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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Sylvester Greppi

When Mr. Greppi came to this country from Switzerland over thirty-five years ago he brought with him a valuable asset in his knowledge of the dairying business as conducted in his native land, and it is to this knowledge that he gives credit for the splendid success he has had on this side of the Atlantic. His dairy, which is supplied by thirty-six cows, is only a part of the ranch enterprise which he maintains near Petaluma, for he also has a large hennery of two thousand laying hens, which in addition to the stock which he raises as well as general produce, brings an income that is commensurate with the labor of the industrious owner.

Mr. Greppi's earliest recollections are of a home in Switzerland, his birth occurring in the canton of Ticino in 1847, and in the vicinity of his birthplace he passed his boyhood, youth and young manhood. He was about twenty-seven years of age when, in 1875, he broke the bonds that bound him to the home land, the year just mentioned witnessing his embarkation for the United States. Many of his countrymen preceded him to California, and it was through their solicitation that he ventured to leave home and begin life anew in the midst of untried conditions. He therefore lost no time in looking about for any other location, and as soon as he reached the port for which his vessel was destined, continued his journey until he reached California. Sonoma county, where so many of his countrymen were located, was his point of destination, and with their assistance he readily found employment as a ranch hand. The steady, persevering and industrious traits that are so strongly marked in Mr. Greppi's make-up were at no time more noticeable than during the years that he worked in the employ of others in order to secure the means with which to purchase a ranch of his own. It was with considerable satisfaction that in 1902 he purchased the ranch on which he now resides, on Rural Route No. 4 from Petaluma. Here he has two hundred and thirty acres of productive land, a large portion of which is in hay and grain, six acres in potatoes, besides which he maintains a dairy of thirty-six cows, his income from this latter source alone during the year 1909 being $1,800. He also has ten head of fine stock, of the Jersey and Ayrshire breed, seven head of horses of high grade, besides two thousand laying hens. Great credit is due Mr. Greppi for the large and thrifty enterprise that he has created in comparatively short time, and his efforts and their results may be taken as a guide for others who are forced to begin life emptyhanded.

In his marriage Mr. Greppi chose one of his country women in Miss Delphina Mattei, who was born in Switzerland in 1866. Six children have been born of this marriage, three sons and three daughters, as follows: Eduardo, Olympio, Chester, Edith, Silvia and Olga.

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