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James B. Bloom

Among the foreign-born citizens who have contributed to the upbuilding of this Pacific commonwealth a goodly share of credit belongs to those who had their origin in the little republic of Switzerland. Among those who made an impress upon the well-being of that portion of the state included in Marin and Sonoma counties in particular was the late James B. Bloom, who passed from the scenes of earth over seventeen years ago, but who is still remembered as one of the vitalizing influences in bringing to the fore the latent possibilities of this section of country. The work which he laid down has not been allowed to retrograde, for his sons, who are imbued with the same spirit of progress and perseverance that made his success possible, are continuing it along broader and more extended lines, and when the final history of this part of the state shall have been written it will of necessity give a large share of credit for its development to the Bloom family, both father and sons.

James B. Bloom was born in Brontallo, in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, July 24, 1842, and in his birthplace he was reared and educated. After his school days were over, however, he became restive in his circumscribed surroundings and decided to come to the new world and at the age of eighteen he set sail for his new home across the waters. Landing at the harbor of New York, a stranger and alone and yet not regretting the step which he had undertaken, after a rest of two weeks he re-embarked on a vessel bound for the Pacific coast via the Panama route, and on May 6, 1861, he reached San Francisco. From the metropolis he at once made his way to Marin county, where he was fortunate in finding employment as a farm hand, and by saving his earnings he was finally able to purchase land of his own in Chelino valley. This was in 1866, and the property which he then purchased was the home of the family for many years and is still a part of the large acreage owned by the family. With a definite object in view, , Mr. Bloom set about improving the land and in three years time he felt justified in bringing his promised bride to the home which he had prepared for her. In the spring of 1869 he returned to Switzerland, and on May 4 of that year a marriage ceremony was performed which united the lives of James B. Bloom and Lucia M. Fiori. A few days later, on May 15, they set sail for the United States, coming directly to Marin county, Cal., and the home which they here built up was the scene of a happy united family, whose greatest sorrow was the loss of the husband father October 26, 1893. Industrious and persevering throughout his life, he increased his holdings from time to time by the purchase of land in Marin and other counties, stocking his home place with cattle, and finally came to be known as one of the wealthy citizens of this section of the state. Notwithstanding his deep love for and interest in his adopted home, he never forgot his early home across the waters and during a visit to his native village of Brontallo in 1889 he donated a large fountain to the village as a memento of his birthright and as an expression of his regard for the association of his childhood.

Brontallo, Switzerland, was also the birthplace of Mrs. Bloom, her birth occurring January 13, 1850, and she was therefore a bride of only nineteen years when she came to her new home in America. Eleven children came to bless their marriage, but of the number three are now deceased. Named in the order of their birth they are as follows: Amelia V., the wife of Michael DeMartin; Sabina D., deceased; Adolph John; Leopoldina O., wife of H. J. Dado; Clorinda T., the wife of S. J. Magetti; Claudina L., who became the wife of A. A. Dado and is now deceased; Americo.; Charles E. Plauso G.; Eva I. (deceased), and James B.

After the death of the father the eldest son, Adolph J. Bloom, took charge of the old hoace in the Chelino valley, consisting of seven hundred acres. In common with the majority of ranches in this part of the state the Bloom ranch was given over to poultry-raising and dairying, and the passing of years has noted a steady enlargement of acreage and increase of business along all lines. Subsequently Americo J. became associated with his brother in the management of the growing interests, and for a number of years the business of the ranch was carried on under the name of Bloom Brothers. In February, 1910, the brothrs incorporated their holdings, under the name of The Bloom Company, of which Adolph J. Bloom is president and treasurer, Lucia M. Bloom vice-president and Americo J. Bloom secretary. This consists of the Bloom home ranch of seven hundred and seventeen acres, the Bloom ranch of six hundred and forty acres near Petaluma, and a one-third interest in the Santa Ysabel rancho of Santa Ysabel, San Diego county. On the home ranch may be seen a herd of two hundred milch cows, of the Jersey-Durham breed, and in connection with the dairy the brothers maintain a creamery in which is made the finest quality of butter and cheese. There are also on the place ten thousand White Leghorn chickens, a herd of eighty goats, and twenty head of horses. Aside from growing sufficient hay and feed for their cattle the brothers do not engage in farming, finding it more profitable to use the land for other purposes. They conservatively estimate that the annual income from each cow is %65, and their gross receipts from the poultry industry were $10,000 for the season of 1909, all of which goes to prove their wisdom in the use of the land. Altogether the Bloom estate now comprises seven thousand acres of land. In 1909 Mrs. Lucia M. Bloom removed from the ranch to Petaluma, where she intends to pass remaining years.

In 1904 Adolph J. Bloom removed to Petaluma and bought a tract of land known as Cedar Grove Park. This he has subdivided and sold to residents who take pride in making the subdivision what all residents recognize it to be, one of the finest residence sections of the town and surrounding country. Mr. Bloom is president of the California Savings Bank of Petaluma and also a director in the Petaluma National Bank. He has a pleasant home in Petaluma, where he resides with his wife who before her marriage, in 1904 was Miss Eva Howell, the daughter of Orrin and Elizabeth (Brookes) Howell, of Hopland, Cal. Adolph J. Bloom is a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Elks.

Americo J. Bloom is the manager of the Sonoma county ranch, comprising six hundred and forty acres. Here he maintains a hatchery of sixty-eight incubators, with a capacity of five hundred and four eggs each, from which he realizes thirty thousand chicks at each hatch. He also has ninety cows, twenty head of hogs and eight head of horses. His marriage united im with Miss Vivian Filippini, a daughter of Charles Filippini, of whom a sketch will be found elsewhere in this volume. One child has been born of this marriage, Stella.


Source:
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