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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Harry Churchill Hodges

Being surrounded with the comforts of life which had come as a result of his own effort, a beautiful home and happy surroundings, Harry C. Hodges passed the evening of his days in perfect contentment, his active career having been passed in commercial and legal circles in states to the east prior to coming to California, after which he took up ranching, following this until retiring to private life in 1901. A native of Kentucky, he was born in Franklin county, April 6, 1836, the son of parents and the descendant of ancestors that had made the south their life-time home. The circumstances of the family were such that Mr. Hodges was privileged to enjoy the best educational advantages, and that Mr. Hodges was privileged to enjoy the best educational advantages, and unlike many who are thus fortunately situated, he made the best possible use of his privileges. At an early age he recognized a liking for the legal profession and thereafter all of his studies were carried on with this idea in his mind, to the end that he attained the success that he set out to win and at the same time secured a financial success that more than exceeded his expectations and was the nucleus of the fortune which became his. The grammar schools in the vicinity of his home in Franklin county furnished him his primary training, after which he continued his studies in Georgetown College, completing his legal studies in Louisville University, and there receiving his diploma that admitted him to the var.

Returning to Frankfort, Ky., after his admission to the bar of Kentucky, Mr. Hodges opened an office there for the practice of his profession, and was apparently content with his outlook in the south until about the year 1875, when he was seized with the western fever, his first move in this direction taking him to Missouri. He remained in the last-mentioned state about a year, practicing his profession there also, but not being altogether satisfied with his prospects there he went further west to Kansas, and there, in Topeka, became interested in the banking business with John D. Knox. This association was amicably and profitably continued for ten years, after which he opened an office for the practice of law in that city and continued this for about two years, or until he gave it up to come to California in 1887. Coming directly to Sonoma county, he purchased a ranch of forty acres in the vicinity of Healdsburg, which he set out to grapes and fruit, in the cultivation of which he was as successful as he had been in previous ventures in the legal and commercial world. After conducting the ranch for a number of years he finally gave its management into younger hands and retired to private life, making his home in Healdsburg, at No. 447 Piper street, where he lived comfortably and happy, and where his many friends and acquaintances delighted to gather. He passed away November 23, 1910, and was buried from the First Presbyterian Church which he and Mrs. Hodges had attended and been members of for so many years. Mr. Hodges became a member of the church during young manhood and throughout his long life supported it liberally.

Mr. Hodges had been twice married, his first union, in 1863, uniting him with Miss Sarah Milam. She passed away October 6, 1894, leaving one daughter, Hollie, Mrs. William Knox, of Alameda. Two years after the death of his first wife Mr. Hodges married Miss Annie Foreman, a native of California, born near Healdsburg. She is the daughter of John and Mary Ann (Fry) Foreman natives of Cumberland county, Pa., who came to Healdsburg, Cal., in 1862. Mr. Foreman took up farming and is still a resident of this vicinity, but his wife is deceased. Politically Mr. Hodges was a Democrat and on all occasions voted for and supported the candidates of that party. Unlike the majority of men who had been for so many years intimately associated with the business world as had Mr. Hodges, he had had no ambitions whatever for office-holding, and although his versatile ability would have enabled him to acquit himself creditably in whatever position he might have been placed, he always declined all honors in that direction that might have been his. Personally he was well liked and highly respected by the best citizens of Healdsburg, and though comparatively speaking he might have been considered a newcomer to the west, he still represented the progressive and substantial spirit so marked a characteristic on the western slope.

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