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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


D. B. Hart

The records of the Hart family show that it has been represented in the United States since Revolutionary days, and that at least one of its members was an influential and leading factor in that history-making period is evidenced by the fact that John Hart was one of the signers of that famous document, the Declaration of Independence. Virginia was the home of the family for many generations, where its members were esteemed and respected and participated in all measures that tended toward the development of the locality in which they lived. It was while the parents were living in Randolph county, Va. (now West Virginia) that the birth of D. B. Hart occurred on the parental homestead near Beverly, in 1833. The items and the locality were not famous for the educational advantages which the youth of to-day enjoys, and perhaps for that very reason the youth of that day developed qualities sadly lacking in the present generation, to whom advantages and opportunities for an education seem unlimited. Mr. Hart made the most of the advantages offered by the country school near Beverly, which served as a foundation for the later knowledge which he gained by reading and observation.

Farming was the first occupation to which Mr. Hart turned his hand upon attaining mature years, an occupation which was congenial and remunerative, as was also the carpenter’s trade which he later learned and carried on in addition to his farming enterprise. Many years’ experience in this dual occupation had preceded his removal to California, in 1886, at which time he came to Sonoma county and settled in Santa Rosa. Nearly a quarter of a century has since passed, and Mr. Hart has nothing but praise for the garden spot to which Fate brought him at that time, or at least, what it has since become. California in general, and Santa Rosa in particular, has no more enthusiastic admirer than he is, toward those dev3elopment he has labored industriously and may therefore be counted among the upbuilders of this flourishing commonwealth. Since coming to Santa Rosa Mr. Hart has confined his attention to contracting and building.

In 1854, when he was twenty-one years of age, Mr. Hart was united in marriage to Miss Anzina Wilmoth, a native of Virginia, in which state their marriage occurred. Five children were born of this marriage, but of the number only two are living, a daughter in West Virginia and a son now residing in Los Angeles. The mother of these children passed away in 1883, and five years later Mr. Hart married his present wife, who in maidenhood was Miss Sarah P. Forsyth, but at the time of her marriage with Mr. Hart was the widow of H. C. Mizer. She was the daughter of Barnett Forsyth, a native of North Carolina, from which state he migrated with his family to Tennessee, and it was there that the birth of the daughter, Mrs. Hart, occurred. When she was seven years of age the family immigrated to Benton county, Ark., and there she was reared and educated, and there too occurred her marriage to Mr. Mizer in 1850. Two years later Mr. and Mrs. Mizer set out for California, making the journey overland by ox-team. A pause in the wearisome journey was made on Bear river, but they soon took up the march again and finally reached their destination, Sonoma county, Cal. After the death of Barnett Forsyth, which occurred in Arkansas in 1862, Mrs. Forsyth came to California to pass the later years of her life with her children, and here her death occurred in 1878. Besides her daughter she left two sons, both residents of Santa Rosa. At the time Mr. and Mrs. Mizer came to Sonoma county there was little in the appearance of the locality in which they settled to tempt them to become permanent settlers, cattle and horses being the chief occupants of the plains and farming as yet being an untried art. The earliest venture in this line undertaken by Mr. Mizer was in raising potatoes, for which he paid $10 per sack, and other necessities were correspondingly high, butter demanding $1 a pound. Before his death Mr. Mizer witnessed a vast change in the appearance of the country that twenty-five years before had seemed such a vast stretch of waste land. His death occurred in 1877. Politically Mr. Hart is a Democrat, and with his wife he is a member and active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Santa Rosa. Mr. Hart is the only representative of his family in the west, his only sister being a resident of Elkins, W. Va.

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