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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Adolphus Hartsock

Notwithstanding the fact that many years have brought their cycle of changes to Sonoma county since the late Adolphus Hartsock passed from the scene of his manifold activities he has not been forgotten by the surviving associates of his maturity and in their hearts his memory will remain green as long as life shall last. Sturdy principles for which the pioneers were noted formed a part of his nature. The evolution of the country from its primeval wildness to a condition of prosperity and an aspect of beauty constituted the task in the aiding of which his later years were passed. No desire for great wealth had ever laid its burden upon his soul, but in the simple life of the self-reliant pioneer he found his greatest happiness and in the society of family and friends he had his deepest joys. Fortunate indeed is the country founded by such men, the nation fostered by such ideals and the generations inheriting such a heritage of honor.

Born in Marion county, Ind., near the city of Indianapolis, January 12, 1834, Adolphus Hartsock was a son of Isaac and Susan (Ashpoe) Hartsock, natives of Pennsylvania, but residents of Indiana throughout many years of their useful lives. On the completion of studies of the common schools Adolphus Hartsock began to earn his livelihood. At the age of eighteen years in 1852 he came for the first time to California, making his voyage via Panama. During 1853 he returned to Indiana, but in 1856 he again came to the Pacific coast and for eleven years he engaged in mining in Amador and Placer counties. His first visit to Sonoma county was made as early as 1863, and in 1864 he came permanently to this locality, buying during September of 1876 a tract of land near Geyserville, where he remained until death. At one time the estate consisted of eighty-seven acres, but at his death he left seventy acres to his heirs. Horticulture has been made the chief industry of the place. A splendid orchard is given the most assiduous care and cultivation. The improvements begun by him have been carried forward by his children and the property now ranks high in the list of fruit farms, its location eight miles from Healdsburg being favorable for the markets, while the soil and lay of the land have proved peculiarly favorable for fruit.

The marriage of Mr. Hartsock was solemnized July 31, 1864, and united him with Miss Isabel Maria Freeman, a native of Illinois. The union was one of mutual helpfulness and its happiness was broken only by the death of Mr. Hartsock, which occurred June 16, 1885, his widow surviving him until June 14, 1893. Their eldest daughter, Susan Emily, married George Thayer and the youngest daughter, Bonnie Prentice, is the wife of John W. Rouse. The remaining daughter, Florence Adelia, acts as housekeeper for her unmarried brother, Freedom Earle, who is manager of the estate and a horticulturist of ability and skill. Mrs. Hartsock was a native of Green county, Ill., and a daughter of T. W. and Elizabeth (Fort) Freeman, natives respectively of Ste. Genevieve county, Mo., and Kentucky. During the year 1829, when Mr. Freeman was ten years of age, he accompanied his parents to Illinois and settled in Greene county, where he remained until some years subsequent to his marriage. The family crossed the plains in 1857 and settled in Solano county, Cal., where Mrs. Freeman died the following year. Later the family moved to San Joaquin county, where Mr. Freeman resided until his death. The Hartsock ranch lies eight miles from Healdsburg and Mr. Hartsock in his lifetime was well known in that town, where he was an active member of Curtis Lodge, F. & A. M., and an influential local member of the Republican party. To seek prominence in politics was foreign to his tastes and at no time was he willing to accept official honors, yet he gave freely of time and influence to aid friends who became candidates and he generously fostered movements for the party progress in his home county.

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