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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Joseph Beretta

Among those of Swiss birth who gave as well as received benefits by their residence in California was the late Joseph Beretta, who was a prosperous dairyman and rancher in the vicinity of Petaluma at the time of his death. He was born in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, in 1881, and had acquired some knowledge of dairying and farming on the paternal homestead before he set out for the new world in 1894. This venture was almost forced upon him, as the family was large and it was only by the hardest and most painstaking economy that the little Swiss farm produced sufficient to supply the needs of the growing family.

The parents, Cesare and Virginia (Cozza) Beretta, were both natives of Switzerland, born in 1841 and 1849. respectively. They became the parents of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, as follows: Bartholomew, Batista, Michael, Joseph, Bartolomeo, Giovanno, Cesare, Nancy, Louisa, Etta and Maria. A number of the children are married and have families of their own. Batista has four children, Faust, Mabel, Alice and Sophia.

The marriage of Joseph Beretta occurred in San Francisco in 1905, uniting him with Olivia Bolla, by whom two children were born, a son and daughter, Joseph, Jr., and Isolena. Mrs. Beretta is the daughter of Peter and Isolena Fillippini, who were natives of Canton Ticino, Switzerland, but who were married after coming to California. They became farmers in Marin county, and died in Petaluma. There were three .children in their family, as follows: Elvetzio, of Lakeville; Olympic, of Two Rock; and Mrs. Beretta. There was also a half-sister, Eda, Mrs. Gilo Ouanchi, who died December 13, 1910. The Beretta family have a pleasant home on the ranch near Petaluma, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres which is leased. Here Mr. Beretta maintained a dairy of twenty-five cows, besides which he raised chickens on a large scale, having at one time fifteen hundred chickens of the White Leghorn variety. On the ranch there are also three horses of good breed. Mr. Beretta came from a long line of agriculturists and his success was therefore only the natural outcome when ability is allowed to have expression. He died on his ranch May 8, 1911, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery. With his family he was a communicant of the Roman Catholic church and in his political leanings he was a Republican.

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