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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Davenport Cozzens, Jr.

It is a fitting recognition of the work of pioneers that their names should be perpetuated in the localities in which their efforts were expended, either in the names of streets, streams or towns, that they may receive due credit and appreciation at the hands of those who follow and continue the work which they have resigned to younger hands. This idea has been fittingly borne out in naming the village of Cozzens after its father and founder, Davenport Cozzens, Sr. A native of the Empire state, he was born in Brooklyn, the son of parents who were able to give their children every advantage for an education and advancement. Unlike many boys so fortunately situated Davenport Cozzens appreciated his opportunities and made them count to the greatest extent possible. The public schools of Brooklyn furnished his primary education, after which he attended higher institutions of learning, and finally took a course in the military academy at West Point. The breaking out of the Mexican war about the time of his graduation found him enlisting his services in the cause of the United States. Instead of returning to the east after the close of the conflict he was attracted to California by the news of the recent discoveries of gold at Sutter's Mill, and was one of the earliest immigrants that landed in the port of San Francisco in the year 1849. In searching the records of the early history of this metropolis one may see the name of Davenport Cozzens mentioned as one of her earliest citizens and business men, he being one of the first to venture in the mercantile business. Later years found him in Sonoma county, and in Geyserville he established the first general store in this section of country, this being the meeting place for ranchers from a wide radius. Abundant evidence has already been given of the remarkable push and enterprise welded in the make-up of this old pioneer, but all has not been told until it has been said that he was the first man to set out vines and start a vineyard in this part of the state, and the wine press which was a later adjunct to his ranch was unquestionably the first in this country. A little settlement was the outgrowth of the industry which his activities created and about the year 1877 the town of Cozzens was incorporated and named in his honor, in recognition of his invaluable services. He lived many years after this, and he watched with pride and interest the steady growth of the little town. Here it was that his earth life came to a close after a long and useful experience, in 1908, his death being the cause of general mourning on the part of all citizens, both old and young, for all loved and revered him. In all his efforts and undertakings he had the encouraging support of his faithful wife.

On the homestead ranch near Geyserville, Sonoma county, Davenport Cozzens, Jr. was born in May 1853, and was reared and educated there and in Hopland. He remained in the vicinity of his birth until after attaining his majority, when, in 1875, he gave vent to the pioneer spirit which crowded up for recognition, in that year going to Nevada, where he opened and operated a hotel and also carried on mining. This dual occupation was carried on for a number of years, after which he returned to Sonoma county and has since been proprietor of a general store in Cozzens. Apart from any reflected light from his worthy father he is held in high esteem by his fellow-citizens, who recognize in him a man of true worth and ability, one who is endeavoring to help forward all good measures in his community.

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