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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


L. D. Gale

The history of the Gale family in this country goes back to Revolutionary days, and makes not of the fact that Richard Gale, Sr., was a valiant soldier in that conflict and that he was also an intrepid Indian fighter. He was born in New York state, as was also his son, Richard Gale, Jr., the latter making his home in that state until attaining young manhood, when he removed to Ohio and made that state his home until 1836. That year witnessed his removal to Scotland country, Mo., where he took up government land from which he cleared a farm, and there he continued to till the soil until his death, when he was seventy years of age. Courageous and determined, he met with a fair degree of success in his undertakings and at his death left his family in good circumstances. His marriage united him with Miss Mary Linxweiler, who was born in Pennsylvania the daughter of German parents. She survived her husband a number of years, passing away on the Missouri homestead at the age of seventy-eight years.

Among the children born of the marriage of Richard and Mary (Linxweiler) Gale was L. D. Gale, who was born April 26, 1828, while the family home was in Franklin county, Ohio. He remained an inmate of the parental home until he was twenty years of age, leaving it at this time to establish a home of his own, which he did on property belonging to his father. It was about five years after his marriage, in 1853, that he crossed the plains with his wife and three children, four months of steady travel being passed before they reached the borders of California. Before deciding upon a place of location Mr. Gale worked as a day laborer for about a year in Napa, but in the fall of the year 1854 he decided to come to Sonoma county, and upon a claim upon which he located five miles from Petaluma he made his home for three years. He then went to Marin county and made a purchase of a claim, but being unable to secure a title to the land after remaining there for three years, he returned to Sonoma county and made his home here until his death. One mile below Bodega bay, on the Pacific ocean, he bought five hundred and fifty acres of land where he carried on general farming and dairying until 1875. Leasing the ranch in that year, he then bought one hundred and sixty acres of land between Petaluma and Santa Rosa after tilling the soil of this ranch for five years, sold the land and removed to Petaluma, which was his home until 1907. By indefatigable labor and the careful handling of his means Mr. Gale accumulated a fortune that made active labor unnecessary in his last years, and indeed he had lived practically retired ever since taking up his residence in Petaluma. Though in his seventy-ninth year at the time of his death he was still active physically and mentally.

As has been stated, Mr. Gale assumed domestic responsibilities before attaining his majority, his marriage on February 10, 1848, uniting him with Miss Eliza A. Wifley. She was born in Quincy, Ill., July 7, 1830, a daughter of Samuel and Nancy (Ellis) Wifley, the former of whom was born in Pennsylvania in 1806 or 1807, of German ancestry. From Pennsylvania he removed to Scotland county, Mo., making his home there until coming to California with his family in 1853. He passed away in Healdsburg at the age of eighty years. His wife did not long survive the journey to the west, her death occurring in Marysville, Cal., just after reaching the state, when she was forty-seven years of age. Eight children were born of this marriage, as follows; Sarah Jane, the wife of Abraham Robinson, of Healdsburg; Emily, the wife of Ensley Fine, of Santa Rosa; Lucretia S., the wife of John Ayers, proprietor of the Washington hotel at Petaluma; Mary Ellen, who was a school teacher before her marriage to Andrew McPhail, of Petaluma; Alice, the wife of Robert Woods, a retired citizen of Petaluma, of whom a sketch will be found elsewhere in this volume; and John W., who passed away in infancy. Politically Mr. Gale was independent, always voting for the best man for the office regardless of party, and with his wife he was a member of the Christian Church, he also being a member of the board of trustees of the church. He died July 18, 1907, while on a visit to his daughter in Healdsburg.

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