Vignette > A Portuguese Family
William P. Santos, born in 1871, emigrated from Portugal (Azores). His wife, Minnie, also of Portuguese descent was born on a ranch near Mt. Diablo in 1877. They came to Mill Valley in 1894 and lived in a house on Ryan St., near the present day Community Center. At that time, the estuary of Richardson Bay extended much farther up into Mill Valley than it does today. Their house was on stilts above the marsh. Tidewater came up under the house. William and Minnie had five sons and five daughters, all born in Mill Valley between 1895 and 1914. In 1908 the family moved to a 2-acre farm on La Verne Ave. William worked on the roads and in construction. Minnie farmed. She milked a few cows, butchered a calf, a pig or a cow once in a while, gathered eggs from laying hens and raised vegetables, all primarily for the family’s consumption. She had neither a refrigerator nor a freezer nor even an icebox. She used traditional food preservation methods such as canning, pickling and submerging meat in fat. William supplied deer, ducks, and clams dug along the shore near the road to Tiburon.