Colusa County









      Any satisfactory biographical record of the Sacramento valley must include specific reference to the life and labors of the late Ferdinand J. Mendonsa.  He death, on May 30, 1924, was greatly deplored, not only because of his prominence and influence in the business world, but also by reason of his excellent personal qualities and his genuine interest in the welfare of his fellowmen.  He was born on the Azores islands, December 14, 1878, and was reared on a small home farm.  He received his education in the public schools of the neighborhood and when twenty years came alone to the United States.  He arrived in Nevada with a cash capital of five dollars, but soon found employment, going to work as a sheep tender for Mr. Kent, with whom he remained for four years.  He then went to Oakland, where he was employed in a tannery on East Fourteenth Street.  He was economical and industrious, so that at length he was enabled to start out on his own account, embarking in the sheep business with seven hundred sheep and adding rapidly to his flocks until at one time he owned over eighty thousand head.  Coming to Colusa County, he engaged in sheep raising on a large scale and at the time of his death was associated in the business with James Mills, of Maxwell.  Shortly prior to his death Mr. Mendonsa built one of the finest homes in the Sacramento valley, the property consisting of eighty acres of excellent land, on which the attractive and comfortable residence stands.  It is located on Bridge Street, Colusa, and is largely planted to prunes.

      On July 20, 1912, in Nevada, Mr. Mendonsa was united in marriage to Miss Maria Jesse, who also is a native of the Azores.  She proved a true helpmate to her husband, assisting and encouraging him in his undertakings and rejoicing with him in his successes.  She is a woman of fine personal traits, gracious and kindly in manner, and has always enjoyed the respect and loyal regard of those who know her.  Mr. and Mrs. Mendonsa adopted one child, Thelma; Mrs. Mendonsa is guardian for two, a niece and a nephew, Inez, who is in high school, and John, who is in grammar school.

      Mr. Mendonsa, though a busy man, found time to devote to the interests of his home town and served two terms as a member of the board of trustees of Colusa.  He was a director of the Colusa County Bank and a director of the Virden Packing Company.  He was a Mason, attaining the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, and served twice as master of his lodge.  He also belonged to the Mystic Shrine at Sacramento, the Order of the Eastern Star in Colusa, and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks at Marysville.  He was also a member of the California Wool Growers Association.  He filled a large place in the life of the community and well merited the unqualified respect accorded him.  The following deserved appreciation of Mr. Mendonsa appeared in a local newspaper at the time of his death:

      “From a humble beginning, Mendonsa carved for himself a niche in the Sacramento valley hall of fame.  Death found him rated as one of the wealthiest men in the valley, every cent accumulated by thrift, hard work and the assistance of his wife.  He was big morally, physically and financially.  He was one of Colusa’s leading citizens and served as a member of the board of trustees for many years.  He was generous to a fault and never refused a friend assistance.  He was square in his business dealings and was an ideal employer.  His business interests were extensive and he was frequently alluded to as the ‘sheep king of the Sacramento valley.’  Mendonsa’s place in the community will not be easily filled.  He was a friend of the town and its interests, a man whom anyone could consider it an honor to be called friend.”



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 2 Pages 172-175. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.



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