Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Judge Charles Hardy Dillon

Two miles south of Boonville, Cooper county, Mo., Charles Hardy Dillon was born March 16, 1833. When but five years of age the scene of his experiences was changed with the removal of his parents to Sarcoxie, Jasper county, Mo., where he was reared on a farm until he was a young man, in the meantime receiving his education in the rate schools. In bad weather he remained at home and studied under the direction of a teacher. He remained at home until 1852, the last year at home being spent in superintending the home farm. In the year mentioned he started as a teamster with a freight train of thirty-two wagons, from Kansas City to Santa Fe, N. Mex. Returning to Jasper county, Mo., he worked there until December of that year, when he removed to Carthage, Mo., remaining there all the winter working in a merchandise store, attending school during the evenings. In this place a party of men and women, thirty in number, decided to make the trip across the plains to California. The young man was ever ready to take every opportunity that might mean an advancement for him, so he joined this train and they started out on May 1, 1853, reaching Hangtown, Cal., September 19 of the same year. Here the young man purchased a miner's outfit and engaged in mining at Diamond Springs. After some time he went to Rough and Ready and then to Yuba river, where he worked on a flume. From this latter place he went to Jackson, Amador county, Cal., and prospected during the year 1854. In the spring he went to the vicinity of New Castle, near Auburn, then prospected at Bidwell's Bar on the Feather river. From this place he drove a six-mule team hauling lumber to build a flume at Bidwell's Bar. The next move this ambitious and prospering young man made was to take a donkey and provisions and journey up the Sacramento valley to Weaverville, Trinity county, where he mined for four years.

Mr. Dillon came to Sonoma county in 1859, and in company with others he invested in a ranch and engaged in farming and dairying for two years near Petaluma, at the end of which time he went to Sonoma City and opened a butcher business. In the meantime he had been engaged in teaching in various parts of the county and was then reputed to be the best teacher of music and dancing in that section. He conducted classes in San Francisco and other coast towns. For half a decade Mr. Dillon continued in the butcher business in Sonoma City, when he sold out and conducted a drug store for many years with much success. Finding a larger field of activity in the commission business in San Francisco, he sold out his drug store interests and engaged in the commission business for eleven years. After selling out he was appointed to the position of deputy license collector in San Francisco, retaining the position four years.

In the year 1882 Mr. Dillon came to Petaluma and engaged in several enterprises and also taught music and dancing. He conducted the Paper Carnival in Petaluma in 1885, which was the first of its kind ever held on the coast. He also conducted a similar carnival in San Francisco during 1886 and 1887. In this city they cleared $20,000 for the Episcopal Church of the Advent during the two years of the carnival. Going to Seattle in 1888 he put on the same carnival, and in Walla Walla the following year, meeting with success on each occasion. He engaged in business in Seattle until 1899, when he came to Santa Rosa and engaged in the retail boot and shoe business until 1901. Coming to Petaluma in 1901 he engaged in the poultry business on Mountain View avenue for a time, and was occupied with various activities until 1907, in which year he was elected city recorder for four years. So good has been the service rendered during this period that in 1911 he was elected to the position of police judge, being the first to serve in that capacity under the new city charter.

Mr. Dillon married Mattie J. Akers, daughter of Judge Stephen Akers, in Sonoma City, Cal., on October 22, 1862. One son was born to them; he died in 1903. He had married Miss Frances Thompson, a daughter of Jefferson Thompson, Sr., of Petaluma. Mr. Dillon is a member of the Masonic order, is past master of Temple Lodge No. 14 of Sonoma, and is now a member of Petaluma Lodge No. 1809. He is past patron of the order of Eastern Star, and is also adviser of the past matrons and past patrons association of the Order of Eastern Star. A versatile man and a capable one, he has made his way in life by his own ability and perseverance, and has many friends.

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