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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Jonathan Eckman

Rumors concerning the opportunities afforded by the United States to young men of industrious dispositions and force of character penetrated the remote and humble German home where Jonathan Eckman was born in 1844, and where, his school tasks ended, he was determining upon the location and nature of his future activities. It was not possible for him to cross the ocean as soon as he desired and anticipated for parental duties intervened and there was the further duty of discharging to his country the required period of military service. Eventually, however, he bade farewell to the old associations and the friends of early days, and took passage upon an American-bound ship for the new world. The voyage to California was made via the Isthmus of Panama and in 1869 he became a pioneer of Sonoma county, where he still makes his home. During the more than forty years of his residence on the Pacific coast he has witnessed the development of California and has given his quota toward the upbuilding of his own locality, proving himself a desirable citizen and in every respect loyal to the best interests of his adopted country. Industry and sagacity enabled him to accumulate a competence for his old age and now, in the afternoon of life's busy day, he is enjoying the fruits of former labors and the friendship of a large circle of old-time associates.

Upon coming to California and settling in this county Mr. Eckman was unmarried and it was not until some years later that he established a home of his own, taking as a wife Miss Jennie Stevens, who was born at Fruitvale, this state, in 1859. Twelve children were born of their union, namely: John, who married May A. Shannon and has a son, John; Herman; Henry; Frank; Albert; Minnie, Mrs. R. Holliday, who has three children, Ray, Frank and Urcell; Bertha, Mrs. Clyde Ayers, who has five children, Ward, Dallas, Eugene, Claude and Helen; Emma, Mrs. William Miller, who has one daughter, Lena; Clara, Mrs. George Quigley, who has two children, Esther and George; Evaline, Nellie and Hazel.

Genealogical records show that the Stevens family was established in New England during an early period of our country's history. J. B. Stevens, father of Mrs. Eckman, was born in Vermont during the year 1824 and became a pioneer of California, settling at Otay, San Diego county, but later removing to Fruitvale, Alameda county, where his daughter, Jennie, was born and reared. By his marriage to Julia Delano there were seven children, those besides Mrs. Eckman being John, William, Robert, Fannie, Albertine and Julia. There also were two children, Josephine and Edward, by another marriage. William Stevens and his wife, Ida (Gable) Stevens, had two sons and two daughters, William, Jr., Lester, Julia and Lulu. Fannie Stevens became the wife of Charles Sissam and by that union had five children. Albertine (Stevens) Phillips had two sons, George and James.

In studying the political issues of his adopted country Mr. Eckman espoused the principles of The Republican party and always has voted the party ticket in national elections. It has been his aim to keep posted concerning current events of importance and he is regarded as a man well-posted in the happenings of the day. During early life he was trained in the doctrines of the German Lutheran Church and at the stipulated age received the ordinance of confirmation, since which time he has continued to be identified with the denomination is is a contributor to its charities. Many years of strenuous exertion have been given to the task of paying for his farm and improving the land. With the result he has no reason to be displeased. Seven hundred and twenty acres of land comprise his ranch near Guerneville and here he makes his home, superintending the varied branches of agriculture followed on the tract. A specialty is made of raising Angora goats and he now has a herd of one hundred and fifty head which browse in the pastures and through the dense woods. A few other head of live stock are kept for farm uses,. Twenty acres of the ranch are in a vineyard which in 1909 yielded thirty tons of fine grapes. Twenty acres are under cultivation to grain and there is also a bearing orchard of four acres containing a variety of fruit adapted to the soil and climate.

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