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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Owen J. Cline

Among the manufacturing interests of Petaluma there is none more important in its output, the value of its product and the amount paid employes, than the shoe factory which has been under the able supervision of Owen Cline ever since it was started. By his close oversight and thorough knowledge of every detail of the manufacturing of shoes he has built it up until it is now one of the most extensive plants of its kind on the Bay.

The subject of this sketch was born in La Salle, Ill., July 2, 1864. His father, William Cline, was a native of Maryland and was an early settler of La Salle, Ill., where he enlisted and served in the Civil war, afterwards removing to St. Louis, Mo., where young Cline was educated in the public schools until the age of sixteen years, when he was apprenticed and learned the shoe-making trade in the Myers Shoe Company, beginning at the bottom and learning every department. Later he severed his connection with them to accept a foremanship with the George Gogg Shoe Company, which position he held until 1895, when he came to California. It was at this time that A. L. Bryan severed his connection with the old firm of Bryan & Brown of St. Louis, came to Oakland and purchased the small plant of the Wentworth Shoe Company, located near the Southern Pacific Railway Company's Sixteenth street depot. Mr. Bryan selected Owen J. Cline as superintendent of the factory then operated as the A. L. Bryan Shoe Company, continuing the business there until 1899, when he removed it to Petaluma, establishing the factory on Bremen street. In 1901, on the death of Mr. Bryan, the Nolan Earl Shoe Company purchased the plant and has since continued the business, enlarging it from time to time until it has reached its present proportions. Aside from being the superintendent since it was started Mr. Cline is also a stockholder and director in the company. Understanding ever detail of the business he has secured the latest machinery for each department and the factory is run the year round and has a capacity of five hundred pairs per day and they now give employment to about one hundred hands, theirs being by far the largest pay-roll in the city.

In St. Louis, Mo., Mr. Cline was united with Miss Anna O'Donnell, a native of tht city, and they are the parents of five children, Anastacia, Mary, Thomas, John and Joseph. Fraternally Mr. Cline is associated with the Elks, Eagles (of which he is past president) and the Young Men's Institute (of which he is treasurer) and the Petaluma Fire Department, of which he has served as first assistant engineer. Both in business affairs and socially Mr. Cline is highly esteemed for his progressive spirit, enterprise, worth and integrity. He is very helpful to deserving young men and his charities are many, no worthy person or cause appealing to him in vain. It is to such men that Sonoma county today owes its present state of wonderful development and his example is worthy of emulation.

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