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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John J. Bonniksen

The possibilities of the west have attracted hither young men from almost every part of the world. Among other countries, Germany has given up some of its best youths to aid in the making of the western empire, and in the list of young Germans who have found homes in California mention belongs to John J. Bonniksen, a well-known poultry raiser of Sonoma county and the builder-up of a comfortable fortune through his unwearied labors since coming to this locality.

Born in Schleswig, Germany, March 23, 1866, John J. Bonniksen is a son of B. and Anna D. (Matthieson) Bonniksen, both of whom were natives of Denmark, born respectively in 1822 and 1825. The entire married life of the parents was passed in the Fatherland, where the father followed farming as a means of support for his family. A large family of thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters, constituted the family circle, named as follows: Peter, Hans, Amos, John J., Nicholi, Bonnik, Maria, Sicilia, Metta, Anna, Catherine, Ingeborg and Christina. With the exception of Hans, Amos, Nicholi and Ingeborg, who are residents of Humboldt county, and John J., the subject of this sketch, the children are all residents of the Fatherland.

John J. Bonniksen had attained his twenty-third year, when, in 1889, he set sail for the United States, and having reached our shores in safety, came direct to California. He was attracted to Humboldt county owing to the fact that several of his brothers had preceded him to this country and were located in that part of the state. He therefore went direct to Ferndale, Humboldt county, where he followed the dairy business and also conducted a cigar store. All of this was destined to be short-lived, however, and but a stepping stone to the better opening which he found awaiting him in Sonoma county. His identification with this part of the state dates from the year 1906, when he located upon the property which he now leases, which is adjacent to both Two Rock and Petaluma, the latter, however being his postoffice. Here he has under lease four hundred acres of land devoted to dairying and the chicken industry. Sixty head of cows of high grade supply his dairy, besides which he has seven head of fine horses which he is raising for sale. While Mr. Bonniksen is very successful as a dairyman it is as a raiser of chickens that he is even more successful, and it is in this industry that he has become an authority throughout this section of Sonoma county. Here he has a flock of three thousand White Leghorn chickens, from which, during the season of 1909, his income was $1.50 each for the year

Mr. Bonniksen chose as his wife Miss Augusta Jeshonik, who was born in Germany in 1867, and one child, Bernard Bruce, has been born of their marriage. With his wife Mr. Bonniksen is a member of the Lutheran Church of Petaluma.

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