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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William B. Haskell

The legal fraternity of California is well represented by William B. Haskell, one of the most prominent and prosperous attorneys in Sonoma county. Not only does he possess pronounced talent and ability in the line of his profession, but he is also a man of keen business intelligence, and is deeply interested in whatever tends toward the upbuilding and betterment of conditions in Petaluma and Sonoma county. A native of the east, he was born in New York City October 10, 1842, the only child born to his parents, Barnabas and Abigail (Goodwin) Haskell, both of whom were natives of Hartford, Conn. For more details of the parental history the reader is referred to the sketch of Barnabas Haskell, elsewhere in this volume.

William B. Haskell was fortunate in having parents who appreciated the value and importance of an education, and in this respect he was given every opportunity in their power to bestow. At the time his father came west in the early Ď50s, the family home was in Boston, Mass., and when his mother came west and joined the father two years later, he did not accompany her, but was allowed to remain in Boston until his graduation from the grammar school. He then joined his parents in Petaluma, and here continued his studies by entering the Collegiate Institute, from which institution he graduated two years later. At the age of eighteen years his school and college days were over and he was ready to take up the more serious side of life. His first work was as a hired hand on a dairy ranch, working for one employer by the month for two years. Being economical and judicious in the use of his earnings during this time he accumulated sufficient means to defray his expenses through a course in the Benicia Law school, and in 1866 he was admitted to the bar of California by the supreme court. Instead of establishing himself immediately in his profession, however, he entered his fatherís mercantile establishment in Petaluma and continued with him in the capacity of clerk for about six years, or until 1872. In that year he went to Winnemucca, Nev., and opened an office for the practice of his profession, and during two years of the time he was there served as deputy district attorney, and for the same length of time was internal revenue collector of that place. Returning to Petaluma in 1875, he became cashier in the Petaluma Savings Bank, a position which he retained until September 1877, resigning it in order to establish himself in his profession. Immediately after giving up his position in the bank he opened a law office in Petaluma, and from that time to the present he has been favored with a goodly share of the legal business transacted in this part of the county. Aside from his profession he is connected with some of the important financial institutions of this section, being a director of the Petaluma Savings Bank and holding the same office in the Sonoma County Bank. Although he is not a member of the Episcopal Church, he has been connected with that religious society as secretary for twenty-five years.

Mr. Haskellís marriage in 1866 united him with Miss Kate D. Kelley, who though a native of Vermont, passed the greater part of her life in California, whither she was brought by her parents in childhood. At her death in 1880 she left one child, Euna G. Haskell. In 1883 Mr. Haskell was married to Mrs. Emma A. Denney, who was also a native of Vermont, and one child was born of this marriage, Ruby E. Haskell. In his political belief Mr. Haskell is a Republican, being one of the leaders of that party in the county and state. His first presidential vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln, and in 1879 he stumped the state for George C. Perkins. Fraternal matters also claim a share of Mr. Haskellís thought and interest, his membership in Petaluma Lodge No. 180, F. & A. M., dating from 1867; besides which he is a member of Petaluma Chapter No. 22, R. A. M.; Mount Olivet Commandery, K. T., which he joined in 1880; and Petaluma Lodge No. 30, I. O. O. F., of which he has been a member also since 1867. Mr. Haskell is man of keen business intelligence, deeply interested in the welfare of town and county, and holds a place of importance in the community.

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