An Extensive History of S.E.S.

When Joao Rodrigues Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay on September 18, 1542, the history of the Portuguese in
California began. The Portuguese people have long had a part in the history of California and of the City and County of Santa Clara. At one time they constituted 70 per cent of the Santa Clara population and have always played an important part in the forming of the community.

Many Portuguese came to California in 1849, as excited by recent gold discoveries as the thousands of other 49ers who poured into the State. Mission San Jose had Portuguese settlers in the 1850’s and some of them drifted down to
settle in Santa Clara.

After the 1849 Gold Rush, it was mainly in places like Newark, San Leandro, San Jose and Santa Clara that the Portuguese settled down to a life of farming and dairying. Prior to 1908, the Azores constituted the main source of
Portuguese immigration. Mass immigration our of Portugal began in the 1870s. In the decade 1861-70 only 2,658 came over from Portugal, in contrast to 14,083 who immigrated into the U.S. from 1871 to 1880.

The settlers were farmers and sea faring folk. They started farms and dairies and worked in vineyards.

The early Portuguese settlers, preserving a dedicated interest in the land of their birth, started many fraternal organizations. One of these, the Sociedade do Espirito Santo (S.E.S.) Was founded in Santa Clara on December 16, 1895. The Society sponsored the annual celebration in honor of the Holy Ghost.

The celebration dates back to the
13th century, when Portuguese Queen St. Isabel offered prayers to the Holy Ghost, seeking an end to a raging gamine
and promising to build a church in His honor if the famine were to end. This celebration was held in Santa Clara yearly until 1959 and was known as the greatest of its kind among the Portuguese in California.

The original organizers, not only wanted to preserve a little of their heritage, but wanted to be able to provide some sort of aid for their countrymen in case of serious illness or death and, on January 18, 1896, registered in the hall of Records in Sacramento as the Sociedade do Espirito Santo Beneficiente de Santa Clara.

By the end of December 1896, according to Supreme Council records, they had recruited 77 candidates. Besides being able to offer financial aid to their members, they wanted a place to observe the annual celebration and also to hold social functions. That was the building, at the corner of Lewis and Lafayette Streets, we know today as the S.E.S. Corporation building. In January 1896, the first Supreme Officers were elected in Council No. 1, being recognized as the Supreme Council. The first Supreme President was Jose C. Soares; Supreme Vice President, Jose da Rosa, Supreme Secretary, G. R. Martins, Supreme Treasurer, Manuel Vargas; Master of Ceremonies, Manuel Faria; Internal Guard, M.P. Quadrez; Marshal, Manuel R. Martins. These first Supreme Officers were to serve until June 27, 1898, as evidenced by minutes of meeting shown on next page. Growth over the next few years was very slow, with the main function being that of the Annual Holy Ghost Festa. In 1898 Manuel J. Vargas was elected Supreme President and, according to the minutes, served until
1901. According to Supreme Council records, the first membership certificates entitled the member’s spouse to the sum of one dollar per member when the member died; however, if the spouse of the member passed away, the member would receive 50 cents per member.

On January 29, 1899 Council No. 2 "Flor A├žoriana," in Milpitas was opened and May 14, 1899 Council No. 3 "San Jose", was opened. Both were initiated by Manuel Vargas. Slow growth continued to plague the society which now had three council. Early reports, as published in the Santa Clara News on June 2, 1903, were that preparations were being completed for the Espirito Santa Annual Festa which would commence on next Saturday at 7 o’clock when members of the various Portuguese Societies would march to the Espirito Santa Hall where the queen would place a crown on the altar of the chapel. An outdoor concert by the Santa Clara Marine Band would follow, during which fireworks would be displayed. A dance would fill the remainder of the evening. On Sunday, the Societies would form at the Hall and march to St. Claire’s Catholic Church where Mass would be celebrated and Rev. Father Govenor of Centerville would deliver the sermon. After the service, the Societies would again march to the hall where the queen would return the crown to the altar of the chapel. A free dinner would follow. The Festa attracted great interest and several thousand visitors would attend, many coming from Monterey, Santa Cruz, Gilroy, Oakland, San Francisco, Centerville, Half Moon Bay and all surrounding towns. The afternoon auction of donations of livestock , etc. was held to defray the expenses of the celebration.

In June 1903, the S.E.S. Society, as it was known in those days, held its annual meeting at the Hall. The report of the Festa was read and it showed that $1,200.25 was realized and that expenses were $900.25 leaving a balance of $300. The Society also decided at the meeting that any person was eligible for membership who was born of Catholic parents and was between 15 and 35 years of age. It was also decided to hold a grand initiation on the last Sunday of October. Manuel Vargas, who was one of the organizers of the Society, was presented with a handsome gold metal, an emblem of the Society for faithful services. According to the old cash books, the net assets of the Society were $625.95. It was also learned by researching the old minute books that one of the benefits of the early days of the society was that if a member was ill and was treated by a doctor, the society would pay that member $8.00 per week while he was sick or pay it to the doctor.

It was at the annual convention in 1905 that our first physician waselected, Dr. George W. Fowler.

The main activity in the early years was the Annual Festa and, as reported in the Santa Clara News of June 12, 1906: "the Portuguese Festa which began last Saturday evening and ended at sunset on Sunday was the largest ever held in Santa Clara. It was estimated that probably 16,000 people witnessed the different features of the celebration. The evening started on Saturday with a procession of the Societies to the home of the Queen Miss Laura Correia, who was escorted to the chapel, after which a grand display of fireworks was held, and the Santa Clara Marine Band rendered a fine concert. The pyrotechnical display was usually good, the fireworks having been made by Tony Cota, of Half Moon Bay. Two pieces were decided realistic , one representing a battle between a man of war and two forts, and the other an imitation of a watermelon, the final explosion caused it to open into pieces,as though carved by a knife.

On Sunday morning the streets through which the procession passed to Saint Claire’s Church were thronged with people.

The societies presented a fine appearance, as they proceeded with their handsome banners and numerous flags, the members marching with bared heads and bands playing the native hymns. A solemn High Mass was celebrated by Father A. V. Raggio and the sermon was delivered by Father Souza of San Leandro. Upon returning to the Hall from church a huge barbecue was enjoyed by all, after which the Santa Clara Marine Band gave a concert and the auction sale of the donated gifts was held. Some of the cows, calves, goats, chickens and pigeons were sold several times and all brought good prices. The cakes and oranges also brought good prices, five oranges being sold for $5 and the last one bringing $6.35. It was reported that 1700 pounds of beef was distributed forthe dinner."

The annual convention in November 1906 was held in Milpitas where business of importance was transacted.

The Supreme Treasurer reported that the Society was in a most flourishing condition and reported a balance on hand of $2,860.25. The Supreme Officers were chosen for the ensuing year: Supreme President Manuel Vargas; Vice-President, G. V. Silveira; Secretary, J. G. George; Treasurer, G. R. Martins; Master of Ceremonies, J. S. Nunes; Marshal, A. Oliveira; Inside Guard, A. F. Silva; Physician, Dr. George W. Fowler. It was also decided to hold the next conventionin Santa Clara.

The Festa held in 1907 surpassed any of the previous years. There were large crowds present Saturday night and all day Sunday that thoroughly enjoyed the amusement offered by the hospitable Portuguese. The procession started at 7:30 Saturday evening from the home of the Queen, Virginia Devorce, at the corner of Bellomy and Madison Streets. The procession was a long one, many societies being in line, which was headed by the Santa Clara Marine Band, after which came the queen and her maids and assistants, all beautifully attired. The Parade went up Madison to Franklin to Lafayette and then to the S.E.S. Hall where the queen placed the crown in thechapel.

As the procession moved down Franklin Street, the scene was a most animated one: The street ablaze with incandescent lights and the bands playing the Holy Ghost Hymn softly, while a plentiful supply of red fire, burning all along the way, further enhanced the prettiness of the scene.

The early trains on Sunday morning brought more thousands, many coming from far, while all of the country roads leading into the city were lined with vehicles and were filled with members of the various Portuguese Societies and their friends. At 9:30, the processions started from the Espirito Santo Hall, and proceeded along Lafayette Street to Franklin, then east on Franklin to Alviso Street to Saint Claire’s Church. The procession was in three divisions. After Mass, the parade returned to the hall where a dinner was enjoyed. Two thousand pounds of beef and 1000 loaves of bread were prepared for the occasion. During the afternoon, a band concert was presented and the usual auction was held. It was the center of interest! Cows, calves, goats, chickens, cakes, fruit, etc., which had been donated were auctioned for a fine sum. One cow was sold three times, each purchaser giving it back to the society. Joe Leal purchased a cow for $30 and stated he would feed the cow for a year, then would donate it back for the next Festa. Chickens were sold for $3.50 each and small cakes for $1. The celebration was a big success.

In November, the Annual Convention was held in Santa Clara at the Espirito Santo Hall and Manuel Vargas was elected to his third term as Supreme President. Our membership had grown to over 200 members.

The Festa of 1908 was one to eclipse all former celebrations. Three bands were fired; the display of fireworks was the most extensive seen for sometime and the auction sale had a special feature: a model ship which was made by Joseph
Baptista. It was a splendid model of the steamship "City of Lisbon", which ran from New York to Southampton. The model was ten feet two inches long and two feet wide. It was made of redwood and every piece was carved by Mr. Baptista. It took thirty days for him to complete the work. The model had four smokestacks, two masts, numerous life boats etc. It was an excellent piece of work and proceeds obtained from its sale were to be used in paying the heavy expenses of the Festa.

The month of July 1908 was indeed a sad one for the Society. Supreme President Manuel Vargas passed away during his third administration, leaving a great void not only in our Society but in the community as well. His public life, as a member of the Town Board, was an example and an inspiration and his private life glowed with purity and nobility. As a result of Mr. Vargas’ untimely passing, Supreme Vice-President John R. Carolo of Council No. 2 had totake over as our Supreme President.

Growth was still slow and the annual Festa remained the primary source of income for the Society. In April of 1910 Mr. Frank Vargas appeared before the town Board of Trustees to complain of the numerous outside peddlers who were in the habit of coming to town during the Festa and taking a great deal of trade away from the stands in the charge of the Festa Committee. The matter was discussed and Mr. Vargas was instructed to see the City Attorney in regard to the matter since the committee wanted to be protected and, if possible, have the visiting ice cream vendors, etc. pay aheavy license fee.

It became evident from the minutes of a special meeting held in August of 1911 that problems were on the horizon. This meeting was called by the President of the Directors, M. S. Santos, to deal with the subject of the Committee of the Festa having declared themselves Directors of the Corporation of the S.E.S. This was discussed and it was the general opinion of the members of the Board that a Committee of three members be appointed to start an action against the members of the Committee of the Festa. M. S. Souza, A. F. Silva and Joao L. Azevedo appointed were appointed to this committee. They gave power to Francisco Neves, Secretary of the Council, to initiate a suit against the members of the Festa Committee that revolted against the Society, to wit: Joao Pacheco, Manuel da Rosa, Manuel Fragosa, Joao P. Azevedo and M. R. Martins.

At the first meeting of the Directors of Council No. 1 of S.E.S., Brother Directors were M. M. Souza, Pres., M. W. Rogers, Vice-Pres., M. S. Furtado, Secretary, M. N. Esperanca and Antonio Vargas Directors. They received the books and monies from the previous Directors and found everything to be correct. The report of the Directors at their meeting showed that they had $4,180.44 which was on deposit in theMission Bank of Santa Clara.

An article appeared in the Santa Clara News on April 9, 1912, with the caption "Riot and Bloodshed may mar Festa." Town officials feared trouble and asked the City to stop the Carnival. They believed that if the Portuguese Annual Festa were held in Santa Clara that year, by either faction until the trouble pending in courts, was resolved, it would lead to fighting, rioting and possible bloodshed.

The above is in part from the communication sent to the town trustees by officers and directors ofthe Sociedade do Espirito Santo.

On March 18th, the Town Trustees granted A. G. George, R. Martins, Frank eves, M. M. Souza and Alfred Cunha, who purported to be a committee from Council No. 1 of the Sociedade do Espirito Santo, permission to discharge fireworks, hold a Portuguese Festa celebration and parade the streets within the corporate limits of the town of Santa Clara on June 1st and 2nd. John Pacheco, President; Manuel Rocha, Vice-President; John Fragosa, Secretary; John P. Azevedo, Treasurer and M. Martin, Marshal handed in a written protest. Action in the matter was laid over because for the prior six months there had been a war between the membersover land and money matters.

On April 22, 1912 the Town Board rescinded its action to grant permission to a committee of Sociedade do Espirito Santo Council No. 1 to hold a Portuguese Festa in town, parade certain streets and discharge fireworks and denied saidcommittee all privileges requested.

At a later meeting of the Town Board, a committee from the Sociedade Espirito Santo, a Corporation, consisting of John Pacheco, Manuel da Rosa, John P. Azevedo, Manuel Fragosa and Manuel Martins, who claimed to be the committee representing the vast majority of the Portuguese residents of the town and to represent the society which had always held the celebration, filed a protest and a prayer for the rescinding of all privileges. The matter had been argued the previous week before the Trustees by Attorney R. C. McCormish, representing the committee headed by Mr. George, and Chas Thompson and behalf of the committee chaired by John Pacheco. In an interview, John Pacheco stated "I am perfectly willing to arbitrate the Festa question. Let each side select two men and let an outsider be selected as the fifth and I will willingly step aside and boost the celebration. All I want is peace and justice, to see the celebration carried on by all our people and not by a handful. The feast, whether carried on by these men, by us or anyone else will not have the same religious features, if the matter is not set peacefully. We are going to take legal steps in San Jose and perhaps in Santa Clara to stop any attempt to hold a celebration under the name of the Celebration of the Feast of the"Espirito Santo."

In an article in the Santa Clara News April 30, 1912, a statement was made by Supreme Secretary Frank Neves which read as follows: "In justice to the Society about to hold the annual celebration of the Holy Ghost in Santa Clara on June 1st and 2nd and also to enlighten the public at large who might have gotten the wrong impression from the article published in the Mercury, on April 23,, touching on action of the City Council, revoking the permit granted to a committee of this Society a month ago, a few words of explanation will not be amiss, vindicating this committee’s going ahead and holding the celebration on the aforesaid dates. Sociedade Espirito Santo Council No. 1, S.E.S. is the Mother Council of the Order and the first to hold the "Festa of the Holy Ghost" eighteen years ago and each succeeding year thereafter. It is also recognized by the Supreme Council, a Corporation, incorporated under the Laws of the State of California. Through dissension in the Council, five members formed themselves into another council. They claimed the Corporation which had become dead in the Order as No. 1 was working under the charter of the Supreme Council. Since the Directors and members of Council No. 1 did not consent to the surrender of the Corporation, nor even to recognize the dissenting members, the bolters then claimed to have renewed the old corporation and declared themselves, as the bonafide Sociedade Espirito Santo. The Supreme Council had not given
them recognition, so consequently, they cannot be what they represent themselves. This committee appointed and elected in regular meeting of Sociedade Espirito Santo, Santa Clara, Council No. 1 "S.E.S." applied in "Good Faith" as in former years for a permit to hold the celebration of the Holy Ghost with all its elaborations which the City Council promptly granted.

Then came the protest from the opposing faction and, after deliberating on the question, the City Council revoked the permits. The Constitution of the Order stipulates that the Festa must take place annually and the committee is making all arrangements to hold the event on the date originally set."

The Festa was held on June 1st and 2nd; however, on Saturday evening a near riot created considerable consternation among the Portuguese residents of Santa Clara who were then at hors de combat over the annual celebration of the Holy Ghost. A number of head officials of the Portuguese Society endeavored to secretly transfer the crown, which is considered to be a religious symbol, from the home of F. Cunha on the corner of Main and Washington Streets to that of Manuel Gonsalves.

The opposition forces became aware of the move and planned to gain possession of the crown. As the forces began to gather and a battle royal was about to begin, a "hurry-up" call sent for the police. Cooler heads calmed the warring factions; the crown was safely stored away in the home of Gonsalves. The crowds dispersed. There was a strong determination on the part of the anti-Festa forces to secure possession of the crown, without which the proposed celebration could not be conducted. Even the women had taken sides in the controversy and a decided breach was inevitable in the Ladies’ Auxiliaries of the various societies. One prominent woman, according to an opposition member stated that she would gladly give her life in an attempt to gain possession of
the crown. With the same spirit full of energy and vim which had characterized the opening of the Festa, it came to a close on Sunday evening. Never before in the history of Santa Clara had such a successful celebration taken place among the Portuguese people – a feast that was noteworthy in regard to the efforts that sustained it, and more praiseworthy than ever before because of the peaceful spirit that hovered over it.

The situation continued in the California Superior Court in San Jose until the later part of June of 1912. The Superior Court rendered its decision that the Conselho Subordinado No. 1 da Sociedade do Espirito Santo although organized on December 16, 1895, had been incorporated on November 14, 1910 and that the Sociedade do Espirito Santo was a corporation duly incorporated on the 2nd day of January 1896 and that they were separate and distinct organizations. The court also decided in favor of the Sociedade do Espirito Santo with regard to the real property located at Lewis and Lafayette Streets in SantaClara.

In July 1913, all legal transactions regarding the sale of the Sparrow property on Grant Street between Benton and Fremont Streets to Council No. 1 of S.E.S. had been completed and building was to start at one. A portion of the grammar school building was moved to the property and was to be erected on the Fremont Street side. It was to be remodeled and enlarged and used as the lodge and social hall of the Society. A chapel was in the planning stages on Grant Street. The grounds were to be improved and used for the annual Festas. That property currently is the location of the motel owned by the SupremeCouncil.

By 1914, conditions had progressed to the extent that the Annual Festa was held on the new grounds and the Sociedade Espirito Santo Corporation had their Festa on the same day and all went well. In 1915, things were starting to look better. Under the leadership of Joao L. Azevedo, Council "Santo Antonio," No. 4, of East San Jose was opened on May 28, 1915. In June, with a dual celebration of the Annual Festa, with two parades and two queens and two barbecues, it was estimated by the Santa Clara News that 20,000 Portuguese from San Franscisco, Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties divided their allegiance between the two celebrations and a solemn High Mass was held in our new chapel.

The Annual Festa of the Supreme Council of S.E.S. in 1916 was held on the new grounds on Grant Street. The royal escort, led by the Society’s own band, paraded to the home of the Queen on Saturday evening, thence to the chapel and S.E.S. grounds. An elaborate display of fireworks announced the arrival of the Queen. An open-air platform had been built for American dances, while the time-honored "Chamarrita" took place in the new auditorium. The Sunday morning parade was equally magnificent with three bands and a string orchestra and thousand so marching delegates and participation of the S.P.R.S.I., U.P.E.C., I.D.E.S., St. Anthony’s Co. 1, S.E.S. No. 2 of Milpitas, Council No. 3 of San Jose and Council No. 4 of East San Jose. It indeed was a glorious Festa. At the annual meeting in August, 1916, it was reported that 85 head of cattle were received, as well as a number of cakes, turkeys, chickens, etc., and all were sold for a good amount. The sum of $2,569.16 was taken in during the Festa and the expenses were $1,265.00 leaving balance of $1,303.46. Of this amount, $1,100.00 was paid on the debt of Festa property, leaving $203.46 in the handsof the committee.

Things were starting to look better and on May 6, 1917, under the leadership of Supreme President, Mathias F. Cabral, Council "Flor do Espirito Santo" No. 5 was opened in Tracy. The $50.00 policy and the $100.00 policy had been introduced and assets were nearing $6,500.00. The annual Festa held in June, 1917, was far the most successful and enjoyable ever held in Santa Clara. It was estimated that 15,000 people participated in the festivities on Sunday, coming from all parts of the county and the bay cities. Automobiles and carriages lined the streets and the grounds. The parade on Sunday morning was held at 9:30 and was a most beautiful sight. The Santa Clara Band led the procession, several of other Societies followed the San Jose Band, then the San Leandro Drill Team, a number of children around a Mayple, St. Anthony Society, Grant School Drum Corps, Santa Clara Drill Team, one hundred little girls in white scattering rose petals in the path of the queen. The parade left the grounds on Grant Street, passing along a number of principal streets and returned to the S.E.S. Chapel where High Mass was celebrated and the queen was crowned. At the conclusion of the Mass, the members were entertained by a great barbecue on the Grant St. grounds. It was reported that 2000 pounds of meat and 1500 loaves of bread were used. After the barbecue, the auction commenced with many head of cattle, chickens, pigs and rabbits being sold in addition to cakes, fruits and wearing apparel. It was reported that one calf brought $67.00.

The Festa Committee President, M. N. Esperanca, was especially pleased at the Festa’s success. However growth of the councils remained slow due to the war.

The Festa in 1918, was particularly notable for the genuinely patriotic American color and enthusiasm evident throughout the parade. The Stars and Stripes shone everywhere along the lines of marchers, while bands of children in blue sailor costumes or in the olive drab of the army lent a wartime aspect that was still more effectively accentuated by a group of girls in picturesque and characteristic Red Cross gabardines and caps. The Red Cross Mother, "the greatest mother in the world," was represented and following her, were Red Cross nurses ranged in two line and bearing between them a mammoth American flag.

The Supreme Secretary, Manuel F. Furtado, left office to serve in the Military from 1918 to 1919 and John R. Carolo served as SupremeSecretary until his return in late 1919.

By 1920, the war was over and things were looking better. Under the leadership of Supreme President Manuel R. Oliveira, Council "Flor de Ripon" No. 6 was opened October 28, 1920. The $300.00 policy had been added. In those days, in order to open a new council, a request was made in writing on an official from with a $10.00 fee, which was sent to the Supreme President for his consideration. The $10.00 fee was turned over to the Supreme Council.

The Society continued to see growth after World War I and, under the administration of Supreme President M. G. Pereira, Council "Gustine" No. 7 was organized on September 4, 1921, and Council "Terceira" No. 8 of Newark was organized on September 18, 1921. The Society had assets in the grand amountof $1,214.01.

In 1923, another council was opened during the administration of Supreme President Frank P. Gomes, Council "Flor da Mocidade" No. 9 of Rio Vista, on January 7, 1923, and the assets shot to an all time high of $11,104.92. 1924 brought even more prosperity. On January 13, 1924, Supreme President Frank A. Machado, opened Council "Sao Jorge" No. 10 in Crows Landing. On November 15, 1924, newly installed Supreme President J. G. Pereira opened Council "Flor de Hollister" No. 11 and on November 1, 1923, he opened Council "Portugal" No. 12 in Sacramento.

The Convention of 1925 was held at the S.E.S. Hall at Grant and Fremont Streets in Santa Clara with Council No. 1 as the host council. There was a parade from the hall to St. Claire’s Church where a Mass was celebrated for the souls of the deceased members. After the Mass, the parade returned to the hall where the Twenty-Fourth Annual Convention was declared open at 10:00 a.m. It was estimated that, in money and property, the S.E.S. had assets of $75,000.00 and paid the highest sick benefit of anyPortuguese Society in the State.

In February 1926, the Santa Clara New reported that the S.E.S. Supreme President, Frank F. Vargas, along with Supreme Secretary M. S. Furtado, Supreme Treasurer M. F. Cabral and Supreme Directors were going to leave Santa Clara early Sunday morning, February 7, and travel to San Rafael to institute a new council with 25 charter members. It was on that date that Council "Fe no Espirito Santo" No. 13 was organized.

The next few years proved to be even more fruitful with Council "Watsonville" No. 14 being opened on November 7, 1927, and Council "Salinas" No. 15 on December 4, 1927, by Supreme President John H. Machado, who also organized Council "San Juan Bautista" No. 16, 1928 and Council "Estrela do Norte" No. 17 of Los Banos on April 16, 1928. Not only were the councils and the membership growing, but we were able to boast the assets to$29,710.45.

At the Annual Convention in 1928, it was decided that, as of January 1, 1929, no candidate or member could be admitted into Class B membership; this left only Class "A", a $300.00 Certificate of Insurance of Class "C", a $50.00 Certificate. The constitution also provided that, if a member of Class "A: should pass away and had no one to take charge of his funeral and pay the expenses, the council to which he belonged would take charge. Said council would be allowed not more than $200.00 for the funeral expenses and if the member belonged to Class "C", then the maximum allowed would be $50.00 and the bill of the Undertaker who directed the funeral was to be sent to the Supreme Directors with a copy of the Death Certificate certified by the President and Secretary of his council and bearing its seal. The respective amount, as previously stated, could never be exceeded and the remaining balance would then be paid to said member’s beneficiary. Earlier we spoke of the sick benefits that were paid by the S.E.S. as opposed to those of other Portuguese Societies. The S.E.S. paid to those members who were entitled to the sick benefit, the sum of $5.00 for the first week, the following two weeks $8.00 per week, then $10.00 per week for the following ten weeks and, if the illness continued, they were paid $5.00 per week for the next sixteen weeks and then $4.00 the last week, provided all illnesses were verified by a doctor’s certificate. The maximum benefit was $205.00 for any sickness. After six months waiting period from the date of last payment, they were entitled to an additional benefit, providing their dues have been paid to date. If a member, after receiving two periods of sick benefits, was declared incurable by his doctor and he was unable to work and had no income, the member could receive $6.00 per month while he lived or the circumstances of his condition continued, so long as his dues werepaid.

During 1929 under the leadership of Supreme President A. A. Costa, two more councils were organized, the first being Council "Sao Gabriel" No. 18 of Stevinson on September 1929 and Council "Costa e Pereira" No. 19 of San Luis Obispo on October 28, 1929. It was apparent by 1930 when Council "Andre Azevedo" No. 20 of Mountain View was opened on October 4, 1930 when Council "Andre Azevedo" No. 20 of Mountain View was opened on October 4, 1930, by Supreme President Andre Azevedo, that we were well on our way and future growth was most certain.

The next five years brought more prosperity and thirteen more new councils and assets were increased to $34,452.66. Between 1936 and the end of 1940, twenty seven more councils were opened. Membership had grown to 1,869 and the Society was able to boast of assets in the amount of $97,109.59 and a total of $376,700.00 of insurance in force. With the outbreak of World War II, the Supreme Council established a Military Fund which was an assessment of fifty cents annually, per member, except for those members, who were in the Armed Forces. The assessment was to be paid as follows, .25 cents in January and .25 cents in July each year. The assessment would only apply until November 14, 1945. This fund was to pay the dues of the members while they wereserving in the Armed Forces.

Growth continued during the war years, but at a much slower pace. Only four new councils were opened between 1941 and the end of 1944. This may have been inspired the Supreme Directors to introduce five new policies in 1944, they being the Juvenile Thirty Year Endowment, Juvenile Twenty-Five Payment Life and for Adult members the Twenty-Five Payment Life, Thirty Year Endowment and Endowment at Age Sixty-Five. It was also decided to organize the juvenile class of membership This was done during the administration of Supreme President Joe P. Luiz, who was instrumental in the class being initiated. His son, Joe P. Luiz, Jr., was the first S.E.S. Juvenile member. As a result of the juvenile class being organized that year, 897 new members were initiated and $340,000.00 of insurance was sold.

The following year two new policies were introduced: the Twenty Year Endowment for Juveniles,the Twenty Year Endowment for adults.

With the war ending in mid-1945, the years to follow again proved to be fruitful and in 1952 another great milestone was reached during the administration of Supreme President, Joe A. Bello of Council No. 21 of Newman. The female class of membership was introduced and Joe’s wife, Mary M. Bello, was the first female member of the S.E.S. prior to 1951, the wives of the Supreme Officers, if they traveled to the Official Visits or meetings, had to wait in the car as they were not permitted to attend, even though they might have worked all day helping to prepare the meals that their husbands would enjoy that afternoon or evening.

The admission of the female class of membership was just one of the two major changes which had occurred within fiveshort years.

In 1959, the last Festa was held by the Supreme Council on the Santa Clara grounds and the Supreme Directors leased the property to the Travelodge Corporation. They were going to raze the buildings and build a 60 unit Travelodge Motel, complete with a pool. The project was estimated by the City of Santa Clara to be valued at $194,000.00. The S.E.S. by then had grown to the second largest Portuguese Fraternal Society in California.

The motel did not do well and after not too many years, their lease was sold to the University of Santa Clara, which today leases it from the Supreme Council fro the sum of $700.00 per month. Their lease will expire in the year 2010, at which time everything reverts to the S.E.S. The 1960’s brought many changes and firsts to the Society. The First was in 1967, in Santa Cruz when Olivia T. Machado of Council No. 51 was elected and installed as the first lady to serve our Society as Supreme President. She not only the first woman to serve as President, but was the first President to initiate over1300 members.

At the 1968 Convention in Turlock,
the S.E.S. Choir held its first
performance under the direction of Irene
Mello and, at the Annual Convention held
in Monterey in 1969, a resolution was
adopted that the S.E.S. award two
college scholarships annually in the
total amount of $500.00. Today, 25
college scholarships, totaling
$20,000.00, are given annually to high
school students who are members in good
standing, who maintains a G.P.A. of 3.00
or better.

Since the first two
scholarships were awarded, there have
been a total of 540 scholarships
presented. Another proposed change was
introduced at the same Monterey
Convention. That was, that the S.E.S.
start a youth movement in order to get
our young people interested in the good
works of the Society and to lay the
ground work for their continued
participation as adults. A committee was
appointed to draft guidelines for the
youth movement and to bring them back to
the 1970 convention. This was done and
the Junior Movement became a part of our
constitution. It was unfortunate, but
nothing was done for twelve years.

The seventies brought the beginning
of direct billing at the suggestion of
Supreme Secretary-Treasurer Carlos R.
Salvador and the waiver of extra lodge
dues to members holding more than one
policy in the same council.

Indemnity or Accident Death Benefits had
also been in effect for about ten years,
available to adult members under the age
of 55 who purchased a policy of
$1,000.00 or more. Our membership by
1970 had grown to 9,932 with almost 6
million dollars of insurance in force,
and the road ahead was wide open for
future growth.

The Home Office, as we know it today,
was completed in October, 1971. The
original downstairs portion, which now
houses the S.E.S. Museum and served as
the Office for approximately 10 years,
was completed in mid 1960.

Although the Festa grounds no longer
existed after 1960, we have continued to
observe that Festa concept in a small
way by holding a Mass which is finalized
with the crowning of the queen and a
complimentary luncheon each year before
the start of our Annual Convention.

The Past Supreme Presidents and
Honorary Supreme Officers held their
first annual meeting on April 18, 1970,
to study the best interests of the
Society. 1971 was the first year that
the membership surpassed 10,000 and the
year ended with assets of $2,042,362.33,
a gain of $195,414.07, the largest
increase ever. Council "Amizade" No. 79
of Vallejo was organized October 23,
1971 by Supreme President Paulo R.
Goulart and Council "Louie Carrancho"
No. 80 of El Cerrito was organized
January 25, 1976, by supreme President
Louie Carrancho.

By the end of the seventies the
membership had grown to the point where
hand posting was becoming too time
consuming and it was determined that
perhaps it was time to consider bringing
the S.E.S. into the computer age.

In 1980, the first computer was
purchased and work was started to
prepare the necessary programs to print
all reports, monthly billing and status
reports of the secretaries of the
subordinate councils and in late 1981,
the first computer printouts were
distributed to the secretaries of the
subordinate councils.

By the end of 1982 we were completely

Also in 1982, the first
Junior Councils were organized: the
first in Watsonville, Council No. 59,
and the second in Newark, Council No. 8;
however, both were doomed to failure due
to lack of support from the adults. The
S.E.S. Newsletter was also introduced in
1982 as a quarterly publication and has
continued since, being mailed to
approximately 7,000 S.E.S. households.

In 1983, the Board of Directors, with
the help of recommendations from the
subordinate councils, selected the first
Fraternalist of the Year for the S.E.S.,
Antonio C. Cardoza, a Past Supreme
President from Council No. 75. This has
become an annual event with an
outstanding Fraternalist being chosen

Another milestone reached in 1983,
was the first Annual S.E.S. Family Day
which was held at the Stanislaus County
Fairgrounds in Turlock and it has grown
every year since that date. In April
1985 the Special Whole Life Policy was
introduced. 1986 brought the founding of
our S.E.S. Museum at the suggestion of
Past Supreme President and S.E.S. Dean
Simon Cordeiro. Today the Museum is
still growing and many donations, both
material and monetary, have been made to
the Museum.

Another great milestone was attained
at our annual convention in 1987, when
our first Supreme Junior President was
installed, Bernadette Oliveira, daughter
of Past Supreme Presidents Joe D. And
Mary Oliveira of Council No. 76 and the
first Junior District was organized in
Council No. 18 of Stevinson. Since that
date, six additional junior districts
have been organized: No. 2 of Council
No. 36 of Livingston, No. 3 of Council
No. 25 of Modesto, No. 4 of Council No.
76 of Elk Grove, No. 5 of Council No. 82
of Los Gatos, No. 6 of Council No. 52 of
Merced and No. 7 of Council No. 1 of
Santa Clara. Hopefully more junior
districts will continue to be organized.
Also in 1987, under the leadership of
Supreme President George M. Santos,
Council "George M. Santos" No. 81 of
Lompoc on organized on July 16.

Annual Convention in 1988 brought the
adoption of the Junior Member Movement
Committee to assist in promoting the
youth movement within our society.

In 1989-1990 the S.E.S. experienced
another great year of growth under the
leadership of Supreme President Joe A.
Machado, when over 1200 new members were
initiated and over 10 million dollars of
insurance was sold.

The year 1991 brought the
organization of another council, under
the leadership of Supreme President
Helen Machado. Although she went through
much illness and hard times, she still
had the will power and devotion to the
S.E.S. to found Council "Helen Machado"
No. 82 of Los Gatos which opened on
March 1.

On June 1, 1997, council "Abilio
F. Freitas" No. 83 of Lody, under the
leadership of Supreme President Abilio
Freitas, was organized and on January
31, 1999, our newest council "Mary Lou
Laranjo" No. 84 of Traver was organized
under the leadership of Supreme
President Mary Lou Laranjo.

In 1992, we saw the retirement of
Carlos R. Salvador, Supreme
Secretary-Treasurer, after 29 years of
dedicated service to the S.E.S. and his
son John A. R. Salvador was elected to
take his place as a second generation
Supreme Secretary-Treasurer to serve our
great Society. At that time a committee
was appointed to begin preparations for
the Centennial Celebration to be held in
Santa Clara in 1995. The Centennial
History Book Committee, appointed in
early 1991, has been working on the
research of historical events of our
great society since August 1991.

hours of research have been done at
libraries, court houses, historical
societies and Supreme Council records,
in order that a history book could be
completed with as much accuracy as

We hope that you enjoyed reading the
history of S.E.S. as much as the
committee enjoyed their research.

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