Founding Fathers

John Ansolabehere was always active in the Basque community of Bakersfield. Although John, his seven brothers and two sisters were born in Bakersfield, his father and mother were born in the Basque country. They came to America when they were young adults.

Raymond Castanchoa Sr. was a prominent Kern County rancher and woolgrower. He was the son of Gracienne Castanchoa and a native of Bidarry, French Pyrenees. Settling in Kern County in 1928, Raymond went to work as a sheepherder for Domingo Argain.

Felix Etcheverry was born June 9,1905 to Fernando and Mathilda Etcheverry, who had immigrated from Aldudes, France. Felix, the eldest of the Etcheverry’s two children spent his early years along with his brother, Pete, at the Iberia Hotel, now known as the Noriega Hotel.

Inocencio Jaurena was born in Spain on July 5,1901. He was the son of Nicholas Jaurena (Spain) and Nicolasa Echeverria Jaurena (Spain). Inocencio (Jack) came to the United States as a young sheepherder in 1928.

On April 10, 1915 in the picturesque town of St. Jean-le-Vieux in France, Frank Jean Maitia was born. There and in the village of Ascarat he grew up until the age of 17. It was then that he decided to follow his two brothers JB & Raymond to the United States.