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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Herbert Warren Austin

The name of Herbert W. Austin is one familiar to the citizens of Sonoma county, not alone through his long and able service as county supervisor, but also through his accomplishments as a rancher, owning and maintaining one of the finest ranches in the township of Santa Rosa. Many generations of the Austin family had lived and died in Canada, and the first to venture from family traditions and establish the name on California soil was James Austin, the father of our subject, who with his family came to the west in 1868. A detailed account of the life of James Austin will be found elsewhere in this volume.

The third child in the family of James and Anna (Peasley) Austin was Herbert W. Austin, who was born August 2, 1854, in the province of Quebec, Canada, where he was well educated in the public schools, and after coming to California with his parents in 1868, completed his scholastic training in the Pacific Methodist College in Santa Rosa. With the close of his college days he returned to the family homestead and remained with his parents until establishing home ties of his own. His first independent efforts as a rancher were on a portion of the old homestead which he rented from his father, and here on a large scale he engaged in stock-raising, dairying and fruit-growing. Subsequently he purchased a part of the interest of the other heirs in the home property, and now owns six hundred acres of excellent land, a part of which is under cultivation, while the remainder is used for pasturage and stock-raising. By unfailing industry he has brought the property up to a high point of excellence, and there are few if any more attractive or more desirable ranches in the county.

Mr. Austinís marriage, September 22, 1880, united him with Miss Julia C. Maison, a native of San Francisco, where she was also educated. Three children were born of this marriage, as follows: Louis C., who is in the employ of Miller, Sloss & Scott, of San Francisco, and who since 1910 has been assistant manager of their Los Angeles branch; Ethel V. and Mervyn M. Politically Mr. Austin is a stanch Republican, and it was on the ticket of this party that he was elected to the office of county supervisor from the third district in 1896. At the close of his first term he was re-elected to the position in 1900, and again in 1904 and in 1908 he was made his own successor. For the past seven years he has served as chairman of the board of supervisors, and in the meantime the present fine court house has been built by the board. This building is conceded to be one of the finest structures for the purpose in the United States, and it is said that it is the best building for the money in the world. The complete cost of the building and furnishings was $520,000. Ever since the destruction of the old court house in the earthquake of 1906 Mr. Austin has worked indefatigably for the construction of a new building, and he therefore takes special pride in the accomplishments of the board in the present fine court house. As an indication of Mr. Austinís popularity as man, citizen and office-holder, it maybe said that he is the only man who was ever re-elected supervisor in the third supervisorial district in the history of Sonoma county. He has represented the third district for the past fifteen years and is now in his fourth term. Fraternally he holds membership with the Elks and the Red Men. Personally he is a man of many noble qualities, fairness and honesty being basic characteristics, and he is honored and respected by all who are privileged to know him.


History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011