Saturday, May 12, 2012

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, February 5, 1982

It looks like a may have missed one of my great aunt's entries in her journal.

Feb. 5, 1982 in the afternoon

Shall write a few more lines. Ron was here and had his lunch and I my breakfast. It is a new little plan we have that on Fridays he comes to keep me company on his lunch break. That is nice of him. Rather cold out To go on with my little tale, life must go on. I had four little ones to care for and in a way it was a blessing, it gave me something to strive for. The W.P.A. gave me a settlement and a monthly check. Not much but enough that I bought two acres from the church and had enough left over to get the material for the house. The neighbors pitched in and moved our little shack up on the land so I could be there and cook for them when they worked. They cleared off a space for the house and they dug for the basement, layed the foundation. Then there was a lull when they got their fall work done. The lumber for the house was all delivered so we had piles of lumber all around. It was such a beautiful fall and no one gave a thot to bad weather. The little shack didn’t even have a door in it just a screen door and I had a rug hanging over it to keep the night chill out. Came Nov. 10th and we had a cool misty day but it still wasn’t cold. Early in the morning of Nov. 11 I woke up and could feel it was getting mighty chilly. I looked out and it was snowing and blowing my rug was almost blown off the screen door, the wood pile was covered with snow and the fire was out in the heater. Cold! scary! what to do? First I got a hammer and nails and tacked the rung unto the screen door and then shoveled the snow out that had blown in to the kitchen part. Built a fire in the kitchen stove and heater, put an extra blanket on the door and prepared breakfast. Edward and Leola went out to bring in some more wood but the snow had covered our wood supply so thoroughly they couldn’t get it. I made myself some mittens our of a pr. of heavy wool socks and made another pr to put outside them form an old denim overall and went out in that blizzard and dug out wood and carried in into the shack till we had enough to keep the fires going. Then I had to get water and that was quite a task as I had to get it from the pump at my neighbors that was Raymond & Helen place across the highway I waded thru the snow drifts, making my own trail and each time I went it had blown in till there was no sign of my trail, I made abut six or seven trips and I was truly exhausted but by nightfall I had my brood snug and warm with water enough to extinguish a fire should it start. I will never forget that day. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for strength and ability to do what had to be done. It was two days before anyone could get up to see if we were O.K. And it was my brother-in-law Oscar Peterson who came. We had no phone so no one could call to see it we were all right. This was the never to be forgotten Armistis Day blizzard of 1940. Many people lost their lives in that storm.

Needless to say that put an end to all the building for that year. Oscar saw to it that a real door replace the blanket and rug covered screen door. We spent the winter in that little shack, snug and warm even tho the water pail would often have ice on it in the morning in that little kitchen.

On March 28 that spring we had another big blizzard but we were better prepared for that one.

The house building was at a standstill all the next summer till fall then the neighbors came and the building began. Oscar was very faithful and many of my other neighbors helped. Pastor Mastid put many hours of work on that house. They had it all closed in with the windows and all before winter set it but it wasn’t finished inside so rather than spending another winter in the shack we went down to Grandma Stoutenburgs and stayed till spring. We moved back to the shack around the 1st of April. Edward was confirmed that month. The day before his confirmation Max got sick and I had to stay at home with him. He had a high fever and couldn’t keep anything down that he would eat. The next day I got a terrific earache, it got bad that Raymond who lived right across the highway thot I’d better get into see the Dr. and he took us {Max and me} in to the Hosp. In Pine River and there we were put to bed. Max had pneumonia and I had a very bad ear infection in both ears. We spent two weeks in the hosp. Max was a very sick boy and I got so dizzy and unbalanced I couldn’t even walk straight. Emma and Grace came in and took turns taking care of Max. Pastor Mastid came to see us and prayed for Max so did many others and our prayers were answered, he did recover and when we left the hosp. we went to stay with Grace and Oscar so they could take care of us. Edward, Leola & Dianne stayed at Grandma’s. It took a couple of weeks before my ears got better and my dizziness left. Then we went back home. In that time Oscar and others had worked on the house so we could move in. It was far from finished be we were so happy to move into it. The second world war was being fought and defense plants were calling for people to come to work so that fall we moved to Mpls. and I got work in a defense plant. Bertan and Uncle Fuzz had moved down too and we rented a house. They lived downstairs and we lived upstairs. It was that winter that Dianne got the mumps and then she gave them to Edward and then I got them. We were a sick household. Leola didn’t move with us she stayed with Grandma Stoutenburg who was living in Pine River. She came down and spent Christmas with us. We stayed in Mpls till the next fall then all the children wanted to go back to Swanburg so we did. Edward and I put insolation in and layed the floor in upstairs and made the house more livable. Leola went back to stay with Grandma June and Joyce who had moved to Mpls. The next year Dianne went to stay with them, and Leola stayed at home.

We had quite a struggle getting enough wood to keep the old barrel stove going. First Edward and I worked at it, we managed it for one winter than after he graduated from high school he went to Mpls. to work the next year it was Leola and I who tried it, we stuck at it till after Christmas then I decided it was a little too much and I got an oil burner. Life was easier then. It isn’t easy to go out in the woods find and old dead tree, cut it down saw it into lengths short enough that we could drag it to the house then saw it up into stove length pieces chop in half and carry it into the house and also plot it up for the cook stove. Whew! That was work.

It was about this time that I started to go deer hunting in the fall. That was really a fun time of the year. To walk in the woods in the fall all by yourself somehow draws you closer to your creator. He seems very close then. And all nature speaks of Him.

Days passed in to years. Edward went into the service. Leola graduated almost. But then decided to do otherwise. Caused me several uneasy nights and then she got married, after some time my first grandchild came to brighten our days, that was Jan. 13, 1951, that spring, Herb was drafted into the Army and in June that year I moved to Mpls. so I could take care of Carole so Leola could work. Dianne went to New York to spend the summer with Joyce and Pat. We rented an upstairs of a house and I moved some of my furniture down We got settled, when Dianne came back from New York she was very disappointed in the place and she also dreaded changing schools. But it wasn’t long till she made new friends at North high. Max was confirmed down here. I joined the choir at the church where he was confirmed. That I enjoyed. I always did belong to the choirs in the churches I attended. I loved to sing.

After Christmas that year Bertha’s daughters Maribelle and Patsy came and stayed with us and shortly after they came George {Maribelles husband} came. They stayed there with Dianne and Max. Leola, Carol and I went to New York City to visit Joyce and Pat. We stayed there five weeks. Edward was there too so we had quite a reunion.

When we came back home George, Maribelle and Patsy moved away.

On April 27, 1952 Terry Jean joined our gang. Edward also had returned so we were kind of bulging at the seams in that upstairs apt. But we went merrily along. Leola went back to work after Terry was born but had to quit because of her health. Dianne got a job and so did Edward. Summer passed, fall came and Dianne and Max went to school. Seems that Carol and Terry were sick a good part of that winter. I got a job working nites at a place on the North side I don’t even know what the name was. Any way time passed on and another spring came. Dianne Graduated and Herb came home from Japan where he had served while in the Army. They got a place in Coon Rapids. Edward and June were married and Max went to stay with June and Jerry. I moved in with Helen Church and got a job at Sears. Dianne went out to Montana. So the family scattered. I stayed with Helen until after Christmas then I got an apt. at 920 E. 19 St. and Max came to live with me. He was going to school at South High. This was 1953 and on Oct. 31 that year my first Grandson was born. Edward Barnum the 4th He was a premature baby and had to stay in the hosp. for quite some time. Such a little mite he was but he grew up to be a handsome man, so he did.

The next summer Dianne was married but that marriage didn’t work out and Dianne came home. Leola had moved back into Mpls. and on Oct. 30, 1954 they welcomed Steven Mark into their brood. And on Dec. 21, my Patti Wats was born. To Dianne How my family is growing.

This little story is drawing to a close. Not much more to report but I will leave the rest till another time

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The 'Ukelele

While researching articles and papers concerning the Portuguese migration to California, I came across a paper written by Robert Santos, Librarian/Archivist at California State University in Stanislaus County.

Reading Section VII, I was surprised to learn about a Portuguese migration to the Kingdom of Hawaii in the late nineteenth century. However, I was even more surprised to learn that the ukelele was brought to the Hawaiian islands by the Portuguese.

Since the paper's focus was the migration of Azoreans to California, Mr. Santos provides a very brief mention of the history of the ukelele. The ukelele is an adaptation of the cavaquinho, a small 4-stringed guitar from Madeira made first in 1877 by cabinetmaker, Manuel Nunes. He claims that the word ukelele means jumping mosquito.

Next, I wanted know how the ukelele is different from the cavaquinho. I came across an article at the 'Ukelele Guild of Hawai'i website by John King. The article confirms Mr. Santos' assertion that the ukelele was brought to Hawaii by the Madeiran Portuguese. However, Mr. King's article differs in other respects.

John King's article on the history of the ukelele refers to a strange little instrument that looked and sounded like a cross between a guitar and an banjo that the Maderian immigrants brought with them called the machete. Wikipedia indicates that machete is the name used in Maderia for the cavaquinho. Apparently, some Portuguese cabinetmakers also made stringed instruments. They were called luthiers.

I mentioned in my last post that in 1877 the Hawaiian government recruited workers from the Azores to work in the sugar cane fields. The government also recruited workers from Madeira. The workers began arriving in 1878 but were obligated to work 3 years in the cane fields of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii.

As a laborer in the sugar cane fields, Manuel Nunes would have little time to make stringed instruments. It was probably sometime in 1881 or 1882 that he would have had an opportunity to take up his old occupation. By 1885, Nunes was in Honolulu and advertised himself in a Portuguese language newspaper as a cabinetmaker and maker of stringed instruments.

Manuel Nunes was one of three cabinetmaker/luthiers to arrive in Hawaii about 1878. Augusto Dias advertised  in 1884-85 Honolulu City Directory. In 1885, Jose do Espirito Santo advertised in the Portuguese language newspaper too. It is not clear who really first made the ukelele. Manuel Nunes is self-professed as the inventor of the ukelele (1916 Honolulu City Directory). But Espirito Santo was the first to advertise ukeleles (1898 Honolulu City Directory) while Dias advertised in the same directory, "instruments made of Hawaiian wood."

Robert Santos claims that ukelele means jumping mosquito. Whereas, John King says the name is derived by the way that the instrument is played. It was coined about 1891 from two words, uke and lele. Uke means to strike; lele means to jump. I found another website about the history of the ukelele. This author says that ukelele means jumping flea but then points out additional stories of what the name means, who invented it, etc.

One last comment...

Besides being made from Hawaiian wood, how is the ukelele different from the machete? From what I can tell the only difference is how the instrument is tuned.


Azoreans to California: A History of Migration and Settlement by Robert L. Santos. Denair, CA: Alley-Cass Publications, 1995.

Prolegomena to A History of the 'Ukulele by John King.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Azorean Migration to California Part 2

In Part 1, I indicated that the city of San Leandro, Caliornia attracted the greatest number of Azoreans in the west. Some of the foreign born people enumerated in San Leandro in each of the decades did identify their country of birth as Portugal. Without further investigation, I cannot determine if these are Azoreans or from Portugal or some of each.

Robert Santos' paper on the Azorean to California migration noted that Massachusetts was the first area in the United States that attracted the Azoreans. By the 1850s the busiest ports were in New England. Each week dozens of whaling ships left the ports in New England. Those Azoreans working on whaling ships had the opportunity to come to Massachusetts.

In some cases, the men jumped ship and permanently settled in and around New Bedford, Massachusetts. Others served on the ships until discharged and then permanently settled in America. By the 1870s, direct shipping was begun from Horta, the location of the US Consulate in the Azores, to Boston. This allowed for an easier journey by family members to New England. As the male immigrants in New England saved enough money for passage, they sent for family members.

San Francisco was also a whaling ship port in the 1800s. With the discovery of gold in California, people from within the United States and throughout the world were attracted by the prospect of becoming wealthy. The some Azoreans working on whaling ships used the opportunity when they were in port at San Francisco to jump ship.

By 1860, the majority (86%) had settled in the Central Coast, Sacramento Valley and the Sierra Nevada. About equal numbers were in the Central Coast (35%) as were in the gold country (34%). They were occupied in whaling, farming or gold mining.

Twenty years later, interest in gold mining greatly diminished. Only 6% of the Azorean immigrants are found in the gold country, whereas almost 83% are found in the Central Coast (71.5%) and Sacramento Valley (11%). They are primarily engaged in farming in the East Bay where San Leandro is situated.

I also happened to notice that some of the people I found in the census between 1900 and 1940 were born in Hawaii and whose parents were born in the Azores. Mr. Santos' paper included a subheading, "From Hawaii."

By 1870, Mr. Santos indicates there are around 400 Portuguese living in Hawaii. They were primarily members of the crew aboard whaling ships who jumped ship when the ship was in port for supplies. Then in 1877, Hawaii faced a labor shortage in the sugar cane industry. The Hawaiian government offered to pay transportation costs for Azoreans who to immigrate to Hawaii with the provision that the immigrant work in the cane fields for 3 years.

The immigrant was offered monthly pay, food, lodging and medical care. Men represented the majority of the immigrants (42%), but entire families seized the opportunity. Women accounted for 19% of the immigrants and children, 35.6%. However, by 1890 the Hawaiian Portuguese began migrating to the Bay Area.

The Hawaiians viewed the Portuguese laborers as of a lower class. The hardworking Azoreans were offended. Some moved to the mainland while others took steps to asimilate into the Hawaiian population. They changed names, moved out of field jobs and intermarried.

The Hawaiian transplants also settled in San Leandro. Many settled along or near Kanaka Lane (Row or Road). The street was later renamed Orchard Street because of the number of fruit orchards planted by the Azoreans living there. I was curious to see what Orchard (now Avenue) looked like in 2012. If it were a street being laid today, Orchard is not likely a name that would fit.

The Portuguese in San Leandro by Meg Rogers. San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2008.

San Leandro by Cynthia Vrilakas Simons. San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2008.

American Experience Whaling Ports of the 1850s.

Azoreans to California: A History of Migration and Settlement by Robert L. Santos. Denair, CA: Alley-Cass Publications, 1995.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Azorean Migration to California

I was looking at the newly released 1940 US Census images for various enumeration districts in Sonoma County, California. Since the images for this census are not indexed, I had to look at each image within a given enumeration district.

As I browsed through the images looking for people named Houston, I happened to notice quite a few of the residents were either born in the Azores or were the offspring of one or more parents born in the Azores. The only thing that I really knew about the Azores was that they are islands in the Atlantic Ocean governed by the Portuguese government.

The instructions on the 1940 Census form states, "If foreign born, give the name of the country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937." Similarly, the instructions on the 1930 Census form states, "If of foreign birth, give the name of the country in which birthplace is situated." This instruction is consistent in the previous enumerations.

Since Azores or Azores Islands are not the name of a country, I was a little surprised to see it recorded in the Place of Birth field. I was curious about why so many Portuguese had settled in Sonoma County. I found a paper written by Robert L. Santos of California State University, Stanislaus, about the migration of people from the Azores to California.

Reading the paper, I learned that city of San Leandro had the greatest concentration of immigrants from the Azores in the west. I looked at the enumeration of that city in 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 and found that in most cases the enumerator wrote Azores Islands in the Place of Birth field rather than Portugal.

I was now curious to find out why these citizens of Portugal seemed to be emphatic about being from those islands. Mr. Santos paper provided much of the answer.

The Azores are comprised of nine islands formed by volcanic action. Only about 40% of the land on these islands are inhabitable because of the volcanic terrain. Wikipedia claims the total land area of the Azores is 906 square miles while claims a land mass of 893 square miles. In either case, the total inhabitable area is about 1.5 times the land area of Los Angeles.

Overpopulation, food scarcity and droughts periodically created problems for the inhabitants. One of the earliest bouts of hunger in the Azores was in 1680. Gold was discovered in Portuguese-controlled Brazil about that same time. The Portuguese government offered incentives to Azoreans to permanently settle in Brazil, primarily to work in the gold mines.

In the 1830s potato rot and a grape fungus plagued the islands. The fungus resulted in the virtual decimation of the wine industry. Then in 1877, the islands citrus crop suffered from orange blight. The crop yield was a third of normal. Unlike the hunger of 1680, the Portuguese government did little to aid the inhabitants during these periods.

In 1800, Portugal instituted a mandatory conscription law in which 14-year-old boys were conscripted into the military. By 1873, a family could pay a surrogate to replace a son but the Azoreans were too poor to take advantage of the new law. To avoid conscription, parents secreted their sons off the islands aboard whaling ships that stopped at the islands.

Throughout the 1800s, the majority of Azorean immigrants to America were males between the ages of 14 and 44. These men and boys would work two or more years aboard a whaling ship before settling in America.

Because of these factors, Azoreans held very little allegiance to Portugal. Although these immigrants would state that their mother tongue was Portuguese, when asked the name of the county in which they were born they stated, Azores or Azores Islands.

To Be Continued...

Azoreans to California: A History of Migration and Settlement by Robert L. Santos. Denair, CA: Alley-Cass Publications, 1995.