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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Russell Denner

The life here sketched began in Honiton, Devonshire, England, in 1836 and came to a close in California in 1899, a life filled with accomplishments and good deeds performed. The Denner family is descended from the famous explorer, Sir Francis Drake, and one of Mr. Denner's brothers, a resident of England, bears the name of this illustrious ancestor.

Russell Denner was reared and educated in his native country, and at the age of nineteen years set out for the new world, with the blessing of his parents and the good wishes of his many friends following him. He had received a good education inn his native country, and after leaving school was connected in business with a large hardware firm in Southampton before coming to this country to engage in the same business with Messrs. Pratt & Co., Buffalo, N. Y. Among other experiences was a farming enterprise which he maintained in Illinois for a number of years. From there he came to California in 1869, going direct to Stockton and making his home in that part of the state for about fourteen years. During this time he took an interested part in the activities of the community in which he lived and was a charter member of the Stockton grange. Coming to Sonoma county in 1883, Mr. Denner subsequently purchased the ranch near Santa Rosa that is now the home of his family, comprising two hundred and five acres and used as a hop ranch for many years. In addition to this he also owned twenty-two acres near Olivet, and four hundred and eighty acres near Healdsburg, now the property of his two sons. The last mentioned ranch is devoted to stock-raising, besides which they maintain a creamery, which is fully equipped with all of the latest devices among which is a separator. Since the death of Mr. Denner his widow and children have maintained his various enterprises, following his methods, and in so doing are meeting with the same success that rewarded his efforts for so many years.

In 1867 Mr. Denner was united in marriage with Miss Emily Breaks, a native of England, and seven children were born of their union. Charles Alfred (born in 1870), Charlotte Isabel and Emily Rose are all at home with their mother; Bessie Kate, who is the wife of J. E. Clark, is a resident of Santa Rosa; Fulvia Mary became the wife of Frederick A. Mossler and they make their home in Vine Hill; Russel Linsey Alexander is the next in order of birth; the youngest of the children, William Wheaton, died at the age of four years.

Throughout the years of his residence in Sonoma county, Mr. Denner was an active and unceasing friend of upbuilding measures, the promoter of sound local government and the upholder of high civic and private ideals, all of which was realized the more keenly when death removed him from the loclity which had known and honored him for so many years.

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