Solano County

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For nearly forty years Antonio J. Pine has been engaged in the mercantile business at Benicia, Solano county, and formerly and for years he was a member of the board of directors of the old Peoples Bank of Benicia and later of the Central Commercial & Savings Bank. He is thus thoroughly familiar with local commercial conditions and has long been regarded as one of the substantial and dependable figures in commercial circles throughout this section of the state, while in the ranks of the Portuguese fraternal societies in California there is perhaps none more widely known or more influential than he.

Mr. Pine is an Azorian by birth, but he has been a resident of California since he was nineteen years of age. He was born on the island of Pico in the Azores, August 9, 1855. This interesting group of islands, eight hundred miles west of Portugal, belongs to that government, which has occupied them since 1432, and they form the Portuguese province of Azores, the capital of which is Ponta Delgada. The islands of the group, Sao Miguel, Santa Maria, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico, Fayal, Graciosa, Flores, Corvo and Formigas, are divided for civic purposes into three districts, Angra, Horta and Ponta Delgada, and now have a population of about two hundred and fifty thousand. The soil is fertile and productive and the group has long been noted for the fine health resorts that have been established there. The adaptability of the soil of this section of California to fruit culture long ago began to attract the attention of Azorian horticulturists and dairymen, and there is not an island in the group that is not represented in the substantial population of Solano and Napa counties.

Reared on his native island, Mr. Pine remained there until 1874, when he came to California and engaged in mining operations in Sierra county. In 1888 he established himself at Benicia, opening a grocery store there, and he ever since has been thus engaged in business, with a well stocked and admirably appointed store on First street, being one of the veteran merchants of the city. As noted above, Mr. Pine was for many years a member of the board of directors of the old Peoples Bank of Benicia, and when that institution was sold to the Central Commercial & Savings Bank of Vallejo he was made a director of the latter and so continued until his recent resignation from the board. He also has rendered service as a member of the local school board.

Mr. Pine is a charter member of Oakland Council No. 7, U. P. E. C., was one of the organizers of Benicia Council No. 18 of that popular Portuguese fraternal society and was its second president, is one of the honorary members of the Portuguese society, I. D. E. S., at Benicia, and is also a member of the Portuguese compatriotic society, A. P. P. B., in San Francisco. In 1897 he served as supreme grand president of the U. P. E. C. in the state of California, and during that incumbency, by the exercise of his fine executive talent and because of his wide acquaintance among his compatriots in this state, he broke all records for organization work in that society, during that time having effected the organization of no fewer than ten local councils of the U. P. E. C, with a membership of from forty to fifty each, a record which still holds. The first council of this society in California was organized in San Leandro in 1880, with an initial membership of thirty. There are now one hundred and seventy councils in the state, with an aggregate membership of more than twelve thousand, and with one billion, one hundred eighty-six thousand, three hundred thirty-eight dollars and twenty-six cents in the treasury on February 28, 1926.

In 1893, at East Oakland, Mr. Pine was united in marriage to Miss Mary Foute, who also was born in the Azores and who has been a resident of California since 1874. Of the eight children born to this union four are living, Mr. and Mrs. Pine having a son, William Pine, and three daughters—Mrs. Eva Sylvia and the Misses Annie and Lillian Pine. Mrs. Pine has for years been an active and influential figure in the ranks of the women's auxiliaries to the Portuguese societies in California and has rendered official service in that behalf as grand president of the S. P. R. S. I. and as secretary of the Vallejo and Martinez councils.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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