Friday, April 13, 2012

1940: Fresno Families

On one April day in 1940, an enumerator walked up to a big house on Anna Street in Fresno, California, and captured a profile of a big, extended family. Two of the occupants of the rented house on the 2000 block were transplants from Socorro, N.M., – children of Crespin and Andreita Torres. They were Jose T. Torres and Domitila Sanchez.

José T. Torres, 59, was a mechanic with the steam railroad, who had worked steadily during the Depression. According to the census, he had worked 52 weeks in 1939 and had worked 44 hours during the final week of March 1940. José and his wife, Josie, had three daughters and two sons living at home.

In the same household was Louis Lubbon, Jose’s stepson (AND the husband of his niece), who worked as a home supply salesman.

Louis’ wife, Mary Monica, answered questions for the entire group – based on a circled X by her name on the census form. She apparently gave the enumerator the name Louis (the family called him Benny) and said they were “stepson” and “daughter-in-law” to the head of household. (Indeed they were, but they also had a double connection as niece and husband). Monica was keeping things simple when she said that her mother, Domitila, 70, was a “lodger” – rather than the sister of the head of household.

All the adults in the household were born in New Mexico, except for Louis, who had been born in Colorado. All of the kids were California-born.

Monica’s name fell on a line on the census form that required answers to supplemental questions. So she told the census taker that her usual occupation was housekeeper in her own home; that she did not have a Social Security number; that her parents were born in New Mexico; and that Spanish was her first language. She also said she married at age 22 and had 3 children.

Family members even today remember the house, where the Lubbon family occupied the two front rooms and everyone shared a kitchen.

All the individuals – except for a 3-month-old – had lived in Fresno in 1935.

Another notation: Domitila and 10-year-old Benedict have “ab” by their names. Enumerators were instructed to use that designation for people who were “absent.” Where were 10-year-old Benny and his grandma on this day? (the census taker came on April 17.) Were they on a visit to Los Angeles, perhaps? Or maybe Socorro?

Within 2 years, most of these people will have moved. The Lubbon family moved to Los Angeles, and Jose’s children will scatter. Two will move to Los Angeles, and two will join the service.

NOTE: Income and names of living individuals are not included in this post, but the information is now public. So if you want to know more, check out the family at this website in Enumeration District 10-55.

1 comment:

  1. Maurine, I am glad to see you are covering more of our California connection. I think it's exciting to let the whole family know how far it extends to this day.
    Thanks LOL Tu Primo