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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Rafael Foresti

Undoubtedly in a far less degree than many other nationalities of Europe has the empire of Austria contributed to the citizenship of the United States and this accession of population has come principally from the outlying provinces. Notwithstanding the devotion of the Austrian to his native land and his disposition to remain there contentedly rather than take up existence amid strangers in an alien country, there has been a considerable representation of the people in the new world and among them may be mentioned the name of the late Rafael Foresti, of Sonoma county, who was born in Austria in 1852, but spent the greater part of his active maturity within the limits of California. Trained to a thorough knowledge of the dairy industry, it was characteristic of him, in the occupation and affording him an excellent opportunity for earning a livelihood at familiar tasks. In connection with dairying he followed general ranch pursuits but throughout all of his residence here he made a specialty of dairying and was regarded as a local authority in the selection and care of milch cows.

Little is known concerning the ancestral history of Rafael Foresti aside from the fact that he was a son of Amando and Madeline (Filosi) Foresti, natives of Austria and lifelong residents of that empire. There were five sons and daughters in the parental family, those besides Rafael being named as follows: Peter, who married and became the father of two children; August, who chose as his wife Buchulina Filosi, their union resulting in the birth of four children, Joseph, Peter, Madeline and Caroline; Rose, Mrs. Boman, who had two children, Virgil and Catharina; and Catharina, who married Angela Filosi and had two children. As far back as the records extend the family has been loyal to the Roman Catholic Church and each successive generation has been carefully trained in the faith.

Surviving Rafael Foresti and since his death residing at the old homestead is his widow, Jaciomina (Jiovanetti) Foresti, who was born in Switzerland in 1860 and was married in 1877. Eight children comprise her family, namely: James, Victor, Elvetzi, August, Reuben, Mollie, Dora and Elsie. The ranch occupied and owned by the family lies near Duncans Mills and was occupied by the father not long after his immigration to America and his settlement in Sonoma county during the year 1880. The tract consists of about twelve hundred and sixty acres, all of which is in timber and pasture with the exception of twenty-five acres that has been brought under cultivation. No branch of agriculture suits the ranch so well as dairying and we find that this industry has been the chief source of income for the family, who keep a herd of sixty-five head of milch cows and sell about one thousand pounds of butter per month. Twenty hogs also are kept on the ranch and the total aggregate of stock numbers about one hundred head, so that with the original stock and the annual increase the pastures are well filled during season. The timber on the ranch is quite valuable, forming indeed one of the principal attractions from a financial standpoint. By intelligent management the ranch brings a satisfactory income to the family each year and at the same time provides them with a pleasant country home.

As previously mentioned Mrs. Foresti is of Swiss birth. Her parents, James and Mattie Jiovanetti, were born in Switzerland in 1819 and the mother died in 1902. Four children formed the family, namely: Joseph, Angelo, Victor and Mrs. Foresti. The first-named son married Louisa Vanoni and has three children, Mark, Sylvia and Joseph. Angelo is married and the father of four children, Frank, John, Albert and May. The youngest son is married and his family consists of two children, Victor and Rose. Mrs. Foresti had few advantages in girlhood, but from a very early age tiled to aid in the maintenance of the family. However, she is a bright, well-informed woman, thoroughly capable of managing the dairying business and affectionately devoted to the welfare of her sons and daughters. During his lifetime Mr. Foresti maintained a warm interest in the welfare of his adopted country and always voted the Republican ticket, but he took no part in public affairs, his entire attention being concentrated upon the support of his family and the development of his ranch.

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