Hi, thank you for checking out our new blog, Folsom Unveiled. My name is Kaitlyn Scott and I’m Folsom Historical Society’s historian. Each week I will be highlighting a different topic related to Folsom’s history that not everyone knows about by diving deeper into a place, event, person or piece in our collection.
There is often the misconception that history is solely the stories of big-name people who did very great things…or not so great things. Most of us are familiar with Alexander Hamilton (who else is so excited for Hamilton to hit Disney+?!), Alfred Einstein, Gandhi and even Jack the Ripper and Vlad the Impaler because those are names in our history books. Those who know their local history are familiar with the names John Sutter, William Alexander Leidesdorff, Joseph Folsom and maybe even Simon Cohn but are less familiar with the everyday names that made Folsom the community we know it as today.
History does not belong to just those whose names ring a bell or are part of a common historical narrative. History is also made of the everyday people. Maybe in the future someone like me will be writing a blog about someone like you!
I want to focus this blog on a couple who, to me, are the very definition of an American family and worthy of being remembered not because they were founders of a town, involved in a huge movement or were wealthy but because they lived. This blog will be a little different than you are used to because it focuses on the lighter, more personal side of history but I think that’s important too.
Domingos and Isabelle “Birdie” Brum spent most of their lives in Folsom. Birdie was born (1888) and raised in Folsom, her maiden name was Relvas, part of the larger Portuguese Relvas family who immigrated to the area from the Azores in 1864 to mine for gold. Later they moved to Mormon Island and went into the dairy business with the American River Ranch before making their way to Folsom where members of the family went on to be business owners on Sutter Street and involved in city government, I will discuss more about what Birdie did in the community later.
Domingos, born in 1882 came from the Azores as well from Pico Island in 1902, he also came to Folsom to mine for gold. The two met in Folsom, fell in love and were married at St. John’s Catholic church in 1907.
They made their home at 301 Coloma Street in a little two-bedroom house right above the now historic district. The two never had children but did have several cats that they photographed regularly much like I unashamedly take pictures of my own cats daily. They’re cute and need to be shared, which I’m sure is how the Brums felt too.
Domingos worked as a laborer for the El Dorado Limestone Company and later the Sterling Lumber Company. The lumber company was located in the historic district and later moved up to East Bidwell. He served during WWI and later was drafted for WWII in what was called the “old man’s draft” but did not serve. Birdie worked at Folsom’s Post Office for twenty-five years, first as a clerk and then as assistant postmaster and also served as vice president in Folsom’s branch of the Native Daughters of the Golden West.
After they both retired in 1949, the couple enjoyed gardening and traveling. Birdie preceded Domingos in death, passing in 1964 while Domingos passed away in 1979. The couple is buried together at the St. John’s cemetery, where they were married.