Ernestina and her brother Manuel

Manuel Borba was one of Ernestina’s older brothers. On a visit to the Azores, he told his family that if she immigrated to the United States there were opportunities for her to have a better future. Their brother Anton, and sisters Marion and Rosa had immigrated and there was close family to help her obtain a job to save some money. Their mother and father were elderly and there were older sisters living and caring for them  in their small house in Norte Pequeno, Sao Jorge.

In 1892 the two of them left the Azores, probably at the port on San Miguel. They were sailing on a ship bound for the port of San Francisco.  Manuel felt it was best to be near family and where their oldest brother Anton lived with his wife and daughter on a small farm in Sausalito. The trip was long and rough, especially coming around the horn of South America.

I believe that Ernestina stayed in Sausalito with Anton and his wife, Mary, and their daughter Mary until she found employment as a nanny for an east bay supervisor. She started night school to learn English and prepare to become a United States citizen.

At one point she married her first husband, a Mr. Rose, That marriage lasted two months when he died of pneumonia.  She had to obtain employment again and got a job for another family caring for their children.

Ernestine came as often as she could to visit her brothers in Marin County. Manuel was then working as a milker at a ranch in San Rafael (now Terra Linda), where he met John Foster. They struck up a friendship and decided to go out on their own to Bolinas, on the Marin County coast. There they both started running a ranch with for a local businessman. They rented the property and the cows and started their own business.

Manuel and his wife, Maria, and John and Ernestina worked as partners. John and Manuel   together outside and the women Auntie and Ernestina doing all the housework, cooking for hired hands and caring for Ernestina and John’s children. Manuel and Maria had two children, both boys, and one died soon after birth, and the other when he was three years old from diphtheria   They worked there together until Manuel died in 1915  . Maria stayed on with Ernestine and John until her death.

John felt they would never make any money working by renting property and cows. They saved and purchased  sixty acres on the west side of San Joaquin Valley where they could have their own cows and land. This area was chosen because land was inexpensive, fertile, and other Portuguese had settled there. (in fact, Ernestina’s sister Rosa had purchased a ranch in Newman, with money she received from her divorce, a few miles north and was working it with her son, Ernestina’s nephew and godson, Manuel Peter Brazil.  The Foster ranch was located south of the town of Gustine, in an area called Cottonwood, which had a country store and a school. The plan was for them to move the family, but then Manuel died in 1915?, and John died in the  flu epidemic in March of 1919. John’s death left Ernestina with six children ranging in age from eighteen to three.

About Polly

Born in San Francisco in 1933, married in 1951, moved to Santa Clara County. We had three girls, and then moved to Marin County and had two more children a boy and a girl. in 1986 we moved to Sonoma County.I became a nurse at the age of forty after many years of night school while having children and raising them. I have worked in hospitals, and in Quality Management since I left the hospital setting. I am interested in cataloging my ancestors, quilting, sewing, and reading. I have several dogs and am still working part -time from my home for a non-profit health plan provider. I am a now widowed, all of our children live close by and we get together often. I am busy all the time with many projects. At 78, I feel that there is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to do.
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