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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Hardy R. Harbine

Another of the native sons of Sonoma county who is nobly acquitting himself as a rancher is Hardy R. Harbine, whose birth occurred on the ranch he now occupies near Forestville in 1868. Three years previous to his birth in 1865, his parents, Leander and Elizabeth (Leggett) Harbine, had settled on this ranch, making it their home throughout the remainder of their lives, the death of the father occurring in 188, while the mother died January 18, 1911. As a boy Mr. Harbine attended the public school of Forestville, receiving a fairly good education, and when the school was not in session and at other times when he was not preparing his lessons, he found ample exercise in doing the various chores that fall to the lot of farmers’ sons generally. His was no exception, and in performing the tasks allotted him he acquired a knowledge and understanding of the principles of agriculture which in his later years he has found invaluable to him.

Until he was twenty-one years of age Mr. Harbine gave his services to his father in the care of the home ranch, after which he gave vent to a long-felt desire to try his luck in the mines, and from the year 1889 until 1905, or for about sixteen years, he followed the interesting life of the miner in San Diego, Trinity and Shasta counties. After the death of the father the mother continued the management of the ranch with the aid of her son, J. L. Harbine (now ranching near Occidental) until 1905, in which year Hardy R. Harbine undertook the supervision of the ranch. Here he has under his management one hundred acres of fine land, of which forty acres are in mixed fruits, twenty-four acres in berries, and on the remainder of the land he raises hogs and conducts a large hennery, having between three hundred and four hundred hens throughout the year. In addition to the care of the homestead ranch he cares for a ranch of his own comprising twenty-two acres.

Mr. Harbine’s parents, Leander and Elizabeth (Leggett) Harbine, were natives of Pennsylvania and Iowa respectively. Although born in Pennsylvania the early years of Mr. Harbine’s life were passed in Ohio, where he located when quite a young boy, going there empty-handed and alone, and with no knowledge of the English language, his education and training thus far having been in the German language entirely. He was industrious and thrifty, a common inheritance from his ancestors, and these obstacles did not long interfere with his progress. Subsequent years found him in Iowa, where he amassed a large fortune in the pork-packing business, but the ravages of the Civil war reduced him to straitened circumstances, and with the remnant of his once large fortune he came to California in 1861, coming the water route. He first located in Petaluma, but subsequently bought the ranch which is now the home of his son, Hardy R. Not only was he known as one of the first pork-packers of Keokuk, Iowa, but e was also one of the pioneer hardware and furniture dealers in that city, and as one of the most substantial upbuilders of that city his departure for the west was looked upon as a direct loss to the community.

The parental family included seven children, and of them we make the following mention: Daniel Reed Harbine is a blacksmith in Sterling, Butte county, Cal.; J. L., a fruit-grower at Occidental, married Alice Clarke, of Forestville, the daughter of W. S. Clarke, and they have two daughters, Florence and Jessie; N. W., a rancher at Klamath Falls, Ore., married Nettie Pitkin, of Forestville, and they also have two daughters, Edna and Ella; Hardy R. is the next in order of birth; Ana is the wife of A. L. Rafferty, of Ukiah, Mendocino county, and they have three children, Keene, Vera and Una; Hetty lives with her brother on the home ranch; Ella married H. W. Scott, and at her death in 1879 left one daughter, Edna, who was reared by her grandmother, Mrs. Hardy. Four of the children in the parental family, J. L., Anna, Daniel and Ella, were born in Keokuk, Iowa, while the others, N. W., H. R. and Hetty, were born in Sonoma county.

Hardy R. Harbine was married in 1894 to Miss Eugenia Remstedt, a native of California, and five children have blessed this marriage. Named in the order of their birth the children are as follows: Ollie E., Eugenia Myrtle, Elwin H., Ruth and Hazel. Politically Mr. Harbine is a Republican, and fraternally belongs to the Odd Fellows lodge at Forestville and also to the encampment.

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