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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William Covey

As a well-known rancher of Sonoma county and a fine representative of the native-born sons of California, William Covey, of Sebastopol, is deserving of mention as one of those who have contributed to the upbuilding of this commonwealth. Not only is he a native son of the state, but he is also a native of Sonoma county, and here his entire life has been passed in agricultural pursuits. Born near Forestville in 1874, he grew up in that vicinity and attended the public school of that place, in the meantime being initiated into ranch life by performing the duties that fell to his lot on the home ranch.

The father of our subject, Uriah Covey, was one of those noble pioneers whose early efforts helped to lay the foundation upon which has been reared this great Pacific commonwealth. He was born in Ohio April 25, 1832, and when he was a child of five years was taken to Missouri by his parents, and in the latter state grew to a stalwart young manhood on the home farm. It was while working in the fields that he made up his mind to come to the west, news of the gold find in California having fired him with an ambition that made his labors on the Missouri farm dull and unattractive. Leaving his parents to carry on the farm, he set out on the overland journey in 1852 and upon reaching his journey's end, went at once to the mines and for a year and a-half followed mining. At the end of this time he returned to Missouri to claim his promised bride in Miss Mary Salee, a native of Missouri, a marriage which resulted in the birth of two children. Shortly after his return to California the wife and mother passed away and on August 9, 1859, he married his second wife, who before her marriage was Miss Sarah Ann Purvis. Ten children were born of this marriage, and of the eight who attained maturity besides William we mention the following: Clara D. became the wife of D. F. Hutchinson and at her death in 1905 left seven children; Ella became the wife of E. L. Ward, a resident of Humboldt county, and by him became the mother of four children; Daniel chose as his wife Laura Ross, and they with their seven children make their home in Lake county, Cal.; Philip married Miss Hotel, and they have three children, making their home in Bennett valley; Elizabeth L. became the wife of Samuel Barnum, of Forestville, where they with their five children make their home; Amanda E. became the wife of Alfred Ross, and they and their seven children live near Forestville; Harmon and his wife have four children; James W. married Annie M. Ridenhauer, and they with their one child make their home on the old Ridenhaur estate, of which James Covey is manager. Altogether the elder Mr. Covey made four trips to Missouri after coming to California in 1852. Upon his return to the state after one of these visits to his native state in 1868 he made his first purchase of land, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres of land in Sonoma county near Cloverdale. He had made his home on this ranch for two years when he traded the property for one hundred and seventy acres near Forestville, and later, in 1878, he bought eighty acres one mile from Forestville, where his wife resides. William Covey was a child of four years when his parents settled on this property and this has been his home ever since, he now managing and caring for the property for his mother. It was here that the earth life of Uriah Covey came to a close May 25, 1909, at which time he had attained the age of seventy-seven years and one month. Ion addition to the management of the home ranch and maintaining a dairy of fourteen cows, William Covey also has charge of a fifteen-acre fruit ranch near Forestville, this also being a part of the family estate.

In 1899 William Covey was united in marriage with Miss Hattie Ross, a native of Sonoma county, and 6they have one child, Irma Madeline. Politically Mr. Covey is a Republican, and while he is actively interested in whatever affects his party in any way, is not an office-seeker, and has never been before the public in this capacity.

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