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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Jefferson Rolla Hardin

The records fail to make clear who it was who first established the family fortunes upon the Pacific coast, but it is known beyond a doubt that at least three generations have flourished in California, particularly in Sonoma county. The grandparents of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, William J. and Rebecca Hardin, came to Sonoma county about 1849. In 1859 their son Marcus (the father of our subject) was born on the homestead in this county near Petaluma. The district schools of the time and the faithful training of his parents all contributed to the well-being of Marcus Hardin, and upon attaining manhood years he emulated his worthy father in the maintenance of a ranch property, and after his marriage settled on the homestead ranch. In maidenhood his wife was Miss Lulu Rodehaver, who was also a native of Sonoma county, born in 1865. They now live retired in Petaluma.

The only child born of the marriage of Marcus and Lulu (Rodehaver) Hardin, was Jefferson R. Hardin, who was born on the family homestead in Sonoma county November 10, 1883. Although reared and educated in the same locality which had supplied the foundation of his father’s life training the passing of years had witnessed a progress in advantages which the earlier generation knew not of, and it therefore followed that J. R. Hardin was the recipient of good school advantages, which he appreciated, applying himself diligently to his school tasks, as he did in fact to whatever he gave his attention. This trait was equally noticeable in the performance of his duties about the home ranch, and by the time he had reached maturity had crystallized into a habit or principle from which he has never deviated, and which undoubtedly has been the keynote of his success. The fine appearance of his ranch marks him as a man of untiring energy and as one who is familiar with all branches of agriculture carried on in this section of country. Seven miles north of Petaluma he has a ranch of three hundred and fifty-five acres of choice land, of which two hundred are under cultivation to hay and grain, while the remainder of the land is used as pasturage for fifty head of cows and young stock, eight head of horses and fifteen hogs, besides which he has a poultry industry which numbers three thousand chickens. Mr. Hardin has ever reason to be proud of the success that has been his thus far, and the coming years have every possibility for even greater success.

In 1904 a marriage ceremony was performed in Petaluma that united the destinies of J. R. Hardin and Nellie Tonini, who was born in Marin county, Cal., and their home has been brightened by the birth of two sons, Marcus Jefferson and Ray Rolla. Mrs. Hardin is a daughter of Bernardo and Caroline (Dolcini) Tonini, both natives of Switzerland, born respectively in 1841 and 1845. Five children, two sons and three daughters, were born to them as follows: Bernardo, Eugene, Nellie, Ida and Erma. The eldest son, Bernardo, married Miss May Cope; Ida is the wife of Peter Pronzini, and the mother of two children; and Nellie is Mrs. Hardin. Politically Mr. Hardin is a Democrat. He is a liberal contributor to all projects that tend to upbuild the community or add to the comforts of those less fortunate than himself. Although he is a hard worker he is a strong believer in the adage that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and when occasion permits he indulges his love for hunting and fishing.

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