THE FAMILY OF NIAZ MOHAMED & LYDIA
Clockwise, from left: Abdul, Niaz Jr., Barbara, Yogi (family friend), Niaz,
Betty Anne, Mary Jane, Lydia
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
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
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
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.