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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Allen Rector Gallaway

In making the statement of any man that he is an authority on horticulture no slight praise has been bestowed upon him, and the fact that this statement applies to Allen R. Gallaway was evidenced when he was appointed horticultural commissioner of Sonoma county by the board of supervisors. When the law went into effect changing the board of three horticultural commissioners to one commissioner he was honored by the choice, being selected from a list of eligibles recommended by the state board of horticultural examiners, after passing a satisfactory examination. He entered upon the duties of this position May 7, 1910, and on April 6, 1911, further honors were conferred upon him in his appointment as state quarantine guardian of Sonoma county, state commissioner of agriculture J. W. Jeffrey being responsible for the appointment. That the right man has been placed in these responsible positions has been amply demonstrated, and basing future accomplishments upon what has already been done, it is safe to predict stable and steady progress along all lines of horticulture in Sonoma county.

For much that he is and has been able to accomplish, Allen P. Gallaway gives credit to his noble pioneer father, Andrew J. Gallaway, who was among the California settlers of 1850, and whose life and accomplishments have ever been an inspiration and encouragement to his descendants. At the time of his birth, November 14, 1817, the parents of Andrew J. Gallaway were living in Knox county, Tenn., and that continued to be their home until the son was sixteen years old, when removal was made to Morgan county, Ind. Nine years later Andrew J. Gallaway went to Missouri, with the exception of one year passed in New Mexico, remained in Missouri until coming to the west. Unlike many who crossed the plains in 1850 he had comparatively little difficulty in reaching his destination and after an experience of three years as a miner in Eldorado county he took up farming and stock-raising in Yolo county. Recognizing the fact that there was a scarcity of good cattle on the coast, he returned to Missouri in 1857 by the Panama route, and two years later, after purchasing a large band of high grade stock, drove them across the plains. Subsequently the stock was placed on a farm three miles north of Geyserville, Sonoma county, in 1864 purchasing the ranch which is now owned by his sons. This adjoined Dry Creek, and was especially well adapted to horticulture, a fact which the owner readily observed, and that same year set out grape vines. From time to time until the year 1886 additions were made to the original purchase, and when Mr. Gallaway give up the ranch to his sons he had about sixty acres in vineyard, which included both wine and table grapes. Among the former, Zinfandel, Burgundy, Sauvignon and Burger grapes were raised for the press in the lower portions of the ranch, while Tokay and Coleman grapes, table varieties, ripened on the more exposed hillsides. Besides his vineyard Mr. Gallaway set out about sixteen acres in choice fruits, among which were peaches, plums and prunes. As he was a man of depth and penetration he was not satisfied with anything until he had given it special thought and study, and to this characteristic may be traced his splendid success as a horticulturist. His exhibits and the Mechanics Institute Fair at San Francisco demonstrated beyond question his superior methods. While the greater part of his ranch was given over to fruit-raising, general farming was also carried on very successfully. On the ranch which he had brought to such an excellent state of cultivation he passed away June 6, 1902, after several years of rest from active duties. In all that he undertook he had a sympathetic co-worker in his wife, who was Deborah Price, and to whom he was married October 14, 1857.

Of the five children who originally comprised the parental family (Allen R.; Nancy E.; Henry M., deceased; Andrew J. and Amanda A.) Allen R. was the eldest, his birth occurring in Gentry county, Mo., August 3, 1858. His parents appreciated the value of good educational opportunities for their children and bestowed upon them every advantage within their means. Allen R. Gallaway made the best possible use of his opportunities, and during his later student years he taught school in order that he might further pursue his studies. After a preliminary education in the public schools of Healdsburg, he attended the Christian College at Santa Rosa and Pierce Christian College, at College City, Colusa county, from which latter institution he graduated in 1881. Instead of leaving his alma mater after his graduation, he continued there for two years as a teacher of history, resigning at the end of this time to take charge of his father's ranch in company with his brother. For a number of years after this he still continued teaching during the winter months and gave his attention to the ranch in the summer. Subsequently he gave up teaching altogether and concentrated his attention upon the care of the ranch, continuing this uninterruptedly until his appointment as horticultural commissioner of Sonoma county. He owns twenty-eight acres on Dry creek, four miles northwest of Healdsburg, which is well improved with French prunes, grapes, olives and other varieties of fruit. Until the year 1905 he gave his time and attention to the care of his ranch, but in that year he leased the ranch and removed with his family to Healdsburg, where he now resides.

Politically Mr. Gallaway favors Republican principles, and at the Republican convention at Santa Rosa in 1888 he was nominated July 25 as the candidate for the general assembly from the twenty-third district, and in a strongly Democratic district was defeated by a small plurality only. In 1896 he was nominated to the assembly by both the Democratic and Populist factions.

Mr. Gallaway's marriage, August 20, 1884, united him with Laura M. Abel, a native of Wisconsin, although she was reared and educated in Solano and Colusa counties, Cal. The eldest of the two children born of their marriage, Alfred Russell, graduated from the University of California in 1907 and is now engaged in the real estate business in Sacramento; his wife before her marriage was Lilla Ware, the daughter of A. B. Ware, an attorney of Santa Rosa. Crystal D. Gallaway is attending the State Normal school at San Jose. Fraternally Mr. Gallaway is identified with the Red Men and the Grange. For many years he has given his moral and financial support to the Christian Church, of which he is a member and an elder, and for twenty-five years he has served as superintendent of the Sunday-school at Healdsburg. Personally and in his official capacity Mr. Gallaway is highly esteemed, for he is a man of noble heart, broad mind and lofty principles of honor, mingled with a genial affability and courtesy that wins and retains friends.

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