California Genealogy and History Archives
Whatever part of the world draws to its citizenship representatives of the sturdy Swiss race, they invariably bring to their new homes the same energy, economy and thrift characteristic of the nation from the earliest records of history. In Northern California, as in the old home land, they have found dairying congenial to their tastes. Nature endowed them with the patience and skill necessary to the successful prosecution of the industry. Education brought the requisite knowledge of the work in which they have gained a reputation second to no people in the entire world. It is therefore a natural result of certain causes that Frank Fenk should enter into the dairy business after his arrival in Sonoma county, where since 1909 he has engaged in ranching and dairying near Petaluma. Under a lease of one year he secured five hundred acres of land, from Charles Lewis and here he established himself as a dairy farmer, building up a splendid herd of forty-one milch cows. In addition he owns some young cattle, eight head of horses and a flock of two hundred chickens. Through unremitting efforts he is establishing a reputation for sagacious farming, and h e has many friends who predict for him a successful future.
Born in Canton Unterwalden, Switzerland, in 1879, Frank Fenk is a son of Joseph and Pauline (Diller) Fenk, also natives of that country. The father, who was born in the year 1845, grew to manhood upon a dairy farm, and at an early age had acquired a thorough knowledge of the occupation. This work he followed after he came to the United States in 1881 and settled in California, where for fourteen years he made his home in Sonoma county. While general ranching was his occupation, he made a specialty of dairying and always kept a large herd of good milkers on his farm. Besides his son, Frank, he had three children, Joseph, Matilda and Mary. Joseph, who is living in Petaluma, is married and has five children, Joseph, Arnold, Frances, Mary and Jessie. Matilda, who remains in Switzerland, is the wife of Fritz Bokar. Mary who also resides in her native country, married Frank Frie and has two sons, Charles and Frank.
Upon the completion of the studies taught in the
schools of his home land Frank Fenk took up dairy pursuits and learned
the industry in all of its details. During the year 1902 he came to the
United States and settled in Monterey county, Cal., where he secured
employment as a hired laborer on a dairy ranch. Since coming to Sonoma
county in 1909 he has established himself in the business, and with the
aid of a capable young wife he is rapidly rising to a position of
influence among the dairymen. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Fenk was Miss
Alice Josse; she is a native of Switzerland, born in 1883, and received
a fair education in the Swiss schools. During the year 1908 she came to
California, where she married soon afterward. Her parents, Peter and
Alice (Ophill) Josse, were born in Switzerland in 1848 and have been
lifelong residents of that country. Their sons and daughters are named
as follows: Andrus, Peter, Daniel, Michael, Otto, John, Arnold, Henry,
Catherine, Elizabeth Grati, Anna, Johanna, Franna and a child that died
in infancy. Three of the sons and two daughters are married, and two of
the family, Michael and Franna, reside in Oregon, making their home at
Portland. All are devoted adherents of the Roman Catholic Church, and
Mr. and Mrs. Fenk contribute to the activities of that religious
organization, as well as to general movements for the upbuilding of the
race. Since becoming a citizen of the United States, with the privilege
of franchise, Mr. Fenk has exercised that right in favor of the
Republican party, and has been a steadfast upholder of its principles.
The anxieties connected with his occupation and the necessity of
unceasing industry do not permit him to take an active part in lodge
work, public affairs or any form of recreation, but occasionally, when
free from home duties, he finds ardent pleasure in the sport of hunting,
and as a Nimrod has displayed more than ordinary skill.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011