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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William Ayers

Though a considerable period has elapsed since the death of William Ayers, he is not forgotten by those with whom he formerly associated. He was born in Ireland in 1826, but was brought to the United States by his parents when he was a young boy, so to all intents and purposes he was a native-born American. Upon landing on these shores the parents went directly to Illinois, where, at Warsaw, Hancock county, William Ayers grew to a stalwart manhood on his father’s farm. During this time he took part in the Mormon war. He was a young man of about twenty-four years when he became interested in California, and the year 1850 found him setting out from the middle west to cross the plains with ox teams.

Reaching his destination without mishap, Mr. Ayers went immediately to the mines of Placerville, continuing there altogether for one year, and with the proceeds of his efforts during that time he then came to Sonoma county of settled at Stony Point. Purchasing a ranch in that vicinity he settled upon it and continued its cultivation until 1880, when he came to Petaluma to make his home. For a time after coming here he was engaged in the livery business, but at the time of his death, October 14, 1900, he had been living retired from business cares for a number of years. He took a deep interest in the welfare of his home city, and as a member of the board of trustees he rendered valuable assistance in the town’s governmental affairs.

The marriage of William Ayers occurred in Plymouth, Ill., uniting him with Miss Martha Wade, a native of Virginia, but at that time a resident of Illinois. Seven children were born of this marriage, as follows: Amelia, the wife of L. H. Vestal, of Stony Point; Edith, the wife of H. E. Chapman, of Napa; Mrs. Rosa Blakely, of Napa; Augusta, the wife of L. E. Hart, of Pinole, Contra Costa county; Marie and Eugenia, both deceased; and William D., of Petaluma of whom a sketch will be found elsewhere. The mother of these children is also deceased, her death occurring in 1890.

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