Joaquin Vierra Sr.


Contributed by: Carol Lackey




The life of Joaquin Vierra which began on the island of Terceria, of the Azores group, on March 14, 1856, sustained one of the greatest afflictions that can befall a young child, for his mother died when he was only fourteen months old. His father, also named Joaquin, was a farmer and lived to the age of seventy-two. His mothers maiden name was Josephine Gomez. The son grew up on his fathers farm and went to the common school until he was sixteen years old. Then he started out for himself, came to America and directly to California, and eventually arrived at Hayward, Ala-meda County, where he spent the winter. He then came to the West Side and worked for Mr. Bunker in the Cottonwood district of Merced County, on the ranch now owned by John Jeffers. Young Vierra worked on this ranch six years and then made a trip back to his native land for a visit. Returning to California he worked another year for Mr. Bunker and then started out for himself and began raising stock on a small scale on the Donahue ranch for a number of years.

He later sold this place of forty acres and purchased ten acres in another location and carried on a small dairy for six years. In 1910 he had so prospered that he was able to buy sixty-five acres near the ditch and is now making that his home, living practically retired, having turned the dairy over to his boys, who also run the McCabe ranch of 160 acres, of which 100 acres are in alfalfa.

While living on his first ranch Mr. Vierra sent back to his native island where his intended wife, Angeline Menzes, lived and she came to California and they were married in San Francisco on September 18, 1891. Her parents were Gariot and Margaret (Mar-tinez) Menzes, and of this union there have been five children, viz.:Margaret, Mrs. Rocha of Volta; Joaquin, Jr., who manages the ranching interests; and Joseph, Frank and Estella. There are fifteen grandchildren in the Vierra home circle to brighten his fireside. He belongs to the I. D. E. S., and the U. P. E. C., of Los Banos and is an ex-officer of both lodges. He has served for years as trustee of the Santa Nella school district of Merced County.

Source: Book of Azore Immigrants