Herman Figaro

Mendocino Mill Crew, c. 1915. Front row [L to R]: Minnie Paoli, Jesse Paoli, Rafael Paoli, Carmel Paoli, Ansano Paoli.
Middle row [L to R]: Herman Fayal, A. V. Silva, Melville Fraser, Tony Silva, Earl Cummings, Frank Brown, Bob Bever, Tom Doyle, Unidentified, Gus Mendosa.
Back row [L to R]: Frank Mendosa, John Gomes, Manuel (?) Silveria, Joe Pedro Vieira, Tony Gomes, Tony Fraga, Herman Figaro, Ernest Madeira, Fernance Fraga, Joe Gomes, John Mendosa, Andrew Brown, Sven Olsen.

February 8, 1941 – The Mendocino Beacon reported that Herman Figaro had been injured by a flying sliver from a log while working at the Caspar mill. The stick struck him on the side of his face, lacerating his right cheek quite badly, and the cut required several stitches.

Herman was born in Mendocino in 1888. His parents, Manuel and Mary (Maderia-Saudades) Figaro, arrived in Mendocino around 1884-1885, emigrating from the Azores via the Hawaiian Islands. He attended grammar school in Mendocino and later went to work in the mill. During World War I, he served as a Mess Sergeant in the U. S. Army. Upon his return from the war, he went back to work in the lumber mills.

Herman was somewhat eccentric and known in Mendocino as a “character,” a familiar figure around town with his black hat and cigar, and a teller of tall tales. The Mendocino Beacon periodi­cally printed an exploit of Herman’s for the amusement of readers. Francis Nichols, publisher of the Mendocino Beacon in 1970, recounted Herman’s “tales of the fish, the big one that got away, the abalone too heavy to carry up the bank, the deer with such great antlers that also got away, but as Herman would say ‘We’ll get him next time.’” Highly respected and a great source of information on the early days of Mendocino, Herman was a real sportsman, fisherman, and hunter.

Herman remained a single man until late in his life, marrying Aldine Dahl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Dahl of Greenwood, in 1939. Aldine passed away in 1954. On Dec. 23, 1970, neighbor Dave Sverko, knowing Herman was alone, went down to bring him one of Eleanor’s fruitcakes. Getting no response, Dave peeked through a kitchen window and found Herman had died in his kitchen.

Walking Tours of Historic Mendocino – Join our expert docents for a stroll and lively commentary. You’ll pass by early pioneer homes, historic meeting places, and buildings that make up the the Mendocino Historic District.