California Genealogy and History Archives
Various business undertakings in as many different locations preceded Mr. Hansenís coming to Sebastopol in 1903, all of which have contributed directly or indirectly to the business in which he is now engaged, dealing in real-estate under the firm name of Hansen and Caya. While they do a general real-estate business, transacting any business that might be included under that heading, still it is in the sale of ranch property that their greatest successes have been made, their sales of this nature along during the season of 1909 being conservatively estimated at forty-seven.
Mr. Hansenís earliest recollections are of a home in Dodge county, Neb., where, near Fremont, he was born November 11, 1863, into the home of his parents, Lars and Laura Hansen. The father had settled in that state when it was a wilderness, and upon land which he had taken up undertook the difficult task of clearing the land of underbrush and otherwise preparing it for cultivation. As soon as his young strength would permit of it his son John was called upon to take a share in the duties of the farm, and though the tasks may have been irksome at times, still in the main he performed his duties willingly and in their performance was gaining a knowledge of agriculture which has stood him in good stead throughout his life. It was with the knowledge gained under the direction of his father on the Nebraska farm that he started out in the world for himself in early young manhood, his first efforts being in western Nebraska, where he engaged in the cattle business for three years. Encouraged by his success in his first independent undertaking, he ventured further west, going across the mountains into Wyoming, where, in Cheyenne, he conducted a restaurant with equal success for three years. His next change of location brought him to California in 1983, and the same year he located in Stockton, where he conducted a furniture business for five years. At the expiration of this time he came to Sonoma county, in 1898, going first to Santa Rosa, where for five years he filled a position as state manager of the Chicago Art Company. The year 1903 witnessed Mr. Hansenís arrival in Sebastopol, where he established the first furniture store in town, maintaining it with increasing success for four years or until 1907, when he disposed of his business and formed a partnership with P. T. Caya for the purpose of carrying on a general real-estate business in the town and vicinity. The firm of Hansen & Caya have every reason to congratulate themselves on their success during the comparatively short period that they have been in business, for they have received a large share of the real-estate business transacted in this part of Sonoma county. The sale of ranches alone for the year 1909 numbered forty-seven, a record not equaled by any other firm or individual in the town.
While a resident of Nebraska, November 25, 1883, Mr. Hansen was united in marriage with Miss Christine Nelson, a native of Denmark. Two children have been born of this marriage, Sadie M., the wife of L. P. Maps, and Nellie May, who is still at home with her parents. In his early manhood Mr. Hansen decided that the Democratic party upheld the principles which he believed were best for the good of the nation, and ever since casting his first vote he has supported the candidates of this party. Although he has been active in party ranks, his activity has not been in the nature of self-seeking, but rather for the larger good of the party, as he has no taste for nor desire to hold public office. Fraternally he is well known, being an active and enthusiastic member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America, in the latter of which he was district deputy for two years.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011