Biography of Roland Esteves
Alameda County, CA Biographies





ROLAND ESTEVES
It is a pleasure to record the career of a successful, self made man, for peculiar honor attaches to that individual who, beginning the great struggle of life alone and unaided, gradually overcomes every obstacle and by his own force and effort forges to the front and wins not only material success, but also a position of esteem and influence among his fellowmen. Such is the record of Roland Esteves, than whom no citizen of San Leandro enjoys a larger measure of public confidence and respect. Mr. Esteves was born at Rivadaviá, Spain, on the 7th of April, 1896. Three years later his father, who had suffered severe financial reverses during the Spanish-American war, emigrated to Honolulu, where he soon afterwards died, and his son Roland was placed in Castle's Home for Children, a Protestant institution, where he remained from 1904 to 1907. In the latter year his mother left Honolulu because of her health and soon afterwards Roland seized an opportunity to make his way to the United States mainland. Making the voyage on the "G. W. Porter," a Standard Oil Company boat, he landed at San Francisco, November 8, 1907, and from that day has made his own way in the world. He was first employed here in Haywood Brothers' chair factory, where he worked as a chair packer and finisher, for which he received pitifully small wages. He remained there three years and then, with a desire to better his condition, went to work in the kitchen of "The Dauntless," a river boat belonging to the Rideout Company and plying the San Joaquin river in and out of Benicia. For this work he received twenty five dollars a month. Soon afterward he became an apprentice boy in the F. S. Johnson Company harness factory in San Francisco, with which concern he remained a year. He then bought a job from an employment agency in that city and was shipped to Redwine, Mendocino county, but he found conditions there so unbearable that, with only four dollars and a half in his pocket, he turned his face again toward the city. He walked forty miles one day and had a very hard trip, but was glad to again go to work in the harness factory, where he remained until 1917, earning six dollars and a half a day. He then worked for Hoverstadt & Leist, where he learned automobile trimming, at which he worked for five or six months, after which he went to Gillig Brothers, on Post street, San Francisco, where he continued as an automobile trimmer and top maker. In 1919 Mr. Estates went to Palo Alto, California, and in July of that year formed a partnership with J. Silva, under the firm name of Silva & Esteves, and engaged in the auto top and trimming business. The firm prospered and was soon doing a business of twenty five hundred dollars a month. Mr. Estevtes then sold out to his partner for sixteen hundred dollars and moved with his family to San Leandro, September 5, 1920. He has lived here since, though for a short time he worked for C. C. Starr in Oakland. On November 4, 1920, Mr. Esteves engaged in the auto top and trimming business here and, though he had a hard struggle at first, the high quality of his workmanship and his sound business methods gained recognition and he began to attract patronage, particularly from the important concern of C. L. Best Company, cushion makers, which has been a liberal patron of his to the present time. He runs his business under the name of the Esteves Top Shop and does body work, trimming and painting, makes seat covers to order, as well as silk roller curtains and carpets. He does all of the top work and trimming, with the assistance of six helpers, while the body work and painting is done by tenants, who occupy the same building. He has been remarkably successful and owns the present building he occupies, a one story brick and steel structure, thirty eight by one hundred feet in size; and also the residence in which he lives at 228 Chumalia street, two duplex houses in San Antonio court and two valuable residence lots on Begier avenue.

On January 16, 1915, in San Francisco, Mr. Esteves was united in marriage to Miss Esther Jiminez, also a native of Spain, and they began housekeeping when Mr. Esteves was earning but thirteen dollars a week. They are the parents of four children, Beatrice, Roland, Jr., Margaret and Eleanor. Mr. Esteves became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1919 and has proven a loyal and stanch supporter of his adopted country. He has taken an active part in civic affairs and is a director of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, belongs to the Kiwanis Club and was for five years a member of the volunteer fire department. A progressive business man, he owns a well equipped shop, takes pride in the high quality of his work and in every respect is well worthy not only of the prosperity which is now his, but also of the good will and respect of his fellow citizens.

From:
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928


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