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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John and Grant Bruner

So closely and intimately interwoven have the lives and accomplishments of John and Grant Bruner been, that it would be impossible to write the life history of one without giving that of the other also. Few ranchers in the vicinity of Windsor, Sonoma county, are better known, both through the high quality of their citizenship and their exceptional success as agriculturists, than are these brothers, who have passed their entire lives in this locality. Born in what is now the town of Windsor in 1866 and 1867 respectively, they are the eldest sons of Philip and Rosella (Martin) Bruner, the former of whom was born in New Orleans, La., in 1834, of German ancestry. From his earliest boyhood he had been familiar with farm life, beginning in the south, where he was born and reared, and after his removal to California in 1853 he continued tilling the soil and follo0wed this occupation up to the time of his death in Sonoma county in 1907.

The marriage of Philip Bruner and Rosella Martin was celebrated in Santa Rosa, Cal., in 1862 and resulted in the birth of nine children, eight of whom are living, as follows: John, Grant, James and William (born respectively in 1866, 1867, 1871 and 1879) and Amanda, Ada, Queen and Hattie (born respectively in 1864, 1871, 1878 and 1881). William Bruner chose as his wife Minnie McVain, and they have one daughter. Amanda became the wife of Frank Esmond and they reside in Oakland, Cal. Ada became the wife of Henry Laymance, and four children, two sons and two daughters, have been born of their marriage; Queen is also married, being the wife of George Smith; and Hattie has two children by her marriage with Francis Shryne.

Neither of the two eldest sons of the parental family, John and Grant Bruner, have formed domestic ties, but live together alone on the old homestead ranch, in the old home which has sheltered them from boyhood. Here they have two hundred and fifty-eight acres of fine land devoted to diversified ranching and the raising of live-stock. Besides the portion of the ranch devoted to general farming, they have fifteen acres in vineyard, from the proceeds of which they realize a good income, the yield of grapes for the reason of 1909 bringing $800, while from the sale of sixty head of live-stock the returns for the same season were $600. No more thrifty or intelligent tillers of the soil could be found in Sonoma county than are these brothers, whose entire lives have been passed in this occupation and as a result of their industry and business ability they are in very comfortable circumstances financially. Politically they are Republicans of no uncertain sound, being stanch in their support of this party's candidates, but they have never had any desire for public office for themselves, finding their time and energies absorbed in their ranch enterprise and doing the things for the uplift of their fellowmen and community as they come to hand, in a quiet, unostentatious way.

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