by Matthew Reed
On November twenty-second, 1896, thirty-two-year-old woodsman Antone Raposo Carvalho was a man ascendant. Not three years prior, the native of Sao Miguel, Azores, had been a subject of King Luis I of Portugal. Now he stood in the Fort Bragg Catholic Church before his, and seventeen-year-old Maria Pacheco’s, friends and family as a citizen of the United States. Antone’s Certificate of Naturalization, dated January 8, 1894, states that he was a resident of the United States for at least five years. In fact, Antone immigrated to the US eleven years previously in 1883 at the age of 19. At this time, the Azores Islands were in the middle of a century of unrest and violence, bracketed at one end by bloody civil war in the 1830s and at the other end of the century with revolutions in the early 1900s. From this turmoil, Antone Carvalho fled, leaving behind everything he knew and taking only his trade as a woodsman, to build a new life half-way around the world. In contrast to the turmoil of the Azores, confined as it was to small geography, the labor strikes and riots that occurred in the sprawling United States during the 1890s must have seemed far away from Mendocino and tame.
Mendocino was a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic city for much of its existence. Mendocino’s story is less the story of Euro-Americans than it is the story of cultural amalgamation. The coast was settled by immigrants from Portugal and the Azores, Sweden, Finland, Latin America, as well as Americans from other parts of the country. Mill and logging crews were littered with people with last names like Paoli, Gomes, and Silvia, as well as Kontag, Klienschmidt and Olsen. Other men were known to their peers by such colorful pseudonyms as Old Man MacDonald and Little River Smith. Other higher profile individuals in the Mendocino coast community were likewise either immigrants or first generation Americans. William Heeser was an immigrant from Germany who was invited into the homes of most coastal residents by way of his newspapers, The Fort Bragg Advocate-News and The Mendocino Beacon. Heeser also started newspapers in Kibbesillah, Westport and Rockport.
Antone Carvalho resided on the Mendocino coast for fifty years. In 1903, he purchased his first family home in Mendocino at 44460 Little Lake Road. In 1921, Carvalho purchased and moved his family to the Blair House, which remained with the family until the 1940s. In Antone Carvalho’s fifty years on the Mendocino Coast, he witnessed nine children born and grown to adulthood. When he died in 1933, Antone was missed as a well-liked and well-respected member of the coastal community. Antone’s Certificate of Naturalization and marriage certificate to Maria Pacheco, in addition to other artifacts such as Antone’s workman’s pocket watch, are maintained by the Kelley House Museum. Images of these and other items can be viewed at the Kelley House’s website, www.mendocinohistory.org.