Cochems Family History

by Russ Cochems

Peter Cochems, Oscar's father was born in the town of Cochem, or Kochem, on the Moselle River in Germany on February 28, 1845. At the age of sixteen, he left Cochem to travel through Europe. He arrived in America around 1865. Peter settled in Chicago, Illinois where he worked as a baker for a time, and later became engaged in the wholesale cigar manufacturing business. Around 1870 Peter Cochems married Anna Lavan, who was born in Germany on August 2, 1850. They were married in Chicago. Five children were born to them while in Chicago; Anna, Edward, Oscar, Maimie, and Ella. Oscar was born December 10, 1880.

In 1885 Peter gave up the cigar business because of labor troubles, and moved his family to California, settling in a Socialist Community called Olivenhain in San Diego County. There they farmed and grew grapes, but later became dissatisfied with the way of life there and moved to Twin Oaks, near San Marcos. Oscar grew up in and around San Marcos. He married Lillian Eggleton.

Charles Eggleton, Lillian's father, was born in England, August 17, 1860. Charles lived in England until he was 14 years old, then moved to Canada with his father. His mother remained in England.

Charles married Elizabeth Sophia Willer, in Caldonia, Canada on July 19, 1883. She was born July 7 1864. Six children were born to them, Lillian Maude , Francis, Everett, Wilford, Sidney and Beverly. (M) Lillian was born in Bogart, Ontario, Canada on August 23, 1885. The Eggletons left Canada, and moved to California in 1902; also settling near San Marcos.

Oscar and Lillian were married in Twin Oaks, on November 11, 1904. Their first home was the "Thompson Place" in San Marcos, or Twin Oaks. Edwin was born there on June 21, 1905. (Died 1978) Later in 1905 they moved to Los Angeles and lived with Edward Cochems and his wife Emma. Later the same year or early the following year, they moved back to the Thompson Place. On September 27, 1906 Florence was born. Evangeline was born January 8, 1908. (Died 1958) In 1910 twin girls were born but they only lived a few hours. In 1911 twin boys were born dead. The family remained at the same location through 1912, while Oscar alternately farmed and operated a produce route.

Oscars's father Peter Cochems died on May 12, 1912. He was buried at Richland Cemetery in San Marcos. That same year the family moved to Escondido, California where Oscar continued with the produce business. Russell was born November 10, 1914. (Died August 30, 1984)

In 1915 Oscar moved his family to Santa Ana, to 931 S. Spurgeon, but only stayed there six months. Oscar purchased an orange grove with a house in late 1915, in Tustin. He also bought a grocery store in Delhi, near Santa Ana. In 1917 the family moved back to Santa Ana; to 808 N. Parton Street. Also in 1917 or 1918, he bought a produce market on Fourth and Broadway, which he operated during World War I.

Early in 1919 the family moved to 1101 W. Third Street. Later in the year Oscar sold the store, and went into Real Estate with an office at 121 W. Third Street. He was very successful with this venture and became known as "Cochems, the Hustler". It was at this time that Oscar bought a house at 310 W. Second Street, where they lived for many years. While here, they led an active social life, hosting many parties. They became acquainted with Mr. and Mrs. Robbins during this time, and remained very good friends for the rest of their lives.

On June 7, 1921, Lillian's father, Charles Eggleton, died in San Diego. She took his passing very hard; as they had a close relationship. Merlyn was born on November 30, 1922, in Santa Ana. On September 19, 1924, Oscar's mother, Anna, died. She was missed by all, partly because of her skill in cooking German dishes. She always had "Goodies" for the kids.

Florence married Merrill Hare on August 30, 1925, at the family home at 310 W. Second Street. About this time Oscar was acquiring many pieces of property through trading and buying. He negotiated for a ranch in Colorado , sight unseen. He had also just bought his first new car; so Oscar, Lillian, Eddie, Russell and Merlyn all took a trip to Limon, Colorado to view the property. It was a great disappointment, so later Oscar traded it; either for an oil well in Texas or a piece of property in Florida. The details aren't clear, but the venture wasn't successful.

In 1926, Daisy Stedman, a cousin of Lillian's from England, came to visit and stayed for some time. Later she married William Cox. Late in 1926 Oscar and his brother Ed bought a parcel of land on W. Sixth Street and subdivided it and built some homes. Oscar moved his family into one of them but after three months Lillian decided she didn't like it; so they moved back to 310 W. Second Street, which was "Home" to her.

Robert was born on April 25, 1927. On June 25, 1927 Van married Oral (Cookie) Sands. The wedding was at home. Later that year Oscar acquired a 10 Acre fruit ranch in Beaumont. Russell ended up attending to it, as Oscar was still busy with Real Estate.

Jack was born in Santa Ana, on January 4, 1929. Oscar and Lillian celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary on November 11, 1929 with a huge reception held in the Modern Woodman Hall. More than one hundred people attended. 1929 was also memorable as the year of the Stock Market crash. The days of prosperity were over for Oscar, along with millions of other people who lost everything. Oscar had over extended himself in buying property and couldn't keep up the payments, so subsequently lost them all, including the 310 W. Second Street house.

In April of 1930 the family moved to 1407 N. Bush Street, where they stayed six months, then moved to 1212 S. Birch Street, remaining there only three months. Later that year, Oscar, Lillian and Eddie took a trip to Seattle, Washington to visit Florence and Merrill. Merrill was working for Shell Oil Company. After returning they moved to 430 W. Second Street. In March, 1931, Eddie married Gladine Robertson of Santa Ana. Also in 1931, Eddie and Oscar purchased a small market in Long Beach at Twentieth and Walnut Streets. Oscar was running a wholesale produce route at the same time in Long Beach. Oscar purchased a crop of Apricots "on the trees" and the whole family became involved in picking, cutting and drying the fruit. In August of 1931 the family moved to Long Beach into a house on Alameda Street. They only stayed there one month, then moved to a house on Walnut Street near the store. In the fall of that year, Eddie gave up his interest in the store and he and gladine moved to Santa Ana, where Eddie went to work for the Excelsior Creamery.

Oscar lost the store in 1932. The family returned to Santa Ana, to 408 W. Second Street; where they lived till after Russell graduated from High School in June, 1932. The family then moved to a house on a five acre piece of land near Westminster on 17th Street. In the winter of that year, they moved again; into Westminster, also on 17th Street where there was a ranch house and a produce stand. They were living there when the earthquake struck in March, 1933.

In April 1933, another move; this time to 319 W. Third Street in Santa Ana. Oscar was still running a produce route in Santa Ana and Long Beach. The family, Oscar, Lillian and four boys, moved back to Long Beach in December of 1933 to a house on Redondo Avenue. During the next few months they moved many times; usually staying only one or two months in any one place. Early in 1934, they moved to 2400 E. Sixth Street in Long Beach. In November of that same year they moved to 6092 Atlantic Avenue in North Long Beach; to a house and store combined, with a small house in the rear. While the family lived there, Russell married Alpha Kimberlin, at her parents home in Fullerton, on June 1, 1935. Oscar went on the WPA about this time, as times were hard and jobs were scarce. In the fall of 1935 they moved to Linden Street in Long Beach, then to 23 E. 55th Street.

In the Summer of 1936 they moved to 5412 Long Beach Blvd. in North Long Beach for a short time, then to 5375 Long Beach Blvd.; where Lillian had a Second Hand Dress Shop and did sewing and alterations. Oscar and Lillian rented a produce stand on the corner of Long Beach Blvd. and San Antonio Drive, in the fall of 1936. Russell and Alpha moved into the small living quarters there and ran the stand. They stayed there through the winter and sold Christmas Trees during the season.

Late in 1937, Oscar, Lillian and the three boys moved to a small house on Dairy Avenue in North Long Beach. Early in 1938 they moved to the corner of Cherry and Carson, where they ran a fruit and vegetable market. They were there a few months; then to 65 E. 19th Street, then to 1404 Michaelson, Then to John Avenue.

In 1939 the family moved again, this time to 356 E. 55th Street, where they were living at the outbreak of World War II, brought on by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Oscar planted a Victory Garden in a vacant lot next door.

In 1942 Oscar and Lillian leased a market on Atlantic Avenue from a Japanese family who were sent to a detention camp for the duration of the war. There were living quarters there that the family took advantage of. Merlyn enlisted in the Army and served in the Medical Corp.

In 1943 they moved to another Japanese owned ranch, on Paramount Blvd. in Paramount. In 1944 Oscar went to work for Joe Sears and Ben at the Skylite Bar and Restaurant, as a night watchman. It was located on Atlantic Avenue in North Long Beach. Shortly after that Joe and Ben helped Oscar finance buying of a house at 14130 Orizaba Avenue in Clearwater. (Clearwater and Heinz merged later to become Paramount.) While there, in 1945, Robert enlisted in the Navy and served on a Minesweeper for a time. The War ended in 1945. In August of 1946, Oscar had emergency surgery for a strangulated hernia. In July, 1949, Oscar traded his equity in the Orizaba House for a house and three rental units at 14033 Paramount Blvd. This was their last move, as they lived out their lives at that location. Oscar continued working at the Skylite, and doing a little in Real Estate and maintaining the apartments. Russell and Alpha moved into two rooms in the big house in 1949; while renovating some existing buildings into rentable apartments. When completed they moved into one in the rear, where they stayed till 1951. On February 6, 1949 Jack married Martha Walker (Nunnery). On June 19,1949 Robert married Virginia Kirk, of Paramount. Merlyn married Elizabeth Healey (Henly)in 1951. Oscar Cochems died on September 25, 1954 of a heart ailment, and was interred at Sunnyside Mausoleum , Long Beach.

Jack divorced Martha in 1955, and in 1958 married Joan Godowski. In March of 1958 Russell and family moved into an apartment of a fourplex Russell had built on the Paramount property.

Evangeline died in December 1958, of Cancer.

In 1964 Merlyn divorced his wife, Elizabeth. Lillian continued living in Paramount and filled her time managing the apartments, of which there were nine, at this time. She also liked to buy strawberries, and peddle them to small stores around Santa Ana and Long Beach.

Oscar and Lillian had fourteen grandchildren, five step-grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren at the time of their deaths. Lillian died of a series of strokes on February 27, 1968. She was buried with Oscar at Sunnyside Mausoleum, Long Beach, California.
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Last updated February 27, 2003