The country which gave birth to Matt Rossi, on March 24, 1863, is far away Finland. Though about the same as California in area and population it is very different in climate and general character. How Mr. Rossi came to leave that country and take up a residence so far away from the home of his nativity, and struggle against hard adversity until he has accumulated a competence, is a story worth relating. His father, Matt Anderson, died in the early sixties. His mother, Mary, married a Mr. Rossi, and lived to be eighty. The boy, even at eight years of age, had to work for his room and board on a neighboring farm; and to get any schooling he put in his nights in study and was confirmed in the Lutheran Church at the usual age of sixteen. By the law of the land he had to put in three years of service in the army. While there his eyes were opened to the golden opportunities for advancement in America, and having saved a small amount of money before he went into the army, he used it to pay his transportation and still had twenty dollars clear. He reached California on May 25, 1889, and a month later he came to Merced and entered the employ of the Crocker-Huffman Land & Water Company, and for eighteen years he worked at the various ranches and camps of that company. In 1894 he was made foreman and so remained until 1908, when he resigned to give his entire time to his own ranch, which was coming into production. In the following years he bought forty-two acres of land in the Casad Colony and set out almond, peach and fig trees and also a small vineyard. He also owns desirable securities and real estate and has accomplished much by his own unaided efforts. He received United States citizenship in Judge Rector's court in Merced, and exercises the duties of a loyal American by voting the Republican ticket. He is a member of the Winton Center of the Merced County Farm Bureau.
Matt Rossi married Catherine Kaugus, a native of Finland, who died in 1914 survived by three children: David, Mary Alson, and William. In 1918 Mr. Rossi married Mrs. Mary Johnson, also a native of Finland, who came to California from Canada in 1917, and has four children as follows: Zulla, residing in Canada; Hilda, of Eureka ; Harvey, of Humboldt; and Towner, of Atwater. There are besides eight grandchildren. Mr. Rossi had a hard struggle at first, not knowing the English language, but he persevered and studied nights, till now he scarcely betrays a foreign accent. He is a most enterprising fruit grower and has donated fruits of excellent quality to the county exhibits in our state and county fairs and has won many awards. Of late his products have been sought for display at various state fairs.
History of Merced County California With a
Biographical Review OF The Leading Men and Woman of the County Who Have Been
Identified with Its Growth and Development from Early Days to the Present
Author: John Outcalt (1925)
Rossi, Matt, page 750
Contributed by: Carol Lackey