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Joseph Pereira Azevedo
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Birth: Dec. 29, 1833
Azores Region, Portugal
Death: Apr. 17, 1925
Tuolumne County
California, USA

Joseph Azevedo was the husband of Mary Katrina Bettencourt Silva Azevedo. He was the son of Jorge Joseph Pereira Silveira and Mariana Joaquina Azevedo Silva.

The Story of Joseph Pereira Azevedo as told by his grandson, Joseph Francis Azevedo, in March 1972.

My grandfather, Joe Azevedo, was born in the islands, the Azores Islands about 930 miles west of the mainland of Portugal, December 29, 1833. When he was a very young man, he got on a whaling ship as a stowaway. In those days the ships would come close to the islands, and there the young boys would row out to the ships and get on as stowaways to leave the Azores Islands to better their lives in the western world.

Grandpa sailed all over the world in this sailing ship. He told about hunting for whales up around the islands of Greenland and in the North Sea. He told about when they would run out of water, fresh water, they would go out in a rowboat out to an iceberg close by and chop a hole in the ice and let the sun melt the water. It would run into this hole, and then they would fill their casks with fresh water.

In 1861, they decided that they would go up into the Aleutian Islands up the coast of Alaska. They heard that there were quite a number of whales up there. So they started out, and somewhere off the coast of South America, they looked way to the north and saw a large star which must have been a comet. A few days later in the evening, they noticed it way to the south. When they pulled into the Rio de Janeiro for supplies for their ship, there they heard that the Civil War in the United States had broken out, the north and the south. Now if there was any connection between that star and the Civil War, I don't know, but that was his story.

They sailed around Cape Horne, and what I remember of him telling me, evidently they went through the straits of Magellan, because he told about seeing the hulls of the old ships lying on the rocks along the coast of the straits. Evidently it is very windy, and the water is very rough. Of course the wind would blow the ships up onto the rocks.

They came up the west coast of South America, and they ran into a calm where there was no wind to move their ship. They stayed there for several days. Way off in the distance they could see the ships going by, but there they stood, and finally they noticed the canvas of the sails began to flop around a little bit, and then they were on their way.

They came into the Golden Gate, into San Francisco, and resupplied their ship. While there, there was a young American boy who wanted to join up with them. So, they let him come on board, and he went with them on up to the Aleutian Islands.

While there at the Aleutian Islands, the sailors would get into these small rowboats --they called them whaleboats-- and row around the islands to see if they could locate any whales. Whenever they did locate one that suited them, they would row the boat around until they got lined up with the whale. Then they rowed really fast and hard, and the boat would slide up the side of the whale. When it reached its peak, the fellow who stood at the bow of the boat with the harpoon would ram the harpoon into the whale. Then they would row like mad back off away from him because when the whale was harpooned, he went towards the bottom of the ocean to try to get away. Sometimes the whale would come directly under the boat and mash the boat to smithereens, and everybody would be thrown out into the water.

Well, this particular day they were out looking for the whale, and they had this young, American boy with them. He was new. He didn't know how to handle an ore. A large wave caught his ore and turned the boat over, and of course they were all out in the water. They hung onto this boat, and they had a horn that they would blow for help. So, each one took their turn blowing this horn. There was also a Norwegian whaling ship up in among the islands, and their crew was out looking for whales. The Norwegians heard this horn blowing, but they were on the opposite side of the island from where my grandfather was hanging onto this boat. So they rowed their boat around the island and discovered the terrified crew just as they were about to call it quits and let go of the boat and forget about everything. The Norwegians and Eskimos rescued them. My grandfather said that when he came to, Eskimo women were rolling him around on the sand on the beach, evidently to get the water out of his lungs. It worked and he survived to tell the story.

When they decided to come back to San Francisco to sell their whale oil, Grandpa and another American boy who chummed around together decided they had enough. See, when they were up in among the islands, it was very cold, and the captain would make them climb the regime with a little stick about a foot long and break the icicles off of the ropes, and he figured that was more than he could take. Also, the captain got so many barrels of whale oil, and the mate got so many and so on down the line to the fellows that did the work risking their lives in the ocean harpooning whales. They didn't get anything.

So, when they came into San Francisco, my grandfather and his American friend decided they would jump ship. Now this was sometime in the early part of 1862, as far as I can figure out. They found an old hotel that the sailors would hang around somewhere on the waterfront in San Francisco. They crawled way back up underneath the foundation of the thing and stayed there. They were there for several days. The captain and the crew of the ship looked all over the city to try to find them but they couldn't.

So, when they found out that the ship had left the bay to go back up to Alaska, they came out of from under the building. They located an Italian fisherman and they gave him a dollar and a half to take them across the bay to where Tiburon is now. There they farmed. They had cows, and they herded their cows over to where Mill Valley, Corte Madera and Larkspur are today. They also raised vegetables, and they had chickens. If they need anything from San Francisco, they would put their eggs and butter and vegetables or whatever they had in a rowboat and row from Tiburon to San Francisco, which is several miles across the bay. They would trade or sell whatever they had, and then take their supplies, put them back in the rowboat and row back home.

About 1867, my grandfather got to thinking about a little girl that he saw back in the Azores Islands, on the island of Sao Jorge. He decided to go there and see if he could bring her back to California with him. I don't know if he went by boat or overland, but he stopped in New York City, and while there he bought a little small key-wind and key-set American Welcome watch, which I have to this very day. It keeps just as perfect time now as when my grandfather bought it over one hundred years ago.

Grandpa traveled to the island of Sao Jorge, married this little girl, and brought her back to Tiburon. There he continued to farm but then heard that he could buy land up here in Tuolumne County for a dollar and a half an acre from the government. He found out about a piece of land out in back of French Flat. He traveled there and met a Portuguese fellow by the name of Frank Martin who lived at French Flat. In fact, Mr. Martin owned the flat itself. When he told Frank what he wanted, Frank said, "No, you don't want to buy that land. It's all rocks and brush. You couldn't raise anything on it." He pointed toward Tuttletown and said, "You see that open land over there? It belongs to two Mexican ladies, and they want to sell out. You go see them." Grandpa came over and knocked on the door of the house, but there was no answer. He looked down in a little valley, he heard somebody talking, and under a pear tree, which is still standing, he saw the two women. He walked over to them and told them that he wanted to buy them out.

Now whatever Grandpa paid for the property, so far I have never been able to find out. But the deed that was recorded was December--I believe the twelfth, the eleventh or the twelfth--1872.

Grandpa bought 125 acres at a dollar and a half per acre. He wasn't able to pay the full amount when he bought the place, so he borrowed the rest of the money from a relative here in Columbia. I will tell you more about that later.

At that time Grandpa bought the ranch, the land was almost as 49er miners left it. They had looked for gold up and down Kanaka Gulch and along the hillsides and gullies leaving behind a land full of holes and rocks. There were no trees on the property except a few pear trees, a few apple trees and four or five fig trees. The mines in those days used steam to run their hoists and to run their pumps to pump water out of the mines. The miners cut all the trees for miles around to use for firewood. Grandpa worked hard filling in the mineshafts, clearing the rocks from the fields, and using the rocks to build a stone wall fence. He planted a vegetable garden, he raised grain and cattle.

Grandpa used to tell about sitting on his back porch and he could see every corner of the ranch because there were no trees to interfere. All these oak and pine trees that you see on the property today have grown up since the year that my grandfather came in 1872.

In 1879, Grandma became quite ill with consumption and passed away in 1880, leaving Grandpa with seven children to care for. He would be out in the orchard or out in fields working, look at the sun to figure when lunchtime was near and go home to prepare a meal. He would peel some potatoes and fish or meat, or whatever they had available, and put it on the stove. He would tell the little children, "Now every once in awhile please put a stick in the stove." So he would then leave the house to tend to his watering. When he figured everything was cooked, he would come back. Well, the children were playing. They had forgotten about putting wood in the stove. Nothing cooked. So, he would rebuild a fire and cook them up something to eat. After they had eaten their fill, he would go back out into the fields or the orchard.

Well, about the money Grandpa borrowed from his relative in Columbia, as time went on, Grandpa tried his best to pay him off, but with all the sickness in the family, his wife passing away and then a baby son passing away shortly afterward, he was not able to pay it back as soon as he planned. He told his brother-in-law, Antone Silva, who lived in Petaluma, that he was having quite a time trying to pay it all off. So Antone asked my grandfather, "How much do you owe him?" Grandpa told him, "Well, I owe him twenty dollars." Antone reached down in his pocket, took out his wallet, handed my grandfather a twenty dollar gold piece, and told him, "Go pay him, and your troubles are over."

So as time went on, my grandfather was able to save up enough money—twenty dollars—and he made a trip to Petaluma. When Grandpa arrived he reached down in his pocket, pulled out a twenty dollar gold piece and he handed it to Antone. He said, "How much interest do you want?" Antone told him, "There was nothing mentioned about any interest. You just borrowed twenty dollars from me, and that was it." So Grandpa never forgot that. As years went on, Antone needed twenty dollars, so my grandfather let him have it, and again there was no interest.

Grandpa would do his buying in Columbia. He would take eggs and trade for sugar or whatever he needed. For flour, he would take a sack of grain to the flour mills, which there were several at that time in and around Sonora, and grind it up for his flour.

One day Grandpa was in an attorney's office in Sonora--a fellow by the name of Street--and he overheard him talking about a wonderful invention. A man could go up to a box which was fastened on the wall, and he could talk to that box, and someone else will answer maybe several miles away. That was the telephone that had just been invented, and oh, they thought that was a wonderful thing.

One day Grandpa had some business to take care of, and Mr. Street was busy and Grandpa was sitting there in the waiting room. Mr. Street, while talking to this other gentleman, he turned around to my grandfather and he says, "Oh, say, Mr. Azevedo, do you have your citizenship papers?" Grandpa says, "Why, no, I don't." "Well," he says, "Would you want them?" Grandpa says, "Well, sure, I would like to have them." "All right," he said. "You be here on a certain day. I'll have them." And that was all there was to it. When Grandpa went back in later, Mr. Street handed him his citizenship papers.

Now today you have to go up to the courthouse, and you have to take a pretty tough examination, especially tough for the foreigners. They have to learn to read and write and able to answer all the questions that is asked them. It's a great difference between now and what it was for my grandfather when he got his citizenship papers.

When Grandpa came here, he figured that this was his home, and here he was going to stay. To give you an illustration of how much my grandfather moved around after he settled here, Jackass Hill where Mark Twain's cabin is, just a short ways from here – it's about a mile and a half from here, maybe two miles to the cabin—as I was saying, Grandpa came here in '72, and he passed away in 1925, he never saw the top of Jackass Hill.

Grandpa worked hard all his life right up to the last year he lived. Anything that you wanted in the way of vegetables, he had it in his little garden. Well, Grandpa, it was in April 1925, he became ill and on the 17th of April, 1925, Grandpa passed away while plowing the field with a rattan cane plow. He was 91.
Family links: 
  Marianna Joaquina Silveria (1804 - 1900)
  Mary Katrina Bettencourt Silva Azevedo (1848 - 1880)*
  Antone Pereira Azevedo (1870 - 1917)*
  Mary Adeline Pereira Azevedo Souza (1871 - 1954)*
  John Pereira Azevedo (1876 - 1952)*
  Leonora Ann Pereira Azevedo (1877 - 1894)*
  Faustino Pereira Azevedo (1879 - 1971)*
  Joaquin or Domingo Pereira Azevedo (1879 - 1880)*
  Joaquin Azevedo Pereira (____ - 1907)*
  Joseph Pereira Azevedo (1833 - 1925)
  Antone Pereira Azevedo (1844 - 1929)*
*Calculated relationship
Columbia Public Cemetery
Tuolumne County
California, USA
Maintained by: Mohr Historical Research...
Originally Created by: Lonnie DeCloedt
Record added: Mar 24, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7286598
Joseph Pereira Azevedo
Added by: Lonnie DeCloedt
Joseph Pereira Azevedo
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Macomber
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Your legacy lives on through the generations. We all have the strong work ethic you had. Most of the rock walls you built are still there, and part of the ranch is still in the family.
- Mohr Historical Researcher
 Added: Mar. 21, 2011

 Added: Mar. 31, 2006

 Added: Mar. 31, 2006
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