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July 29, 2009 > History: An early Alvarado family

History: An early Alvarado family

By Myrla Raymundo

Antone A. DaVilla and Mary DaVilla settled in Alvarado in l882, and from there engaged in a number of business enterprises. In the early days, Antone was one of Alvarado's leading business and civic leaders. He owned and operated one of the first barbershops in the town and built the first business block. He also owned and operated The Peerless Saloon and sold wine, liquor and cigars. The family owned an ice-cream parlor located on Levee Street, now called Union City Boulevard.

Mary also worked at the Post Office behind the bank. Her granddaughter Alvina Brune (Santos) remembers that as a child she accompanied Mary to the train station with two big bags of mail for delivery. Mary would put the mailbags on a large hook next to the tracks. The train didn't stop, only slowed down; the steward would reach out with a large hook and grab the sacks of mail. Mary's grandson Jess Jacinto remembers going in his grandmother's car to deliver the mail. He said, "My grandmother would bring a gun with her to make her deliveries."

In l927, the DaVillas built the first gas station on Horner Street in Alvarado and called it U-Auto Stop Service Station. The service station sold gasoline for three companies, Shell Oil Co., General, and Richfield. In l928 it became the first station in Washington Township to sell only Shell gasoline. The original station was demolished in l961 and a new one was constructed at the same location - the corner of Horner and Vallejo Street. The Shell Oil Co. was closed in 1978 and the station was demolished on Feb 24, 2003.

Antone and Mary DaVilla had six daughters, Isabelle, Clara, Minnie, Veronica, Genevieve, and one son, Morris, all born in Alvarado.

Isabelle Da Villa and husband John Menezes had two daughters, Alice and Alberta. Alice was postmaster at the Post Office located behind the bank on the corner of Smith Street and Union City Blvd. She also served as an accounting clerk for the City of Union City.

Clara DaVilla and husband Joseph Jess Jacinto had two sons and one daughter, Hubert, Jess and Betty Ann. They owned the store on the corner of Horner and Vallejo Street in Alvarado.

Minnie DaVilla was two years old when she passed away.

Veronica DaVilla was six months when she passed away.

Genevieve (Gen) DaVilla and husband Joe Dutra owned the Bear Cat Tavern in Fremont and also owned the building on Smith Street in Alvarado, which is occupied by the Post Office today. Gen Dutra was postmaster from July l936 until the l940's. She was involved in many activities relating to St. Anne Catholic Church in Alvarado. Gen and Joe had one son, Robert (Bob) David Dutra.

Morris DaVilla and wife Mary Pearl and had two daughters. He was murdered by Robert M. Osborne in a robbery, while he was bartending at the Bear Cat Tavern.

One of the very popular descendants of the Da Villa family was Mae Santos who with her husband was very active in the Holy Ghost Parade. They donated meat and money for the SDES Hall located in Alvarado. Mrs. Mae Santos was active in St. Anne's Catholic Church in Alvarado, and shop chairman of the White Elephant. She was also very active in the first Mothers club. The Santos' had two daughters, Alvina and Winifred.

Alvina and her husband Antonio (Tony) Brune had two sons, Dave and Don. Dave worked as a fireman in Union City (Union City Firefighters Local l946) until he suffered a neck injury on the job and retired on May 12, l979. Dave has three children, Debbie, Theresa and David Matthew. Don was a volunteer firefighter for the City of Union City. Don has two daughters Joyce and Linda.

Alvina Santos Brune worked at the old Post Office located behind the bank on Smith Street and Union City Boulevard. Then she worked full-time at the new Post Office that opened November 1, 1954 on Smith Street in Alvarado, and later became the postmaster. She retired from the Post Office in l981. Mrs. Alvina Brune was also an active member of the community; she was the president of the first Mothers Club in Alvarado, was involved in many activities relating to St. Anne Catholic Church in Alvarado and was also involved in the Holy Ghost parade along with her family.

Union City will always remember this early Alvarado family, all born and raised in the historic district of Alvarado, part of what is now called Union City.

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