04 December 2012

Rumiano's Founding Fathers

Posted in History

Remembering Fred Rumiano

Rumiano's Founding Fathers

In the last of the Founding Father blog series, we tell you about brother Fred, the middle brother, who was said to have been the brains of the cheese-making process.

His daughters, Claire and Dolores collaborated on their father's biography --

Davide Fernando "Fred" Rumiano was born on January 26, 1890, in a small village in Northern Italy -- Sant' Antonino di Susa.

After his fourth grade in grammar school, he had to quit school and go to work, which he did in a spoon factory. One day the conveyor belt and he got into an argument and the belt won by taking off the little finger on his left hand. After the hand healed, he went back to work.

Early in 1910, he got married and a few months later, he was able to come to the United States. He headed for the Gold Country, the Sutter Creek and Jackson areas of Amador County and also in Calaveras County, California. He met up with his father and brother John who were already working in the gold mines. Fred also began working in the gold mines, including the famous Kennedy and Argonaut mines. The following year, Fred's wife and baby daughter, as well as his brother Richard, came from Italy to join them.

In 1916, they moved to San Francisco and John was drafted into the US Army. With John off to the Army, Fred took over the wine business that he and John had owned together. While living in San Francisco, Fred and his wife had another baby girl, who died when she was only about two years old. (sic)

In 1919, after the First World War, John returned to San Francisco. Prohibition became the law which meant they could not continue in the wine business. John and Fred did not want to become bootleggers, so they decided to try their hands at farming. WOW -- what a change in careers! They bought a farm in Willows, but were not very good farmers. They decided to try the dairy business. When they had more milk on their hands than they were able to sell, they thought -- "Why don't we try to make cheese?" In the meantime, their brother Richard had joined them. Also, while living in Willows, Fred and his wife had two more daughters.

Fred went to the University at Davis for four days and learned how to make cheese. After years of hard work and winning gold medals and blue ribbons for their cheese -- Voila !-- they were finally on the road to success. At one time they had six cheese factories; Willows, Maxwell, Requa, Grenada, and Crescent City in California and one in Myrtle Point, Oregon. The Oregon factory was later sold to Safeway stores. (They also had a cheese plant in Minden, Nevada)

Fred was not a club man, so did not join any clubs. However, he was a member of the board of the San Francisco Stock Exchange.

On the day of Fred's funeral, Mr. Duard Geis, the attorney, said, "Today we buried more brains than anyone will ever know."


The Rumiano brothers came to America and found prosperity and their own definition of the American Dream. Their accomplishments have provided people the finest quality cheese for generations, and will continue to do so with the help of supporters around the globe. 

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