Category Archives: Migrant labor

Alfred Bonturi

Alfred Bonturi Presentation Poster, by Ismael Torres
Oral History by: Ismael Torres
Submitted December 2013

Print Version (pdf)

Alfred Bonturi was born on August 16 1925. He was born and raised in Hollister, California. Alfred Bonturi’s father Fausto Bonturi, was born in Tuscany, Italy, His mother Amelia Bonturi, was born in La Honda, California. He grew up with a large family of six girls and four boys. Alfred Bonturi went to school for twelve years and finished High School at San Benito High School. He started Junior College but only finished one year. Alfred Bonturi started farming at the age of fourteen after his father passed away. Alfred being the oldest son took over his father’s farm. He has been farming for over 70 years now. He has been part of many agriculture businesses including Sun-sweet growers, Cal-Can, and California Walnut among others. He has worked in the San Benito County Farm Bureau, and with the University of California. Alfred Bonturi has grown apricots, prune, grapes, and walnuts. He now only cultivates walnuts in his farm. Alfred Bonturi married Corinne Bonturi in 1950. They had two children; a son named Greg (53 years old) and a daughter named Brenda (50).

Eugene Victor Routen

Oral history by: Justin Brager
Date submitted: December 4, 2012

Listen to Justin Brager’s Interview of Eugene Victor Routen

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I interviewed my great-grandfather Eugene Victor Routen. He is a survivor of the Dust Bowl and a WWII veteran. He went on to make the military his career.

Eugene was born at home in Seminole, Oklahoma, on April 17, 1919. It was Easter Sunday that year. He had two older brothers, Jesse and William. There were two little girls but they died as babies. Two years after Eugene’s birth, Raymond was born. His papa was a share-cropper. He had to give part of whatever they grew to the landowner every harvest-time. Times were always hard. He remembers having only one pair of overalls to wear–nothing else, no shoes, nothing. They were so very poor. The families picked cotton, all of them, to make a little extra money to get by. He recalled that when he was six, he had to drag a big long sack, picking cotton and crying, but not willing to quit. The boys finally got shoes when the weather got very cold and frosty. Eugene started to go to school in the second grade but quickly caught up, borrowing books so he could do his homework. He looked up to his teachers as people with knowledge of a wider world, and he wanted that.

Emma Villarreal Garza

Oral history by: Adolfo Tellez
Date submitted: December, 2011

Emma Villarreal Garza is an extraordinary woman with a life that is both exciting and magnificent. Emma father came from Spain and her grandmother came from Mexico. Emma was born on July 9, 1946 in D’hanis, Texas. D’hanis is a place that is known for its brick making factory and it was also where Emma’s father worked at times. Production, specifically agricultural production, takes a huge place in Emma’s life. In D’hanis, she lived in a little country house on five acres. She and her family would grow corn there to make a living. While living in D’hanis, Emma lost Rodolfo, her eight month old brother, to a high fever and infection. At the time they were no where near a hospital and could not save him. This was a tragedy that her and her family would have to overcome and they would never forget it.