your parents were not born in the United States. They were born in the Azores."
My father's face flushed with embarrassment. What was this? What were they talking about? Did they really think that he had been lying about this information? My father was speechless. By the time he returned home after work he was angry. He vented his frustration to my mother who listened with a sympathetic ear. I quietly listened in the background. Next, my father marched next door to grandma's house and made his grand entrance. I didn't really understand why my father was so upset. I followed along.
My father confronted my grandmother. "Could this be true?" he demanded. "If it was true, why had he been told otherwise all of these years?" My father felt disgraced because he felt that others would assume that he had knowingly been lying all of these years. He was not angry that they were born in the Azores; he was angry that they had not been truthful with him. After expressing his feelings, my father left and returned home.
After my father's confrontation, my grandmother was in tears. I felt sorry for her and tried to comfort her. I stayed with her for awhile and we talked. I asked her, "Grandma, why? Why did you say that you and grandpa say that you were born in the United States if your were not?"
Wiping the tears away she replied, "If people find out that you come from some place else, they won't like you."
"But Grandma, it's all right to be born some place else!"
"No," she insisted. "You don't understand. People will treat you different. It's true. You won't be treated the same as other people."
I listened to her words and pondered what she was saying. Then I felt a surge of pride and I said, "Grandma, I'm proud of being Portuguese and you should be too! I don't care who knows it! I'm going to tell everyone." I gave her a big hug and a kiss as I added, "I'm proud of who I am and every drop of blood that runs through my veins! I'm proud of you and grandpa, too and I always will be."
Grandma looked at me sheepishly as I spoke. She looked like she thought that I was just a dumb kid that had no idea what I was talking about. She was wrong. Despite my youth, I did know exactly what I was saying and meant every word. To this very day, I have continued to be proud of the roots of my heritage and all of my ancestors, no matter how difficult they may have made it for me to trace them.
My grandfather was born Joseph or Jose Machado on January 16, 1881 on the island of Pico. My grandmother, Mary or Maria Sylvester or da Silva, was born in 1884 on the neighboring island of Fayal on December 23, 1884. My grandfather's mother was Marianna Leonora Machado Soares. I understand she has other family names of da Rosa and Macedo. The names are very confusing. Soares was supposed to be by grandfather's stepfather, but this is not clear either. It seems that my grandfather came to America with his mother, Marianna when he was three years old and spent part of the time growing up in Massachusetts and the Santa Clara area of California. He ended up meeting and marrying my grandmother in Massachusetts under the name of Joseph M. Sawyer.
My grandfather enjoyed changing his name almost as many times as a leopard has spots! As a child he used the name Joseph or Jose Machado Soares. He anglicized Soares to Sawyer and was also naturalized under the name of Sawyer as an adult. The first few children were born under this name. Then my grandfather decided to anglicize Machado to Marshall. My father was born under Marshall. However, whenever my grandfather returned to the Azores to visit or transact legal business over there, he used Jose Machado Soares. Does it sound confusing? Believe me it is!
As the years have gone by and I have time to think more about the events of the past, I realize that my grandfather was very proud of his American citizenship. In those days I think that "foreigners" were looked down upon by some and prejudice was painfully experienced by many of our immigrant ancestors. I believe that my grandfather wanted to become "completely" Americanized so that he and his family would be accepted by all. I think that this may be the reason for being less than truthful about his place of birth and the changing of his name. He wanted to blend in to American society. I think that I understand his motives. I wonder if he would understand my motives in uncovering his carefully guarded secrets?
5702 Scripps St.
San Diego, CA 92122
16. Antonio Martins
The Martin and Philippe Trek and Saga
From Lomba, Flores, Azores to All Points West:
Please don't read this all at one time to save confusion! From bits of stories here and there, that have been handed down by word of mouth, this scenario of the Martin trek, journey, migration, travel, passage, or trip; whatever you want to name this; they came from the years 1900 until 1921. Hopefully these stories can be put together in an orderly fashion. I'm sure there will be repetitions.
Collecting many accounts from aunts, uncles, and cousins has made this possible, but so many left untold. These stories are not meant to embarrass anyone, but God only knows how many embarrassments there were throughout our lives that will be sheltered in our memories.
Many segments of this tale that weren't asked like how, when or where it all began, oh, for a tape recorder 50 or 60 years ago! The saga continues.
Some dates or locations of homesteads may be wrong, many were given to this writer and some may be guesses. On your own copies of this episode please correct yours. Please make a list of errors and present them at our next reunion in the year 2000 when it will be 100 years since this trek began. Each holder of the genealogy and saga can then correct their own. Then your copies can be handed down from generation to generation in a more accurate form.
In the beginning there was light in the Martin blue eyes to find a way for a better life. The Martin siblings began to trickle to America one by one, and two by two. The generation of Antonio Jose de Freitas Martins and Maria da Trindade do Coracao de Jesus Philippe began leaving the quaint, picturesque verdant isle of Flores and the village of Lomba which means, situated on a mesa overlooking the blue Atlantic. Flores the most famous of all the nine islands: its highest plateau being 3,087 feet above sea level, 10 1/2 miles long and 7 miles wide, 57 square miles in area, the third smallest of the nine isles. Its name speaks for itself, flowers everywhere along roadsides, cannas, wild roses, lucious green ferns, huge blue hydrangeas forming fences on the divided terraced pieces of land up and down every hill. Some of the clustered hydrandea flowers measuring fourteen inches in diameter, I know, I measure one. They are at their peak of bloom during July and August. An abundance of taro (inhames) and lucious green blankets of watercress in all the creeks which run all year round.
In the older days water mills were used to grind the corn for flour and the one in Lomba was still being used as late as 1981. I was told by my mother that it was named after our aunt Tia Louisa or "O moinho da Tia Louisa". Why? Maybe it was because she ground a lot of corn for the villagers for years. I should have asked why.
Flores has plenty of rain causing a lot of cascading waterfalls at the higher elevations. At the village of Fazazinha to the west of the island there are fourteen waterfalls coming from a cliff about 1000 feet high. They are breathtaking. Taking my mother to see Yosemite for the first time in the 40s was a disappointment to her. She had heard so much about the Yosemite waterfalls. Her remark was that we have bigger ones on the Flores. There are seven big volcanic crater lakes, one is still active and steaming through the deep blue lake water. Along the coastline you can see huge boulders far down in the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean all around the island. This island was born out of the depths and bowels of the Atlantic. The miracle of the nine islands emerged above sea level out of nowhere. Going back to the craters on Flores, their names are Comprida, Lomba, Negra, Larga, Raza, and Vazia. All the islands have their own beauty, but Flores must be seen by all who have some ties there.
Grandpa Antonio Martins left a few legacies there, like the windows and door frames in one of the relatives grocery store. They told me Grandpa made all the windows and doors and set them in their places in one day. There must have been more of his work there that wasn't shown because of lack of time. He was a great carpenter and a very religious man. Story has it that when he was creating his family, he complained that the bed squeaked a lot. There was plenty of whale oil around - should have saturated the springs with it. Whale oil was used for their inside lights for years in a hanging cast-iron bowl with a wick in it.
By 1900 Tia Maria da Gloria Martins (born in 1877) the oldest daughter and child of the Martin family and Tia Ana Martins (born in 1881) were already in New Bedford, Massachusetts working as housekeepers and seamstresses for a rich lady (Senhora Joaquinha). Tia Maria da Gloria was intelligent enough to become a citizen of the U.S.A. and made enough money to pay for her fare to and from the Azores. She brought her brother Uncle Jose Martins (born in 1879) and his new bride Tia Maria dos Santos Coelho and his sister Tia Maria Jose Martins (born in 1883). Back in Lomba around 1890 Tia Isabel Martins (born in 1878) and Tia Mariana Martins (born in 1887) were in their teens when they left the Martins' nest to care for their godmother who lived down a winding path. They also cared for her animals. When Tia Isabel got word that Tia Maria da Gloria had found work for her and for Tia Maria Lauriana Martins (born in 1885) they packed up their bags and suitcases and headed west to New Bedford, Massachusetts. This left Tia Mariana all by herself with her godmother. After she passed away, Tia Mariana was inherited most of what her godmother possessed. Upon hearing that Tia Mariana was free, her husband to be left Massachusetts and went back to Lomba to marry Tia Mariana. He became Uncle John Goncalves in 1905.
From the beginning of their bon voyage from Flores, all the Martins had to take a rocky pathway about 1000 feet all the way down to the Lomba quay. The would take all that they could carry by hand and on a donkey and catch a rowboat which was oared all the way to the island's largest village of Santa Cruz. There they would wait for their trunks to arrive by oxen and wooden carts. This had to take a whole day. Walking time from Lomba to Santa Cruz is about seven hours. It's not as a crow flies; it's more like a snake crawls.
As soon or as late as their trunks would arrive, they would catch a cargo sailboat to the island of Faial, the closest island which is 150 miles south east of the Flores. When there is little or no wind, the boat doesn't sail very fast, and it would take days to travel that distance. On Faial they would have to wait for their traveling papers, then off to the islands of Graciosa and Sao Jorge to pick up more passengers; then to the islands of Terceira and Sao Miguel. All these distances at a slow pace, with little or no wind during the summer months. My mother said, at night, pitch dark, they would follow the stars and during the days they would follow the sunrise to the sunset. On Sao Miguel they would board different liners. The ones that would take the Azoreans to America were usually the Greek liners and their mooring was always at New Bedford, Massachusetts. That is why New Bedford is called Little Portugal. I've never known of any Azorean passing through Ellis Island, New York.
At this point I will add the Tias' married names so that you will become familiar with them and their correct spelling. In 1906 we now have Tia Maria da Gloria (Souza), Tia Ana (Ramos), Tia Isabel (Frado), Tia Mariana (Goncalves), Uncle Jose Martins, Tia Maria Jose (Freitas), Tia Lauriana (Motta), by foot, oxcart, sailboat, liners, trains, trials, and tribulations, they trekked to the U.S.A.
Each of the following stories are true to the best of my knowledge; none of which I have made up. Middle names have to be used as there are several sisters named Maria.
In 1906 Maria da Gloria had heard that Joe Gomes Souza was living in Oxnard, California and needed a lady to care for his infant son, Joe, Jr. who was a prematurely born baby. Joe Sr. having lost his wife, who was a sister to Uncle Frank Freitas, and an aunt of David Freitas. Tia knew Joe Sr. in the Flores, and was from the village of Fazenda. She had arrived the second time in Massachusetts and left for Oxnard, California by train. Little Joe Jr. was so tiny that he was kept warm in a shoe box in a dresser drawer. He must have been born in the winter. In a short time Joe Sr. proposed to Tia Maria da Gloria and they were married. Tia Maria Jose also came to California with her where she her husband to be Frank Freitas; so they were next in line to be married. Tia Maria da Gloria and Uncle Joe Souza stood up for them as padrinhos.
In 1907 the Souzas moved to Rolinda, California near some his relatives where Tia's first and only child Cousin Tony Martin Souza was born. Tia raised both Joe Jr. and Tony who were about a year apart in age. As they grew up together little Joe was always being punished because Tony would blame very bad thing he did onto Joe Jr. This went on for years as they grew up. Later on Tia and Uncle took care of Cousin Laura Motta whose mother Tia Lauriana Motta had passed away in December of 1918 due to the Spanish influenza. When Laura came to live with the Souzas she must have been nine or ten years of age. I remember being afraid of Uncle Joe, and when we would go there to visit, Laura and I would get into trouble just by running into the vineyards.
When T. Marin Souza was in the service during World War I his baking mate was a man by the name of McCulloch. Their bread making machines were chain driven. From this feature came the idea for the chain saw. From this idea T. Martin and McCulloch started designing chain saws. After the war was over McCulloch took off with all the plans and left Martin holding the bread pan, so to speak. Never keeping his promise to Martin that they would share their invention, McCulloch went on to become a multimillionaire, and Martin never heard from him again. Cousin T. Martin went on to a good life as a salesman for the Swift & Company, until he retired. Tony Martin Souza died in Fresno in 1980. Joe Souza Jr. died in Oakland, California. Cousin Laura Motta Enos died in Santa Maria, California in 1994. Tia Maria da Gloria and Uncle Joe Souza both died in Fresno, he in 1937 and she in 1954.
Around 1906 or 1907, Tia Maria Jose was married in Oxnard, California, to Frank Freitas. All these families were well acquainted in the Flores before coming to America. Uncle Frank and Maria Jose later moved to Hausna near Arroyo Grande, California, where they raised Cousin Gil Motta. As I previously wrote Tia Lauriana Motta, Gil's mother, had passed away in 1918 leaving all her eight children including a three day old, Cousin Frank, for his older sisters to take care of him. Gil later took the name of his Uncle and Aunt Freitas. Gil served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War. After the war he studied for a degree in chiropractics. The Freitas family later moved to Camarillo, California where Uncle Frank got a job working at the Camarillo State Hospital, where he prepared fields so the patients could plant vegetable gardens.
Cousin Gil also worked at the hospital as a guard. He was also a talented violinist. Gil practiced chiropractic in Guadualupe and Arroyo Grande, California where he had a successful business, and was well liked. Struggling for years with a bad heart and surviving several severe surgeries he passed away in 1993. He was buried near his aunt and foster mother who died in 1954. Grandpa Martin died in 1932 and is also buried in Arroyo Grande.
Tia Anna Martins (born in 1881) was one of the first to come to America.
When she arrived in Tauton, Massachusetts, she married Raulin Ramos in
1905. He too was from Lomba. Before their marriage Uncle Ramos worked a
twenty mule freight wagon hauling supplies to the mining sites in the Dakotas,
Utah, and Nevada. He related that he never had to carry a gun and that
the Indians never bothered anyone who didn't bother them. America should
have had many Raulin
Ramoses in the early days when it came to the mistreated American Indians. I always have an aching heart for them and all mistreated minorities no matter what color their skin. After those early years in the West and Middle West Uncle Raulin went east to work as a silversmith for Reed and Barton. Uncle Charles Goncalves also worked there. They were friends from Lomba. Cousin Raulin Ramos Jr. was born in Tauton, Massachusetts in 1905. Then they moved to San Francisco, California where Uncle Raulin worked again as a silversmith for Shrive & Company. Here is were Cousin Genevieve was born in 1911 on the famous Lombard Street.
After five years in San Francisco the family moved to Santa Maria, California where Uncle Ramos went into farming. While in Tauton, Massachusetts, Tia Anna was worked as a seamstress. She was known for her beautiful clothes and was also a marvelous cook. She continued doing so when coming out west until 1922 when she passed away. She is buried in Santa Maria. The family worked in hoeing and harvesting beans. These were hard working days with time for church and weekend movie, a lollipop to watch the latest episode of the weekly movie serial that was so exiting and popular in those days. I remember the "Perils of Pauline" that was always accompanied by an organ, and subtitled silent movies.
Cousins Raulin and Genevieve were seventeen and eleven when their mother passed away. In Cousin Genevieve's own words her memories of her dear mother are very vivid even though the years she had with her mother were incredibly short. Her mother being an excellent seamstress made all of Genevieve's clothes that were so beautifully done. Genevieve recalls coming home from school and the kitchen table would be laden with freshly baked bread and rolls. They had a walk-in cooler and many times there were huge platters of puddings and cakes covered with whipped cream. One of Genevieve's chores on Saturdays was to churn butter and polish kettles under a fig tree using sandy soil as a polishing ingredient. (You young people out there take note!) From time to time a pig would be slaughtered so called (mantaca do porco). Relatives would help in the making of linguica, morcelas and torresmos from which lard was rendered. Crocks were filled with marinated torresmos and linguica, over which the hot lard was poured. This process preserved the meats, and the crocks were kept in the basement where it was cool. When time came to eat some of this, you went down into the basement with a pan and a wooden spoon and dug into the lard to get what you wanted. Oh, how all this was so good!
Uncle Raulin and Aunt Anna very seldom had time to go to a matinee. They would spend their time at a dry goods store owned by an uncle and aunt to see what new wares had come in. Tia Anna died in 1922. Uncle Raulin married and the family moved to Lompoc, California. There were gatherings of friends and relatives for the festive chamaritas in the homes and many cakes were served (no cakes mixes then). Grandpa Martins was having his turn staying with the Ramos as he did with each of his children. He would sit on the front porch while he watched Genevieve eat green walnuts that were so sweet and which made her very ill.
Memories linger and years come and go. Uncle Raulin died in 1956, both he and Tia Anna are buried in the Santa Maria Mauseleum. Cousin Raulin died in 1981. (Most of the previous story was written by Cousin Genervieve. This writer added a few of her own comments.)
In 1902 or 1902 Tia Isabel Martins and Tia Mariana Martins arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and they went to work for the Owne Mills Textile Factory. The Owen family was very wealthy and had a summer home in Westport Point south west of New Bedford and the mill was close by their home. The home still stands today. Tia Isabel worked there for one year, then she went to visit a friend Maria Bettencourt in Somerset, Massachusetts whom she knew in Lomba. This is where she met her husband to-be Antone Medeiros Frado who was from the island of Sao Miguel. He was living alone in the same country home which is still there, so picturesque at 209 Elm Street in Somerset, Massachusetts. Tia Isabel's youngest daughter Virginia and her husband Alfred Butler still live in this home and maintain the lovely gardens. Tia Isabel and Uncle Frado were married there and raised their seven wonderful children who are all listed in the family genealogy. At this writing four are still living. Hang in there cousins so you can celebrate 2000! With longevity the Martins have we'll all make it! The boys did very well in raising and marketing produce on the Boston market. They rose early in the morning to haul their produce sixty miles to Boston arriving in time for the opening of the market where their produce was sold. After each of the family left home to marry and raise their own families they continued to help with the farming. They had a corn bin that was built by Uncles Evaristo Souza and Frank Martin in 1920 and it is still there on the Frado property. No hurricane has ever blown it down and they've had some bad ones. There is also a cow barn still standing and of course the lovely farm house. Tia Isable died in 1966 at the age of 88 and Uncle Frado died in 1945. May they and three of their seven children rest in peace. Cousin Josephine Ferry lost her son Vernon Ferry in 1954 due to a hurricane.
This writing is taken from a letter to me written in 1984 by Cousin Mary Gonsalves:
Tia Mariana who already had married Uncle John Gonsalves in Lomba in
1905, sailed from island to island as had their previous relatives and
arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She was expecting her first born
and was terribly seasick. Her comment was that she would never, never go
back to her native island no matter how beautiful it was. Cousin Edward
was born in their Tauton, Massachusetts home in 1906. In 1907 Cousin August
(Gus) was born. He was a seven month
premature baby who had no eyebrows and no fingernails. He too was kept in a shoe box to be kept warm for a long time. Cousin Mary was born in 1908 on April Fool's Day. Uncle John's sister Mary saw him coming down the road from work and she stuck her head out the window and told him that Tia Mariana had a baby girl and he thought that it was jus an April Fool's joke. Cousin Charles was born in 1910. He still lives in Cranston, Rhode Island in a nursing home.
When Cousin Edward was seven years of age, he was struck with diphtheria in 1913. He couldn't breathe so the doctor was called and he laid Little Edward on the kitchen table and pushed a tube into his throat so that he could breathe. When it came time to remove the tube, it wouldn't unlodge from his throat. It was fatal for him, such a sad death and so hard on the Gonsalves family.
On a much later occasion when a brother-in-law of Gus had passed away, during the serves someone was smoking a stinky cigar behind Tia Mariana. She started choking and coughing and said out loud "Someone is smoking a cheap cigar in here." As it was overheard by all it turned out that the culprit was a brother of the deceased. It was quite embarrassing for Tia and the rest of the Gonsalves family.
Cousin Gus worked in an aluminum factory and he began creating aluminum frames for windows and games. He was the actual inventor of aluminum window frames. He gave me an aluminum shuffle board game that he made. The family moved to a three story farm home and were farming acreage before the 1920s. They grew potatoes there during that era. The house was built during the early 1700s and was constructed with wooden pegs and handhewn timbers. There was a huge fireplace in the center of the home that had four hearths with openings on each floor above it that heated all the rooms. It even had an oven for baking bread and cooking. It is such an interesting home. For security sake there was no stairway to reach the upper floors. There is a drop-down ladder that was pulled up when the families were in danger of invasions. In the late 1950s the farm was sold to be converted to a beautiful golf course amongst the amber winter trees. Cousin Daniel and wife Charlotte still live near the golf course. After the sale of the farm, Tia and Uncle John moved to a two story home off Gar. Highway in Swansea, Massachusetts.
In 1962 five of us cousins from California took a train to Providence, R.I. When were visiting Tia and Uncle John we girls were all upstairs talking in the early evening with Tia, and there was a grate in the floor to let in heat from downstairs. Tia was telling us stories about Uncle John when she realized that he could hear all that was being said, so all of a sudden she threw a throwrug over the grate. We got a big kick out of it. It was the way she did it. I still remember her kneeling beside her bed and saying her prayers. After Uncle John passed away Tia Mariana went to live with cousins Daniel and Charlotte in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. In 1976 the New England relatives put on a wonderful Martin Reunion on the 4th of July, the bicentennial year of our nation's Constitution. It was great. There were twenty-two of us California relatives who either drove or flew there. The reunion party and picnic was held at the golf course that had been the Gonsalves farm. When we Californians arrived at the golf course we assembled and marched in a column of twos into the picnic area, carrying the American flag and the Portuguese flag. All this was very impressive. It would take several pages to thoroughly describe that reunion. We all had so much fun with so many relatives, many of whom we had never seen before. It all turned out so beautiful and the food that was served was delicious and memorable. Tia Mariana Gonsalves died in 1980.
In 1897 Uncle Jose Freitas Martins at the age of eighteen went to the island of Faial to get clearance of his travel papers to come to America. He went back to Flores and married Maria dos Santos Ventura Coelho in 1901. Then they came to America with Tia Maria da Gloria who had gone back to bring Tia Maria Jose. Now there were six siblings in America.
Uncle Joe and Tia Maria went to Battle Mountain, Nevada where Tia's sister Maria Coelho Gomes and her husband were living. In the meantime Tia Maria da Gloria and Tia Maria Jose ventured to Ventura and Oxnard.
Uncle Joe started herding sheep in Nevada when he became ill and decided to move to Kerman, California. In 1903 Cousin Emily was born. The following year Cousin Laura was born, then in 1910 their first set of twins were born. They both died at the age of six months due to some illness. Their names were Tony and Joseph. Cousin Mabel was born in 1911.
After a separation from his first born son, Uncle Joe and Tia Maria returned to the Flores to bring to America his son John who was about twelve years old. They also brought back Tia Maria Dos Santos' mother who was known as Tia Maria Ventura Coelho da Burra. The Coelho's lived on a plot of land in Lomba that was called Burra. (Perhaps it was the grazing ground for a female donkey.) Tia Filomena Martins also came back with them. While they were gone cousins Emily and Laura stayed with their Uncle Joe and Aunt "Ida" Adelaide Coelho at their ranch near Fresno, California. (I was named after her.) Another story told is that little Mabel stayed with Tia Louisa Vasconcelos. Mabel cried so much that tia tried to nurse her, but it did not suffice. Coming to America on a liner, the story goes that Cousin John was quite a comic and entertained the passengers.
One day in the alfalfa field there suddenly appeared four strange black objects waving up over the alfalfa greenery. Cousin John and Grandma saw these weird protrudings and they were very frightened. Eventually up came Laura and Emily who were wearing long black stockings, and lying on their backs in the alfalfa, and waving their legs in the air created this eerie sight.
At the age of fourteen Cousin John went to work in Fresno at the Pimentel Store belonging to the Evangelhos at Ventura and Hazelwood Boulevards. In 1916 the Martins moved to Tranquillity, California, on Adams Road where Uncle Joe continued to work with his dairy. By this time Cousin Tony was three years of age and very interested in moving parts, so he went on an experimenting tour. He found his father's milk separator on which he turned a crank and caught the palm of his hand in the gears. In order to cure the cut they found a bunch of spider webs and applied them to the wound. It is said that that was a quick cure. Tony still has the scar on his hand to this day.
One day he decided to help his mother after watching her make dough for bread and placing it on a chair near a sunny bedroom window. He grabbed some papers and some matches, locked the bedroom door and proceeded to light a fire under the chair. This would raise the dough faster so it could be baked sooner. When smoke was detected coming out from under the door, there was a lot of coaxing to get him to unlock the door; finally it was with buckets of water waiting to put out the fire. Tony's hindquarters must have got kneaded that day. Then there was the time when Emily who delighted in teasing little Tony, got stabbed in the foot when Tony who wanted to get even, threw a pair of scissors at her. There was more counseling and more kneading the behind.
In 1918 the family moved three miles from Rolinda, California where the second set of twins were born in 1919. They were named Doris and Dora. In 1921 the family moved again to Surf, California which is west of Lompoc, California, not too far from the beach. Uncle Joe went into partnership with his brother-in-law Uncle Evaristo Sousa. Uncle Sousa had arrived in New Bedford with Uncle Francisco Martins and his bride Tia Anna Mendonce Reis Martin, Tia Louisa Martins, and Tia Anna's sister Maria Mendonca Reis in 1920. In Surf they raised hogs and had a dairy.
In 1921 Tia Maria do Rosario who had married Uncle Evaristo in Lomba arrived with their two year old daughter Cousin Louise, and with Grandpa Martins. This was after Grandmother Maria do Coracao de Jesus Philippe Martins had passed away in early 1921. By this time Tia Maria do Rosario, Cousin Louise, and Grandpa Martins had arrived in Surf.
There was a time when Uncle Joe Martin and family went to Salinas, California, where their daughter Laura and her husband, Joe Perry were living. This would have been around 1924. In 1925 they moved again to Tranquillity, California on James Road. Teenage Tony and a friend and neighbor, Frank Torrano were out rowing a boat in the canal and were heading towards town. When there they decided to buy some hot dogs; then they decided to build a fire in the bottom of the boat to roast their wieners: Guess what? They burned a hole in the boat, the boat sank and all they had left was the two oars and floating hot dogs!
One day while Grandma Coelho and Grandpa Martin were left alone a home, a group of gypsies came by and invaded the house. One the gypsies blinded Grandpa with breast milk then went through his pockets for a lousy $1.00. (I suppose any man would sit there with his eyes wide open while this woman was squirting him with her milk.) What else the gypsies took is unknown, but it sure left the grandparents terribly frightened.
Grandmother Coelho died there in 1929. Around 1930 the family moved one last time to Easton, California, which is south of Fresno on Jefferson Avenue, where Tia Maria dos Santos died in 1943. Uncle Joe died in 1967. Cousin Tony and his wife Cecelia still live on the same ranch. Tragedy also struck Tony Martin's family having lost their only daughter Barbara and only son Tony Jr. It has been hard for them to bear and to overcome. Cousin Emily lost her young grandson James Freitas in a tragic accident in 1990.
Tia Filomena Martins was born in Lomba in 1890. She made her trek with her brother Uncle Joe Martin when he had gone back to the Azores around 1911 or 1912. At the time Uncle Joe and his family were living in Kerman where Tia Filomena met her husband to the Antonio "Eiras" Armas. They nicknamed all the Armases by that name meaning corn shucking. They must have been a shucking family. Uncle Tony's father was alos named Antonio Armas and had come to America at an earlier date to Massachusetts where he met and married a pretty French lady, Maria. He took her to Fazenda, Flores where she bore four children, Francisco, Joe, Tony, and Anna.
Uncle Tony came to America illegally to avoid the Portuguese military duty like many others did. Many took on whaling ships and when the ships moored on the East or West Coast of America they would jump ship.
Tony Armas proposed to Tia Filomena and planned their wedding soon thereafter. She was twenty-one and he was twenty-seven years of age. He drove a horse and buddy with Tia to St. Alphonsus Church on Kearney Blvd. in Fresno. It was a long ride and its was raining. Her pretty wedding dress became all wrinkled and she was terribly upset because of her dress. They had their first three children while living in Kerman, California. They were Joe, Tony, and Mary Ann.
Uncle Joe Martin and Tony Armas were in partnership in farming while living in Kerman. The had a problem with one of their neighbors who would cut off their irrigation water in the middle of the night. This went on too far and Tia Filomena suffering form asthma was advised by her doctor that she should move to a better climate so they all moved to Lompoc, California in 1918. It was there the rest of the children were born. There were Cousins Anna, Manuel who died at the age of six months, Frank, and Margaret.
When Tia Filomena died in 1932 Tia Louisa Vasconceles who was childless took Frank and Margaret the two youngest of the Armases and raised them as her own in their home on North Avenue southeast of Kerman, California. The home was built by my dad, Frank Martin, the carpenter. Frank and Margaret were eight and five years of age when their mother died and they went to live with Tia Louisa.
Frank joined the Marine Corps after finishing high school, and spent most of this time with the marines on Iwa Jima during the final phase of the war with Japan. He earned some distinguished medals for his participation in this action in the Pacific. Margaret married Frank Juranty in Massachusetts, and later moved back to Fresno. From there they moved to San Lorenzo, California, where their only child Michael was born. Margaret's husband, Frank, worked for Lucky Stores until his retirement. Their son Michael also works for Lucky Stores. When Michael was transferred to Palm Springs the family moved there.
Cousin Frank Armas married Eva Rebeiro from Massachusetts and have four children. They all live in Northern California. Cousins Joe and Tony Armas have both passed away in 1983 and 1989.
In 1920 when Tia Louisa Vasconcelos, born in 1891, Uncle Francisco "Frank" Martins, his bride Anna Mendonca Reis, her sister Mary Mendonca Reis, and Uncle Evarist Sousa all left Lomba, Flores following the same path and water routes as the ones preceding them. When they arrived on Faial, Tia Louisa and Tia Maria Mendonca Reis both contracted the flu and had to stay behind. Tia Maria had to find food for themselves, and had to beg for eggs and milk and any kind of nutritious food to get Tia Louisa and herself back on track. Staying on Faial for about a week they finally got passage to go to San Miguel, where they caught with the rest of the waterfarers. They all took a Greek linertaking many days of sea sickness across the Atlantic to their destination, New Bedford, Massachusetts. They spent about a month in Somerset, Massachusetts.
Tio Mariano Vasconcelos who had been herding sheep in Montana went to meet his bride Tia Louisa in Somerset, Massachusetts at Tia Isabel's farm. They then took the train to Montana where the winters are terribly cold. A story that Tio Mariano told of his adventures herding sheep was that in the summer when the snakes were out, he had to wrap burlap bags around his legs thick enough to keep the rattlesnake fangs from penetrating through to his legs. He related that at one time when he was running after the sheep, he stopped to find several snakes hanging by their fangs onto his legs. At night the snakes would crawl on top of the sleeping sheepherders to keep warm. Ow! Tia Louisa would say that it was so cold that the chicken's feet would fall off. Later they went to New Mexico to herd more sheep and after that they moved to Tranquillity, California to work for Mr. Hughes on his ranch. I remember as a child they lived on James Avenue. Later they moved to Joe Coelho's ranch in Mendota, California. Tia worked hard there cooking for all the ranch hands. They had a big home with a big diningroom, long tables with chairs, and in a screened porch there also were long tables and benches where they ate in the summertime. I saw "popcorn" corn growing for the first time there. There was a reservoir there on the ranch with many ducks and geese. There were lots of eggs in the bottom of the reservoir. Tia would raid their nests for eggs. I was always leery of them. A fish peddler would come by the ranch and Tia would buy octopus tentacles from him, and she would slice and pound the slices like you would do abalone. Speaking of ducks, there was a family living in Tranquillity by the name of Duck. I went to school with some of their kids.
Dr. Drake practiced in Kerman. This is a true story. One day one of Mrs. Drake's children was sick, and she called the doctor. When she said this is Mrs. Duck, he hung up on her. The Duck's had to drive fifteen miles to Kerman with their sick child to see the doctor. Dr. Drake came to where we lived in Kerman the day I was born. He didn't get there in time for the birth. He left some penciled figures on the bare wall on what my folks owned him. The figures were still there when I visited the place fifty years later. Let go back to where I left off. We children would take turns during summer vacation to spend a week or so with Tia and Uncle Vasconcelos during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Then they moved to their new home on North Avenue near Kerman. My brothers took turns herding Tio Mariano's sheep in the 1930s. I think they were always glad to go home and back to school. To continue this from Tia Louisa's story, Uncle Mariano smoked a lot. He rolled his smokes and coughed a lot. It was this terrible cough that caused his death in 1939.
In the middle 1940s Tia Louisa and Cousin Margaret Armas went to Massachusetts where Margaret met her future husband and Tia met her second husband Uncle Charles Goncalves who was also a widower. Uncle Charles was a brother of Uncle John Goncalves. Margaret married Frank Juranty while in Massachusetts, but Tia came home and was married in Fresno, California in 1944 or 1945. I took their wedding pictures.
Uncle Charles didn't like California, so they trekked back to Massachusetts. One more bad winter there, convinced Uncle Charles that California was the best place after all, so they returned again to North Avenue.
After the war was over Margaret and her husband moved to San Lorenzo, California where he went to work for Lucky Stores. They talked Tia Louisa and Uncle Charles into moving to San Lorenzo. They lived fairly close to one another. In the late '70s Tia and Uncle Charles sold their home to live in a retirement home. They both did great there until it was time for Uncle Charles to depart. He died in 1981 and she died in 1985. She was 94 years of age at her death.
In 1893 my father Francisco de Freitas Martins the eleventh child of Grandpa Antonio Martins was born. In his youth he was a crewman on a whaling boat which was also known as a long boat that was sail-powered until a whale was spotted then the sail was dropped and the boat was rowed until it close enough to the whale to be harpooned. This was an extremely dangerous occupation. Francisco Martins first came to America in 1915 with Mr. Joe Salvador who was my mother's uncle, Frederick Pimentel, and Venaoco Matias. My dad went to a dairy (where else?) that Uncle Joe Martin had on Madera Avenue. He later acquired his own dairy cows. When World War I broke out in 1911, Francisco Martins' turn was coming up in 1919, but the war ended and he was spared from that trek. In late 1919 Francisco sold his cows to a man named Ma Caminho (meaning bad road). He must have lived on a bad road, there the name applied. This man was a nephew of Uncle Joe Gomes Souza.
He was to pay my dad when he was able to. Francisco went back to the Azores in late 1919 to marry his sweetheart Anna Mendonca Reis. They were married in early 1920 and in June of the same year is when the five (previously mentioned) made their trek.
Francisco Martins became to be known in America as Frank Martin a very simple name, but by no means was my dad simple. Not only was he an accomplished carpenter, like his father, he also had a very inventive mind.
When they left Flores via the other islands, they took a Greek liner out of San Miguel. The seas were rough across the Atlantic, my mother was five months pregnant with me and became very seasick. I must have inherited this and passed it on to some of my children. They arrived in New Bedford, Massachusetts and stayed a month in Somerset, Massachusetts. This is when my dad and Uncle Evaristo Sousa built Tia Isabel's corn crib. In Rehoboth, Massachusetts, they helped to dig up Tia Mariana's potatoes and this is where my dad lost his new gold wedding band while digging the spuds.
They all left by train from Providence, Rhode Island, taking nine days to cross a country that would cause hardships for many, but not like what they left behind them across the sea. So it was a great opportunity for advancement and advance they did. To own your own home and your own soil was the best you could expect and this they indeed did.
Crossing the Great Salt Lake was a fierce experience for them. Not only was it hot, but the glare from the white salt flats was blinding, as they had no sunglasses. They had to contend with the coal soot form the engine blowing into their open windows. There were no showers then and they were lucky to have water to drink and a bathroom. (Can you imagine how many rosaries they wore out from the time they left Flores? From Fritz.)
Tia Mary Reis went on to Salinas to her Uncle Mariano Mendonca Martin's home where I think she worked as a maid as he was wealthy. He was one of the founders of the Spreckels Sugar Company. She didn't stay long after learning that Jose Fernandes Freitas was looking for a spouse. He proposed by mail and that was the beginning of a happy marriage. My folks stood up for their marriage in 1920 before I was born. My dad went back to the dairy in Kerman only to find out that Ma Caminho couldn't pay him what he owed him for the cows. My dad then retrieved his cows and they settled at the Enos ranch on Howard Avenue where I was born. In 1922 he moved his cows to North and Orange Avenues on the south side of Fresno. (This is what his saga is all about, trekking, and there's been very very much trekking in this whole episode; Trek, Trekking, and Trekked. I could use Safari. Safar in Portuguese is to leave in a hurry!)
Let's get serious now. The cows went to Joe Figueiro's dairy and we lived in a small house where brother George was born on August 31, 1922. (No Dr. Drake this time.)
By 1923 my dad found a place in Tranquillity to take his cows. So he and Joe Salvador drove the cows by horseback all the way through sloughs and open country. (Those cows trekked so much that they had to be taken to a blacksmith to have cowshoes put on them: Fritz.)
The Salvadors had a home for us while the cows were being milked at the Lucas Juanche dairy. My mother recalls the cows being mired in mud up to their udders. Ouch! In the meantime my dad had purchased twenty acres on Calaveras and Jefferson Avenues. In between milkings he began building his home, barn, dairy, and a garage. Garage? He didn't even have a car at that time. Our first car was a 1925 Ford open touring type, classy! Then came the 1927 Model T four door sedan with crank up windows. (This is called upward mobility.) When all the construction was completed and we finally made our last move sometime prior to January of 1924, as it was here that my brother Jimmy was born on January 8, 1924; then came Francis in 1927, and Josephy in 1933. Tia Maria da Gloria was my mother's midwife for little Joseph. I remember every evening we would kneel on the floor next to the kitchen table to say the rosary. This was hard on the knees. This made us very restless. Tia would lead the rosary. God only knows how many novenas and missions we had to go to during our early years on freezing frosty nights, no heater in the open touring Ford or the T sedan. We acquired many "froivas" or chill-blains when we would warm up our feet in the wood stove oven. My mother would fill fruit jars with hot water to keep our feet warm in bed. This was the only way we could get to sleep. During grammar school winters, by the time we got to school walking over two miles, we would place our feet up on the school's radiators, more froivas! Our toes were so swollen we could hardly get our shoes on. Many people to this day have never heard of chill-blains. I wonder how many of you out there have experienced such a "fete".
Around 1929 my dad gave up the dairy to continue his carpentry. He built many homes for relatives and friends, and was a master cabinetmaker. I remember in 1924 or 1925 when he and other carpenters began building the church foundation. I can still see the diagonal subflooring and wondering why the boards weren't running straight with the parallel lines of the foundation. He also built the quaint and dainty altar which still stands today in all its elegance. Not too long ago a motion was made to tear it down and build a new one, but the old timers said 'no'!"
In 1942 Dad, Tia Louisa, and Tia Maria da Gloria made another trek to Massachusetts to see their two sisters, Tia Mariana and Tia Isabel. They were there almost a month. They took the train and during the night the curtains had to be drawn due to the security imposed during the war. Before the three left to go back there, Tia Mariana had written to say that they had a surprise for my dad. I knew what it was. Yes, when they arrived there, Tia Mariana and her family presented my dad with his gold wedding band which had been uncovered in the potato field exactly 22 years to the month. One of his nephews found the ring. No telling how many times the soil had been tilled in those years. They all had a wonderful time visiting all the nieces and nephews. Our cousins put together a wonderful keepsake picture album for each of the trekkers. What wonderful memories they brought home with them.
In 1940 brother George enlisted in the peace time army services. He
went overseas on the first convoy to Casablanca, North Africa and participated
in the invasion in 1942. In 1943 fighting there and in
Tunisia he received the Purple Heart when his feet were frozen while they were fighting in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. From Africa he saw combat in Sicily and on the Anzio Beach Head. Brother Jim had been called to serve shortly after and found himself in Italy. Through the Red Cross he was able to find George recuperating again in Anzio. They had quite a reunion finding each other a half a world away from home. In June of 1944 my folks received a telegram from the War Department informing them that George had been fatally wounded in a ground battle four days before Rome fell to the Allies. This news was a horrible shock to all of us, and was hard to accept. By this time brother Francis was in the Air Force Cadets in Bozeman, Montana and after the war brother Joseph was in the occupation army in Germany.
In 1945, to forget his grief my dad began remodeling his home and adding on some rooms. My mother finally had a wonderful tiled kitchen with lots of cupboards that she never had previously. One thing that she complained so much about not having cupboard space and that dad had built cabinets for everyone else but not for her. It's just like shoemakers who run around with holes in their shoes.
In 1954 my dad had a severe heart attack from which he was bedridden
for six months. He recuperated and overcame this only to be taken from
us in a fatal auto accident that also took the lives of
Joe "Eiras" and Mary Armas. They are all buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery. My mother barely alive finally recovered after two months in the hospital, and losing one of her kidneys. Having a very strong will to live, she made it. After living in America since 1920, she finally got to go back to Lomba, Flores in 1970 to see her one sister and brother whom she hadn't seen in fifty years. It was a glorious reunion, with all her nieces, nephews, brother and sisters waiting for her and the rest of us at the Santa Cruz quay. There was a mob there including some who had taken several hours walking from Lomba. She remained there with her sister Elvira for one year. Upon returning home mother underwent surgery to remove a large benign tumor, and at this time it was discovered that she had diabetes. She lived with this for nineteen years. During her last five months she resided in the Sea Shell Rest Home in Morro Bay, California, doing great for her age and was bedridden during her last four days. Mother died in 1991. A mighty strong constitution she had. Her pride and joy was her garden. May she rest in peace, and hope she has her garden up there. She is buried next to my father at Holy Cross Cemetery in Fresno, California.
Tia Lauriana Martins born in 1885 in Lomba, Flores left Lomba with Tia Isabel Martins after Tia Maria da Gloria sent word that there was work for both of them in New Bedford, Massachusetts at the Owen Mill Factory. This is where Tia Lauriana met her husband to-be Manuel Motta who was also from San Miguel Island. There was a lot of San Miguelians in New Bedford. They were married in 1903, where their first four children were born, Cousins Joe, Mary, Bill, and Helen. From there they moved to Fresno, California, where Cousins Laura, Gil, and Frank were born. On December 25, 1918 when Frank was born Tia Lauriana contracted the Spanish Flu and died three days later. She is buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Fresno, California.
About 1925 Tia Maria da Gloria and Uncle Joe Souza took Cousin Laura Motta to raise her until she was in her teens. Later she met Tony Enos and they were married. Cousin Gil Motta was taken by Tia Maria Jose and Uncle Frank Freitas in Hauna, California where they raised him. After that the Mottas moved to Surf and Point Sal, and Guadalupe. They finally settled in Los Almos, California where Uncle Motta met a lady by the name of Maria George. They married and the stepmother tried to rule the roost. The girls were under strict rules as were most girls in our families. We couldn't even look or smile at a boy for fear that he may have sex on his mind. I know some of us sure looked hard. Is this why some of us have eye problems such afflictions, like myopia, glaucoma and light flashes? Too much eye contact? What is it like to have a nice date, holding hands and a warm kiss before marriage? Uncle Motta would have fun hiding candy in a trunk from his daughters, but they would always find the tasty sweets sooner or later. Also during the reign of their stepmother, she would hide the candy in the barn but the girls would find it again. It would always taste sweeter when it was found in hiding places; I know! The older girl did well helping to raise the younger siblings. What a trauma to lose your mother when you're so young! Tia Lauriana died in 1918.
Tia Maria do Rosario Martins was born in 1895 in Lomba, Flores and was the last of the Martin children to arrive in America. She stayed in Lomba, already being married to Uncle Evaristo Sousa. Their first child, Cousin Louise was born there in 1919. Tia had to stay there take care of her mother Maria de Trindade do Coracao de Jesus Philipe Martins. (This is what you call a long name.) Our grandmother died of breast cancer, what else could happen after nursing fifteen children? She was known to be a beautiful person, always laughing and had a sweet talk. She passed this trait on to her children who liked to giggle and chuckle a lot. Grandpa Martin was a very sweet and quite soft spoken person with a twinkle in his blue eyes. Grandpa also stayed in Lomba until Grandma died and then he came to America with Tia Maria do Rosario, Louise, and Grandpa arriving in Lompoc, California by train all they way from Massachusetts. They stopped to see his other two daughters, Tia Isabel and Tia Mariana in Somerset and Rehoboth. The Sousa's second daughter, Mary was born in Surf. Cousin Emily Martin was her midwife. Later there came Cousins Joe, Helen, Laura, Tony, Bill, and Alice. Later the family moved to Los Alamos where Cousin Louise met her future husband Joe Tosta. The family then moved to Camp Cook during the War where Vandenberg Air Force Base is now located. From Vandenberg the family moved to Tracy, California then from there to Ceres, California. In 1942 they made their final move to Stockton, California where their last child was born, Cousin Rosalie.
Tragedies have struck many of the Martin's families. Cousin Louise Tosta died suddenly due to a stroke in 1970. Cousin Bill Sousa was killed in a terrible auto accident in 1973, and Cousin Mary Bondietti's son Ernest Jr. was also killed in an auto accident in 1990. Maybe these tragedies shouldn't be mentioned but they happened to this loving family and to others, and they are part of the Martin History left for all the upcoming generations. We hope that no more of these tragedies will ever happen to anyone else.
Tia Maria do Rosario died in 1986. Our Grandmother Maria Philippe had a brother Jose Philippe da Ladeira. He was called Ladeira because he lived down a hill near Grandpa's home. He came to America at an early age and became a miner around Austin, Nevada. he was married and had a family, something we didn't know about when he trekked to California in 1930 to invade his nieces and nephews' homes like a man without a country. He like his moonshine whiskey, so he would get his nephews and nephews-in-law to fix and gather all that was needed to distill the whiskey. I remember that we had wheat and he used our garage to set up his equipment and he slept in the garage with his still. At times we would peek through the garage door crack and he would get mad and run us off. One time he was ready for us to sneak up to the door and he came out and struck brother Francis across the face with a switch which cut his face in two places, leaving the scars there for many years. His disposition was much different from what his sister's was said to be. One day my dad took him to Uncle Joe Martin's place, and the same thing happened there. He got into an argument with Uncle Joe, and he then took off to Tia Louisa's where I believe he also set up his still to start his distillery again. But sooner or later he got the "burra" and took off down the road like a hobo with his pack on his back and no one ever saw him again. He like to whittle creative things out of wood and wheat straw. Out of wood would come a complete link chain attached to a cage with round balls carve in the cage. We later heard that he was killed in an auto accident near Battle Mountain, Nevada, maybe too much brew.
This is the end of the Martin and Philipe saga. In hope that we have
not stepped on anyone's tootsies and I hope we haven't forgotten some very
important information. Wishing this will be appreciated in years to come,
and as each family grows you will add to the stories, statistics, and genealogy
for all generations.
47 - 10th St.
Cayucos, CA 93430
17. Antonio Avila Nascimento
Reflections Within My Kaleidoscope
(Memories of a Portuguese-American)
Mary Nascimento Simas
While passing a counter of assorted novelties in the "Five and Dime" store, my eyes fixed upon a kaleidoscope. It had been years since I had seen one. For an instant my mind flashed back to when I was a young girl. How enthralled I had been with the kaleidoscope I had received on my tenth birthday. I recalled the endless hours of serenity I had spent admiring the reflections with in the kaleidoscope. Compelled by the memories of my childhood toy, I quickly purchased the "reproduction" of what had brought me so much pleasure and relaxation. I took my new-found treasure home and sat down, promptly peering inside. Suddenly I felt a long lost feeling of peace come over me as I turned the shaft and a fuzzy pattern of blues and greens came into view. As I sought to focus the colors and shapes, I began to reminisce. It was than that I began a nostalgic trip of some of my life's memories while gazing within the colorful kaleidoscope.
In the design I observed a shade of sapphire blue which reminded me of the ocean my ancestors had crossed as they traveled on their journeys across the Atlantic Ocean to reach America. My ancestors were rugged people. They were originally inhabitants of the Azores Islands, located about 800 miles off the coast of Portugal. This islands were discovered around the twelfth century and for the most part have always been considered to be part of Portugal. Through the centuries most of the Azorean men have provided for their families by reaping rewards of the bountiful sea life or by tilling the volcanic land. Antonio Jose Gabriel, my grandfather, was no different. He was a fisherman and a captain of a whaling ship. He was a tall, slender and handsome man whose voice would often echo as loudly as the sound of the pounding breakers on the shores of his native island, Sao Jorge (St. George). He had bright blue ("bachelor button" blue) eyes and a neatly trimmed goatee which resembled a misplaced path of foam. He had married my grandmother, Rita Lauriano Lopes, and together they raised nine children. I remember my grandfather commenting that my grandfather spent a lot of time a sea. But judging by the size of their family, he certainly must have taken a lot of shore leaves. Grandmother Rita liked to brag about her ingenuity of inducing labor in those days of giving birth at home -- she simply took a strong whiff of snuff and gave a hearty sneeze.
Unconsciously, I once again turned the surface of the Kaleidoscope to try and focus the design which had somewhat hypnotized me. The crystals fell and formed a new design, clearer, but still hazy. The new forming design was made up of two distinct circles which had diamond-shaped pieces scattered around. The colors were becoming more involved: blues, greens, golds, whites, and brick reds. I saw two circles as representing my parents and the other pieces representative of the many other relatives in my family. My mind turned to memories of my parents.
My father, Antonio Avila Nascimento, was born in 1874 on Christmas Day in Sao Jorge, Azores. He was very proud of his birthdate and stated that half the world joined in celebrating his day of birth. He was born into poverty, a near orphan, who needed to beg in the streets for many of his meals. He went barefooted and claimed he got his first pair of shoes when he embarked for America. While still living in Sao Jorge, he worked (in exchange for food) by planting vegetables for villagers, fishing and at times by helping to bury the village dead. When he was sixteen years old, he signed himself aboard a fishing vessel. He worked for a year in order to secure passage to America.
Antonio Nascimento was a rather small man, only five feet two or three inches tall. Although small in stature, he had a strong back and a determination to work hard at whatever he did. He had tiny brown eyes and as an adult always sported a mustache to cover his thick lips. Upon his arrival in San Francisco, he found work as a dairyman for a local farm. Later he lived in San Rafael and worked at a brickyard where he took part in the making of bricks and cobblestones for the streets of San Francisco.
Antonio was eager to become an American citizen. In the 1800s it was possible to purchase American citizenship by merely paying a fee. My father gladly paid to become a citizen of "his" new country. He never learned to read or write, and although he lived 86 years, his signature was always made by making a crooked cross.
After a few years, my father returned to his native island. There he made arrangements with my maternal grandfather to marry his daughter, Rosa Gabriel. The plan was that Antonio would return to America in order to achieve some financial security. In several years he was able to send for the beautiful seventeen year old Rosa. Rosa was sent passage money and soon joined her husband-to-be in California. Antonio and Rosa were married on September 14, 1902 in Colma, California. My mother and father, like most newly married couples of their day, struggled in their early years. Almost everything was done by hand.
Antonio and Rosa started their family with the birth of my oldest brother, John Nascimento, on January 1, 1904. Not long after that, my mother longed for her family and the security of her native homeland. Mother was very insistent and was able to persuade my father to return to the Azores. The Nascimento family made the long and often difficult trip back to Sao Jorge. My brother, Tony Nascimento, was born there on March 16, 1905. After living together, both in the United States and in the Azores, my mother instinctively knew that my father was more content and had a much more promising future in America. She felt if her own mother and father would return with them to California, she too would be content. After much decision making, Antonio and Rosa Nascimento, their two sons, along with the Gabriel family departed from the Azores Islands to make their permanent homes in America
The two families worked hard together, toiling long hours. The men worked at the dairies and the women labored within the home doing their domestic duties. In 1910, Dad, Mom, Grandpa, and Grandma went into partnership and bought land on the old El Camino Real in San Bruno. The property was located near the site of the old Tanforan Race Track. It was in San Bruno that I, Mary Nascimento, was born on the ever of the New Year. While Rosa was awaiting the birth of her third child, she revealed to her midwife that she hoped the baby would be born before midnight. Mother was always a bit superstitious about the number thirteen and at that hour the year 1913 would begin. Right from the start I was an obedient child. I answered my mother's wish and was delivered at home about 11:00 P.M. on December 31, 1912. My first few years of life were experienced in and around San Bruno.
In 1914, on April 24th, the last child of my parents was born. The boy was named Manuel Nascimento. During 1915, my parents and grandparents moved to Santa Clara and leased a dairy off Scott Lane (now Scott Boulevard). The milk the family received from their cows was taken to the Santa Clara train depot to be transported to San Francisco. Each month my mother would journey to San Francisco by train to obtain a few gold coins for payment of the milk.
Around this time my family became involved in a special project started by the area's Portuguese community. My father talked about how he helped to build the magnificent Five Wounds Portuguese National Church located on Santa Clara Street in San Jose. The Portuguese community generously gave money and/or their time and service to build a church which would serve their ethnic and religious needs. The construction took place around 1915-1917. My father could not give a large monetary contribution, instead he labored for free. One of his jobs was to use his horses and wagons to haul gravel from a creek in Santa Clara to the church site in San Jose. The completed Five Wounds Church serves as a monument to the faith and hard work of many of the area's early Portuguese settlers.
While living at the Scott Lane dairy farm, I experienced something which left a vivid impression on me. I believe the occurrence was my first real case of child-fright. During 1919 a flu epidemic had spread across Santa Clara Valley. A doctor had been summoned to our house to treat my father for a broken leg (the result of being kicked by a horse). When the doctor and his nurse arrived in their buggy, they both had gauze wrapped around their noses and mouths. Due to the epidemic they were only attempting to protect themselves from exposure to germs, but in my child's mind they appeared to be some type of monsters. The house was dark and the strange figures and their attire left me with frightening images and a long remembered scene.
My first school experiences were at the old Jefferson School located on Kifer Road. My school attendance was not a regular basis. There were often chores to be done and during the bad weather the walk along the creek bed was too dangerous. From Scott Lane my family purchased and moved to a small apricot and cherry ranch located on Quito Road in the Saratoga area. Until a home could be built on the land, we lived in a water tankhouse which had been temporarily converted into a dwelling for our family. In a year's time, my parents bought and settled on what would be their final ranch property. They purchased the homestead farm built in 1869 by the Harry Lillicks. It was forty acres of grain fields and the year was 1920.
The property was located on Lawrence Station Road (now Lawrence Expressway) in Santa Clara (between the El Camino and Southern Pacific Railroad tracks). On that ranch I lived some of the most treasured moments of my life. I have many wonderful memories of the times shared there with my family, relatives, and friends. The main house on the land was a massive, white, two-story Victorian. There was a full floor at the ground level with one very large room and several smaller rooms. The main living quarters were on the second story and included a formal parlor, a huge dining room, a kitchen with a large walk-in pantry, bedrooms, bathrooms with wooden commodes (the toilet water tank was located near the ceiling and featured an attached long chain for flushing). A large screened-in porch surrounded the kitchen area. Outbuildings included several large barns and corrals, milking facilities, a carriage house, automobile garage, smoke house, chicken coops, and the ever present windmill and tank house.
My mother, Rosa Gabriel Nascimento, always kept a gorgeous garden. I'm sure my mother loved her house and flowers as much as my father loved his land, cows and other animals. Beautiful climbing roses adorned the entry to our home. Lilacs, Sweet Williams, asters, mums, dahlias, roses, and many other kinds of ornamental flowering plants flourished with her tender, loving care. Mother had a certain reverence towards her flowers. Even now I can remember how I perceived my mother's garden as a youngster. I visualized her garden as an altar and the picket fence reminded me of large, white candles. My mother often tended her flowers wearing a headscarf, which gave her a Madonna-like appearance. Every Spring her garden was filled beautiful and varied blooms. My mother was creative and thoughtful in her planting and planning. She had honeysuckle vines growing around the old "outhouse". the honeysuckle acted as a "living" deodorizer!
In 1920 my father bought his first car. He drove the care for over forty years, with no citations or traffic tickets. The car came equipped with may special features. It had mounted flower vases, window shades, an aooga horn, an exterior trunk rack, and sideboards. Dad loved driving up and down the coast of California: driving to Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz or Monterey Bay for a day of fishing or driving to visit relatives in the San Francisco Bay Area or going to the Central Valley (especially Gustine and Turlock).
At the age of twelve, before child labor laws, I worked in a Chinese cannery in the Alviso area. A truck equipped with benches would travel around to the area's farms and pick up women to work. My mother and I worked together during the "season". The days often stretched out over a shift of up to twelve hours. Thankfully the cannery season was relatively short.
After moving to the farm on Lawrence Station Road, I attended Brawley School and then graduated from Millikin Grammar School in 1927. I went on to Santa Clara High School where I enjoyed girls' sports and drama. I graduated from Santa Clara High in 1931.
In 1932, I married Antone Domingos Simas. Antone was born near Mount Tamalpais (Marin County), California on June 21, 1902. When he was three years old, his parents decided to move back to their native island of Pico in the Azores. When Antone reached the age of 17, he decided to return to the United States. He left Pico and travelled alone on a steamship to America. I met him when his mother's brother, Jose P. Pombinho, became a partner with my parents in their dairy. Antone and I had eight children. For many years we lived on a ten acre orchard situated near my parents' property on Lawrence Station Road.
While I was continuing to peer through my kaleidoscope and dwelling
on my married life, I was brought back to the present when I heard the
voice of one of my children. It was my daughter asking if I knew where
her blue dress might be. After responding to her question, I tried to return
to my entranced reminiscing, but it was to no avail.
I gazed at the kaleidoscope on the table, cherishing the pleasure it had given me. I thought about how good the old days had been and how thankful I was for my life today. I have good health, a loving family, and many treasured friendships. My kaleidoscope had served its purpose. I carefully placed it in a drawer and decided it would be a perfect gift for one of my grandchildren. I wonder what the colorful reflections will bring forth for him?
Maree C. Simas Schlenker
7357 Goose Meadows Way
Roseville, CA 95747
18. Antonio J. Nascimento
Memories for Sale
by Mary Nascimento Simas
Time stops for no one. As I take a longing look at the large family portrait on the wall before me, I am filled with pride. This heirloom photograph, taken in 1913 in San Francisco, California, represents the foundation of the Gabriel and Nascimento families. Among the adults pictured by my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and the children are my siblings and cousins. All of my ancestors came to the United States from the Azores Islands (Portugal) on ship or steamers. In the 1800s the blue waters of the Atlantic were the "highways" that brought my family members to America in search of a dream.
Grandfather, Antonio Jose Gabriel, arrived in San Francisco aboard an English whaling ship after gold had been discovered in California. He let his family know that he wasn't very impressed with the frantic search for gold nuggets. As a sea-minded person he immediately decided not to follow the hordes of men rushing to the gold fields in pursuit of the elusive metal. Antonio soon returned to Sao Jorge Island in the Azores where he married Rita Lauriano. He pursued a sea-going career on the ships that sailed among the nine islands of the Azores. He ultimately became a sea captain. In spite of the numerous voyages, the Gabriel family expanded with the arrival of nine children over the next fifteen years. One of Antonio and Rita's children was my mother, Rosa Gabriel. When Rosa was seventeen years old, she came to Colma, California to marry a fellow-Azorean, Antonio Avila Nascimento. Eventually all of Rosa's brothers and sisters came to California to settle in the San Francisco area and the San Joaquin Valley. Even Antonio Jose and Rita Gabriel came to California to be with their children. Antonio died in San Francisco around 1920. Rita lived with various family members and died at ninety-six years of age in San Bruno, California.
My parents, Antonio A. and Rosa Nascimento originally settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, near San Rafael. One of my father's first jobs was to make cobblestones to pave the streets of San Francisco. He worked at a brick factory which was located near the present day
location of San Quentin Prison. I have two older brothers, John and Tony Nascimento. After their births, my parents moved to a rustic shack near the once famous Tanforan Race Track in San Bruno. I was born there on December 31, 1912, and I have been running life's race ever since then. My younger brother, Manuel Nascimento, was born two years later.
The Nascimento family's next big move was in 1916 when my parents moved to a little house on a grain field near the present day Monroe Street in Santa Clara. In those days there was just one way to get to the property and that was to go down a winding, bumpy, washboard-like dirt lane that followed along the Calabazas Creek. In the early 1900s, Santa Clara Valley was a vision of field after field of hay growing along with blue lupines, California golden poppies and jaunty buttercups.
On our property we had dairy cows. My dad would milk the cows by hand and then my mother would drive the milk wagon, loaded with cans of fresh milk, to the Santa Clara train depot. The milk would be taken by train to San Francisco where the milk would be bottled and distributed to the people in the city. Just STOP and THINK a minute --- almost everything in the early 1900s was done by either a man, woman or child's hands. There was little or no electricity, plumbing, machinery or other modern conveniences. But its seems to me that most people were happy and challenged as they struggled with life's everyday problems.
In 1918, my dad was driving Alfonso, the horse, homeward in order to
do some chores around the house. Dad was in a bit of a hurry so he kicked
Alfonso in the buttocks, unfortunately the horse "back-fired" with his
hooves and broke dad's leg. This accident presented the family with some
problems. My brother John walked several miles into the tiny town of Santa
Clara to find a doctor. (At this time the entire world was in the midst
of the great flu epidemic.) I can still vividly remember the sight of my
brother John, the doctor and the nurse coming down the lane. They were
such a strange group as they approached the house; John exhausted from
his search and the doctor and nurse wearing masks over their mouths and
noses. It was many years later that I realized the significance of the
masks and the effects of the deadly flu virus.
After World War I, the folks moved to a cherry and apricot orchard located on Quito Road (Saratoga). My family was joined by my parents' partner, Jose Periera Madruga Pombinho, and my grandparents, Antonio and Rita Gabriel. We all lived temporarily in a converted tank house while a small house was being constructed. The post-World War I economy was very vigorous and the partnership of the Nascimento /Pombinho sold the Quito property at a profit.
In 1920, the partners purchased a forty acre dairy/grain field on Lawrence Station Road in Santa Clara from the Harry Lillick estate. (The Lillick's were old-time homesteaders.) The Nascimento family was delighted with the new place. It seemed just like a palace to us. The house was an old "Victorian" with three levels. It even had an indoor toilet that automatically flushed when you pulled the long chain. There was a ground floor cellar (ideal for making home made wine and beer), with a root cellar, and several large rooms. The main part of the house had rooms with high ceilings, several large bay windows, kitchen, pantry, three bedrooms, a parlor, and a huge formal dining area. There was even a spooky attic to explore. There was a decorative exterior with a large front porch as well as a practical back porch. A large old-fashioned garden completely surrounded the house. Roses, hollyhocks, lilacs, snapdragons, dahlias, and even several large asparagus fern plants twined around the ornate stairway to greet everyone with a fragrant welcome.
A great variety of buildings were scattered around the house. There was a large combination tank house/windmill, a gigantic animal and hay barn, a carriage house, garage and even a traditional outhouse. The outhouse had a wooden lathe facade that was entirely covered by a honeysuckle bush and bright orange trumpet vine. These flowering plants provided the occupants with a natural "deodorizer" for the regal "two holer". The tank house was used for water storage as well as for a variety of practical purposes. During prohibition Dad and J.P. Pombinho thought that the tank house would be better than the cellar for their beer and wine making apparatus. Every Spring my mother used a large brooder, placed on the floor of the second story of the tank house structure, to raise about fifty baby chicks.
When I was growing up it seemed that most of our social activities were centered around the church (St. Clare Church, Santa Clara and Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, San Jose) and various Portuguese organizations. My mother and father were both very active in the S.E.S. Council #1 in Santa Clara. My father would
always donate cattle for the Holy Ghost Festa and my mother was one of the cooks for the free sopa feeds. The Portuguese festas always featured the crowning of a queen, parades, dancing, auctions, a carnival, fireworks, and a band concert. There was something for everyone! My mother was also very active in the Santa Clara S.P.R.I., a Portuguese women's group. J.P. Pombinho was an active member in several lodges including S.E.S. and I.D.E.S. He often served as secretary for the local fraternal group and also for the Supreme Councils.
My happy childhood in the Lawrence Station Road area included walking miles (rain or shine) to school. I started my school experiences at the original John Braly School. While I was in the eighth grade, they closed Braly and I was transferred to the Old Millikin School where I graduated in the Class of 1927. I fondly recall the teachers that guided the children in my days. There were exemplary leaders that were respected and obeyed. Almost all of the families were bilingual (Portuguese, German, Swiss, Japanese, Italian, Yugoslavian, etc.). The mostly foreign-born parents encouraged their children to absorb the American way of life by learning English and getting a good education. Although in 1977 it will be fifty years since I graduated from grammar school, three of my former teachers are still living: Miss Virginia Mayne, Miss Frances Bradbury, and Mrs. Lillian Potter. We often get together for lunch and reminisce about the old days. In 1931 I graduated from Santa Clara High School.
Yes, I am a product of yesterday. I'm proud to say that my family's main vices were working in the dairy and the fields, eating, and sleeping. The Nascimento-Gabriel family did work to make their dreams come true in America. "Memories for Sale" --- but not for any monetary compensation, just for the pleasure of realizing my legacy.
Maree C. Simas Schlenker
7357 Goose Meadows Way
Roseville, CA 95747
19. Rufus Augustus and Eva Agnes (Enos) Santos
Rufus was born on his parents' hillside farm in Palomares Canyon on June 12, 1906. His birthplace has been recorded as Hayward, California, but in actuality it was Palomares Canyon which is in the Oakland hills between Hayward and Dublin, near Eden Canyon, and on the north side of today's Interstate 580. He was the oldest son of thirteen children, four who died at an early age.
Rufus' father, Manuel Victorino Santos, was born at Topo, Sao Jorge, Azores Islands in December 1865. He was the only son of three who left home at the age of eighteen in 1883, and took a ship to Boston. Like most young Azorean men of the time, he was a stowaway who worked his passage to the United States. He then took the train to San Francisco and found employment in the East Bay.
Rufus' mother, Rose Furtado, was born on January 25, 1881 in Sunol, California. Her parents were Jose Silveira Furtado and Maria Furtado who were both from Faial, Azores Islands. She attended local schools and could read and speak both Portuguese and English. Confusion enters at this point as to the surnames used by Rose's six brothers and two sisters. Some took the last name Kelby and some used Santos. The family tells the story of the great grandfather being a cook on a sailing vessel and who had red hair. It is assumed that he was a Kelby (Irish) or took on the name Kelby; therefore, those in Rose's family who "felt Irish" used the Irish Kelby.
Rose's brothers and sisters were: Rosalinda Santos who married William Quaresma and were owners of a Portuguese language Sacramento newspaper with the name "Imparcial;" Mary who married Joe Avilar; Manuel; Samuel Solsteen Kelby whose wife was Audrey and lived in Dunsmuir, California; John Kelby whose wife was Emily; Frank Santos; Henry Kelby who married four times; and Joe Santos.
Eva (Enos) Santos was born on her parents' ranch near Hughson, California on April 4, 1914. Her birth certificate records Modesto as her place of birth, but it was nearer to Hughson which is just east of Modesto. Her parents were Antone Enos Silveira, who was born at Topo, Sao Jorge on December 27, 1864, and Mary Lopes Silva who was born at Virginia City, Nevada on May 6, 1879. Antone's parents were both from Topo, and their names were Antonio Ignacio de Silveira and Justina Candida. Mary's parents were Francisco Lopes Silva born at Norte Grande, Sao Jorge and Rita Mendes born at Santa Cruz, Graciosa. Antone's brothers and sisters were: Manuel, Rose, Rosalind, Victorina, John, Joe, Condida, Emily, and another offspring whose name is unknown. Antone took on the last name of Enos rather than Silveira.
Antone left Sao Jorge at the age of seventeen by ship coming to Boston where he stayed only briefly. He came with a friend, and they paid for their passage. Antone then rode the train to California to the San Francisco Bay Area. He worked in the Livermore area and bought 160 acres of land near the base of the western hills.
Eva's mother, Mary, had several brothers and sisters: Isabel, Frank, Joe, Manuel, Lena, and Minnie. Their father, Francisco (Frank) left Sao Jorge when he was just twelve and was a seaman for many years. In the 1860s in came to California and ended up in Virginia City working in the mines. He married Rita Mendes and soon moved to Livermore and purchased a ranch. The ranch house is still there and it is called the "Century House" which is on Santa Rita Road. The house was restored by the city of Livermore for historical purposes. Rita and Frank had nine children of which Mary, Eva's mother, was the second child. Frank had three rings made in Virginia City. One was given to Rita who passed it along to Mary who passed it along to Eva. Currently, Margie West, Eva's daughter has it.
Rufus Santos spent his first six years of life on his parent's farm in Palomares Canyon. His father had a dairy with a few cows and grew grain. There was a grove of eucalyptus trees which provided wood for the house and also for sale to customers. Rufus' father took his hay to Hayward to sell. Rufus would ride along with him on the wagon as they traveled on a gravel road which is now a super-highway, Interstate 580. His mother busied herself, as most women did, with cooking, washing, and cleaning. She cooked bread and meals on a wood stove working hard to care for a family with little money.
In 1912, Rufus' father, Manuel, decided to move to the San Joaquin Valley because of irrigation and many Azoreans had already located into that vast area. He first tried Gustine and tasted the water. He then went to the Modesto area, near Hughson, and tasted the water there. Liking the Hughson water better, he selected Hughson as their next home buying a forty acre ranch on Baldwin Road. Manuel loaded his stock onto a train and drove them from the railroad station at his new location to his ranch. Rufus and the rest of the family rode a passenger train, and knew which ranch was theirs when they recognize their cattle grazing in the field.
Rufus attended Hughson schools and reached the sixth grade before he had to leave to work in order to help provide for his brothers and sisters. Part of his responsibility was to take the milk to the creamery in a wagon and after that take his brothers and sisters to school. His brothers and sisters were: May who married Gus Sequeira; Olive who died as a young child; Caroline who married Joe Azevedo; Erma who married Joe Bispo; Manuel; Louis who married Alvera Silva; Carl who married Florence Gillette; Eva who married Ely Serpa; and Mabel who married John Leonardo.
Rufus missed a whole school year at the age of twelve because he had a severe case of tonsilitis. His tonsils were eventually removed at Emanuel Hospital in Turlock. During the flu epidemic of 1919, Rufus never contracted the disease but everyone in his family did. No one died because the local Chinese herbalist provided herbs as a cure. From that time on, Rufus preferred herbal medicine. Apparently one day during the flu epidemic, he was sent to the store, and he was wearing a face mask to ward off any virus that might be in the air. He placed the mask over his mouth, but it did not cover his nose. While at the store, someone told him that he needed to put the mask over his nose too which he promptly did.
Rufus has always been well liked. He is a gentle and cordial person who is trustworthy and kind. When his parents forced him to work out at sixteen, the schoolmaster, Mr Schneider, who liked Rufus, visited his parents appealing to them to allow him to return to school. But that did not occur. Rufus first worked for a wealthy rancher, Mr. Tomlinson, who entrusted him with his special horses. He told Rufus exactly how he wanted them kept which the trust- worthy young man did everyday to the letter.
In these teenage years, Rufus milked a string of twenty cows by hand, pitched hay, and irrigated for $60 a month which went home to his parents. When, he reached twenty-one, he told his parents that it was time for his younger brothers to take his place because now he was going to keep the money he earned.
Eva grew up on her parents' farm near Hughson along the Tuolumne River which was their swimming pool. Her father, Antone Enos, was a shrewd businessman who amassed some wealth in his lifetime. He dabbled in real estate, farming, and had a dairy. He was an important member in the Azorean community. He was a board member for the Bank of Italy in Modesto, and he was the first president of I.D.E.S. in Modesto being the founder of the Modesto Portuguese festa. Antone was a large man who was referred to as the "Dutchman" because he looked Dutch and indeed his Silveira background at Topo was Flemish. He drove Hudson touring cars, and on one occasion, he flipped one into the local canal from which he swam safely. He married Mary Lopes Silva of Livermore on May 10, 1896 at Santa Clara Mission. They had nine children: Mary who married Tony Costa; Tony who married Mary Bello; Joe who married Marie Mattos; Lena who married Manuel Costa; Rose who married John Bruin and then Everett Tune; Frank who married Ethel Mathiason and then Lorraine Machaud; Emily who married Ray Doughty and then Harry Goodman; Eva; and Grace who married Thomas Duarte. Antone was a dedicated Catholic who attended Mass every Sunday. He could be seen as Mass began looking to see if all of his children had come to church.
Eva's mother, Mary, died of a heart attack on January 9, 1925, when she was eleven. She was a hard worker and somewhat overweight. She suffered a heart attack, and just before she died, she had her children gather around her bed telling them of their new responsibilities. After her death, her husband, Antone, now had children to raise on his own. They needed another mother. He married a widow, Mrs. Duarte, who lived in Livermore near where Antone once had property. She was just like a mother to her step-children.
Antone Enos, Eva's father, and Manuel Santos, Rufus' father, had lived near each other as children at Topo, Sao Jorge. They came separately to California and settled in different places for awhile. In 1906, Antone moved to the Tuolumne River property near Hughson, and in 1912, Manuel bought forty acres just down the road from him. One day, Antone approached Manuel to buy his forty acres which Manuel promptly consented. Manuel then bought sixty acres on Quincy Road nearby. It was at this time that their offspring Eva Enos and Rufus Santos became fond of each other.
Rufus was a handsome and hardworking young man. He was probably the most eligible bachelor in the Azorean community. He showed promise, and he was clean living. He drove a nice new cabriolet Chrysler. There were several young ladies interested in him, and with the encouragement of their parents, they pursued a relationship with Rufus. But Eva Enos won the day. She was a vibrant pretty young lady from a family of some means. They met at a dance, and from there, the fire of love brought them to the altar of St. Anthony's in Hughson on November 4, 1929. Their marriage lasted sixty-seven years (until Eva died) in which they had five children: Margaret (Margie) who married Warren West and had two children, Warren, Jr. and Linda; Harold who married Joann Brown and had two children, Ralph and Debra; Richard who married Sharon Rose and had two children, Richard, Jr. and William; Rufus, Jr. who married Dixie Taylor and had four daughters: Elizabeth, Tamara, Lori, and Kelli; and Robert who married Ellen Santos and had two children, Jeffrey and Diane.
Eva and Rufus honeymooned in San Francisco, and when they returned, they moved into a house on a dairy where Rufus was a milker. The house was a Dutch type with a house, barn, and hayshed under one roof. The rats were plentiful and one could hear the livestock on the other side of the wall which was something Eva was not accustom to coming from a comfortable home. Rufus formed a partnership with Eva's father on his 120 acres. It lasted for over four years and ended in bitterness with Rufus seeking a lawyer for a settlement. An agreement was reached and Rufus and Eva moved out finding other work. This was during the Great Depression. They had three children. Eva not only cooked for her family but also for the workingmen. There were many sacrifices such as Rufus building a platform on the back of his beautiful new cabriolet Chrysler to carry milk to the local creamery.
Rufus then went into partnership with his father on sixty acres where they raised beans and had a dairy. This partnership proved to be very productive. After a few years, Rufus formed another partnership with Ed Lawrence in a dairy business east of Modesto. This too was lucrative with Rufus and Eva buying thirty acres of land on Claus Road five miles east of Modesto. This was 1942. Rufus was 4F for the military draft because of having several children and his dairy occupation was crucial to the war effort. He had a dairy of Guernseys and shipped his milk to Modesto. In 1949, he needed more land so he rented sixty acres a mile from the home place. Here, he too had a dairy for awhile, but in the late 1950s, he put it into field crops.
Rufus formed a partnership with his son Harold for awhile and then later with another son, Richard. Both sons eventually went on to other jobs. In 1958, Rufus and Eva purchased another twenty acres next to them and in the 1960s ten more. By now they had a grade A dairy and were very successful. Their children were marrying and there were plenty of grandchildren being born.
Eva was an active mother and grandmother. She belonged to the local PTA and was a 4H leader. She supported all of her family in their activities plus she raised chickens, parakeets, canaries, and other birds for "pin money." Fishing was one of her joys. She was also the record keeper in the family business and was shrewd just like her father in business transactions.
Rufus and Eva's daughter, Margie, was a telephone operator, a Navy Wave specializing in communications, a FBI transcriber, a beautician, and finally the office manager for Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto where she stayed for over twenty years. Their oldest son, Harold, was in dairying and then in walnut and almond farming for over twenty years. Their next son, Richard, served in the army, was in dairying, and then worked for Hershey Chocolate in Oakdale for over thirty years. Their fourth offspring, Rufus, was in dairying and seasonal occupations for a short-time, and then employed at a commercial nursery for over forty years. Rufus and Eva's last child, Robert, was in the navy and worked for California State University, Stanislaus for thirty years.
Rufus retired in 1971 selling his cows and renting their acreage. The next year, Eva and he traveled to the Azores for a visit and also built a cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains at Pine Mountain Lake. They had a camper and traveled some in California enjoying their well-deserved retirement. In the 1980s, they sold their ranch but kept the house to live in. Because of burglaries and old memories, they felt they needed to move which they did in 1989. They bought a house in Turlock which was the first time they had ever lived in a city environment.
In 1993, Eva suffered a severe stroke which completely incapacitated
her, mentally and physically. For the next three years, her husband, Rufus,
cared for her twenty-four hours a day, feeding her and giving her medication.
He was a very loyal husband never leaving her side until she died on March
3912 Tanager Dr.
Denair, CA 95316
20. Manuel Antonio Sarmento and Filomena "Minnie" Vargas
Sarmento and Soito Families of Warm Springs, California
Manuel Antonio Sarmento was born on April 22, 1887, in Castelo Branco, Faial to Francisco Antonio Sarmento (July 14, 1840) and Maria Emilia Soito (August 5, 1852-July 1928). Manuel's siblings were Maria (October 12, 1876-1934), Francisco (December 11, 1878-1934), Jose (March 2, 1880-1936), Francisca (June 1,1885) and Antonio (January 28, 1889). With the exception of his brother Antonio, Manuel, his widowed mother, and his siblings all came to California and settled in Warm Springs area of what is now the city of Fremont.
Manuel's mother, Maria E. Soito, was the daughter of Thomaz Jose Soito and Anna Emilia Faria from Castelo Branco. Maria had six siblings Francisco (April 1, 1849), Manuel Jose Soito (June 10, 1850-1942), Luiza, who died in infancy in 1854, Luiza (January 7, 1856), Antonio (January 30, 1857), and Joe Francisco Soito (July 1, 1858). It was Maria Soito's brother, Manuel Jose Soito, who first came to the Warm Springs area of California about 1890 and was employed at the Curtner Ranch (see Frank Prada Vargas and Joe Francisco Vargas stories for more on Curtner). Manuel Jose Soito did not marry and, after establishing himself in California, sent for his godchild, Manuel Sarmento, his sister's son. Manuel was the first of the Sarmentos to come to California, leaving Castelo Branco at the age of 12 in about 1900. The young Manuel helped his uncle as they share cropped on the Curtner property. Much of this land was hilly and the story was often told that one year Tio (Uncle) Manuel Jose, as he was called, planted pea seeds and there was a terrible rainstorm that washed all of the seed down the hill. In the summers, the uncle and nephew worked on local haypress crews.
Manuel Sarmento and his uncle lived not far from the property that was farmed by Joe Francisco Vargas (see his story) who had a young daughter named Filomena, "Minnie" who was born November 26, 1897 in Warm Springs. The Portuguese who lived in this community gathered weekly for "house parties" where they danced the chamarrita and had refreshments. It was at one of these parties, in 1913, that the courtship of Manuel Sarmento and Minnie Vargas began. Minnie had come to the dance with her older brother Joe Francisco Vargas. A young man by the name of Faria became part of
their story when he announced in a loud voice that Minnie would like some peppermint candy. A chamarrita started and, as the young people changed partners, Manuel Sarmento placed two peppermint candies in Minnie's hand as he slipped his arm around her waist. After that evening, Manuel was a frequent visitor in the Vargas home, often offering to help his future father-in-law with farm work such as picking and sacking corn. Manuel had been courting another young woman by the name of Mary Furtado before he turned his attentions to Minnie, a fact that he did not think Minnie was aware of. When Manuel eventually asked Minnie to marry him, Minnie accepted but admonished him by saying "I hope you don't do to me what you have done to others!" Manuel was surprised and promised to be true to her. That summer he worked hard on the haypress team and the happy couple had little time for the formalities of courtship.
Manuel and Minnie were married October 4, 1913, in Mission San Jose, by Father Able Costa, with Minnie's brother, Joe, and his wife Annie Vargas as their witnesses. They drove to the wedding in a brand new car of Mr. Joe K. Dutre, who owned a blacksmith shop in Warm Springs. This was considered to be a great treat and luxury. Minnie wore a wedding gown and veil and changed to a navy blue suit with a fashionable "hobble skirt" to go away with her new husband who dressed in a black suit. Minnie's fashion statement became a hindrance when they had to race to catch the train in Warm Springs for their honeymoon in San Francisco.
The newlyweds made their first home on Vargas Road in a house built by Minnie's paternal uncle Tony Vargas, for whom the road was named. Minnie and Manuel lived there about two and a half years. During this time, Minnie, delivered two daughters at the home of her parents, Joe and Anna Vargas with her mother, Anna, acting as midwife. The loss of their first baby, Mary who died one week after her birth in 1914 was offset by the joy of the arrival of another daughter, Rosalind Anna, on December 14, 1915. During this time Manuel farmed hay in an agreement in which he share cropped with Minnie's uncles, Tony and Manuel Vargas.
Manuel and Minnie saved and were able to buy 27 acres and build their own home on Warm Springs Boulevard in Central Warm Springs. Here they planted orchards of prunes, apricots, walnuts and also farmed two acres of corn. Two sons, Joseph James (May 25, 1917) and Anthony Joseph (April 12, 1918) were born to them in this new home.
Manuel Sarmento's two sisters and his two brothers had also come to California by this time. Sister Mary Sarmento came in 1905 with a small son, Edwin, and married a widower, Antonio Silveira Brum (born about 1862 to Jose Silveira Brum and Maria Victorina do Vale, Castelo Branco), on June 25, 1909 in Mission San Jose, settled in Warm Springs and had two sons of their own, Tony (1911) and Joe (1914) who both died at a young age. Manuel's sister, Frances Sarmento, married Joe Narcizo (child of Jose Narcizo and Maria Praida Sarmento) on October 19, 1907, settled in Centerville and had one daughter, Mary (about 1908). Brother Frank married Mary Prada Vargas on October 14, 1905 and was left a widower with two small daughters, Madeline (1907) and Mary (1908) when his wife died in childbirth in 1910. Brother Joe Sarmento never remarried.
Minnie cared for many people in her life. Manuel's two uncles, Joe and Manuel Jose Soito were both cared for by young Minnie. Joe Soito was a barber in Irvington. Joe became an invalid from apoplexy and Minnie took care of him for the last four years of his life. This was a difficult task as he lost his speech and was bedridden for much of this time. Tio Manuel Jose Soito, lived with the family for twenty-eight years, from the time Manuel and Minnie's marriage. Tio Manuel Jose Soito had a horse drawn sulky and was frequently seen during these years driving around the Warm Springs area. He was cared for by Minnie until his death on May 7, 1942. Manuel had welcomed his widowed mother, Maria E. Soito, into his home from Faial, in 1917. Maria lived with Manuel and Minnie for about eleven years. Manuel Sarmento, Minnie's own dear husband, was stricken with a brain tumor and died on August 28, 1928. His mother, Maria Soito had a stroke and followed her son in death about a month later.
Minnie's caretaking days were not over with the death of her husband and mother-in-law. Manuel's brother, Frank Sarmento, the widower, had remarried Rose Andrade Mendonca and had three daughters by this marriage, Rose (1919), Lillian (1920), and Marjorie (192?). Rose Andrade Mendonca had 6 children from a previous marriage, John, Clara, Minnie, Gertrude, Angeline, and Annie. With Frank's two little girls from his marriage to Mary Vargas, little Madeline and Mary Sarmento, the household of eleven children was a very large one. Frank had diabetes and had his left amputated. He never fully recovered from the amputation and died in 1934. Minnie helped her brother-in-law's family by caring for the three youngest girls at various times in their childhood. Minnie also took care of Frank's daughter from his first marriage, Mary Sarmento, from the time she was 12 until she married, at age 19, on April 22, 1928 to Manuel Enos. It was after Mary's marriage in April that she took Lillian Sarmento permanently into her home in June of 1928. Lillian was seven years old and lived with Minnie until she married. Lillian married Louis Rodrigues on November 26, 1939 and is now a resident of Elk Grove, California. In retrospect, 1928 was a year of many changes for Minnie. Mary Sarmento left her home in marriage in April, Lillian, came to live with her in June. Her husband, Manuel, died in August and her mother-in-law died the next month. Her daughter, Rosalind, was queen of the Holy Ghost Festa in Mission San Jose in the spring of 1928.
Minnie was very resilient and, after Manuel's death, Minne continued to run the ranch on her own. She remarried John Souza (August 16, 1904-January 2, 1992, son of John F. Souza and Mary D. Pereira) on January 25, 1930. Minnie met John when she asked him to help haul her apricot crop with his truck. John joined in her farming operation until he took over Minnie's side job of custodian of the Warm Springs Grammar School. Minnie's son, Joe, then took over the farming of the ranch. John Souza later was appointed fire chief of the Warm Springs Fire Department and their meetings were held in Minnie's home. The fire equipment, including a 400 gallon pumper, was housed in her sheds. She donated water to the fire department, and the fire horn was attached to her water tank. John and Minnie divorced after 22 years of marriage and Minnie went to live with her daughter Rosalind who had married Alfred Smith (December 22, 1910-June 1,1988), the son of Joaquin "Jack" Smith and Isabel Pedro, who also raised their family in Warm Springs. Jack Smith, whose name was Americanized from the name Ferreira, was born in Half Moon Bay to Azorean immigrants (Mother was Isabel Serpa) who settled in California about 1868. Rosalind and Alfred Smith had one son, Alfred Joseph, born September 27, 1949.
Manuel and Minnie Sarmento's son Tony married Theresa Bernard (born October 6, 1919 in Niles to Fermino Bernard and Mary Neves) on June 28, 1940 and had one daughter Jacquelyn Ann, born December 30, 1946. Tony suffered rheumatic fever as a young boy and was left with a damaged heart. He tragically died on December 28, 1951. Theresa later Tony's brother, Joe Sarmento on January 28, 1951. Joe, together with Theresa, raised "Jackie," his brother's daughter, as his own. Joe died on June 6, 1988. Jackie Sarmento married Larry Wesson (November 28, 1946-July 24, 1985) on January 13, 1967 and had one daughter, Tracie Wesson (September 20, 1969). Tracie recently gave birth to Abigail Rose on February 19, 1997, the only great-great grandchild of Manuel and Minnie Sarmento. Jackie married Dennis Coates (March 3, 1942), on September 2, 1989 and they are currently residents of Valley Springs, California.
Minnie Vargas Sarmento Souza was always very active in her community. She was involved in the affairs of the Warm Springs Grammar School and was the first person to ever receive an honorary life membership in P.T.A. from that school. She collected for various fund raising drives and was a life long member of S.P.R.S.I. Sao Gabriel Council #84, holding many of the offices throughout the years. Always active in the Portuguese community, she belonged to the U.P.P.E.C. in Mission San Jose and I.D.E.S. in Warm Springs. Minnie died peacefully at the home of her daughter, Rosalind, on August 5, 1980 at the age of 82. Minnie Souza is buried at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Warm Springs. Her husband, Manuel Sarmento and his brother Frank are buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery on the hill in Mission San Jose. The house that Minnie and Manuel built on the main street of Warm Springs was moved to Hollister in 1982 when the property was sold. Minnie's daughter, Rosalind Smith, and her daughter-in-law, Theresa Sarmento live in Warm Springs today. Rosalind and Alfred Smith's son, Fred married Diane Augusto (born April 22, 1954 to Alfred Augusto and Marie Silva) on April 12, 1974 and live with their son, Cody, in Warm Springs (Fremont). Cody Smith recently graduated from the Warm Springs Grammar School, becoming the fourth generation of graduates from the school that Minnie attended, worked for and loved so much.
Susan Vargas Murphy
700 Selsey Ct.
Sacramento, CA 95864
21. Clara Sebastian
Leal Family from Pico to California
My paternal grandmother was Mrs. Clara Sebastian of Fresno. Because of that name and the fact that she lived in the Armenian section of town near the fairgrounds, she was often taken for a member of that ethnic group. This used to annoy her no end!
During the '50s I went to live with her in Fresno for three years to attend Fresno State College. She was a good cook and taught me to love Portuguese beans with bacon rinds or ham hocks, fava beans, kale soup, turnip greens soup, linguica, egg bread, and home-made white goat cheese in the style of Sao Jorge. However, goats' milk was unfathomable as was the morcelas (pork blood sausage). We are a lot of mush. In those days bottled milk for your cereal was delivered to the door each morning with your newspaper. Her garden gave not only the kale (couves) and the turnips (nabos) but lots of greens for salads, and Azoreans think anything could be made better with a shot of wine vinegar or olive oil. Her rice puddings with raisins were outstanding. We always had raisins and dried apricots to eat and use in the cooking of various dishes. We had fish every Friday as Catholics did in those pre-Vatican days. But never cod fish? She didn't bake much as a rule, except the various holiday breads. We always ate at a tiny table in the crowded washing porch even though there was a formal dining room which was never used?
My father told me that during 1920, when their family was very poor, after losing their breadwinner, they had mush every day, sometimes three times a day. And without the raisins!
In Fresno Grandma Clara had a nice little white stucco house in good repair with neat lawns. There was a cherry tree which produced a good crop nearly every year behind the free-standing garage without a car. In the back, behind a tall hedge, was a fairly large chicken pen for fresh eggs and meat. She was not much into flowers but usually had a few dahlias and zinnias. The whole place was surrounded with a white picket fence and various clipped hedges.
This house was chosen because it was nearly half way between the homes of her two daughters who lived in S.E. Fresno. She was always careful not to play favorites. Her third daughter, and her husband, owned a large modern dairy in Easton not far to the south. Clara usually had contact with each daughter everyday.
She had taken in roomers before and her nephew, Alfred Leal, had lived there while he attended FSC. Young Mary Fontes, her grandniece, had also lived there while attending the conservatory of music. Mary could sing like an angel!
Clara sometimes took care of neighborhood children and was popular with them. The only outside work that she did was seasonally cutting apricots into halves to dry with powdered sulphur. There was a commercial cutting shed about a half a mile from her house, and we used to walk over there to work in June. She was very fast and efficient. I was just the opposite. She got a discount on dried purchases even though we had a very large heavily producing apricot tree on the ranch.
She owned a ranch of 101 acres east on Monmouth which she had inherited from her second husband. It was rich productive level land and mostly planted in Thompson seedless grapes. There were also twenty acres of precious Muscat and Malaga grapes and fifteen acres of open land often planted in Egyptian cotton. The Thompsons were usually dried into raisins, but a few annual crops were sold green to the Roma Winery. During World War II raisins were worth their weight in gold! Out back there was one row of exotic grapes of every variety known.
The ranch house, where she lived from 1925 to 1943 and where we lived from 1943 until 1955, was a large white elegant California bungalow. It had many steps, porches with pillars and a tall three story tankhouse from which one could see the whole world! J.J. Sebastian had built his house in an area surrounded by tule ponds and eucalyptus forests. As a young man herding sheep, he had seen the Tulare Lake flood and had a fear of high water. So he built his house up on large upturned redwood logs so that one could go under the house and stand upright! From a distance the house looked like one of those two story white plantation houses from down South, except that there were a dozen orange trees and one lemon tree in front. There was a free-standing garage, two large barns, a tractor shed, and four other houses. One of them was a small cottage almost completely overgrown by a huge Cecile Brunner rose bush. Here Carl Ambrose, the famed festa cook wand New York Life salesman, and a son-in-law of J.J., lived with his second family. Another son-in-law, Manuel Rose, and his family lived just across Minnewawa Avenue.
Grandma was fluent in speaking both languages and could read in Portuguese but had never learned to read in English. In spite of this, she took the daily Fresno Bee newspaper to look at the advertisements and to check prices, etc. She received regularly several publications printed in Portuguese from various lodges and groups, especially those of the S.P.R.S.I. During these years her correspondence was written by myself as she was unsure of herself writing in either language. In my senior year, feeling more secure in college, I began to teach her to read in English and found that she was a quick learner and that she already knew more than expected. She always spoke to her three daughters in English, but she usually spoke to her two sons in Portuguese and they normally answered her in English! Though I had spoken Portuguese until the age of four, by the age of 18, my vocabulary was limited to only a long list of nouns and place names.
During my last two years at FSC, while working at Rodder's Mademoiselle and usually being gone from morning till night, grandma got lonely, so her daughters got together and bought her one of the first T.V. sets in the neighborhood. It made her somewhat of a celebrity with a house full of friends. They used to sit around on her overstuffed couch and chair and watch mostly cowboy and Indian films and wrestling! Grandma would get very excited and exclaim, "Look at that! Look at that!"
Though I was her oldest grandson by her older son, there were three grandchildren older than myself in our family. However, I was the only one who was really interested in stories of the "Old Country" which she loved to tell. Of course, she meant not Portugal or the Azores but the island of Pico!
She also told me some very interesting stories about the Silveira family of her first husband, stories that were not widely known, stories that my grandfather had decided should die with him. However, she decided that someone should know them for history!
Clara Margarida Leal was born on Pico island on 14 February 1880, in a place on the southern coast called Sao Joao do Pico em Cima. She was the daughter of Joaquim Manuel Leal (1849-1922) and his wife, Rosa Emilia Margarida Gregorio (1847-1931). For some unknown reason her mother was sometimes known as Rosa Luiza do Coracao de Jesus Leal? They were married on 30 January 1871. She was self-conscious of the fact that she was older than her husband? Clara was a "middle child" in a large Azorean family as she was the fifth of nine children. Three of whom were named Manuel and two of these died. The third Manuel was born on the very day that the second one died!. Thus seven Leal children grew up healthy and strong to adulthood. Five of these were to immigrate over the years to California.
It was assumed that the Leal family had "always" lived in Sao Joao (St. John's), but it was known that the Gregorio family had come from the village of Santo Antonio on the north shore of Pico island a generation before. However, with the recent publication of the white book of Dra. Maria Norberta Bettencourt Amorim, which covers the area of Sao Joao, old records show that the family name had earlier been Leal Ferreira and they had come from the larger city of Lajes/Lagens farther to the east on the south side of Pico. Also that even Clara's paternal grandmother, called by the family, Rosie Silveira, had come from the nearby village of Terra do Pao (Land of Bread).
The Leal family were rather middle class by Pico standards and often held official positions. Although that was soon to change because of Joaquim's large family. If immigration had not been possible, there would have been great problems in the early years of the 20th century.
Joaquim Leal was the hereditary miller of Sao Joao and owned the local windmill. That is why they lived em Cina (up on top) as that is where the wind is. One had to get up there by navigating a steep goat trail. There were many accidents. In addition to the windmill, there were two large houses, a garden of kale and other cabbages, and a big field of pumpkins. When told this as a child, there was great disappointment that my ancestor had been a pumpkin farmer rather than a whaler or a pirate! One of the houses was the largest in the village with one unusually big room and dances were often held there. Joaquim's widowed daughter, Rita Conceicao Martins, lived there with her two children. They owned the town store down below by the waterfront. All of the other Leals lived in the other extensive house. Leal descendants still live there today, but the building is half in ruins with gapping open windows.
Joaquim Leal didn't get a good education because he had to go to work at an early age. But it was for this same reason that Joaquim was so well of because he was virtually an only child. He had only one sister, Maria Francisca (Leal) Silveira Tristao (1853-1934), married late in life and had no children. Their father, Antonio Leal (1811-1853) had died young before producing many offspring. He had been a Guarda Fiscal (coast guard officer) who died heroically rescuing a lady and one-legged man from a shipwreck in the strait between Magdalena and Horta. He "fell back dead." He was listed in a survey of 1878 as having been the commander of Lajes. He had a good education and assistants. The two children were never allowed to play or to go near the ocean. Antonio's widow, Rosie Silveira, never remarried. This left all the family responsibilities on the shoulders of young Joaquim.
Antonio Leal was the son of the miller, Andre da Rosa Leal (1757-1822) who on 31 May 1810 married Antonia Francisca Pereria da Rosa (1790-1859). The big gap in their ages caused Antonia to be widowed at such a young age with small children that she was remarried in 1825 to Jose Pereria Thomas (1799-1882). Antonio's widow, Rosie Silveira's full name was Rosa Francisca Silveira (1818-1880). Her parents were Joaquim Silveira (1775-1856) who on 27 January 1800 married Rosa Francisca Rodrigues Pereira (1780-1853).
Clara was a pretty girl with twinkling blue eyes which pointed to her Flemish ancestry. She was a lively and happy child who helped in the garden, had an interest in cooking and in religion, didn't care much for small animals, but loved to play with the goats on the paths and took many a tumble. She was greatly in awe of her brothers, especially Tony who was studying to become a priest. All of her brothers went to school. She was always a bit afraid of deep water which was difficult for her because she was surrounded by it! She was not allowed to work in the mill or the store but had many chores around the house.
She spent much time down below in the parish church and described it
to me as if it had been only yesterday. In later years she had a private
chapel or shrine in both of her homes with a wall cross, large religious
statues of the saints, and candles usually burning. In the evenings, after
supper, during study hours, she would quietly say her garnet rosary for
an hour or so. One of her favorite sayings was:
"Ay, Jesus!" That got a lot of use during the night of the big earthquake in 1951! At the age of 16 she joined her three brothers on an expedition to climb to the peak of the great volcano which forms the whole island of Pico. It was semi-active at the time giving off smoke and sulphur fumes. It scared her nearly to death. For the next two years, until she left the island for America at the age of 18, she said that she never had a comfortable night knowing that she was sleeping on the side of an active volcano!
Joaquim Leal's three sons were named Antone L. "Tony" (1875-1959?); Manuel Joseph (1883-1960); and John (1886-1959). Tony was the first of the Leal clan to sail for America. He went to New Bedford, Mass., and quickly got a job and was able to pay back his father for his passage. He and his brother Manuel would leave Massachusetts and go on to California in the new century. Young John came directly on to California later. In time he would have the largest family of all with six children: John Jr., Joe Louis, Joaquin called "Jack," Mary Helen (Leal) Yost, Louis, and Alfred.
The oldest Leal child, Maria Rosa "Mary Rose" (1873-1953), called "Big
Mary," married Joe Francisco Machado (1861-1933). He went to California
in 1883 and to Selma in 1894. The family story goes that he went back to
Pico, got his woman and brought her to New Bedford and married her. She
was the first Leal to go to California in the year 1893. They settled rather
early in the Terry District west of Selma and are listed as among the founders
of the Roman Catholic parish of Saint Joseph's, which was to become our
family church. They had a large family of five children, two sons and three
daughters: Alfred M. Machado, Mary (Machado) Leal, Joseph L. Machado, Lela
(Machado) Pinheiro, and Clara H. (Machado) Stedham.
In addition they lost six children.
Rita Conceicao (1877-1914) stayed on Pico and died young. She married on 6 February 1899, Manuel Goulart Martins called Albernaz (1876-19?). He did go to California to seek his fortune but found only an early death. He died of sunstroke near the town of Monmouth one September as he was drinking wine. He crawled into a nearby empty ditch, a drain for fishing, to drink. He was yelling to Mrs. Abernathy, a mulatto woman, who cried and cried. For some reason his body turned black as coal, and those who found him thought that he was an unknown Negro. He was buried in a unmarked grave in a
potters field and years later the family could not locate the spot. Martins had a son and a daughter. The son, Manuel Goulart Alvernaz (1899-1973), ran the mill in Sao Joao. He was said to be "weak minded?" The daughter, Mary Margarida Martins (1901-1966), was brought over to California by her uncle Manuel Leal to marry Joe Joaquin Fontes, Sr. of Caruthers.
Clara was eager to join her brothers in New Bedford. However, there was a slight snag. The Gregorio family wanted her to stay and marry her cousin of that Lineage. One of her aunts had not married but had borne a child of the village priest. He had grown up to be a fine good looking young man who was destined for the priesthood as that would be the best solution to the whole problem. Unfortunately for all concerned, he had fallen in love with cousin, Clara Leal! After much soul searching, she decided against such a match for many reasons. Preparations were rushed through for a hurried departure. She booked passage on a small Portuguese sailing ship leaving Lajes.
It was decided that the youngest Leal daughter, the 9th child, Maria da Navidade, or "Little Mary," (1888-1891), should marry and stay behind on Pico to look after the parents in their old age and that she would inherit all of the family property for her support. All agreed to that, and it came to pass. She married Francisco Jose Goncalves (1884-1964) on 28 November 1912, and had a son, Benjamin Leal Goncalves (1914-1990), a farmer & fisherman, and also a daughter. Her daughter, Maria (Goncalves) Duarte (1915- ), much later came to California too with her husband and their whole family.
These men were destined to be the last Leal millers of Sao Joao. The historic old Leal windmill was forced out of business with the importation of cheap wheat flour from the American Midwest and Argentina. It sadly fell into disrepair and ruin. In the latter years of the 20th century, wealthy Leal descendants in California took an interest in the old edifice and it was restored to its former glory as a memorial to all of those Leal millers now passed on.
The 1898 passage of the North Atlantic Ocean was a rough one and took a whole month. The sailboat took on water, and they had to throw baggage overboard, and everyone was seasick and afraid with much prayer going on! They finally arrived off the port of New Bedford, docked, and just walked ashore without saying a word to anyone. Such was the casual status of immigration of that day! In 1903 the federal government established an immigration station in New Bedford, but it was too late for the Leals!
It didn't take Clara long to find her brother's establishment and to move in as housekeeper. However, she soon discovered that this arrangement didn't give her much freedom.
Since she didn't speak a word of English, the only positions open were those of "green girls" working in the kitchens of American families. If a girl was attractive, clean, pleasant, hard working, and would learn English, she could move up quickly to bigger and nicer homes with better jobs and pay. That is just what Clara did. She always preferred the job that had the most to do with the children as she learned English from them. Her first phrase in English was: "Say, what do you call this?" She liked to tell the story that the one word in English that she could never remember was: stove. No matter how many times she learned it, she would soon forget it.
New Bedford was a fascinating place in 1898 and 1899 for someone from Pico or the Western Islands. It was a big city with a dense population. There were brick and granite buildings, paved streets full of fine horses, carriages, and streetcars, sidewalks full of busy well dressed people, broad boulevards with shade trees, green parks and cemeteries, fine public buildings including the customs house, a library, schools, banks and newspaper, electric lights and telephones, commercial establishments of every type large and small, lovely residential areas on the hill and across Buzzard Bay in Fairhaven, an important port district, fishing piers, and large factories, mostly cordage, textiles, shoes, glass and metals on the southside in Ward 6, where most of the recent immigrants lived and worked. The majority of these newcomers were Portuguese, French Canadians, Italians, or Poles. Catholics all, but with separate churches and organizations. Whaling was still going on, although much reduced, but that was old hat to villagers from Pico.
One thing that greatly pleased Clara about America was that all of the Yankees celebrated her birthday!
By 1899 Clara was living on the hill on Cherry Street with the Gilbert family, cousins of the family of the famed "Lizzie Borden" of Fall River. Later she was a lady's maid to an aging spinster of that family. In addition she had met the great love of her life: twenty-two year old Joseph Augustus da Silveira e Terra Brum. His aristocratic family were opposed to the match, but soon they were engaged anyway. However, he was a gentleman socialist, and she was in no hurry to give up her new way of life. She made him wait six years for marriage!.
By 1902 she was living on County Street where the barons of industry, bankers, owners of whaling fleets, and a few successful lawyers and sea captains lived. She worked as a housekeeper to the Howland family, wealthy Quakers. By then Clara and her cousin, Anna A. Souza, were stylish young women, well dressed, making their own way, and enjoying life. They went to Mass at old St. John's white wooden church which was the first Portuguese church in the U.S. After a fire, it was replaced by a granite building in 1909. By the late '90s the Portuguese colony in New Bedford had an annual festa at their Monte Pico Hall, with sopas and a parade, which was never missed by all of the young people.
In the meanwhile there was a new Catholic church dedicated by the Portuguese community of New Bedford. It was a very large wooden structure with two towers. There were to be five large new bells consecrated to the faith, each by a virgin princess. She was overjoyed to be chosen as one of the girls. The priest, Father J.D. Nunes, who seemed a little sweet on her, told her that her name would be engraved inside her bell for all eternity and that each time it rang it would say a prayer for her in Heaven! This was the same priest who would later perform her marriage ceremony. In 1971 I climbed up into the towers of Mt. Carmel and inspected the bells and found no inscriptions.
In addition to her brothers, Clara also had two male cousins from Pico, Manuel Souza and Manuel Leal as companions.
In 1914, before she was to marry, Clara Leal made a visit home to Pico to see her parents and her two sisters one last time. This time there was no little sailboat. She sailed on a large steamship which docked at Horta de Fayal. She took presents for everyone and tales of life in a big city. She had a wonderful visit, but her eventual parting was very sad as everyone realized that it was forever! As was the custom of the time, she returned with others from her village to help them get a start in America - that magic land!
Finally in 1905, on 11 February, Clara Margarida Leal became the wife of Jose Augusto da Silveira. The priest told her confidentially that it was only time he ever regretted his vows! But he probably said that to all of the girls? Daughter Mamie Gertrude was born on 21 December 1905; daughter Clara Margarida was born on 4 January 1907; daughter Evelyn Josephine was born on 13 Mary 1910. All in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
They lived for a long while on Rivet Street near her in-laws, whose extensive family owned three large multi-storied houses on Sidney Street. One was yellow, one was green, and the last was at times grey and sometimes white. This was in the Portuguese section in the south end of town near two Portuguese Catholic churches. Her husband was not religious, but Clara frequently attended the early fishermen's masses before going off to work on the streetcar. The family never missed Mass of Sunday where they could show off their daughters in all their finery.
It was difficult for young Joe to work in plants with his compatriots and his brothers-in-law so he and his only brother, Antonio J. Silveira, commuted to jobs in Fall River. In time Joe came to really hate that dirty industrial city. His political philosophy was that a young man should marry a good peasant woman, have many fine sons, and work the land. His desire to be a farmer was very strong, but it was nearly impossible in the New England of his time.
At the same time, word was coming back from California about how well all of the Leals were doing out there! Big Mary wrote about their grape ranch near Selma, their new home, the growing family, the church, etc. Manuel Leal, who had lived and worked quite awhile near Hanford, in 1909 moved to his home ranch near Caruthers. It was mostly in grapes too. His letters were the most insistent and influential in bringing the Silveira family out to California.
Finally in 1910 the dye was cast and they all decided to move to California. Evelyn used to say that she was born in New Bedford but celebrated her first birthday in the Golden State! Everything of value was packed up, everything else given to family and friends, and they came west by Southern Pacific train to Selma station. They stayed at first with the Machado family 5 miles west of Selma. There Joe began to learn about vines and peach tree culture which was the predominant agriculture of the time in that region. It was a sad time as the Machados lost a little boy just before Silveiras arrived and then lost a baby girl not long after they arrived.
Soon Joe took a position on the large Smith Ranch in Conejo. Conejo was a R.R. stop on the Santa Fe line. Conejo, which means rabbit in Spanish, is a rather desolate place on the edge of the world and at first Joe was not happy there. The little house where they lived has been replaced in our times by a cotton gin. They stayed there several years working hard to save a nest egg to buy that desired farm. Here their first son, Manuel Louis Silveira, was born on 13 February 1913. He was born with a purple growth under his left arm and the doctors wanted to amputate. However, Clara said that she would rather have him die than go through life with only one arm! As it turned out, the only time it ever effected him was when it made him 4-F in World War II.
Not too long after 1913, the Silveira family bought 40 acres mostly in Peach trees on Fruit Avenue just northeast of Caruthers. This was in an irrigated area with very rich soils. There was a small clapboard house on the property. This was for a couple of generations the standard style of rural houses in the San Joaquin Valley. Finally Joe had just what he wanted. They were very happy there and on 21 March 1916, their last child, Joe Louis Silveira was born. One source told me that he was their only child born in a hospital in Selma. However, his birth certificate does not say that?
World War I did not effect the Leal family in any meaningful way. Although several of the relatives served in that armed conflict.
1919 was the year of the terrible worldwide epidemic of the Spanish
influenza. It was to lay a heavy hand on the family of Clara Leal Silveira.
Her husband came down with what was called in those days "La Grappe." In
spite of the fact that influenza had broken out in the Monmouth-Caruthers
district, he had gone to a large funeral of a family which had died of
that disease including children who were held up to show the other young
people. Joe was very depressed and told his wife that he felt that if he
contacted the plague, he would not survive. He continued to prune his peach
trees in the cold weather and came in sick and went to bed. He was delirious
for eight days. Clara became frightened and had the doctor out. Dr. O.P.
Pisor told her all would be all right, but he stopped my Manuel Leal's
and told them that he would not survive the night and to get his lodge
papers in order! Both Uncle Tonys came down from the Bay Area. One of the
Portuguese insurance companies tried to renege, but Tony Leal, an important
man by then, made them pay up! Several others of the family were sick and
their daughter Mamie, aged 13, was very ill and not expected to live. Rumor
spread that both had died and were on either side of St. Joseph's church,
which was not true. They did hold up the funeral to see if the two would
be buried together. Joe's
tombstone bore the inscription: I.D.E.S.
The Selma Irrigator newspaper reported: "Sylvera - Near Caruthers, April 30, 1919, Joe Sylvera, native of Azores Islands, aged 39. Funeral services were held at the Catholic Church May 3rd, 1919. Interment at Selma Cemetery." The newspaper managed to get the date, name, and age wrong: [29th, Silveira, 42]. On May 3rd they reported: "Monmouth Notes - The influenza epidemic has again broken out in this vicinity. Dr. Pisor reports forty cases. The grammar school has been closed, and the upper grades have home assignments. Church services have also been postponed."
In those days most of the irrigated bottom lands of Fresno County were held by small farmers. But in reality the titles were mostly held in mortgage by the Bank of Italy. Later to become the Bank of America. Whenever there was a problem, the bank would move in and take over and install a resident manager. Such was the case with the Silveira farm.
Strangely enough this bank policy was one of the ways that recent Azorean immigrants without funds could get a piece of land and a house to live in. We knew nearly as many Portuguese residents as farmers during the Great Depression years.
Joe left few worldly possessions to his family. Only his 4-10 shotgun, his guitar, a man's garnet ring, a gold pocket watch, and his lodge pins.
Clara, left a young widow with five children to support, moved to 20 acres right next to her brother, Manuel Leal. Her brother, John Leal built a small four room clapboard house for her with a small garage. This land was cheap as it didn't have a well and was not irrigated land, even though a large dry canal with a few enormous cottonwood trees on its banks cut through the center of the small property. There were a number of rabbit cages under the trees. Clara owned this worthless piece of property during the whole of her long life, and she and her elder son, who sometimes lived there, became convinced that there was a fortune in oil just below the surface?
These were seven hard years for the family and Clara and to go out to work. Her two older daughters had to quit school to go to work too. Her two older daughters had to quit school to go to work too. A kind teacher at the Alvina School helped Evelyn earn a little money. In spite of all of this, daughter Clara was the queen of the Selma festa in 1920. Then in 1924-25 that honor fell to young Evelyn. Clara's mother-in-law, Marianna Luiza (Benedito) da Silveira (1856-1943), came out to help with the younger children. It was not a happy arrangement and most of the stories that have come down to us paint her in unflattering terms. Some have even called her the "Old Corvo Witch!" She was said to have been mean, a very strict religious person, always dressed in black with many religious medals pinned on, and she put snuff in her nose. She forced the children to pull her around in a pony cart. Years later they loved to tell how they pulled her to the top of the canal bank and then let her go crashing down through the tumble weeds!"
Then in 1925, which our family calls the year of the marriages, everything changed for the better. At the festa and church, Clara met J.J. Sebastian who had lost his wife, Theresa Mello, the year before. He was a wealthy older man, one of the founders of the Sun-Maid Consortium in 1913, with two married daughters, Mary Rose and Lucille Ambrose. He wanted to marry Clara but didn't relish the thought of so many children. So they set out to find husbands for the girls. On 24 June, Clara Silveira married Joe Coelho. On 11 July, Mary Martins married Joe Fontes. On 19 September, Mamie Silveira married Joe Cardoza. Then finally on 29 September, Clara Leal Silveira married Jose Jacintho Sebastian (Sebastiao). With the exception of Fontes, who was from Santa Maria island, All of these "Joes" were from the Azorean island of Flores as had been Clara's first husband. In the southern district of Fresno and around Kerman and Easton there was an important colony from that little island.
J.J. had lost his only son in 1903 and seemed to enjoy having boys around. He spoiled them a bit with ponies and bicycles, etc. Evelyn eloped with Frank Gomes, another Flores man, in a couple of years and got herself disinherited. The thick front door of the Sebastian house had a night lock on it, and Evelyn said that when it closed behind her, she changed her mind, but it was too late then! They became managers on a Bank of Italy ranch and her brother Manuel joined them there.
Sebastian had a brother, John Jason Sebasto, in Fowler and two married sisters in the area: Margaret Freitas and Julia Edwards. His daughter, Lucille Ambrose, died in 1930, leaving a son, Stanley and a daughter, Shirley. Carl Ambrose remarried.
We frequently visited the Sebastian ranch during the late '30s and early '40s. He was a tall thin, very quiet man with a long white beard. The big house was all in dark wood paneling with portraits of Sebastao ancesters staring down at one. They all looked a lot alike. There were also three large pictures which J.J. had brought back from his travels: one a gory Jesus on the cross, one a view of Jerusalem with many graves, and the last a view of the King Luiz Bridge in Oporto. He had made the Grande Tour and had especially liked France where he had gambled at Monte Carlo. He had a custom made silver Smith & Wesson five-shot revolver with a gold cylinder and mother-of-pearl handles which he had carried for protection. In his dining room there was a large round mahogany table and there was a Connecticut pendulum clock. In the kitchen was a modern stove besides a great old silver and black wood stove for baking. In the backyard under the three large umbrella (Chinaberry) trees, planted for shade, was an enormous woodpile to feed the wood stove. There was also a two seater outhouse with black widows. Although the big house had running water, it did not have a toilet until we moved in.
When we moved into the house, the first thing my mother Goldie did was paint the whole place white and get rid of the old-fashioned pictures and that wood stove. Now they are considered priceless but not then.
The Sebastian ranch was a fascinating place when I was a child. There was a fine matched pair of great grey Belgian work horse which had been J.J.'s pride. There was a cow which hated my little sister. On the leeward side of the barn was Sebastian's old Dusenberg automobile up on blocks and a great thing to play in. There were a hundred miles of railroad tracks. These rails had been used to bring the peaches out of the orchards in days before viniculture took over the land. My father, being a patriotic sort, sent all of this off as scrap metal to the war effort against Japan. He lived to see Dusenbergs sell for over a million dollars apiece! There was the old buckboard wagon which Sebastian had used to come across the plains which my father gave to the local historical society. Beyond the ditch there was the little workers clapboard house in which we lived for a year and the original ranch house in ruins. It was quite large with a basement. There were two old cottonwood trees and under them in thirty foot tall piles were thousands of wooden trays which had been used to turn the raisins before a clever person invented paper ones. My sisters liked to make playhouses out of them. There were innumerable large sweat boxes in which to store the dried raisins as they awaited a buyer. After J.J. became ill and was hospitalized, an Armenian buyer cheated grandma out of a whole year's crop of raisins! Thus her strong feelings on that ethnic group.
Tony Leal, the oldest, tallest, and fairest of the Leal brothers was an imposing man. He had a strong voice and spoke with authority. He had a good education and had studied for the priesthood in Portugal. In New Bedford he had come under the influence of the Portuguese Baptist Church. He not only converted and became a Protestant, but he was later ordained and became a preacher. To his family, Rev. Leal became a traveling Holy Roller Bible thumper! He had quite an organization and an entourage and traveled up and down the West Coast with a circus tent. He was an eloquent speaker with a great command of the English language and was very persuasive - just like Elmer Gantry!
Once he came to the Fresno County Fairgrounds for several days and it was well advertised, I decided to slip in the back unobtrusively and see and hear for myself and was greatly impressed by his control of the multitude!
Rev. Leal became a big man in Portuguese fraternal organizations and lodges in California but a Protestant couldn't lead one.
He was once married in the San Joaquin Valley to Nancy Borrecco, but they were divorced with no children. He never remarried. After that he made Watsonville his home for many years.
He became a very wealthy man and in his last years lived in retirement in Berkeley where he owned a whole block of apartment houses. I used to visit with him in 1955-57, while in graduate school up there, and he seemed like a lonely man? I asked him once if he knew "Sweet Daddy" Grace, the Cape Verdean preacher from New Bedford who became a religious cult figure in Harlem? He said that they had broken bread many times at this temple in Los Angeles.
Grandma Clara berated him for his will leaving all of his money to his church when he had poor Leal nephews. So he left $500 to be sent to Pico. He was buried in Watsonville. Some unkind people said he tried to buy his way into Heaven?
Manuel Leal and his family became over the years the center of the Leal world in California. In 1915 he married Mary de Barros, a native born Californian of Azorean parentage. Her father was Antone J. de Barros form the island of Santa Maria. Her mother was Anna Perry (Pereira) from Pico. Aunt Mary was a marvelous woman in every sense. She had three De Barros brothers in the area and a sister who was the head of the George (Jorge) family. Manuel and Mary had three children: Manuel F.; Tony; and Laverne (Leal) Alves. They lost two children. Tony was a B-17 bomber pilot during World War II and a much decorated war hero. He married a girl from Texas and stayed in Dallas after the war where he became a successful contractor.
Aunt Mary once told me that when she was distraught after losing her baby daughter and son, an old woman from Pico told her that it was probably because she and her husband were cousins? She was shocked by that news and told me if she had known about it, she would never had married Manuel Leal. This Pereira-Leal connection has eluded me so far, but it probably exists?
Manuel was an excellent farmer. He had some of the finest Thompson grapes in the Valley. He also had a long row of various types of fruit trees down the center of his property. There was a lovely bamboo garden with many large and rare species behind his house with a small stream through it. An old trough full of carp and goldfish was a joy.
He built a luxurious house which was frequently the center for feasts and family gatherings. Aunt Mary, a marvelous cook, would never allow religion or politics to be discussed at the dinner table as Uncle Manuel was a Republican.
Manuel was best known as a winemaker. His private stock was much appreciated by the male Portuguese population of the area. They literally beat a path to his cellar door. There was frequently a group down there tasting of the grape and toasting his skills.
At the south end of his ranches was a small dry tule pond in a low area overgrown with short willow and cottonwood trees and bushes. Here was some of the best dove hunting in Fresno County. So the first of September was always a feast day!
In 1921 Manuel and Mary Leal made a long trip to Pico to see his parents and youngest sister. While Manuel visited about, Mary stayed em Cima with its Magnificent view and heard family tales from her mother-in-law. It was on this trip that Manuel brought out his niece, Mary Goulart Martins.
In my youth there were three big elegant Portuguese family weddings in Fresno. Laverne (Leal) Alves; Beverly (Cardoza) Freitas; and Norma Jean (Coelho) Linger were all married off in splendor. Each in a white wedding with a mass, a sit down dinner for many guests, and a dance. After that phase, moderation came to the fore and weddings were more modest!
One interesting family wedding was that of a grandson of Rita Leal to the granddaughter of Maria da Navidade Leal. This was between young Joe Fontes and Maria Fernananda Duarte. It took place in California, and they later had a daughter and a son.
Of Joaquim Leal's 23 grandchildren, the most interesting one was probably Alfred M. Machado. He was a self-taught scientists and engineer who was a voracious reader of every thing in those fields. He was an eccentric genius. He developed a perpetual motion machine out of wood in his closely guarded barn. Only a few select friends and cousins were ever allowed to see it run. However, the word was out in the Portuguese community that he soon would be richer than Henry Ford!
Clara Sebastian once had an encounter with the ghost of Theresa
Sebastian, who was often seen walking on the ditch bank behind the big house on moonlit nights. The servants and farm workers were terrified of her spirit. Clara found out that Theresa had made a promise of a large sum of money to the church for a favor granted. However, J.J. refused to pay it after she died. So Clara paid it off and the spirit walked no more! Some time later, when Clara was down in the cavernous cellar lifting an earthenware jar of molasses, someone suddenly hugged her from behind. She was so startled that she dropped the jar which shattered. But no one was there!
Clara was happy in her old age surrounded by family. She had never known the sorrow of losing a child. Her two sons didn't live up to their potential; perhaps the silver spoon theory? However, she loved them all the same. In time they too lived near her with their second wives. Her three daughters were prosperous and highly thought of in society. Clara, who had lived for years in the tall old Coelho Victorian on the dairy, built one of the finest modern ranch style homes near Fresno. Evelyn Gomes had lost her beloved Frank many years before and eventually married the very rich Dr. George Sciaroni and lived in a mansion in the Fig Gardens. Besides her immediate family, Clara's most faithful and frequent visitors were her niece and namesake, Clara (Machado) Stedham, and her husband Lee.
Clara Sebastian had many chances to remarry but she always said, "Two husbands are enough for any woman!" She did have a couple of boyfriends though. One was a funny little man who always brought ice cream, and they would sit in rocking chairs on the front porch and watch the world go by. The second was an old beau from her village back home.
She developed a social consciousness in her later years and was generous with Catholic and Portuguese charities. She would rail at social injustices and corruption and used an unusual phrase to express herself: "They try to take the eyes out of the People!"
Clara Margarida died in Fresno on 13 September 1956 and was buried next to her husband Joe Silveira in Selma in the old cemetery near the S.P.R.R. tracks. Her second husband is nearby with his first wife, Theresa, their daughter, Lucille Ambrose, and their little son, J.J., Jr., who was a twin to Lucille.
Clara Sebastian's daughter, Clara Coelho, was the executor of her estate. At her death all of her property, including her Fresno home, lots at the coast, oil lands, the 20 acres, and the Sebastian ranches, had to be sold as he left a complicated will dividing his properties between his two families. --Those who say, "You can't take it with you" never knew J.J.! --
The last chapter in our Leal story took place in 1974 and 1975 when young Maria da Navidade, now old Maria da Navidade, as the last living Leal of her generation, visited California for the first and only time. This was over one hundred years after her oldest sibling, the first Manuel Leal, died of the chicken pox at the age of two! By then her daughter, four grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren lived permanently in California. She got homesick and returned to her ancestral island on a swift TAP jet!
Ronald L. Silveira
221 S. Nardo Ave.
Solana, CA 92075
22. Ronald Silveira
LUSO-AMERICAN NEPHEW OF BUILDER OF LISBON BRIDGE
Mr. Ronald Louis Silveira de Braganca of Berkeley, California recently accepted the position as History-Librarian at the University of California at Santa Barbara. This appointment was effective as of August 1, 1963.
Mr. Silveira is a fourth generation Luso-Californian and is the son of Manuel Silveira of Reno, Nevada. Their family is of Azorean and Brazilian descent. Silveira's great-grandfather, Pedro Sarmento, a sheepman, was the first white settler in Kings County in 1863.
Silveira received a B.A. degree from Fresno State College in History
and Geography and then did graduate work at the University of California
at Berkeley where he received the Masters Degree in Latin American History.
A year of study in Portuguese at the University of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro
followed, after which he returned to this country to serve as a naval officer.
For two years Mr. Silveira worked for his uncle, Mr. H.W. Morrison, founder
and Chairman of Morrison-Knudsen Co., Inc. of Boise, Idaho. (He married
cousin Velma who is currently married to Senator Kerry of Massachusetts. She may be the wealthiest contemporary Portuguese-American having assets at $200 million. Well-known Harvard professor and Portuguese-American scholar, Dr. Francis Rodgers, was writing a biography of her until he died. It was never published.)
This is the international heavy construction company which is building the Tagus River Bridge at Lisbon, Portugal. Silveira played an important part in these negotiations and transactions and was able to visit Lisbon.
This past year Ronald has been attending the Graduate School of Librarianship
at the University. During this time he has worked as Reference Librarian
at the Hayward Public Library where he has become known to many of the
Portuguese colony of that area for his dedication to their special needs
--- Jornal Portugues
221 S. Nardo
Solana Beach, CA 92075
23. Antone and Mary Simas
Antone and Mary Simas
Our Fifty Years
Our Beginnings . . . . . .
Our ancestors came from the Azores, the islands called the "Terras de
Lucious, green Sao Jorge is encircled by the Atlantic Ocean.
Wind-swept with rocky beaches kissed by waves in constant motion.
My husband's family was from the isle of Pico, a very high hill.
It's a land where fisherman, farmers and whalers can be found still.
I was born in San Bruno, December 31, Nineteen Hundred and Twelve.
I am a native of California, where I shall always hope to dwell.
Antone was born June 21, Nineteen Hundred and Two in San Rafael.
A strong hombre once, but alas . . . now he is not well.
On May 21st, in the year 1932.
Antone and I said "I do,"
In Santa Clara at St. Clare's Church.
Later we lived with my folks, our very first perch.
Our reception was held at my parents stately old home.
My folks supplied chicken, potato salad 'n strawberries, all carefully home-grown.
My Godmother wanted something special to make.
So she baked us a "sand-like," fig wedding cake.
Our honeymoon was spent visiting our kinfolk,
To me as a young bride, it was all a big joke.
Beginning our uncharted walk of life together,
T'was not very easy, although we were as tough as leather.
The Great Depression was part of our times.
It was difficult to earn even a few dimes.
Although Tony worked for his wages of only 15 cents an hour.
Mary was able to earn an enormous 25 cents for her unskilled woman-power.
But that didn't stop us from starting our family tree . . .
Manuel Jerome was born on March 12, 1933.
Maree Carmen was born in Hayward,
On February 24th 1934.
Antone was milking cows by hand and keeping score.
No conveniences, little money, but we struggled on happily,
Even though our crop of children was increasing rapidly.
Lorraine Gabriella was born in San Jose on March 10th, 1936.
We really should have stopped our successful production mix!
However, Anthony Philbert was born in San Jose, July 18th, 1937. His
eyes were the color of a clear, bright Blue Heaven.
I washed and scrubbed our clothes on a washboard for the whole flock.
No television, radio, newspaper nor phone --- just a simple place to rock.
Victoria Aleece made her grand entrance on September 9th, 1943.
She was named for the Victory year and the fifth limb to hour tree.
Shortly thereafter, Joseph Michael was hatched on January 1st, 1946.
He was a New Year's baby and he still is full of so many clever tricks.
Bouncing Bonita Rosa appeared on October Nineteen Hundred Forty-Seven.
She was just in time to greet Halloween, she arrived at eleven.
Slow-poke Tobias Philip, a cutie, arrived on March 14th Nineteen Hundred
That was finally the end of spree, we now had completed the crew.
My incubator business concluded with a miscarriage in October 1953.
It was too late for planned parenthood or the "pill" for me.
Now our pace had definitely changed, it's hard for us to get up and go.
Antone's precious eyes and ears are weak and his trusty heart beats ever so slow.
Problems and much needed joy continue to abound throughout the years.
Tears and smiles fill the lives of ourselves and our peers.
Happiness and sadness blend throughout our days,
Our goals are achieved in so many different days.
We still hope to "harvest" our Golden Year.
We ever have a fourth generation, Jacelyn, who is a dear!
Looking forward . . . . . .
We freely give love, respect, and contentment to our family and friends.
They are the treasure of golden moments presented while our life extends.
Today it is a life of outer space, Electronics, and plastic.
The new generation seems filled with boredom . . . the results are often drastic.
Why do people of today seem to want nothing but self-pleasure?
Experience has shown us that way of living has no measure.
Yes, we too, had worries, pressures, and heartaches in dome.
But, we were determined to cling to our heritage: "Home -Sweet-Home".
The tradition of family gatherings, the holidays and entertaining friends.
Too soon the years pass by, it's not to late to make amends.
We have been blessed with a mixture of sunny and stormy weather.
But he thank God that we have managed to stay together.
It's difficult to believe that we never dated until our wedding day!
Instead, we spent each moment from the fateful ceremony in May.
As we walked into the garden of life.
Pledging our vows as man and wife.
We made a total commitment to each other then . . .
And now as we look back , we thank God, it has lasted . . . Amen!!
Antones D. Simas
Written as a reflection of
our life together
for our Golden Wedding Anniversary
May 21, 1932 - May 21, 1982
Maree C. Simas Schlenker
7357 Goose Meadows Way
Roseville, CA 95747
24. Jose Azevedo Teixiera and Rita Lacerda Teixeira
Teixeira-Lacerda Family (From Sao Jorge, Acores)
My grandfather was Jose Azevedo Teixeira who was born December 1, 1865 in Ribeira D'areia on Sao Jorge Island, in the Acores. His father was Jose d'Azevedo Machado and his mother was Victorina D'azevedo, all of Ribeira D'Areia, Sao Jorge. He had two sisters, Maria and Gabriela, a half brother Arao and, and two half sisters, Maria and Marianna. A 1900 census record shows that he came to America in 1884. This was probably to avoid the draft. Family legend says that he jumped ship. He worked his way across the country and came to a cousin (an Azevedo) in Marin County in California and got a job milking cows. He worked for several years until he had enough money to rent a dairy for himself and get married. Family legend tells us his name was originally Jose Teixeira Azevedo. As he was working for a Jose Azevedo, apparently mail was mixed up. So, he always went by Jose Azevedo Teixeira after that and his children were Teixeiras instead of Azevedos.
My grandmother was Rita Lacerda who was born May 2, 1880 in Ribeira
Seca, on Sao Joao, Jorge Island, Acores. She had five brothers: John (May
10, 1869), Frank (March11, 1870), Joseph (about 1873), Antonio (March 22,
1882), and Manuel (January 2, 1890). She had five sisters: Virginia (August
6, 1872), Germana (November 21, 1875), Sofia (April 1, 1885), Rose (January
2, 1890). Notice that the last three siblings were triplets! The family
story was that the birth (in
Ribeira Seca) took two days and that the babies were so tiny that they were kept in cigar boxes, wrapped in cotton, because they were too small for diapers. They were kept near the wood stove to keep warm as it was January. By some miracle they all survived and grew up, came to America and had families of their own. In fact, all eleven of the siblings came to California, mostly to Santa Clara County.
My grandmother's brother John was the first to come to America in1882. He came from the east coast directly to San Francisco and sought out a friend Antone Amaral who lived in Marin County. He then got a job on a dairy near Point Reyes making $10.00 per month where he stayed six years. He prospered, moved and changed jobs until he had saved enough money. One by one, he sent for all his ten siblings. He sent for his sister Rita (my grandmother) in 1896 and she married my grandfather on December 20, 1896 in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Francisco. He obviously knew my grandfather, who needed a wife, and arranged the marriage to his sister. She was here only a short time when the marriage took place. She was sixteen. He was thirty-one.
My mother was born on January 25, 1900 on a dairy in Marin County, California near Sausalito. She was named Maria (Mary) Thelma Teixeira. (Her father was Jose Azevedo Teixeira and her mother was Rita Lacerda.) She was the second child, the first being Manuel, born in February 1898. A third child, Lillian, was born April 11, 1904 and a fourth, Angelina (Angie) was born September 14, 1908.
The family moved to the San Jose area in 1906 (to a rented dairy on Downer Avenue), just before the big earthquake. My mom used to tell me stories about the quake such as having all the dishes broken and the family having to eat out of the one bowl that remained unbroken. And what it felt like being woke up by tremendous shaking and how everyone was so afraid. The family later moved to a dairy on south White Road in east San Jose, that they bought about October 1908 and where mom grew up and went to school (Mt. Pleasant Grammar School). She couldn't go to high school as she needed to work at home, being the oldest daughter. Her two younger sisters did got to high school. Her brother died in his thirties, unmarried. He had epilepsy when young and was partially paralyzed on one side. Both her sisters married and raised families. Lilly married Manuel Lewis who was from Santo Amaro, Sao Jorge. He was half owner of "The American Dairy" in San Jose for many years which was on Santa Clara Street in San Jose. He had a large dairy in south San Jose until his death. They had one son Edwin Lewis who married and raised a family. He was an educator. Mom's sister Angie married Fred Anaud and they had four children who were raised on Arleta Avenue in west San Jose. Fred was a cabinetmaker and worked at the old P M Mill in Santa Clara for most of his life.
Mary (my mother) married Joseph Cardosa Azevedo who was born in Moraga area of Oakland on March 31, 1896 and who owned a dairy at the corner of King and Storey Roads in east San Jose where he was a successful dairyman. There she raised her three children: Elaine, born November 28, 1922, Philbert, born June 10, 1924, and Arline, born December 17, 1934. We three were raised there and married from that same dairy. In the early years, mom had to cook for the men who milked the cows and lived in a bunkhouse on the dairy. After a few years, a "cook house" was built and a live-in cook was hired. My mom then spent her time keeping house, cooking, gardening, doing laundry, raising chickens and rabbits and grocery shopping. She went often to shop as there were no freezers in those days and limited refrigeration.
By the time I was seven, my sister married and my brother was in the army. So I spent most of my childhood as an "only Child". I remember many happy times there, running around the barns and fields and watching the milking and riding my horse. There were always frogs to catch in the irrigation ditches, or bird nests to climb to and peek in. Sometimes I would try to catch the goldfish in the horse troughs or maybe just float a shingle that I called a boat and pretend to sail it. There was always icy cold milk to drink as the milkers poured milk over a chilling apparatus in the "milk house". In the evenings we would listen to the radio (no TV then) and mom and I would do jigsaw puzzles or play cards or checkers.
We had a duck pond that my father (a duck hunter) had stocked with ducks. It was fun watching ducklings hatch and swim off. Sometimes mom would put duck eggs under a banty hen and the hen would hatch and take care of the babies. We raised chickens (my mom always killed a couple chickens every Sunday for dinner) and rabbits and also raised pigs which were killed in the winter. I remember well the "mantancas" at our place and at Aunt Lil's ranch. I would watch the collection of the blood for morcellas, the washing of the tripas for linguica and the making of these sausages. All the fat was rendered for lard. We made bacon, ham, morcella, and linguica, much of which were preserved all winter in crocks filled with lard. I was young enough so that I didn't have to do the work! We raised the fruit and vegetables for our table and for the cook's house. The cook prepared all the meals for the eight or ten men who milked for us and helped raise and harvest the hay. We also butchered a cow whenever needed. We didn't suffer during the depression as we provided most of our own food.
My grandmother died on January 18, 1952 shortly before I was married. She must have had a premonition because she insisted in early January on giving me a wedding gift of beautiful hand embroidered pillow cases she had made. I told her to just wait til May 18th when the wedding was. She said "No, I want to give this now." A couple weeks later she became gravely ill and passed away. They were living on East San Fernando Street in San Jose at that time.
She had become citizen but not my grandfather. Neither had ever gone back to visit Sao Jorge. My grandfather then moved in with my mother who was living on Harrison Street in Santa Clara then. He died there on January 13, 1956 from a fall. My mom eventually moved back to east San Jose to be near her two daughters. She passed away June 8, 1989, the last of the four siblings to die.
480 South 9th St.
Grover Beach, CA 93433
25. Frank Prada Vargas and Filomena August Pereira
Francisco Pereira Vargas (Frank Prada Vargas) was born on June 22, 1840 in Castelo Branco, Faial, to Manuel Pereira de Vargas and Luiza Thomazia Silveira de Freitas. Frank, and little brother, Antonio Pereira Vargas (born January 16, 1842) grew up without a father, as Manuel went to the United States around 1844. About 1860, Frank went to California to work with his father in the gold fields. The story was handed down that the father, Manuel, while working with his son, showed Frank, a picture of a woman and told Frank that she was his mother. Frank said that the image was not of his mother, which enraged the father. Manuel hit his son over the back with a shovel and Frank suffered from back pain throughout his life. Manuel eventually left California and was believed to have gone to Brazil, never to be heard from again.
Frank remained in California and eventually settled in the Warm Springs area, which is now a part of the city of Fremont. Frank share-farmed in partnership with Thomas Francisco Pereira who was born in Castelo Branco on August 18, 1849, one on nine children of Antonio Francisco Pereira and Ermelinda Candida. Thomas' siblings were Jose (1838) who went to Brazil, Francisca (1842-1915), Antonio (1843-18?), Francisco (1846-1901), Manuel (1848-18?), Serefino (1851-19?), Christiano (1853-1916), Maria (1856-18?), and Filomena (1859-1930).
Frank and Thomas were among many Portuguese farmers who were given an
opportunity to start a new life in California by Mr. Henry Curtner (1930-1917).
Mr. Curtner had purchased a large piece of property in 1868 that was part
of the original Higuerra grant. The Higuerra grant was part of the former
Mission San Jose lands that were given to various Dons, such as the Higuerras
and Peraltas, after the secularization of the missions. Mr. Curtner discovered
Azorean farmers were adept at hillside farming and recruited laborers from the docks in San Francisco where he hired stranded Portuguese sailors who were unemployed due to poor whaling conditions or who had deserted their ships. Some of his employees were Portuguese farmers who had left the Hawaiian plantations because of low wages. Mr. Curtner provided these laborers with small homes and they, in turn, eventually sent for their families. At one time, there were as many as seventy-two families living on his property as share croppers.
Thomas Pereira eventually sent for his sister, Filomena, born February
1, 1859 in Castelo Branco. Filomena was seventeen years old when she took
out a passport on September 12, 1876, in Faial, for passage on the ship
"Modesta" bound for the United States. Filomena often talked about the
difficult journey. She said that it took much longer than expected because
high winds at sea. The ship would go one way and then be pushed back. The
passengers were put on water rationing and precious rainwater was captured
for drinking use. They were running out of food and were all hungry when
they arrived in America. It is not known for certain, but there is some
thought, in the family, that the journey may have been around the "Horn"
of South America. Filomena's brother Jose, settled in Brazil and there
has been speculation that he might have been on a similar ship's route
to California and was able to get off the ship in South
America. Filomena often spoke of her brother, living in Brazil, and expressed sorrow that he had chosen not to come to California.
Though Thomas had sent for his sister, Filomena, her attentions soon turned to his farming partner, Frank Prada Vargas. Frank and Filomena married on October 19, 1878 at St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. Thomas Pereira, was also married that day to Margaret Flores (daughter of Jose Pimentel Ramos and Maria Carneiro). Thomas and his wife are believed to have settled and raised a family in the Antioch area. Frank and Filomena had nine children who were all born in Warm Springs and baptized at St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. They were Mary, Louise "Lizzie", Frank, Filomena "Minnie", Rosie and Antonio (twins), Ermaline, and Margaret "Maggie".
In 1891, Frank returned to Faial to bring back his mother-in-law, Ermelinda Candida (born December 22, 1820, Castelo Branco to Rita Joaquina and an unrecorded father whose surname may have been Caravalho). Frank ended up bringing several family members back to America: his mother-in-law, Ermelinda, who was a seventy year old widow, and her two adult single children, Francisca and Francisco. Ermelinda's other living children, Serefino and Christiano had immigrated to California at an earlier date. Frank also brought with him a nephew, Manuel Pereira Vargas, aged nine (born February 9, 1882, Castelo Branco - see his story), the son of Frank's only sibling Antonio, to be raised with his children, in the hope of providing him with a better future than could be had in Faial. This family group arrived on the S.S. Vega in New York harbor on July 13, 1891.
The family of Frank and Filomena Prada came to be known by the appelido "Os Coyotes". Some think that this may have been because they were very fond of eating chicken! Ermelinda, Filomena's mother, was known to neighbors as "Velha Coyota". Their's was a household that bustled with activity. Their home was a gathering place for neighbors to play horseshoes, "4 posts" and card games. Their ranch was near that of Joe Francisco Vargas and Anna Lourenco (see their stories) who also had ten children. These families often visited back and forth by walking across a field and a creek. Frank and Filomena were also known to be friends of Manuel Silveira Peixoto, a Castelo Branco native who was a founder and first Supreme President of I.D.E.S. Manuel was godfather to most of their children.
After a life of farming in Warm Springs, Frank Prada Vargas died of croupous pneumonia on March 25, 1912 at the age of seventy-two. Filomena suffered many losses at this time of her life. Her oldest daughter, Mary Sarmento, had died after childbirth on April 11, 1910 and her next daughter, Louise Oliver, died, also in childbirth, on November 30, 1912. Louise left behind ten living children, including her youngest, Erma, who was raised by an Escobar family.
Filomena eventually went to live with her sister, Francisca, in a home on Prune Avenue in Warm Springs. Her mother, Ermelinda, and her adult single children, had purchased this home when they came to California. Ermelinda died March 29, 1904, and son Francisco died in 1901. Filomena, her single son Frank, and her sister Francisca and Christiano lived together in the home. Francisca died in 1915, followed by Christiano in 1916. Filomena remained in the home with her bachelor son, Frank, but she often left to visit her married daughters, Rosie, Minnie, and Maggie.
Filomena taught her daughters and granddaughters to make quilts with left over fabric. Filomena used the span of her hand to mark the areas where she would tie her quilts. They were also fond of making dish towels from flour sacks. Adornments were created on pillowcases and tablecloths by pulling threads on fabric ends, creating a fringe, which, in turn, was knotted into intricate designs. The arts of crochet and tatting were also taught and these skills were used to make doilies, potholders, tablecloths and to decorate pillowcases, towels, slips, and nightgowns.
Filomena's grandchildren recall that she was a very heavy woman, with a very warm, soft and inviting lap. She was soft spoken and would call her little grandchildren in the morning by saying. "Vai aqui para sopas da avo". These "sopas" would be warm milk with bread in it. She frequently admonished her grandchildren to "Fala Portugues!" and taught them all to pray in Portuguese. She always wore "widow's black" clothing and a big black rosary at her waist, which she could be often found saying during the day.
Filomena returned to the house on Prune Avenue in 1929, to live with her son, Frank, who married Maria Emilia Vargas (Rodrigues) on October 6, 1929 in Livermore. Maria (born October 19, 1897 in Castelo Branco to Antonio Pereira Vargas and Anna Luiza da Silva) was Frank's cousin who had been widowed. Filomena lived with her son Frank and his bride only a short time before she died of erysipelas on March 10, 1930.
Frank and Filomena, their daughters Mary Sarmento and Louisa Oliver, Filomena's mother, Ermelinda, and her children Francisco, Francisca, Christiano and many other family members are buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery on the hill in Mission San Jose.
Descendants: All children born in Warm Springs, California:
Mary Prada (August 20, 1879-April 11, 1910, Warm Springs) married Frank Sarmento (December 11, 1878, Castelo Branco, son of Francisco Antonio Sarmento and Maria Emilia Soito - died 1934) on October 14, 1905 in Mission San Jose, children: Madeline (Mendonca) 1907-1979, Mary (Enos) 1908-1979.
Louise "Lizzie" Prada (October 17, 1881-November 30, 1912, Warm Springs) married Antone Oliver (January 10, 1970, Pico - June 17, 1936) on October 19, 1897 in Mission San Jose, children: Maryanna-1898-1898, Antone -1899-1896, Mary (Marks) 1900-1993, Helen (Perry) 1902-1974, Philomena (Walke) 1903-1994, Paul - 1905-1992, Frank-1906-1969, Joseph-1908-1982, Louisa-1909-1911, Alfred -1910-1927?, Erma (Marks) 1912.
Frank Prada Vargas (February 20, 1883-May 7, 1948, Mission San Jose) married Maria Emilia Vargas (Rodrigues) (October 19, 1897, Castelo Branco-December 25, 1991, Santa Rosa, CA) on October 6, 1929 in Livermore, CA, no children.
Filomena "Minnie" Prada (October 26, 1886-January 5, 1976, Pleasant Hill, CA) married Antonio Caldeira (June 5, 1876, Castelo Branco - February 25, 1960, Livermore, CA) on November 9, 1901, children: Tony Caldeira - 1906-1974.
Rosie Prada (December 6, 1888-March 6, 1981, Garden Grove, CA) married Manuel Pereira Vargas (February 9, 1882 Castelo Branco - February 25, 1960, Livermore, CA) on October 28, 1904 in Mission San Jose, children all born in Livermore: Erma (Bettencourt) 1907, Margaret (Perry) 1908-1956, Annie - 1910-1920, Rosalie (Glass) 1912, Elsie (Anderson) 1914-1997, Manuel - 1916-1916, Ernest - 1918, Herman - 1920-1981, Edward - 1922, Bernice (Moore) 1923 and Dorinda - 1925-1926.
Manuel Prada (December 6, 1888, Rosie's twin who died in infancy 1888)
Ermaline Prada (1891-1891)
Margaret "Maggie" Prada (November 27, 1892-December 21, 1957, Warm Springs) married Frank Joseph Soito (May 23, 1884, Castelo Branco, Faial to Francisco Jose Soito and Anna Emilia Vargas - died May 10, 1944, Centerville, CA) on September 5, 1909 in Mission San Jose, children: Mary (Dias) 1915-1957 and Manuel Soito - 1916-1985.
Washington Township Historical Society. I Remember . . . Warm Springs. Fremont: Fremont Copy Center, 1978.
Susan Vargas Murphy
700 Selsey Ct.
Sacramento, CA 95864
26. Jose Francisco Vargas and Anna Caetana Lourenco
Jose Francisco Vargas was born in "Calco de Ferreiro," Castelo Branco, Faial on August 13, 1869 to Manuel Francisco Vargas and Anna Francisca. His paternal grandparents were Antonio Francisco Vargas and Michelina Luiza and his maternal grandparents were Manuel Francisco Caldeira and Anna Francisca. Jose's siblings were Manuel (May 31, 1868-194?), Francisco (March 18, 1871-194?), Antonio (November 3, 1872-1951), and Maria Clementina (March 6, 1874-November 4, 1941). His father, Manuel, a whaler when young, later settled down to farming. Manuel married three times, first to Anna Francisca, second to a woman from Brazil and third to Maria Madelena Maciel in 1898. He had three daughters from his third marriage, Maria Madalena (1899-1954), Ana Madalena (1901-1983), and Conceicao Maciel Vargas (October 11, 1911), still living in Castelo Branco. All of his daughters from both marriages remained in Faial while all of his sons left Faial for lives in California.
At the age of fifteen, Jose took out a passport on May 16, 1885. He traveled in the forward steerage compartment, with two pieces of luggage, on the S.S. Benguella, which arrived in the port of Boston, Massachusetts, on June 9, 1885. Joe, as he was called in America, had an uncle, who he called "Tio Morgado," who lived and worked for Henry Curtner in Warm Springs, California. His uncle had asked Mr. Curtner for a piece of land for Joe to share crop. Henry Curtner, who was lured to California from Indiana, by news of the gold rush, purchased 2,000 acres of land in 1868. This land had originally been part of a Spanish land grant made to Fulgencio Higuera in 1838. Mr. Curtner employed many Portuguese emigrants who lived on his land in an area called "Chinatown," a name which the residents themselves used in referring to this settlement. Mr. Curtner provided these homes which were very small, single-walled, wooden houses built close to each other.
Ana Caetana Lourenco was born on August 1, 1870 in the village of Santa Cruz, Flores to Antonio Caetano Lourenco and Anna Ursula. She was the paternal granddaughter of Caetano Lourenco and Anna de Trinidade and maternal granddaughter of Manuel Furtado and Anna Ursula. Anna's siblings were Manuel (1862?-1915), Caetano (1867-1867), Caetano (May 12, 1868-1943), and Maria (186?-19??). Anna's family was very poor and life for the little girl was made even more difficult because her mother was chronically ill. Her mother's illness, which plagued her with a bad cough, kept her bedridden the last year of her life.
The family had chickens but the eggs were given to Anna's sick mother while Anna could only lick the remnants of the egg from the inside of the shells. It was Anna's job to take the family milking cow out the government land to graze each day and bringing it back in the evening. She would take her lunch which consisted of a heavy cornbread. Other village girls would also be there with their cows and sometimes the girls traded lunches. Those who were more wealthy had wheat bread. Anna was able at times, to trade her peasant cornbread for the wheat bread, and later told her children that the wheat bread seemed like "cake" to her, since her family could never afford wheat. Anna took the family laundry along to wash in the river and would lay the wet clothes on rocks. By the time it was time to come home at night to milk the cow, the laundry would be dry.
Anna also told her children of happier times when, at Easter, she decorated the cow with flowers and wreaths which was the custom of the village. Neighborhood girls tried to outdo each other with their decorations. The happy recollections were few for the young Anna. The harshness of her life can be characterized by one particular recollection which she recounted to her children. One day, in fear that her mother was dying, Anna ran down the street to call a neighbor. One the home, she fell down and another neighbor helped her up saying, "Don't run anymore, your mother is already dead." Anna was only 11 years old. Her father remarried Marianna de Jesus da Purificacao and went on to have five more children: Manuel (1880?-1934), Jose (1883-1950), Antonio, Caton, Marianna (1890-1972), and Maria. All of Anna's siblings and half-siblings came to California with the exception of half-brothers Antonio, who was a whaler and died at sea, and Caton, who fell off a cliff as a young boy.
Anna dreamed of a better life in America and wrote to her older brother, Manuel Caetano Lourenco who was married and living in Alvarado, California. She asked for his help and made plans to leave Flores. She booked passage on the S.S. Vega but had to take a small boat from the island to board the big ship. The sea was very rough that day and she got seasick. Some young girls from the island of Sao Miguel watched her from aboard the Vega and laughed at her and imitated her sickness as she boarded the ship. Anna later told of the dirty conditions on board ship and observed that some of the passengers had head lice and were reprimanded by a Mr. Rose, (possibly the captain), who called the "porcas" (pigs) for combing their infested hair over the common benches. Anna had one bad and traveled in steerage compartments, number one held 100 passengers, number two had 109 passengers and number three, had 176 passengers. With 74 people in the cabin of the boat, the ship carried a total of 459 passengers when it arrived in New York harbor on March 24, 1891.
Anna settled at her brother Manuel's house in Alvarado and found work as a seamstress. Anna's brother Caton also lived in the area and came visiting his sister one day with his friend, Joe F. Vargas, thinking that his friend might be a good match for his sister. After Joe's second visit, Anna's sister-in-law, Minnie, said "I guess he is coming here because he wants to marry you." Anna had no intentions of losing her new found freedom and told Minnie that she was not interested! Her sister-in-law replied, "Well, we can't have you here all the time!" Anna, feeling unwelcome, thought that she had no other choice. Anna cried herself to sleep that night and decided to accept Joe's intentions.
Anna and Joe were married on August 15, 1891, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Francisco, less than five months after Anna's arrival in America. Joe, who had been living in one of the little shacks on the Curtner property, was given lumber by his landlord to build a house for his new bride high in the Warm Springs hills. Their wedding portrait captured a handsome Joe, who had hazel eyes, a neatly trimmed mustache and his thumb slipped casually through a gold watch chain. Anna stood beside him, brown-eyed, short in stature, her head barely reaching her husband's shoulder. Brown curly hair framed her round face which wore a serene but serious expression as she slipped her arm through her husband's on her wedding day. Their wedding reception was at her brother Manuel's house and Joe took his new little wife to their home in a horse and buggy that Mr. Curtner had given them.
The house had wooden floors, no running water and was warmed by a wood stove. Water was hauled up the hills by hand from a spring below. Homemade table was the center of their kitchen. Anna wallpapered her house with newspaper which, when soiled, would be covered up with the latest "edition" thus giving the house insulation as well as fresh paper over the years. A bench built outside of the house for Anna to put her laundry tubs which were in constant use with the large family that they raised. They were Alvino (1892), Joe (1894), Mary (1895), Minnie (1897), Annie (1900), Tony (1901), Rosie (1904), Adeline (1906), Manuel (1909), and Florence (1912). Adeline and Manuel were born in another house on the Cutner property which, by that time, was being managed by his son, Arthur Curtner. This house was in the flat lands and was closer to the landlord's house.
Joe first farmed crops such as peas, corn, potatoes, and grain under a tenant farmer agreement. All of his children were involved in the hard work of his farm life. Not only the older sons Alvino, Jose, and Tony, but also daughter Annie, thrived on working in the fields. Annie especially loved to work with her father and told stories of helping him mow hay, cultivate vegetables, and drive the horses over the furrows. She told her grandchildren that there was nothing on the farm that she didn't know how to do! Minnie and Mary stayed home to help their mother with the younger children. Daughter Minnie recalled these years in I Remember . . . Warm Springs, the personal recollections of six Warm Springs residents that was presented to the Washington Township Historical Society in 1972:
As a descendent of an early Portuguese family, I, Minnie Souza, can recall them saying how kind Mr. Curtner was to his Portuguese workers. BesidesJoe and Anna saved up and bought, in 1910, 33 acres of land which had belonged to James Leitch. Mr. Leitch was an early resident of Warm Springs who emigrated in 1862 from Scotland and bought 105 acres of fairly flat land in Warm Springs. Joe and Anna paid approximately $8,000 for this orchard land where their crops were prunes, apricots, walnuts, and some grapes which they used for making their own wine. The family moved into the old Leitch home which was located at the end of what is now Hackamore Lane. In later years, they were able to build a newer house on the property. The original house had a hedge of ivy and roses on one side in which birds made their nests. Every morning the family was serenaded by these little feathered neighbors.
letting them live on the ranch, they were also allowed to have their own family cows, chickens, hogs, and even a team of horses with which they could work a parcel of land to raise peas, corn, beans, and potatoes for their own use as well as to sell to market. The Produce Commissioners of Oakland and San Francisco would come to the central location, called Produce Markets which were established in Milpitas, Warm Springs, Niles, and Hayward, and buy their produce. At the end of the year they would give Mr. Curtner a share of the money they had made for the use of the land.
The Vargas sons, now teens, worked along with their father to pay off the ranch. Florence, the last of their children, was born here along with many of their grandchildren as Anna acted to assist in the births. Dr. Grimmer was a graduate of Hanneman Medical School in San Francisco who began practicing in Irvington in 1908. He attended generations of the Vargas of the Vargas family through the years for births, illnesses, and deaths. Besides her midwifery duties, Anna was also known as a "healer." She used to bless the sick for erysipelas and "cobrante," which was the name of an affliction caused by the "evil-eye." For example, if someone was jealous of another's baby, that baby might become sickly. Anna would make a cross of rosemary and recite a blessing over the sick. Many people brought their sick to Anna for the blessing and claimed that she cured them. Anna taught these prayer blessings to her youngest daughter, Florence, who also was believed to have the gift of healing.
Music played a big role in the Vargas family's entertainment. Joe taught his sons Alvino, Joe, and Tony the music and dances of this homeland. They organized a troupe of musicians, singers, and dancers that traveled around the community on certain holidays. This troupe, made up of family and friends, would practice all winter for the holidays of the next year. On New Year's Eve and on "Kings Night," celebrated on January 6th, Portuguese people would gather at various to await the arrival of the troupe. Joe F. Vargas played the viola and was the "Captain" of the troupe. Traditionally, in the beginning, only men and young boys participated. Joe's oldest son, Alvino, also played the viola and the concertina, while sons, Joe and Tony played the violin, as did daughter Florence in later years. Son-in-law Joe E. Maciel, who was married to daughter Annie, played the viola as well. Other family members joined in with tambourines, flutes, and drums. They traveled from house to house singing a song which asked "Can we find the Christ Child here?" After the serenade, the group was invited into the homes for refreshments and more music was played. A similar tradition was carried out on "Dia do Entrudo" before Lent. The troupe would dress up in costumes and perform a dance done with arches. Between these holidays and the official "festas" of springtime, the Portuguese families often gathered for house parties. Families would take turns hosting these parties. The host would clear away all of the furniture and fruit boxes would be brought in to line the walls for seating. The "chamarrita," a circular dance that is called by a leader was the main event at these parties. Joe and his sons would often play at these parties along with his son-in-law, Joe Maciel. Before they left the dance they would decide who would host the next dance.
The Vargas home was the focus of continual family gatherings throughout the year. Joe would invite his married children over for a "party" to help in the mundane duties of the farm. He would dry corn cobs each year to obtain the seed for the next year's crop. He would then invite his large family over to this shed to remove the dried kernels from the cobs by hand. Other times they were "invited" to pack prunes in sacks to ship to market or cut potatoes to plant. During the grape harvest the family would assemble to gather and crush the grapes for wine making. Another reason for gathering occurred each year when the pigs were slaughtered and family members helped in the slaughter and in making linguisa, morcella, and torresmos or "crackels" as their grandchildren called them (deep fried fat strips). In between the work, the adults played cards and horseshoes while grandchildren played "Hide and Seek." Grandchildren all helped in prune picking and were treated to watermelon feasts by their grandparents in payment. Homemade bread was always eaten with the watermelon, perhaps to make the treat go further among the many grandchildren. Anna and Joe helped raise two of their grandchildren Beatrice (1918) and Molly (1920), son Alvino's children, after their mother died in childbirth in 1927. Besides Beatrice and Molly, various grandchildren could always be found at Joe and Anna's house. Many of the grandchildren who called the Vargas farm their second home remember that their grandmother kept a tortoise as a house pet. The tortoise would eat the crumbs that would fall from the family dining table.
Anna suffered from diabetes and had circulatory problems in her legs. Always a hard worker, her health problems forced her to stay off her feet as much as possible in her last years. She used this time to pray her rosary, which had already been a lifelong daily practice. She would pray rosaries for various deceased members of her family. Anna died on March 31, 1937 following the amputation of a leg by Dr. Grimmer. Joe remained in the home that he had worked so hard to earn in Warm Springs until his death of a heart attack on November 12, 1944. They are both buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery on the hill in Mission San Jose.
Most of Joe and Anna's children settled in the Warm Springs area as did Joe's three brothers. Vargas Road, now an exit off 580 freeway in Mission San Jose, was given that name because Joe's brothers Manuel F. Vargas and Tony F. Vargas, as well as nephew Edward Vargas, lived on that road. Joe's brother Frank Vargas was a lifelong Warm Springs resident who also first farmed on the Curtner Ranch. Anna's full brother, Caton Lawrence, and half-brothers, Joe and Manuel Lawrence all settled and raised their families in the Warm Springs area. Francisco Lane in Warm Springs, was named after the middle name of "Francisco" that all of the children of Joe and Anna used. The land around Francisco Lane was once owned by four of Joe and Anna's children. Alvino owned the bottom 15 acres nearest the main road, Annie and Joe Maciel owned the next 10 acres, Tony owned the next 10 acres, and brother Joe owned the next 15 acres that backed up to the foothills. This land is now the site of the busy Franciscan Shopping Center which houses, among many businesses, the local post office.
Descendents of Joe and Anna:
Alvino Francisco Vargas (June 21, 1892-January 16, 1968, San Jose) married Anna Enos (September 27, 1899, Decoto- May 20, 1927, San Jose, daughter of John Enos and Mary Perry) in July 1916 in Oakland. Children: Beatrice (Soares) 1918 of San Jose, Melvina, "Molly" Vargas 1920-1979.
Alvino remarried Katherine "Katie" Flores (July 22, 1907, Koloa-Kauai-March 19, 1973, Milpitas, child of Joseph Flores and Alvida Torres) on January 9, 1932 in Mission San Jose, children: Theodore (1932) of Bakersfield, Richard (1934) of Fremont, Gerald (1939-1987), Geraldine (1939-1939).
Jose Francisco Vargas (January 24, 1894-September 16, 1960, Fremont) married Adline Claudia Perry (June 4, 1898, Niles-November 7, 1980, Fremont, child of Manuel Perry and Rosida Silva) on January 15, 1916 in Niles. Children: Elsie (Duarte, Santos) 1917-1984, Emma (Santos) 1918-1990, Wilbert Vargas 1919 of Fremont, Lorraine (Andrade) 1922 of Fremont, Norman Vargas 1923-1928, Augusta "Gussie" (Borba, Newcomb) 1925 of Richmond, California.
Mary Francisco Vargas (June 28, 1895-June 3, 1949, Alameda) married Augusto Costa (November 12, 1875, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-1943, Warm Springs, child of Manuel Costa and Rosa Terra) on November 19, 1910 in Mission San Jose. Children: Joseph A. Costa, 1913-1962, Mary (Santos) 191-1968, Rose (Tarrant, Rose) 1916-1997, Nora (Perry, Hirshfield) 1918-1996, Edith (Costa, Wydra), 1919-1993, August Costa 1920-1972, and Manuel F. Costa 1932 a resident of Kooskia, Idaho. Mary remarried Frank Costa on June 3, 1944.
Philmina "Minnie" Vargas (November 26, 1897-August 5, 1980 Warm Springs) married Manuel Sarmento (April 22, 1887, Castelo Branco, Faial-August 28, 1928, Oakland, child of Francisco Antonio Sarmento and Maria Emilia Soito on October 4, 1913 in Mission San Jose. Children: Mary 1914-1914, Rosalind (Smith) 1915, resident of Warm Springs, Joe Sarmento 1917-1988, Tony Sarmento 1918-1949. Minnie remarried John Francisco Souza (August 14, 1904, San Leandro-January 2, 1992 Fremont, child of John F. Souza and Mary D. Pereira) on January 25, 1930 in Mission San Jose.
Annie Francisco Vargas (February 10, 1900, resident of Sacramento, California) married Joe E. Maciel (May 9, 1895 Pedro Miguel, Faial-May 16, 1970, Tracy, child of Antonio Ignacio Maciel and Isabel Augusta Lopes, on August 21, 1916 in Mission San Jose, California. Children: Anita (DeValle) 1917, resident of Warm Springs, Isabel (Vargas) 1923-1989, Tony Maciel 1925, resident of Vernalis, and Manuel Maciel 1928-1975.
Tony Francisco Vargas (October 4, 1901-November 19, 1970, Tehachapi) married Mary Enos DeValle (December 19, 1898, Newark-May 2, 1967, Fremont, child of Jose Ignacio DeValle of Castelo Branco and Minnie Perry) on December 9, 1928 in Newark, California. Children: Annabelle Vargas 1929, of Woodside, Maurice Vargas 1933 of Warm Springs and Eugene Vargas 1940-1941. Tony remarried Alfreda Boggini (April 26, 1902, San Francisco-1990, Fremont) on September 7, 1968.
Rose Francisco Vargas (May 2, 1904-December 17, 1979, San Jose)
married Joe S. Brown (February 2, 1889, Castelo Branco, Faial-August 28, 1957, Warm Springs, son of Antonio Silveira Brown and Anna Leal) on October 4, 1920 in Mission San Jose. Children: Evelyn "Brownie" (Rose) 1921, resident of Warm Springs. Rose remarried Archie Ray Morgan (April 22, 1912, Seneca, Michigan-July 1986, San Jose, child of Marcus T. Morgan and Mildred Holben) on January 2, 1960 in Reno, Nevada.
Adeline Francisco Vargas (August 29, 1906-May 20, 1974, Oakland) married Antone F. Swartz (May 22, 1898, Decoto-August22, 1994, Fremont, child of Manuel Soares of Faial and Maria Emilia Caldeira) February 12, 1927 in Mission San Jose, California. No Children.
Manuel Francisco Vargas (February 18, 1909-June 1986, Warm Springs) married Anna Sarmento (July 7, 1916, child of John Sarmento and Agueda Vengleg) in San Jose, California. Children: Patricia (Donatelli) 1936, resident of Antioch.
Florence Rita Vargas (January 16, 1912, resident of Warm Springs) married Antone J. Brazil (May 10, 1905, San Mateo-May 6, 1984, Warm Springs, child of Antone Alves Brazil of Sao Jorge and Angelina Praeder) on July 14, 1929 in Mission San Jose. Children: Donald A. Brazil, 1931 of Ione, California and Robert J. Brazil, 1935 of Warm Springs. Florence remarried Ray Stonecypher (June 5, 1919, Tacoma, WA, child of Ray Stonecypher and Nora L. Kelley) on August 12, 1990 in Mission San Jose; they are residents of Warm Springs.
Above events that occurred in the Warm Springs district of what is now Fremont are listed as Warm Springs. Extensive genealogy done on this family.
Healing Prayer of Anna Lourenco Vargas
With a cross of rosemary in the hand recite:
En nome do Pai, e do Filho, e do Espirito Santo.
Eu te benzo ____________ (name of person).
Eu te benzo o corpo em cruz
Em nome of Deus
E do santo nome de Jesus.
Se foi cobrante de alguem
ou ramo de inveja
ou mal de inveja, que te possam ter dado no comer
ou no ver
ou no olhar
ou no andar
ou em alguma parte do teu corpo.
A Virgem Maria seje servida de o tirar
com as susas palavras
e com ajuda de Deus.
Mal tirate dele, com Jesus estive afirmo
Mal tirate do seu corpo, com Jesus estive no horta
Mal tirate das suas veias, mal tirate de ai. Com Jesus estive em sagrada hors.
Em sagrada hora nasceu o Bom Jesus
O Bom Jesus nasceu e morreu
O Bom Jesus batizou o senhor o Bom Joao
E o senhor Sao Joao batizou o Bom Jesus
No tal belo dia da bela cruz.
Assim, com esta verdade, seja a saude posta no seu lugar
A Virgem Maria pura murta de alecrim pousou.
Cinco galhinhos de alecrim apanho
Seu bendito filho fumou
Assim te aches _______ (name) _______ como o seu filho se achou.
Alecrim verde que estas no campo,
Tira este ramo de inveja, este mal de inveja
E este cobrante
E em nome de Deus Pai
E de Deus Filho e de Deus Espirito Santo
Holmes, Philip and Dolores Rose, comps. Reflections: The Educational Heritage of Fremont. Fremont: Fremont Unified School District, 1983.
Oral History Associates, Sausalito. City of Fremont, the First Thirty Years. San Francisco: The Mission Peak Heritage Foundation, 1989.
Stevenson, Mollie Sinclair. Heritage Cookbook of Washington Township. Newark, CA: Newark Printers, 1985.
Washington Township Historical Society. I Remember . . . Warm Springs. Fremont: Fremont Copy Center, 1978.
Susan Vargas Murphy
700 Selsey Ct.
Sacramento, CA 95864
27. Manuel Pereira Vargas and Rosie Prada Vargas
Manuel Pereira Vargas was born on February 9, 1882 in the Lombega area of Castelo Bronco, Faial, to Antonio Pereira Vargas and Anna Luiza Silva. He was the second child and oldest son of eleven children: Maria (1880-1897), Manuel (1882-1960), Luiza (1884-1958), Jose (1886-1956), Antonio (1889-1961), Francisco (1891-1979), Serefino (1893-19??), Albino (1895-1897), Maria (1897-1991), Anna (1902-1981), and Albino (1903-1992). All of these children came to California with the exception of Serefino and Anna and two children who died young, the first Maria and Albino.
Manuel had the opportunity to come to California with his father's brother, Frank Prada Vargas, who came back to visit Faial from California in 1891. Manuel left Faial at the age of nine, urged by his parents' hopes for a better life in America. He came on the S.S. Vega, arriving in New York on July 11, 1891. He joined a household of five cousins, Mary 12, Louise 10, Frank 8, Minnie 4, and Rosie 3. Another cousin, Margaret, was born the next year. Manuel and his cousins attended Warm Springs School. Unable to speak English, his adjustment to school was not an easy one. He was able to memorize well and , on one occasion, when asked to read aloud in class, he proceeded to do it with the book closed. The teacher did not approve of his unorthodox performance and reprimanded him. Manuel often spoke of this incident as a grown man. He soon decided to leave school and completed only the second or third grade.
Manuel grew up to be a very handsome young man, six feet tall, with blue eyes and a distinctive cleft in his chin. Before he married, he worked for a water well drilling company as a driller at Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Three of Manuel's brothers, Joe, Tony, and Frank, eventually found their way to California and the four brothers worked together on haypress crews. Manuel worked at a feeder, putting the hay into the press. He had to push the hay in with his feet and it was hard work. He got the idea of having a door that hinged off the baler lake a bin door, which he made to make his work easier. Two horses produced the power for the press. Brother Joe drove the horses. Brother Tony was the first bale roller and put the first wires on the bale. Later, the brothers went out and farmed on their own.
Manuel married his first cousin, Rosie Prada Vargas, with whom he had been raised. The marrying of first and second cousins was quite common at this time. They were married on October 29, 1904 at St. Joseph's Church in Mission San Jose. They made their first home in Pleasanton, where their first child, Erma, was born. Manuel worked as a haybaler for a Mr. John Faria in Concord. In 1908, Manuel and Rosie moved to the Vallecitos hills on the property of John W. Kottinger. J.W. Kottinger was one of the men who first plotted out the city of Pleasanton in 1869. Manuel and Rosie lived at the old Kottinger farmhouse for the next eleven years and five children were born there. They were Margaret, Annie, Rosalie, Elsie, and Manuel. All of these children were born at home. The joy of the arrival of their first son was shattered when the infant's umbilical cord ruptured and he died five days after his birth. Manuel decided that no more of his children would be born at home. Son Ernest was born in 1918 at the Livermore Hospital.
In 1919, Manuel, Rosie and their growing family, moved to a farm on the Thomas D. Carneal property on Collier Canyon Road in Livermore. The Vargas family moved into an old existing house on the property but Mr. Carneal soon built a new house for his new tenant farmers. It was a spacious one story house with a large kitchen and high ceilings. Mr. Carneal owned large land holdings in the Collier Canyon area. He farmed grain, had dairy cows and beef cattle but eventually turned it all over to tenant farmers, retired, and moved Oakland. Mr. Carneal was a kind, rich man who provided many modern conveniences for the farmers of his various properties. Other farmers on the Carneal property were the Mitchell, Reinstein, and Banke families. Carneal had an arrangement with his farmers so that they paid him a share rent during his lifetime and would inherit the property upon his death. Mr. Carneal would often take the share rent that was paid to him by his tenants and buy something to give back to the families. He bought the Vargas family tractors, a refrigerator, water softener, electric lighting, telephone and frequently helped with their medical bills. He also built Highland School for the children of his tenant farmers. He had an accident in his early life and had lost part of an arm and the top of one foot. A prosthetic hook replaced his missing hand. He was a bachelor and considered these families to be his own. He died in 1933, generously leaving the farms to the tenants.
For more children were born to the Vargas family: Herman, Edward, Bernice, and Dorinda. Daughter Anna died of pneumonia at age ten, in 1920 and their youngest child, Dorinda, died of influenza at the age of six months in 1926. Manuel grew hay, grain, raised cattle and had a dairy and chicken farm. All of the children helped with the farm chores. Before and after school, there was cattle to bring in and out of pasture, egg collecting, cow milking, and cream separating. The cream was sold to Antelope Cheese Company in Santa Rita. The eggs were collected and sold in town. Their goods were also used for bartering. Many trips to the family doctors, Dr. Warner and Dr. Degner, were paid for in goods. The family brought their groceries at Del Valle Mercantile and paid for them once a year, after the harvest season.
Manuel went into commercial grain harvesting with one of the other tenants, Mr. W.A. Mitchell. "Mitchell and Vargas" wrote testimonial letters to Holt Manufacturing Company, of Stockton, endorsing the efficiency of the Model 32 Catepillar Harvester which were used in an advertising campaign in 1922. The partners wrote "We have Harvested about 250 acres at this time and all of our work has been in hills ranging up to a 50% grade. We have threshed as many as 50 sacks per hour . . . There is no other way to harvest, save and clean the grain that can compare with a Holt combined harvester. This means a lot to hill farmers. We used 12 horses to pull the harvester owing to our steep hills." Manuel and Mr. Mitchell harvested as partners, and maintained their own farms until Mr. Carneal died. Manuel then bought out Mr. Mitchell's share of the harvesting business.
Manuel hired men to help harvest and many of them boarded with the family. Among them were brothers Arthur, George and Bill Rogers, brothers Manuel Silva and Johnny Silva, brothers Joe and Manuel Perry, brothers Walter and Arthur Bettencourt, brothers Walter, Irvin, and Bud Mitchell, Ben Wilson, Manuel Bettencourt, Louis DeValle, Manuel Rose, Manuel Daviner and his son Arthur Davinver. One worker, Walter Bettencourt, fell in love with and married the oldest daughter Erma. Another, Manuel Perry, who drove the horse team, married daughter Margaret. Manuel P. Vargas was quite patriotic and was very proud of the American flag. The flag was a symbol of the golden opportunity that America had given to him. Manuel flew the American flag on his horse drawn harvester. Putting up and taking down the flag was a daily ritual for his crew.
In her large farmhouse kitchen, Rosie cooked for her growing brood and workingmen. She baked bread daily, made homemade butter and jellies and loved making desserts. She was renowned for her bread pudding and jelly roll cakes. The farmhouse also hosted many surprise dance parties. People would bring refreshments and musical instruments to dance the Portuguese charmarrita. Rosie was a musician and played the banjo at these gatherings.
Another little house was situated on the Vargas family property. Manuel's sister, Maria Vargas (Rodrigues) built the home after she was widowed in 1919. Maria, born October 19, 1897, in Castelo Branco, left Faial on May 25, 1913 and arrived in Providence, Rhode Island on June 1, 1913 on the S.S. Germania. She married Matthew V. Rodrigues, of Pico, on July 11, 1914 at St. Joseph's Church in San Luis Obispo. They had three daughters, Mary (Blackwell) (1915-1991), Lorraine (Dias) (1916), and Jean (Spero) (1918-1996). Matthew died on February 6, 1919 leaving his wife alone with their small daughters. Manuel invited his sister to relocate on his ranch so she could be closer to his family. The three little girls grew up with their Vargas cousins until 1929 when Maria married Rosie's brother Frank who lived in Warm Springs with his mother.
The little house was later occupied by Rosie's older sister, Minnie, who had married Tony Caldeira. Minnie and Tony had only one son, Tony, but helped in raising Manuel and Rosie's many children.
On February 25, 1960, it was this same little house that brought tragedy to the Vargas family when it caught fire. The fire ravaged the house and Manuel ran to the nearby garage to move his car for fear that the building might also catch on fire. He had a heart attack before he could move the car. After his death, Rosie and her sister Minnie lived alone in the big farmhouse for some years. Rosie lived with several of her children in her last years and died of pneumonia, at the age of ninety-two, on March 10, 1981, in Los Alamitos, California while living with her daughter and son-in-law, Rosalie and Roy Glass.
Before his death, Manuel P. Vargas was able to sponsor his youngest brother, Albino and his family's immigration to California, after the eruption of the volcano of Faial. Albino Pereira Vargas (May 6, 1903-November 14, 1992, Antioch) and his wife Valentina Garcia (June 18, 1904, Castelo Branco-November 3, 1981, Antioch) had four children Maria (Novero) (1931), Manuel (1939), Norbert (1940), and Maria Valentina (White) (1948), who are all living in Antioch except Maria Valentina who is a Costa Mesa resident.
The farm on Collier Canyon Road has remained in possession of the Vargas children to this day. Manuel's three sons continued his legacy of grain harvesting with sons Herman and Edward in partnership in the Livermore Valley. Son Ernie Vargas, while first pursuing a career of welding, returned to the trade of his father in 1963. Ernest had three harvesters, which could be seen, side by side in San Joaquin Valley grain fields, each proudly flying the American flag, until he retired in 1985. Ernie, his son Emanuel, and grandson, John Murphy drove these harvesters. Ernie taught his four little grandchildren, John, Joe, Anna, and Selena Murphy the family tradition of putting up and taking down the American flag on the harvesters. He loved to recount the story of how the flag was so dear to his father who had so bravely come to find his new life in American as a young boy and had found his future in the golden fields of California.
Descendants of Manuel and Rosie:
Erma Vargas (April 30, 1907) married Walter Bettencourt (October 1, 1903, Livermore - January 9, 1993, Antioch, son of Antone C. Bettencourt of Sao Jorge and Helen Lawrence) on February 10, 1926 at St. Michael's Church, Livermore. Erma is a resident of Walnut Creek. Children: Howard (1929), of Livermore, Norman (1932) of Brentwood, Shirley (Peters) (1934) of Walnut Creek, Patricia (Lombardi) (1940) of Mokelumne Hill.
Margaret Vargas (September 12, 1908-March 3, 1956, San Jose) married Manuel Perry (May 21, 1901, Pleasanton-January 23, 1965, son of Jose Vargas Pereira of Castelo Branco and Maria Madalena Gomes of Faial) on September 23, 1928 at St. Michael's Church in Livermore. Children: Stanley (1938) and Richard (1945).
Annie Vargas (July 4, 1910-March 8, 1920)
Rosalie Vargas (November 2, 1912) Married Roy Glass (August 23, 1916, Juniata, PA, son of Roy Glass and Sarah Burkett) on September 5, 1937 at St. Francis de Salles Church in Oakland, California. They are residents of Garden Grove. Children: Charlene (Hollister) (1941) of San Diego, Donald (1945) of Murietta, Charlotte (Fry) (1949) of San Diego, and Jim (1954) of Anaheim.
Elsie Vargas (October 11, 1914-July 30, 1997, Tracy, CA) married Norman Anderson (January 8, 1915, Livermore, son of John Anderson and Matilda Christensen). Children: Dolores (Todd) (1940) of Rickreall, Oregon, Norman (1941) of Kuna, Idaho, and Marilyn (McPhun) (1945) of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Manuel Vargas (September 18, 1916-September 23, 1916).
Ernest Vargas (February 7, 1918) married Isabel Maciel (August 6, 1923, Warm Springs-October 16, 1989, Tracy, daughter of Joe Enos Maciel and Annie Francisco Vargas, on September 14, 1941 in Mission San Jose, California. Ernie resides in Tracy. Children: Susan (Murphy) (1944) of Sacramento and Emanuel (1954) of Folsom.
Herman Vargas (June 18, 1920-October 5, 1981, Livermore) married Nila Dickey (November 1, 1921, Lisbon, Ohio, daughter of Carl Dickey and Hazel Tritt) on December 6, 1942 in Reno, Nevada. Children: Ron (1944) of Madera, Tim (1949) of Jerome, Idaho, Jody (Givens) (1953) of Livermore.
Edward Vargas (February 18, 1922) married Florence Dezzani (April 9, 1921, San Francisco, daughter of Louis Dezzani and Angela Granero) on September 23, 1944 at St. Michael's Church in Livermore. They are Livermore residents. Children: Kathy (Ulrichs) (1946) of Mill Valley and Tom (1955) of Livermore.
Bernice Vargas (December 9, 1923) married Alden "Fred" Moore (April 4, 1920, Clovis, New Mexico, son of Robert Moore and Effie Etchion) on December 20, 1941 at St. Michael's Church in Livermore. They are both residents. Children: DeLois (Corrin) (1942), Robert (1946), bother of Modesto, and Dennis (1951) of San Diego.
Dorinda Vargas (July 19, 1925-January 18, 1926, Livermore).
Manuel and Rosie Vargas are buried in St. Michael's Cemetery in Livermore along with their children Annie and Dorinda, Rosie's sister, Minnie, and her husband, Tony Caldeira. They have had fifty-0ne great-grandchildren and twenty-three great-great-grandchildren as of this writing.
Historical Atlas of Alameda County, California, Thompson and West,
1878. Fresno: Valley Publishers, 1976.
Susan Vargas Murphy
700 Selsey Ct.
Sacramento, CA 95864