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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Lafayette W. Bacon

Although Mr. Bacon came to California in the early Ď50s, his residence in the state has been comparatively short duration, and between the date of his return to the east and his second appearance in this state, much of his most active life was passed, and now, at the age of seventy-six years, he is maintaining a ranch of twenty-two acres, near Healdsburg, which is a part of the ranch formerly owned by his sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. John Peck, whom he assisted in locating upon this property at the time he first came west.

A native of Pennsylvania, Lafayette W. Bacon was born in the Northeast, Erie county, in 1834, and when a child of two years was taken by his parents to Cleveland, Ohio. This proved but a temporary location, for the following year removal was made to Whiteside county, Ill., and there the family remained until 1846, a change of location in that year taking them to Wisconsin. Among the immigrants who crossed the plains in 1850 was Mr. Baconís sister, Mrs. Nancy Peck, who with her husband was following the tide of immigration that gave such a different aspect to this whole western country. It was with a desire to visit his sister that Lafayette W. Bacon crossed the plains in 1853, at which time the Pecks were settling on a ranch of two hundred and forty acres near Healdsburg, Mr. Bacon assisting them and afterward making a fvisit of several months. Returning to Wisconsin during the following year, he resumed farming, and the same year, 1854, formed domestic ties by his marriage with Miss Jenette A. Swena, who like himself was a native of Pennsylvania. Nine children were born of this marriage, but of the number, only five are now living. Mrs. Jenette Bacon died in 1888, and two years later, in 1890, Mr. Bacon was united to his present wife, who prior to her marriage was Mrs. Martha E. (Bowers) Davis, and who was born in Indiana in 1855. No children were born of this marriage. Throughout the years of his residence in Wisconsin Mr. Bacon followed farming continuously and was a prominent and influential citizen in the community in which he lived, serving as justice of the peace in that state in 1855, and during 1860 and 1861 represented his district in the legislature of Colorado.

It was in the year 1902 that Mr. Bacon and his wife came to Sonoma county, Cal., and settled on a part of the large ranch which his brother-in-law and sister had purchased and settled upon nearly fifty years before. Here he has twenty-two acres of fine land, all under cultivation to grain and hay, in the care of which he takes a keen interest in spite of his advancing years.

In his earlier years Mr. Bacon was a believer in Republican principles, but of late he has become convinced that the Prohibition party more nearly represents his belief and has transferred his allegiance to the latter party. He has also been an active advocate of temperance through his membership in and work in behalf of the Good Templars. Since coming to California he has taken an active part in the work of the grange, and also in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which both himself and wife are members.

Reference has already been made to Mr. Baconís sister, Mrs. Nancy Peck. She was born in Erie county, Pa., February 6, 1819, and followed the various migrations of the family until her marriage to Mr. Peck. This year 1850 witnessed their removal to California across the plains with ox-teams, and in 1853 they located upon the ranch of which Mr. Baconís property forms a part. This was their home uninterruptedly until 1898, when they removed into Healdsburg, and here the death of Mrs. Peck occurred December 5, 1909, at the age of ninety years and nine months, after a residence in Sonoma county of fifty-six years, and of fifty-nine years in the state. At her death she left valuable property on Lincoln street, Healdsburg, to her favorite niece, Mrs. Addie Stevens, the wife of Charles D. Stevens, and the daughter of Lafayette W. Bacon. Mrs. Peck had made her home on this property for fourteen years, during which time she had endeared herself to all who were privileged to know her, all loving and respecting her for her genuine worth and fine traits of character. She was known by everyone in Healdsburg as Grandma Peck.


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