Monday, June 7, 2010
Who was Jue Joe ?
Yes , the face of Great grandpa looks familiar, there is a resemblance , those facial features that I recognize in my grandfather, my father and myself . Jue Joe makes his way from China in 1874 to Gold Mountain to find his fortune . He spends time pressing grapes with his feet in St . Helena and then working for the Southern Pacific railroad , finally finding his way to the San Fernando Valley . All the time ,he is making money ,sending it back home , supporting his wife and sons in China , and ultimately paying for his brother's college education as a mining engineer at Pomona College ! He becomes friends with one , Otto Brant ,who later becomes president of a Title insurance company in Los Angeles and in fact Otto helps him buy land under his name in the San Fernando Valley . The Alien Land act prevents Jue Joe from owning land himself . How does a Chinaman who speaks broken English and cannot read or write English becomes friends with a Caucasian who becomes a prominent businessman in Los Angeles. ? Personality , character, friendship , fellow travelers ? He brings his wife and two sons to Los Angeles in 1918 . Successfully farming asparagus in Van Nuys and elsewhere he remains to the end a simple man who sleeps in a cabin with a dirt floor . He originally plans to make his fortune and move the family back to China but the depression dashes his plans . He dies in 1941 at the age of 82 , and the responsibility of steering the clan and the ranch falls squarely on his 2nd born son San Tong Jue who is 36 years old at the time . (His first born son died premarturely in 1933). There is of course much more to tell , a Chinaman owning a saloon and carrying a six shooter . The first Chinese man to farm the San Fernando Valley. He cuts a big swath in a time when the barriers are very high for a Chinaman to succeed :Oriental Exclusion Act , Alien Land Law , discrimination. Many did not succeed. Jue Joe created a legacy for the generations to come .