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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John S. Blackburn

The eldest son of that well-known pioneer settler in Petaluma, Charles Blackburn, John S. Blackburn was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1852, and was therefore only one year old when, in 1852, the family fortunes were removed to California. In Petaluma, where the parents settled, he attended the public school, and was given such other advantages as the circumstances of the family made possible.

At the age of twenty-three years John S. Blackburn was taken into the undertaking business with his father, who had established the business in 1856 and had practically maintained the large and constantly growing business alone ever since its establishment until the son was taken into the firm. Father and son continued harmoniously in business together until the death of the founder on November 27, 1896, when the management of the business fell upon the younger partner. Besides continuing the business in Petaluma he opened a branch office in Tomales, Marin county, a venture which justified the undertaking.

In addition to carrying on the undertaking business which by this time had assumed such large proportions, Mr. Blackburn was equally active in civic matters, and as a member of the board of health during a long period rendered an invaluable service to his home city through improved sanitation and municipal cleanliness. His judgment of public questions was held in great respect by his fellow-citizens, and as he did not shirk responsibility but rather assumed it if thereby he could help his fellowmen or better conditions, the influence which he exerted in his community was not inconsiderable, and his death, July 1, 1903, was indeed a public loss. His personal characteristics were such as to win not only admiration and approbation, but many friends and acquaintances.

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