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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


James P. Bline

The measure of a man's success is often the measure of his enthusiastic devotion to the city or county where such success has been made possible. Judged by this standard, sufficient reason will be found for the high opinion Mr. Bline entertains concerning the country around Santa Rosa, which he insists is the best in the entire state without any exception, claiming a soil that will grow the vine to its highest perfection and the various fruits as well. As he has traveled considerably through the state and has been a close observer of climatic conditions and soils, his opinion has not been formed without due consideration of the claims of other portions of the state.

Mr. Bline was born in Licking county, Ohio, August 2, 1866, but when he was only one year old his parents removed to Illinois, settling in Crawford county, and there the father has made his home ever since. He is of southern ancestry and parentage, and was born in Virginia in 1831. In early manhood he formed domestic ties which continued until the death of his wife in 1891; she was also of southern ancestry, born in North Carolina in 1831. The boyhood, youth and young manhood of James P. Bline are associated with Crawford county, Ill., in the schools of which locality he was educated. This was a farming community, and he early in life became familiar with the duties which the life of the farmer involved, for as the son of a farmer his services were made to count in the maintenance of the home farm. Altogether he remained in this part of the middle-west for twenty-six years, when in 1893, he came to California and has since been associated with the upbuilding of this commonwealth. From the San Joaquin valley, where he first located, he subsequently went to San Francisco, and was associated with that metropolis and vicinity for about five years, when he came to Sonoma county, and has made this his home continuously ever since. Pleased with the outlook as presenting advantages of any other part of the state which he had visited, he determined to make this his permanent home, and with this idea in mind he cast about to find an available property suited to his purpose. This he found in the property of which he is now the owner, near Santa Rosa, on Rural Route No. 2, and which has been the scene of his activities since 1900. Here he has twenty-sic acres of fine land, well suited to the raising of grapes and prunes, to which his ranch is about equally devoted. The last crop which he gathered consisted of thirteen and one-half tons of dried prunes and twenty tons of grapes, all of which brought good prices in the market. He is also interested in the raising of poultry, and as one of the charter members of the Sonoma County Co-operative Poultry Association has been a invaluable factor in his community in sustaining the price of eggs and in other ways benefiting the industry. He served as treasurer of the board of directors of this association until 1911.

In 1891 Mr. Bline was married to Miss May Vance, a native of Illinois, whose death occurred seven months later. In March 1900, he married his present wife, who was formerly Miss Emily Connolly, a native of St. Louis, Mo. Five children have been born of this marriage, named in the order of their birth as follows: Dorothy, Grace, Jeannette, Elizabeth and James W., the three eldest children being students in the local schools. In national issues Mr. Bline is a Democrat, but in local matters he does not confine himself to the candidates of this party if the opposing party presents a man better qualified for the position in question. He has held a number of offices within the gift of his fellow-citizens, having held the office of tax collector for two years, and at the present time is school trustee of Monroe district. Fraternally he is a member of Rosewood Camp, M. W. A., of Santa Rosa. As one of the live, progressive citizens of Santa Rosa, Mr. Bline is counted a distinct advantage to his community, whose welfare he is at all times willing and anxious to advance in every way possible.

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