Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Steve Hansen: Discovering just how small the world really is

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:00 am

I’m not from Lodi and didn’t grow up here. As far as I was concerned, no relative existed in this Valley town. At least that’s what I thought until I read the recent obituary of long-time resident, Howard Mason.

I knew he went to local schools. Needham Elementary and Lodi Union High School were among them.

Mason had a long local career in California agriculture. He managed the Nash De Camp operation. He served on the board of directors of the Lodi District Grape Growers Association and held the offices of vice president and president. Among other important agricultural activities, he also served on the California Table Grape Commission and was a manager at the M & R Packing Co.

I first met Howard at my wife’s Lodi High School reunion in 1986. They were both graduates of the same class, but did not know each other beyond names.

During our conversation, Mason mentioned he thought we had the same great-great-grandfather. I wasn’t sure how he came to that conclusion and was not aware of any connection to my family. But he did know the name of our assumed common ancestor.

I asked my sister, who was the most familiar with our family tree. She claimed she did not know Mason, and the story was soon forgotten.

But then, 27 years later, the obituary for Howard Herschel Mason Jr. appeared in the Lodi News-Sentinel. The last paragraph caught my eye. It stated he would be buried in the Groveland cemetery. Groveland?

That caught my curiosity. Why would someone who had spent his life in Lodi want to be buried in the same foothill town were many of my relatives settled well over 100 years ago?

So I began to research the situation. I won’t bore you with the details, but it turns out that Mason was related to me via Louis Cassaretto of Groveland and Lena Bruschi of Coulterville and Groveland. Apparently, we did have the same great-great-grandfather!

Mason had a strong interest in early California history and wrote a detailed piece about our relative in common, Francisco Bruschi (pronounced Bruce-key). The pioneer was born in Italy and came to New York in 1846. Bruschi headed west in 1852 with a friend, Jacob Laveroni, and walked across the Isthmus of Panama. Like many Californians of his time, Bruschi got into the gold mining business. But he was also one step ahead of most by opening a store and serving those who hoped to strike it rich. Of course, most never did. He also raised horses, mules and cattle.

As with many in those days, the Italian immigrant was a jack of many trades. Mason wrote that Bruschi was also the local banker and held gold dust for numerous miners in preparation for shipping to the mint.

Francisco Bruschi died in 1893 and was buried in the Coulterville cemetery. His son, Virgil, was a pioneer in his own right. Among many ventures, he became a San Diego city councilman during the 1920s.

So, what does this all mean? Well, even in a town where one is presumed to be an outsider, it can be a surprising twist as to who might be standing next to you in an unfamiliar crowd.

Maybe it’s an adopted child, a disowned uncle from a forgotten feud, or perhaps even a long-lost cousin like Lodi’s Howard Mason.

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • robert maurer posted at 10:03 am on Tue, Oct 22, 2013.

    mason day Posts: 444

    Amazing,huh? I wonder how many people are surprised about who was related to who when they read the obits. I'm frequently surprised when I read about former classmates or their parents' deaths and did not know the relationship among the survivors despite the fact that I knew them years before and did not know they were related to each other.

     

Recent Comments

Posted 11 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Letter: Voters should focus on a new di…

Ms Kaur What exactly is wrong with atheists?

More...

Posted 13 hours ago by Jeff Tillett.

article: Letter: New York City is behind modern …

"The false unification of religion, economics, and politics..." But aren't you the one trying to unify religion, economics, and …

More...

Posted 13 hours ago by Ed Walters.

article: Letter: California needs to become more…

Heuer: In a way I agree with you, the state never had Tesla, but were willing to kiss their a** to get it. With all the concessions that…

More...

Posted 14 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: Voters should focus on a new di…

Do you mean mr Schmidt the proportional representation would take fringe group from major party like take away tea party from Republican? …

More...

Posted 14 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: Voters should focus on a new di…

Mr Schmidt - I was replying to the person who made claim that I only insult her rather than make the facts. Why be insulted - because some…

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists