20 November 2012
Rumiano's Founding Fathers
Second-Hand History of Richard Rumiano
We're continuing our "Founding Fathers" series with a history of Richard Rumiano. Brother of John and Fred Rumiano, Richard's daughters Irene and Alice recollect on their father's beginnings in Italy, to his time in Amador County searching for gold and the early years of the Rumiano Cheese Company.
"Irene starts --
Richard Rumiano was born at home in Sant' Antonino di Susa, Italy on August 29, 1893. The fourth of eight children, he tended the cattle and went to school until the third grade.
On March 11, 1910 Richard arrived at Ellis Island. His father made several trips to bring five of his children to America. Richard first resided in Coloma in Amador County. There he was taught english by a German tutor and worked in the Kennedy Gold Mines.
In 1913, Richard moved to San Francisco and started working in the Ocean Shore shipyards. At night he went to school to become a machinist. He married Leontine Rey in San Francisco, in the church of Notre Dame Des Victories, in September of 1915. On January 28, 1920 he became a U.S. citizen.
In 1922 he and his wife moved to Willows. There Richard and his brothers, John and Fred, started the Rumiano Cheese Company.
Alice continues --
When my father came to Willows, the brothers were milking cows and delivering milk to patrons. Then, there was so much milk that it was decided that Uncle Fred would go to Davis to learn how to make cheese. In the twenties it was hard to find someone to buy the cheese, so my father became the salesman. One of the first patrons in San Francisco was the Crystal Palace Market on Market Street. Later patrons included DeBernardi-Golden State, Armour, Kraft, and in Oakland, Buffum and Tuttles.
The delivery was made on Tuesday. I always remember my Grandmother Rey and I sitting on the front porch waiting for Pa to come and turn off at 3rd Street and Newcomb Avenue. He would stay the night and finish delivering the next day.
In the thirties the reprocessing of cheese started.
Sonny [Alice's husband] came to the company the first day of January, 1937. He took over from Pa and stayed on the sales end and delivered four times a week, twice to San Francisco, and once each to Sacramento and Stockton.
When World War II came, [Uncle] George went into the service; then we became cheese patrons to the Army and Navy.
I know that Uncle Fred was negotiating for the Vina Ranch in 1935 (the Vina Ranch was finally purchased in 1937). Since I was taking music lessons in San Francisco at the time, I was going with him to San Francisco where he was dealing with Standard Oil attorneys.
I went to work in the office in 1936 with Uncle John. "