Author: John Outcalt (1925)


One of the leading Portuguese-American citizens of the West Side of Merced County is John S. Cardoza, born at St. George, in the Azores, on October 12, 1859, the second child born to Antone and Anna (Silvieira) Cardoza. The father followed farming all his life in his native land. The mother died in 1869, when
her son was a lad of ten years, and it was after the death of this parent that our subject began to be self-supporting. He was given work to do on the farm that would have been enough for a man, but he was strong and willing and in a way accomplished what he was set to do. He had but little opportunity to go to school for his days were given over to monotonous work and, as he grew older, he could see but little promise for the years that were to come; so he decided he would come to America where there was more opportunity for a man of persistency and purpose.

In 1873, when fourteen years of age, J. S. Cardoza landed in New York, with but little money and among strangers. He secured work on a farm in Rhode Island, but the wages were small and after eighteen months he had saved barely enough to pay his passage to California, where he arrived on January 1, 1875, having but a "two-bit" piece in his pocket. He was ambitious to get ahead and he worked his way to the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley where there were many of his countrymen with whom he easily found work on a ranch. He saved his money and by 1881 was able to embark in ranching for himself on 1000 acres of leased land upon which he began raising grain, each year adding to his leasehold until he had under cultivation some 2500 acres. He was so successful in disposing of his grain that in 1885 he and Charles Nye purchased 160 acres of the Page tract, which they put into alfalfa and sold at a good profit. Mr. Cardoza then bought his present home place, first only eighty acres, then adding seventy, all of which he improved with a good set of farm buildings, with barns suitable for dairying, and here he has been successfully engaged in that industry ever since. He was one of the pioneers in the dairy business in this locality and with the passing of the years he has won the respect and good will of his neighbors and has an ever-widening circle of friends. Upon the organization of the Bank of Newman Mr. Cardoza was invited to become a stockholder and later was made a director and after some years sold his stock. In fact nearly every project for advancement of this section has had his hearty cooperation and support.

The marriage of John S. Cardoza at Centerville, Cal., united him with Miss Mary Munyan, who was born there, a daughter of Frank Munyan, who crossed the plains in 1849 and had the usual experiences of the pioneers in that long and hazardous journey. He mined for a time, abandoning that to undertake ranching near Centerville, in which occupation he was very successful. Of this marriage there were born the following children: Charles; Lena, married Frank Dias, has two children, Frances and John, and lives in Merced; Geneva, wife of Tracy Barrett, lives in Berkeley; Carrie, married Ralph Reed and resides in Stockton; Lunas; and Stuart, all of whom have had the advantages of the best schools to prepare them for the battle of life. Mr. Cardoza is a Republican in politics of national import, but in local affairs he believes in the best men for the office regardless of party lines. He is a member of the Knights of Phythias, Woodmen of the World, Women of Woodcraft, Degree of Honor, and United Portuguese Union. In the review of the life of this worthy citizen we find that his success, and the position of honor in which he is held, are the result of prudence, perseverance and push, the three P's of success, all combined with good citizenship.

Additional Comments:

WITH A Biographical Review OF
The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present



File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:
Joy Fisher February 6, 2006, 12:30 am