Little 8 year old Sam Yop Jr. almost didn’t know his father. Sam is pictured here with a wonderful group of ragamuffin kids living in Gonzales, Monterey county, California in the year 1923. Sam’s father (Sam Yop Sr.) worked on a ranch. A little over three months before his birth, in April, the San Jose Mercury reported that Sam Yop was driving “a machine” that “turned turtle on the country road” near where the family lived in Gonzales. Sam was pinned under the car and his friend and small baby were both thrown. Miraculously, all three were unhurt. And just like that Sam Jr. and his siblings got to grow up with a dad.
Sam Sr. and wife Orella Galli Yop were both born in Switzerland in 1883. They immigrated to the United States shortly after the turn of the century. Their children, Joe, Sam Jr., Rose, and Orella were all born in California – likely in Monterey county were the family appeared to live most of their lives. This was the area (Monterey County) that grew through tourism and sardine canning until the depression, commonly called “Cannery Row.”
Sam Jr. lived in Gonzales in 1920 and 1923 (the year of this photo). He moved to Salinas temporarily to work as a mechanic at least for 1937, maybe longer. By 1940 he was back at home in Gonzales living with mom and dad and all the siblings. He worked building houses. Unsurprisingly Sam enlisted in the war effort in 1942, as did many young men his age. At the time of his enlistment he was listed as single with dependents; he was 28.
While the documents run dry after that they pick up again on death as always. Sam Emil Yop died on July 9, 1997, a few days before his 83rd birthday. He was born in July 19, 1914. Sam, his parents, wife, and bother Joe are all buried in Gonzales Cemetery. Rose and Orella might be to, but under married names that I haven’t identified.