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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Mike Babbino

An illustration of the prosperity which has rewarded the efforts of our foreign-born citizens is found in the life of M. Babbino, who for over forty years has been identified with the interests of Sonoma county and has won recognition as an expert in the growing of the grape and its manufacture into wine. Without energy and resolute determination he could not have risen to his present station in the community. Nature endowed him with the faculties necessary to the struggle for a livelihood in in a new country, and it is by a proper use of these faculties, combined with other characteristics, that his activities have resulted so satisfactorily.

Italy was the birthplace and early home of Mr. Babbino, his birth occurring near Naples, in 1852. He was reared and education in that locality and when he was old enough he assisted his father in the care of the grocery business of which he was the proprietor. When the son was about fifteen years of age the parents immigrated to the United States with their family, the vessel on which they made the voyage landing them in the harbor of New York. They remained in the east about two years thereafter, during which time the son found employment on a railroad. Later the family came to the far west and located in San Francisco, and it was in this metropolis that the death of the parents occurred. For a time the younger Mr. Babbino was handicapped by the strangeness of his new surroundings and unfamiliarity with conditions generally, but finally, going to Santa Clara county, he found employment as a laborer, and life for him took on a brighter aspect. After working as a ranch hand for a time he gained confidence in his ability to manage a ranch of his own, and after purchasing a place in that county cultivated it with more or less success for the following nine years. He then disposed of the property, and returning to San Francisco, continued in the metropolis for ten years thereafter, or until coming to Santa Rosa in 1900. His original purchase of land at that time consisted of one hundred and forty acres, but from time to time he has sold off portions of the land until he now has fifteen acres. At the time of purchasing the ranch he had well-formed plans as to his future course, and as soon as the land could be put in proper condition he set out vines with the idea of making a specialty of the raising of grapes and their ultimate manufacture into wine. He has lived to see the consummation of his early hopes in this respect, and today there are few finer vineyards to be seen in this part of Sonoma county than is owned and maintained by Mr. Babbino. What he has accomplished since locating here is best told in the statement that during the year 1909 the sale of wine netted him $40,000, San Francisco being his principal market.

In San Francisco, Cal., Mr. Babbino was married in 1882 to Miss Ann Lanochi, who like himself was born in sunny Italy. A large family of children resulted from this marriage, but of the number all are deceased with the exception of one daughter. She is now the wife of J. Poelito and the mother of three daughters, all residents of San Francisco. Mr. Babbino has not identified himself with any fraternal orders, nor is he active in political matters, although he does his duty as a good citizen of his adopted country and casts his ballot for the man that in his opinion is best fitted for the office.

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