Among the residents of Tuolumne County, California, of Italian birth, none occupies a higher place in public esteem than the well known citizen of Jamestown whose name is above and who has lived in California since 1859, when he was about fourteen years old.
John Rocca was born of Italian parents, both of whom were of old Italian ancestry, June 27, 1845. His father was Lazaro Rocca, an Italian by birth, breeding and education, who came to America in 1860 and settled at Jamestown, Tuolumne County, where he remained until 1874, when he returned to Italy, where he died at the age of eighty-two years, and where his wife survived him, having at this time (1900) attained to the same advanced age. John Rocca, who is now the only member of his family in California, was educated in Italy so far as was possible and left home while yet a mere lad, going to South America, whence he came to New York, where he labored under the disadvantage of not knowing the English language. He managed to support himself by peddling, however, and in 1859 came to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, arriving at San Francisco, August 27. From San Francisco he came to Jamestown, where he was employed four years as a clerk in the general store of his uncle, J. Lartora. After that he was employed at good wages as a miner and later worked a claim of his own with satisfactory success. When he had acquired some capital he bought a forty-acre farm a mile north of Jamestown and engaged in the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. He prospered and added to his landed possessions until he owned one hundred and ten acres, which he sold in 1866, for a good price, in order to buy land Algansin, four miles from Jamestown, where he prospered so well that he now owns one thousand acres, including a fine vineyard, and raises grain and stock. He is the owner also of seven business buildings on Main Street, Jamestown, in the business center of the town, and of the Base-of-the-Slope mine, a profitable property three miles from Jamestown and of important interests in other mines in the Mather lode, and is regarded as one of the wealthy men of Tuolumne County. He is a public-spirited and progressive citizen who has used his influence freely for the advancement of the best interests of the county and its people. Politically he is a Democrat and he has filled the offices of county supervisor and collector of licenses and has been road overseer.
Mr. Rocco was married in 1864 to Miss Anna Stulla, who bore him six children and died in 1871. Two of his children by that marriage are dead also. In 1874 he married Miss Margaret Gianilli, who has borne him thirteen children, three of whom are dead. Mary, his eldest daughter married Lewis Guadolfo. Theresa is the wife of William Whippy. John J. is married and lives at Stent. Anna married George Gianilli. Rosa is Mrs. E. J. Knowlin. Lottie, Millie, Kate, Laura, Madalane, Maggie, Lodge, Joseph and Angeline are members of their father’s household.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.