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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William R. Barry

In William R. Barry we find a native son of the state who is making a success of his life in the community in which he was born and reared, and in which also it is his intention to remain permanently, for from all the evidence which he has been able to gather he feels assured beyond a doubt that Sonoma county is the finest agricultural center in the entire state. A few miles from Petaluma, on Rural Route No. 5, one may see the ranch of which Mr. Barry is the owner and proprietor, a ranch whose appearance marks the owner as a man of industry and as one who appreciates the value of detail in whatever he undertakes.

The first representative of the Barry family in the United States was Richard Barry, the father of the gentleman above named, who was born in Ireland in 1812, and was among the immigrants to California during the early period of the gold fever, the year 1848 marking his advent in Placer county. There his interests were sufficiently sustained to satisfy his ambition for four years, and it is probable that his mining efforts were more satisfying than fell to the experience of the average miner. At the end of this experience he gave up mining altogether and settled down to agricultural life in Sonoma county, and it was on this ranch that he and his wife (the latter former Julia Murphy, a native of Ireland) reared their family. The eldest of the children born to them was Thomas Barry, who was born here in 1862 and is now the owner of a fine ranch in this same vicinity, comprising two hundred and fifty acres of land. Here he is engaged in the dairy business, his herd at the present time numbering thirty head of fine stock, which he expects to increase by the addition of seventy-five head as soon as his herd of yearlings are available.

William R. Barry was born on the Sonoma county homestead February 8, 1867, and from the time he was old enough to handle the ordinary farm implements has been engaged in tilling the soil. He is the owner of a splendid tract of land three miles south of Petaluma, consisting of three hundred and nine acres of fine dairy land, upon which he maintains a herd of fifty milch cows, of the Durham breed. He also pastures a number of fine horses, from the sale of which he expects to realize a good profit.

Mr. Barry’s marriage united him with Miss Margaret Willis, who was born in Canada in 1881, and who has been a resident of Sonoma county, Cal., since she was a child of ten years. Three children have been born of this marriage, William W., Lillian M. and Catherine A., and their devoted parents are bestowing every advantage upon them which their means will permit. The children are being reared in the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith, which has been the faith of the family for many generations, and in his political preferences Mr. Barry is a Democrat and is a member of the Knights of Columbus in Santa Rosa.

Besides William R. and Thomas Barry, of whom mention has been made, there were four daughters in the parental family, Nellie, Elizabeth, Julia and Susie. The first mentioned, Nellie, is the wife of William McGuffick. Julia is the wife of John J. Sweney and the mother of five children, John, Russell, Homer, Mary and Isabelle. Susie became the wife of Peter Sartori and has five children as follows: Zilla, Viola, Loretta and Leticia and Hayden.

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