California Genealogy and History Archives
In the life of Mr. Furlong is exemplified the fact that perseverance and industry have their own reward, as surely as cause and effect are inseparable. When he came to these shores a stranger in a strange land over forty years ago he was empty-handed and without friends, while today he is a large land-holder and retired from active labor, surrounded by many friends who have watched his progress with a keen interest and have rejoiced in his prosperity. Besides his home property of six acres in Bodega, he owns Willow Creek ranch, a place of thirteen hundred and sixty-three acres on the Russian river, in Bodega township, which he now leases to a tenant, finding all the activity that he needs in caring for the home place in Bodega.
A native of Ireland, James Furlong was born in County Wexford April 6, 1842, the son of Patrick and Margaret (Carroll) Furlong, the father being a blacksmith by trade, who died when his son was fourteen years of age. Mr. Furlong remained in his native land until he was twenty-five years of age, and then, in 1867, he set sail for the new world. The vessel landed him in Boston, Mass., and from there he went to New York, where he re-embarked on a vessel bound for Nicaragua. His experiences in crossing this narrow neck of land from the Atlantic to the Pacific side were unique, including considerable walking, a short ride by rail and a part of the distance was covered on the backs of mules. San Francisco was finally reached, and from there he came direct to Sonoma county, coming by boat to Petaluma and from there to Bodega, where he has made his home ever since. His life and surroundings in the old country had made him familiar with farming, and it was work of this character that he first sought upon coming to Sonoma county. After working on ranches for about three years he turned his attention to dairying, first in the employ of others and later on his own account, and after following this business for many years he sold out the business and has since lived retired. Since disposing of his dairy interests in 1890 he has leased his ranch and is now located on a tract of six acres finely improved in Bodega, where with his wife he is now enjoying the rest and ease which her co-operation and sympathetic help have made possible.
In 1872 Mr. Furlong made a trip back to the
Emerald Isle to claim his bride in Miss Ann O'Brien, their wedding
journey consisting of a trip to the United States, and the home which
Mrs. Furlong then entered as a bride has been her home ever since. The
home was brightened by the birth of one son, Patrick, but his death
while he was still an infant left a void which has never been filled.
Mr. Furlong's mother came to the United States many years ago and made
her home in Marin county until her death, her remains being interred in
Sonoma county. Mrs. Furlong was born in Ireland in 1842, her parents
also being natives of that country, and there too they passed from the
scenes of earth. Politically Mr. Furlong is a Democrat, but aside from
doing his duty at the polls he takes no active part in politics, and has
never held any public office.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011