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.

Antone Machado Amarel (Amaral), of Ribeira Seca, São Jorge

Manuel Silva Bettencourt, of São Jorge

Antonio Borba, of São Jorge

Joseph King Correa, Sr., of São Jorge

Morris S. Daggett, Sr. (Silveira de Agueda), of São Jorge

Antone Machado Fagunes, Sr.(Fagundes), of São Jorge

Manuel Foster (Manuel Faustine Amaral), of Ribeira Seca, São Jorge

Albert M. Lemos (Machado de Lemos), of Velas, São Jorge

Manuel Inácio Lopes, of Queimada, parish of Santo Amaro, São Jorge

Almiro dos Reis Maciel, of São Jorge

Pete Maciel, descendant of São Jorge

John Machado de Mendonça, of Ribeira Seca, São Jorge

Joseph S. Miller (Joseph Souza Neves), of São Jorge

Manuel Pimentel Nevis, of São Jorge

George Peters (José Souza), probably of São Jorge

Manuel J. Relvas, of São Jorge

Antone Luiz Silva (Avila), of Topo, São Jorge

John Luiz Silva (Avila), of Topo, São Jorge

Frank J. Silvey (Silva), of São Jorge

Antone Machado Souza, of São Jorge

Joe Tash (José Teixeira), of Santo Amaro, São Jorge

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These are the stories of people from São Jorge:

From pages 180-181 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

ANTONE MACHADO AMAREL was born in Ribeira Seca, São Jorge, on September 8, 1844, and after a month at sea immigrated to America around 1862 at age 18. He worked for Portuguese farmers in the Grant area until, around 1870, he purchased a 10-acre ranch around the Del Paso Park area. Then, at age 26, Antone married LOUISE ANDRADE on September 10, 1870. She was the same age, having been born the same day and year as Antone in Flamengos, Faial, and had come to America when she was 22.

Louise had first gone to the Bay Area to live with a cousin, and then to Sacramento to work as a domestic in the home of Antone Silva at 1217 E Street, helping to care for some of the 13 Silva children, until she married Antone.

They lived on their acreage in the Grant, where sons Tony and Joe were born, until about 1905 when they purchased the 103-acre ranch on 24th Street Road and Florin Road, on both sides of 24th. The home was located on the west side. Daughters Mary, Anna, and Louise (Lil), were born at 24th Street.

The acreage contained a small dairy, and hay and grain were also raised. Antone ranched with his sons until they married. Shortly before Antone died in January, 1949, Frank Tash (See TASH), who married Mary Amarel, rented the acreage and kept cattle there until the ranch was sold about 1950 for a home subdivision. Previously, about 20 acres of the Amarel ranch had been condemned by the City to purchase and build part of the Bing Maloney Golf Course. Louise Andrade Amarel died February, 1954.

The children all went to school at the old Pacific School located at what is now Franklin Boulevard and 47th Avenue, where the Pacific Fire Department is now located. The architecture of the school resembled closely the Freeport School and the Sutter District School, which suggests that they may have been built about the same time and by the same builder.

The Amarel children and the neighboring Japanese children would take the horse and spring wagon to school, the older boys taking turns driving, often taking delight in driving over chuck holes to excite the other children. In the winter during the rains the wagon would mire down halfway through the wheels almost to the axle. Hay would have to be stacked for the horse to be fed at noon.

When it was possible to go, the family attended Immaculate Conception Church in Oak Park.

[Mary Amarel Tash]

From pages 195-196 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

MANUEL SILVA BETTENCOURT left São Jorge in the Azores for Massachusetts, and then went on around the Horn in a whaler to San Francisco in the late 1840s, about the same time as did Joseph Miller, also settling, like Miller, around the Davis-Woodland area. Later he bought the 290 acre ranch where the IDES Hall in Clarksburg now stands. The ranch extended to the west to one mile from the Glide Ranch.

He then sold the ranch and took the family to Terceira where they lived for one year. When he and the family returned he bought the Manuel Silva ("Barbeiro") ranch north of the town of Freeport, where he operated a dairy. After that he ranched in the Grant and lived there about ten years. From there he went to an area called the Cosumnes in the Mather Field area where he raised grapes, barley and wheat. He stayed there until he died in 1905.

He married twice, first to MARY AMELIA NEVIS of Faial, the daughter of Mary Nevis, Joseph Millers mother. She died in 1879 at age 37. He is buried at St.Josephs Cemetery in Sacramento with MARY DELFINA BETTENCOURT, his second wife, who died August 3, 1901, at age 65. (A gravestone there lists Manuel M. Bettencourt 5/8/05, 69 years, presumably the same individual notwithstanding the different middle initial.)

He made some untimely business dealings and lost much of his money after he sold his ranch in Clarksburg where the hall is located. Apparently he owned only that ranch and the Manuel Silva ranch.

Manuels children were all by his first wife: Mary, Carrie, Amelia, Adelena, Tony, Manuel, Frank, King, Joe.

After the ranch was sold it was divided into mostly 20-acre parcels and became the ranches to the east of Corey, Bettencourt, Jacinto, Contente, Damion, Marks, Alamo, Leal, Joe Semas, John Azevedo, Manuel Semas.

[Maggie Valine Pimentel]

From pages 250-252 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

MANUEL INÁCIO LOPES was born in 1880 in Queimada, a village near Villa das Velas, São Jorge, son of Manuel Inacio Lopes and Joana Aurelia do Canto e Silva. He went to America with his father in December, 1906. Both had been carpenters in São Jorge, and at one time, in earlier years, the family owned considerable property there through the mothers side. Manuel's paternal grandfather had been considered the wise man of the village. Manuel's mother had been a school teacher. His brother Joaquim was a professor at Coimbra University in Portugal, and a half-brother was a priest.

Manuel Lopes at one time dabbled in the occult. A family story is told about his playing with an ouija board at one time when some unknown force was said to have taken his hand to draw a perfect eagle, although he had never before drawn anything. The drawing still hangs somewhere in Queimada. The weird experience so frightened him that he threw away the ouija board and never more had anything to do with the occult.

The Lopes father and son settled in Sacramento at 17th and V Streets, where, in 1910, they purchased a lot and built a two-room house, consisting of a bedroom and a kitchen. That same year, Manuels father returned to the Azores because he had contracted malaria, a not uncommon malady at the turn of the century in Sacramento with its mosquito-infested swamps near the river.

In the spring of 1912 Manuel sent for his wife, the former MARIA EMELIA MACHADO, and their children, Mary, age six, and Manuel, age nine, who sailed on the SS Adriatic to New York, and then reached Sacramento by train, arriving at the Western Pacific Railroad Station at 19th and J Streets. There they were met by Joaquim Rogers. Maria Emelia, the only child of Jose Machado and Barbara Emelia Inacia Goularte, had been a domestic, working for various families in São Jorge.

Manuel Lopes was the only one of the family to settle in America, but two of Maria Emelia's uncles - brothers of Barbara Inacia Goularte - settled in French Camp, Calif., under the names Inacio and Enos.

Upon the familys arrival, Manuel added a sleeping porch, a living room, and a bedroom to the house, but not yet a bathroom. They used an outhouse. The house faced the alley between U and V Streets, and it was Manuel's intention to build a larger house on the front portion of the lot, facing V Street, and use the existing house as a rental. But he fell ill before his plans could come to fruition.

A finish carpenter, he worked for the builder, Charles Vannini, under the foremanship of Joaquim Rogers. He also helped in the building of St. Elizabeth's Church. Across the alley from the house he leased two lots, having cows and goats on one, and raising alfalfa to feed them on the other. He worked hard, and to unwind after a strenuous day he often played his guitar and sang before going to bed. He loved music. A skilled craftsman, he made violas as a hobby.

Maria Emelias son, Angelo, had stayed behind in São Jorge, living with her mother. At the age of 19 he was subject to Portuguese military service. But the custom at the time in the Azores permitted the paying of someone else to fulfill ones military obligation, so years after Maria Emelia and her other children had come to Sacramento, money was sent to São Jorge to pay someone else to substitute for Angelo in the military service, and to buy Angelo's passage to America. There was enough money left over for Angelo to pay the passage of John Barreiros, aged 30, to accompany him on the trip. John Barreiros married Lucille Cabral. Angelo lived with the family at the V Street address for about a year and then moved to the Novato area where, eventually, he acquired a dairy. He married Rose Silveira. Angelo died in 1965.

Manuel Ignacio Lopes died of pneumonia in 1924 at age 44, and Maria Emelia raised six minor children all by herself. She grew vegetables in her garden, had fruit trees, and all variety of flowers. As the children who remained at home grew up and got jobs, they contributed their earnings to the household. Maria died 1971 at age 90 following a stroke.

Of their children born in the Azores, Manuel, the oldest son, became proprietor of a motor-rewinding shop near St. Elizabeth's Church. He died in 1965. He had musical talent, and on the voyage from the Azores to Ellis Island he often entertained the passengers with his harmonica.

Oldest daughter Mary, who had graduated from Harkness High School at 18th and K Streets, went to work as a clerk with Weinstocks for four years before marrying Emil A. Silva, son of Manuel and Mary Silva. Emil died in 1971. They had a son, Paul. The rest of the children of Manuel and Maria Emelia were born in Sacramento:

[Mary Lopes Silva; Eleanor Lopes Holmes]

For more information about this Santo Amaro family, contact Doug da Rocha Holmes.

From pages 268-270 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

JOSEPH S. MILLER (Joseph Souza Neves) was born March 6, 1822, in São Jorge, the eldest of nine children. At age 13 he was bonded to John or Antonio Mello, a merchant in São Miguel, the Azores, from whom Joseph acquired the name Mello. In 1835 he was caught stealing meat and was beaten as punishment. He decided to stow away on a Boston-registered American whaling ship anchored at São Miguel. The ship's captain apparently changed Joseph's name from Mello to Miller, and he kept that name the rest of his life.

He hunted for whales in the South Atlantic, Pacific, Alaskan and Siberian waters, reaching the California coast probably in 1836. He is believed to have continued whaling on American ships for the next 14 years. On July 7, 1846, he was in the harbor of Monterey, Calif., and became involved with his ship and crew in the occupation of Monterey by the United States military forces. Four days later he reached San Francisco, then called Yerba Buena.

He was involved in the American war action in southern California when an American general chartered his ship, believed to be the Sterling, to carry provisions for a cavalry troop. Miller and the rest of the crew were captured by Mexican soldiers and held prisoner several weeks until the U.S. cavalary arrived and set them free.

Back in Boston at some time, Joseph Miller pooled resources with other experienced seamen and built a two-masted schooner, the Oddfellow, to be used in the north Pacific whaling industry. They left New London, Conn., on January 29, 1849, arriving at San Francisco on July 1. Having heard of the discovery of gold in the Sierras, they sold the ship, and Miller joined a party of gold prospectors heading for Trinity County. (See Chapter 2.)

He settled initially in Yolo County (the 1850 California census for Washington Township, Yolo County, lists a Joseph Miller, age 28, a laborer born in São Jorge, the Azores). Between 1850 and 1856 he made at least two trips to the East Coast to bring back to the Sacramento area family members who had sailed from the Azores, including his mother, Mary Nevis, four brothers, and five or six sisters. Two of his brothers were Antone C. and August, and the married names of his sisters were Peters, Caselli, Bettencourt, and Waxon. They traveled with groups in covered wagons coming west over the Donner Pass, driving cattle and sheep at the same time, and facing skirmishes with Indians.

Joseph S. Miller married Josephine Therese Paravagna on November 5, 1856, in Washington Township, Yolo County. She was born November 19, 1833, and arrived in the U.S. at New York in 1851 at the age of 18, reaching California via ship to Panama, by land across the Isthmus, and then by ship to San Francisco. Her parents also came to California. Her father died here and was buried in Sacramento City Cemetery, while her mother returned to Italy.

Joseph and Josephine had their first child, Josephine, on July 10, 1857, and their second, Mary, on December 19, 1858, born on a ranch in Buckeye Township, Yolo County, near Davis.

The family then moved to the Glide District of Yolo County on the west bank of the Sacramento River, six miles downstream from Sacramento City, where Joseph bought 186.41 acres of land in the Lower Lisbon District, five miles north of Clarksburg. The property, purchased under an 1850 Congressional Act for the reclamation of overflow and swamp land, cost him $1.50 an acre, for a total of $279.62.

Following the 1878 Sacramento River flood which inundated Miller's farm, damaging crops and drowning cattle, the family moved the next year to the Davis area where they bought 260 acres of land near the north bank of Putah Creek, selling the Lisbon District ranch to Mr. Glide. After the 1907 flood, the Miller residence in the Lisbon District of Yolo County, built on a mound close to the river bank, was demolished to permit construction of new levees in the area.

Joseph Miller later moved to Sacramento, discouraged over having lost his farm which he had earlier mortgaged to help the winery business of his son-in-law, Manuel Nevis.

Having been naturalized a U.S. citizen some 20 years earlier, Joseph Miller became a member of the Sacramento Society of California Pioneers on December 2, 1871. Among those who approved his nomination to the Society was James McClatchy, the Sacramento Bee publisher. Membership required substantiation of arrival in California before January 1, 1850.

Joseph died July 4, 1899, at age 77; Josephine on October 23, 1908, age 74. Their children: Josephine, Mary, Joseph F., George P., Emma, Adele, Cecelia, Rosa, Fiori M., and Victor. Daughter Adele (1867-1937) became a nun, Sister Mary Xavier of the Sisters of Mercy. All of the other daughters except Cecelia married Portuguese men:

JOSEPHINE MILLER (1857-1949) wed JOSEPH DUTRA, a Lisbon District farmer, in 1873, and had ten children, four of whom were dredgermen, as were four of the grandsons, including Edward A. Dutra of Rio Linda, who married Linda Machado. (See MACHADO and DUTRA.)

MARY MILLER (1858-1953) married ANTONE LIAL, also a Lisbon District farmer, and had 11 children. (See LIAL.)

EMMA MILLER (1865-1933) married MANUEL NEVIS, the winery owner, and had five children. (See Chapter 11 for an account of the winery, and see NEVIS in Part Two.)

ROSA MILLER (1872-1959), a school teacher, married MANUEL WAXON, and had six children. Manuel Waxon (Portuguese name not known) (later determined to be Machado) was a dredgerman, farmer, and coal-yard operator. (See WAXON.)

The children of Joseph and Josephine Miller whose marriages were not to Portuguese:

Cecelia Miller (1870-1960) was married to a Lazzarini, and then to Martin Sjogren. Fiori Miller (1874-1951) married Mary Sidel. George P. Miller (1863-1957) married Amelia Janawski. Victor Miller (1878-1918) married Ivy McClure, and was a partner with his brother-in-law Antone Lial in a saloon and grocery store.

Joseph F. Miller (1861-1916), the first dredgerman in the Miller family, married Margaret Anson, and had two sons, Giles, a structural engineer on the Golden Gate Bridge; and George, a United States Congressman from Alameda County.

[Edward A. and Linda Dutra, The Story of Joseph S. Miller, 1983]

From page 283 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

MANUEL J. RELVAS was born in São Jorge in 1843, and sailed for the U.S. by way of Cape Horn in 1852. He worked at the Blue Ravine Mine near Folsom, where he helped build the first mill races. He had two brothers who also immigrated to the U.S.- John, who settled in Folsom, and Joe, in the San Joaquin Valley.

In 1884 Manuel married ISABEL FRANCIS, who was born on October 9, 1867, the daughter of Antone and Maria Jacinta Francis of Pico. (See FRANCIS.) Manuel and Isabel Relvas had ten children, raising eight of them: Joseph M. Relvas, Isabel (Birdie) Brum, Louisa A. Mendes, Minnie Relvas, Jessie R. Maderos, Emanuel (Gip) Relvas, William A. Relvas, all born at Mississippi Bar in the Folsom area, and Francis Relvas, born at Willow Spring Hill.

Manuel died October 9, 1918, and Isabel on August 5, 1952.

Among their grandsons: Norbert J. "Abe" Relvas, who opened the Sutter Club on Sutter Street in Folsom in 1936, and owned the Sutter Gaslight Theater which opened in 1961. During Abcs service in the Army Transport Service in World War II his late wife Irene carried on the business of the club with assistance of the late "Pat" Kipp.

He was one of the original group to sponsor the incorporation of the city and served on the City Council for three terms. He was also active in proposing the western-style covered sidewalks; was a charter member of the Lions Club there; member of the Elks Lodge of Sacramento and E. Clampus Vitus pioneer fraternity. He became a real estate broker in 1959.

Grandson Alfred J. "Al" Relvas earned his degree in pharmacy at the Pharmacy School of United States in San Francisco in 1928. He worked for the late Lee Barton from 1928 to 1938 when he purchased the pharmacy. He sold it in 1961, then working only an occasional shift. He also sold real estate.

Al was a charter member of Folsom Rotary, and was the second Folsom Rotarian to receive the Paul Harris Fellowship award "for outstanding contributions to the community." He was also a councilman for the City of Folsom. During the war he was a chief pharmacists mate in the Navy from 1942 to 1945 while retaining ownership of the pharmacy.

[Adeline F. Serpa]

From page 331 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:

JOE TASH ( Jose Texeira) was born in 1844 in Santo Amaro, São Jorge. He came to America in 1862 when he was 18, reached California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and then settled in the Pocket. He first worked as a farmhand, and then later purchased his 37-acre ranch located to the east of the Gracia (Garcia) ranch.

He married Lucinda "Lucie" (maiden name unknown) who was born in 1858 in Graciosa, Azores, about 1878. Two of their children, Frank and Mary, died very young. The others: Marcel, born in 1879; Gregory, born in 1882; Fiance (1884-1969); Mariana (1887-1892); Eselmo, born in 1889; Anna, born in 1891;and another Frank, born in 1895. Joe Tash stayed and ranched in the Pocket until his death in 1934, age 90. Wife Lucie died January 1923, age 65.

Joe raised vegetables and had a small dairy at one time. He had an additional 30-acre ranch in West Sacramento, near the trestle, and sons Fiance, Frank and Eselmo had an adjoining 30 acres. Marcel, the oldest son, ranched another adjoining 30 acres. Joe was the first in the Pocket to have electricity on the farm for lights and irrigation.

When he purchased his land it was all in tulies. Before he could farm, he had to clear a part of it. He would clear one section and plant, clear another and plant, and so on, until he cleared the entire land. He raised fruits and vegetables and would take them to town in a spring wagon. Buyers would buy off his wagon and take the produce to their stores.

Sacramento City then was a city of tents. Joe would row his boat to town once a week, purchase his provisions - flour, sugar, etc., - from a store near R Street, then row back home.

Son Frank Tash married Mary Amarel and they rented the Pocket ranch from Joe, with whom they lived. Joe was a generous donor to the St. Joseph's Church in Clarksburg, and gave generously toward additions to the St. Mary's Church in the Pocket.

[Mary Amarel Tash; William J. Davis, Illustrated History of Sacramento County, 1890]

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