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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John F. Hallberg

Synonymous with the name of John F. Hallberg is the Green Valley hop yard of which he is the owner, and which is one of the largest industries of the kind in Sonoma county. For many years the raising of hops was Mr. Hallbergís chief occupation, hence the name of his ranch, but in later years he has branched out into horticulture on a large scale, in fact the latter now forms the larger part of his ranch enterprise, although the name given to the ranch in earlier days still clings to it.

John F. Hallberg is one of the substantial citizens that Sweden has given to Sonoma county, his birth occurring in that country in 1850. Twenty-six summers and winters were passed in the Scandinavian peninsula, bringing him to a sturdy manhood, and in the meantime he had provided for the future by learning the wagon-makerís trade. A stalwart frame and a working knowledge of his trade were his chief assets when he landed upon these shores in 1876, and although he did not seek employment along this line, he still felt an inward security against want, knowing that he could turn to it and make a good living at any time, should other prospects fail. From the port at which the ocean vessel landed him he made his way to Illinois, where, in McLean county, he worked as a farm hand for about four years. It was with the knowledge of American farming obtained during this time that he came to California in 1880, going first to San Jose, and from there the following year he came to Sebastopol. Pleased with the outlook before him, he determined to make it his future abode and it was with this thought in mind that he purchased one hundred and five acres near town. The land was in its native condition, covered with a heavy growth of timber and brush, and to one less courageous than he the task of clearing and preparing the soil for crops would have been well-nigh impossible. The word fail was unknown to his vocabulary, as the work of many months proved, when the land was finally ready for planting. A considerable portion of the land was planted to fruit trees, and while these were maturing he planted the hop vines which started his hop industry and gave him the reputation of being the expert in hop cultivation in this section of country. Thirty-seven acres are devoted to this commodity alone, from which for eighteen years he has gathered large crops, the crop for 1909 amounting to two hundred and ten bales. Six acres of blackberries yield an average of twelve tons annually, while the thirty acres in apples yielded one hundred and twenty-five tons during the season just mentioned. Apples of recognized quality only are raised, his trees being divided among the Gravenstein, Baldwin, Belleflower, Spitzenberg, Wagner and Ben Davis varieties. Many of the trees of the Gravenstein variety were planted over a quarter of a century ago, and are still in excellent bearing condition. One hundred cherry trees yield heavy crops of luscious fruit, while the prune trees average a yield of five tons annually. From the above enumeration it will be readily seen that Mr. Hallberg is a busy man, but his work is congenial and is therefore not wearing on his constitution, as might otherwise be the case.

Mr. Hallberg was married in Sebastopol in 1885, to Miss Louisa Peterson, and three children have been born to them, as follows: Alfred, born in 1886; Ida, born in 1891; and Oscar, born in 1893. All of the children are natives of the state, and the eldest, Alfred, is a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, besides which he is a member of the Woodmen. Politically the elder Mr. Hallberg is a Republican. He has always been deeply interested in school matters and during the early days of his residence here was trustee of Oak Grove school district. During the thirty years that he has resided here he has seen many changes take place, none of which have been more marked perhaps than the one which his own ranch property presents.

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