Barrutia, Juanita Mandiola

Begoña Pecharroman
Interview Location: 
Mountain Home, ID
Interview Date: 

Juanita was born in Zenarrutza, or Cenarrusa, Bizkaia on 24 June 1901 to Domingo and Dominga Mandiola.  In addition to his job as a mason, her father helped Dominga with the farmwork on their baserri.  Like all Basque farm children, Juanita helped her parents take care of the cows, donkey, and tend the vegetables and grains.

She married Cipriano Barrutia, who had returned from working in the United States to complete his military service, in Markina in 1921.  Cipriano wanted to go back to work in the United States and Juanita had heard good things about the country, so she agreed to give it a try.  They boarded "La France," a French steamship, and arrived in New York shortly after they married.

Juanita and Cipriano's journey ended in Mountain Home, Idaho, where they worked for a sheep company until 1927, when they established the Yuba Sheep Company.  A dairy followed in 1940.  Juanita's adjustment to life in the United States was extremely difficult, made even more so by the stresses of living under tarps, tents, and sheep wagons until she and her husband could afford a house.  Juanita worked hard for her herself and her family, making sacrifices to ensure that her children receive a good education.  She earned her American citizenship in 1938.

Audio Recording: 
American Citizenship
Settling in the U.S.
Other Images: