Portuguese Family Histories



The following people will be added here very soon. For now, only the ones in blue are ready to go now. The red text indicates new information about a person's origin or something not in the original text, either discovered by me or one of the visitors to these pages. I encourage everyone to help correct any inacurracies or typos. I have an ongoing project to identify the native village of each person mentioned in the book Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area. I would be happy to learn more from what each visitor knows.

Antonio José Andrade, of Brava, Cape Verde

Manuel José Lomba, descendant of Brava, Cape Verde

John Silva, of Cape Verde

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These are the stories of people from Cabo Verde:

From pages 181-182 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

ANTONIO JOSE ANDRADE was born in 1886 on the island of Brava, Cape Verde, to Jose and Carlotta (Costa) Andrade, and left the Cape Verde Islands at age 13 for New Bedford where he washed dishes for a couple of years before shipping out. Eventually he became a sea-going chef.

The typical practice among Cape Verdean men was to leave the islands for the United States the first chance they got, then return there and get married, their wives remaining in Cape Verde while the men returned to the U.S. In some cases in the early days the wives would stay in the islands as long as 20 years, the men making periodic trips back and forth.

So it was with Antonio Andrade. In 1914 he had married MARIA Dos REIS and then continued at sea, leaving Maria in Cape Verde pregnant with her first child. At some point Antonio sailed from New Bedford for California, where he worked as a cook on passenger ships plying between San Francisco and Hawaii until he joined the Army in 1918. He served at Fort Lewis, Washington, until discharged in 1919.

He went to the Bay Area and worked for the California Transportation Co. river boats between San Francisco and Sacramento, including the Pride of the River and the Capital City. Most of his fellow crewmen in the galley were Cape Verdeans, and the deck hands were mostly either Cape Verdeans or Azoreans.

He had established residence in Alameda, and there he was finally joined by his wife and oldest child, Joseph, who sailed from Cape Verde in May of 1921, when the latter was five or six years old. They had sailed on the windjammer Volante to New Bedford, and then traveled by train to Oakland, a combined journey of 28 to 30 days. Young Joe recalled that Sunday was a special day when the captain served canned fruit. The Volante's skipper at one point came across a drunken sailor and realized there was moonshine liquor aboard, which he promptly had thrown overboard. The liquor, not the sailor.

After about six months in Alameda, where a second son, John, was born in 1922, the family moved to Sacramento, where the senior Andrade went to work for the Southern Pacific Company in the boiler shop. Several other Cape Verdeans and Azoreans were employed.

They lived in Broderick for three months and then bought a home on 18th Street between X and Broadway, for $3,500, paying down $300. It was a working-class neighborhood of Portuguese and Italians, mostly. There was a levee on Broadway (Y Street then), with Japanese truck gardens on the other side of the levee. There was a horse barn there where the Italians who had the garbage contract kept their horses. After the barn burned down, Sacramento's first supermarket, Le Marche, was built on the site, later occupied by Sams Ranch Wagon, and today the Mandarin Quisine restaurant.

Maria dos Reis Andrade also went to work for the Southern Pacific, as a coach cleaner, and also at the canneries.

Son Joe Andrade, who was born on Brava April 29, 1915, attended the Cathedral Parish School at 8th and S., William Land School on V Street between 11th and 12th Streets, and Sacramento High School. While their mother worked at the cannery, Joe and his brother John stayed at Crace Day Home.

After working summers at Del Monte Cannery during his high school years, Joe followed his father to Southern Pacific where, at age 19 in 1934 he was a carman apprentice. In 1939 he worked for S.P. for nine months in Los Angeles, and then returned to Sacramento, and in subsequent years worked in the air brake valve unit and as union representative, retiring after 43-1/2 years with S.P. in 1978. Joe was one of the founders of the California Cape Verdeans, organized in 1975 following the revolution in Portugal.

In 1940 he married Mary da Silva, a Cape Verdean., and fathered sons Anthony and Gary. Subsequently divorced, Joe and his mother returned to Brava to visit relatives, and there he met Anna da Silva, marrying in 1949. Joe and Anna have three children, John Steven, Joe, and Sandra Lee. Anna is the daughter of Manuel da Silva and the former Eugenia Lomba, both of Brava.

Antonio Jose Andrade died in 1958, and Maria dos Reis Andrade on June 23, 1988.

[Joe Andrade]

From page 250 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

MANUEL JOSE LOMBA, who lives in Sacramento with his wife Irise, was born in Onset, Mass., near New Bedford, the son of Manuel J. Lomba and Gertrude (Faria) Lomba, who came from Brava, Cape Verde. Manuel's paternal grandparents, named Ferandes and Lomba, came from the Algarve and Madeira. His maternal grandparents came from Madeira and Lisbon. Gertrude's father was Joaquim Faria.

An uncle, Antonio Lomba, was the owner of a three-masted schooner which sailed often from Furna, the Cape Verdean port from which sailed many of the Cape Verdeans.

[Manuel Lomba]

From page 305 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

JOHN SILVA was one of the early day Cape Verdean longshoremen working the river boats freighting from San Francisco to Freeport and Sacramento.

He worked aboard the San Joaquin No. 4 stacking potato sacks and other produce to be shipped to San Francisco.

While docked at Freeport he met FRANCES VIERA ("Gargaluda"), who lived alongside the St. Joseph Church in Clarksburg. She was the daughter of A. and Frances Viera of Clarksburg, and sister of Clara, Lena, and Leona Viera, Mary Viera Peters, Rose Viera Leal, Carrie Viera Azevedo, and Theresa Viera Perry, all of Clarksburg. She was a niece of Frank Governor and Henry Governor Costa of Clarksburg.

Notwithstanding John Silva being a very attractive and pleasant person, racial prejudice against "Bravas" was so great that news of the acquaintanceship spread fast, and it became a scandal in the minds of some Portuguese.

Nonetheless, John and Frances chose to marry. John had no problem making his choice of a best man, selecting a congenial fellow Cape Verdean longshoreman. But Frances faced a problem getting someone to be bridesmaid. Many young ladies themselves refused outright, and in other cases their mothers forbade it.

Finally, Frances asked Maggie Valine, a close friend, who accepted the honor. The wedding date was almost due but Maggie didn't have a dress for the occasion. Her mother, Mary Valine, hurried to town, bought the material, and was up all night making her daughter's dress.

The wedding ceremony was performed at St. Joseph's Church in Clarksburg around 1901. After the wedding, John Silva took the wedding party to dinner in Sacramento by boat, and then to the photographer for the wedding picture. Maggie Valine was pleased to be a part of the group, but she felt for Frances, knowing there would always be a cloud over her head because of the prejudice.

John and Frances brought the wedding attendants back to Clarksburg, and then the newlyweds departed for San Francisco on their honeymoon. They had one son. Following John's death, some years later Frances married MANUEL MENDES of Sacramento.

[Maggie Valine Pimentel; Grace Freitas Rose]

You can add the story of your ancestors here. Send E-Mail to: Family-Histories@dholmes.com

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