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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Joseph W. Drouillard

Not unlike a large majority of the agriculturists in the vicinity of Santa Rosa, Mr. Drouillard took up his residence here after he had gained considerable experience and means in other lines of activity. In various parts of the state he had followed mining for a considerable period since the year 1884, and unlike many who follow that precarious calling he was very successful in the undertaking. Upon giving this up, however, he came to Sonoma county and near Santa Rosa purchased the beautiful forty-acre ranch that is his home today.

In Marion county, Iowa, Joseph W. Drouillard was born November 2, 1849. While he was almost too young to remember much of his early home, his parents made ready to cross the plains to California, the gold fever still attracting many to the state, the elder Mr. Drouillard being among the number. The year 1855 found them in Hangtown (now called Placerville), the father engaging in mining there for about a year, after which he gave it up as unprofitable, and instead, engaged in the stock business in Tulare county. This necessitated going to Los Angeles for cattle, which he would drive north to fatten, after which he would take them to the mining localities and sell them.

The education of Joseph W. Drouillard was begun and completed in San Jose, after which he became interested in the stock business with his father. A desire to try his luck at mining led him to discontinue the stock business and thereafter for thirty years he followed mining continuously. After an experience in Nevada and Arizona he was engaged in the Yellow Aster mines in Randsburg, Kern county, Cal., going there as mill superintendent in 1884, and leaving there seven years later to become superintendent of the Gaylord Bish mines in Inyo county. While in that county he also purchased a ranch, but as it was done more as an investment than with the idea of making his home upon it, he disposed of it when a good opportunity offered. Later he went to Haywards, Alameda county, and purchased property, but six months later he disposed of this also, and it was then that he came to Sonoma county and purchased the ranch which has been his home ever since, four miles northeast of Santa Rosa, on Calistoga street and St. Helena road. The ranch comprises of forty acres of which fourteen acres are in grapes, two acres in prunes, one acre in small fruit, and about six acres in corn. It is Mr. Drouillard's intention to enlarge his orchard from time to time, and if his present plans are carried out he will plant eight additional acres to prunes and apples. Another ambition of the owner is to embark in the poultry industry, and judging from the success which he has had in his undertakings thus far his success in this undertaking is assured also.

In 1872 Mr. Drouillard was united in marriage with Frances M. Woods, a native of Illinois, the daughter of Abel and Sarah Woods, the former of whom passed away in California, and the latter now a resident of Los Angeles. The eldest of the three children born to Mr. And Mrs Drouillard is William F., born in Modoc county, Cal., in 1884; he is filling the position of superintendent of the Electric Light and Power Company on the Owens river. Paul, born in Modoc county in 1887, is employed in the oil-well district in Kern county. Joseph W., Jr., born in Inyo county in 1892, is employed on the Southern Pacific Railroad. In national issues Mr. Drouillard casts a Republican ballot, but in local matters is governed by the qualifications of the candidate for the position. As the choice of his fellow-citizens while in Inyo county he filled a number of positions, among them justice of the peace, deputy sheriff and postmaster. While he was a resident of Modoc county he became affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, passed through all the chairs of his lodge, and was further honored by being sent as a representative to the grand lodge.

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