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THE FAMILY OF NIAZ MOHAMED & LYDIA MENDIVILLE-GARCIA

The Mohamed Family at the dinner table
Clockwise, from left: Abdul, Niaz Jr., Barbara, Yogi (family friend), Niaz, Betty Anne, Mary Jane, Lydia

 

Niaz Mohamed
Niaz Mohamed

Niaz Mohamed was born on July 17, 1897 in the town of Quetta in the Baluchistan Province of British India. His father Risaldar (Col.) Ilam-ud-Din had served in the British Cavalry in Burma. His mother Niaz Bibi raised five sons and lost an infant daughter.

A job with the merchant marines gave young Niaz an opportunity to see the world. In Australia, he boarded a ship to New York and arrived in 1923. For the next seven years he shuttled between New

Lydia Mohamed
Lydia Mohamed

York and Detroit. He worked for the Ford Motor Company along with several of his Muslim countrymen, and sent money home. In 1930, he moved to California and started with a chicken farm in Holtville.

Lydia was born to Angel Garcia and Sophia Mendiville, in Mesa, Arizona in 1915. In 1940, she married Niaz, a man almost twice her age. She has affectionately called him "Viejo" ever since.

Together, they raised five children: Niaz Jr., Barbara, Abdul, Betty Ann, and Mary Jane. They also harvested many acres of watermelons, cantaloupes, cotton, sugarbeets, lettuce, onions, flax, alfalfa and various grains. His oldest son, Niaz Jr., finds many of the farming techniques that his father brought from the old country just as effective today.

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