NORBERT C. VALBERDE
Norbert C. Valberde, of the Portola Lumber Company, of Portola, is a business man of ability and has been a strong factor in the success of this enterprise. The Valberde family is a very old one, of Spanish origin, and is descended on both sides from the nobility of Spain. The earliest representatives of the family on this continent went to Peru, South America, where they intermarried with the Incas, and there the family resided for many generations. There are now many members of the family there, who are wealthy, having large interests in silver and nitrate mines and guano beds. Grandfather Valberde was born in Peru and came to the United States during the early gold rush to California. He mined for gold on Sullivan’s Creek, in Tuolumne county, and, being fairly successful, later bought and operated a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres near Sonora, Tuolumne county, which is still known as the Peruvian ranch, and is now owned and operated by Norbert Valberde’s cousin, Vincent Valberde. The Valberde estate in Peru, South America, is an old, extensive and valuable one.
Norbert C. Valberde was born in Hornitos, Mariposa County, California on the 6th of June, 1893, and is a son of Lorenzo and Frances (Valencia) Valberde. The father was born on the Peruvian ranch in Tuolumne County, and died at Hornitos, in 1914, at the age of fifty-eight years, while the mother, who was born at Delano, Kern County, this state, June 4, 1870, is still residing at Hornitos. Her father, Joseph Valencia, who was born in Spain, a Castilian, came to California in an early day and was among the earliest gold miners of this state. To Mr. and Mrs. Valberde were born nine children, including: Lorenzo J., who is a locomotive engineer on the Southern Pacific Railroad and lives at Sparks, Nevada; Emelia J., the wife of William Barnhardt, formerly a contractor and builder at Portola, but now a partner in the Portola Lumber Company; Norbert C., of this review; Philip T., a contractor in New York City; Alonzo, who is connected with the sales department of the Bass-Heuter Paint Company, of San Francisco; and Andrew, who was born at Hornitos, California, June 10, 1899. He was reared and educated there and is now a partner in the Portola Lumber Company. He is a thoroughly experienced lumber sales manager, having held managerial positions with the Feather River Lumber Company, also for five years with the Yosemite Lumber Company as sales manager, and has a wide acquaintance among sawmill and lumber men and jobbers. He is able, popular and successful.
Norbert C. Valberde received his educational training in the public schools of his home county and went to work at an early age among the mines and logging camps. He finally became a regular logger, operating a caterpillar tractor, donkey engines and spar poles. His first logging experience was gained at the early age of twelve years and thereafter he was connected with lumber companies in Mariposa County, finally becoming head logger, with a large force of men under his supervision. He ran donkey engines in logging for the Yosemite Lumber Company at Incline, Mariposa county, as well as for the Pickering Lumber Company, in Tuolumne county, after which he came to Portola and ran caterpillars in logging for the Feather River Lumber Company. At Delleker he became foreman of the caterpillar logging camp and handled large crews of men in logging operations. He understands every detail of that work, uses the very latest devices and methods, and is very efficient in attaining results. The Portola Lumber Company was organized April 13, 1928, by Mr. Valberde in association with his brother Andrew and his brother-in-law, William Barnhardt, and is a partnership affair. The company handles all kinds of lumber for building purposes, “from a board to a carload,” wholesale or retail. They also carry a large stock of builders’ hardware, paints, oils, sash, doors, and everything necessary in the construction of a building. The company does an extensive and steadily increasing business in these items, as well as in dimension stuff and finishing lumber from the leading mills of Oregon, Washington, Utah and California.
Mr. Valberde is a veteran of the World War, having enlisted in the infantry branch of the United States Army at Richmond, California in 1917. He was sent to Camp Lewis, Washington, where he trained for a time, and was then assigned to the Fortieth Division and transferred to Camp Kearney, at San Diego, where he was in training for nine months. From there he was sent to Camp Mills, Long Island, New York, where he embarked on the transport “Mentor,” under convoy. He landed at Birkenhead, England, from which point he went to France, where he saw active service in the Argonne and the signing of the Armistice found him at Saint Mihiel. After the close of the war he embarked at Bordeaux, landed at New York City and was honorably discharged at Camp Kearney, April 15, 1919. He at once resumed his logging and lumbering operations. All five Valberde brothers served in the World War, two of them, Norbert and Philip, serving in France, the former in the Fortieth Division and the latter in the Forty-first Division.
Mr. Valberde is a member of Portola Lodge, I. O. O. F., of which he is the present noble grand, and is also a commander of Edward Reynolds Post, No. 329, American Legion, at Portola. He was a delegate from his post to the state convention of the Legion held at Sacramento in August, 1930. He is a man of sterling character and straightforward manner, makes a favorable impression on those with whom he comes in contact, and among his associates and friends is exceedingly popular.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.