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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.