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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Charles E. Hotle

A successful and well-to-do horticulturist, viticulturist and agriculturist of Sebastopol, Charles E. Hotle is prosperously engaged in his independent vocation on one of the most finely improved and most desirable homesteads in this part of Sonoma county. Enterprising, practical and progressive, he has shown excellent judgment in the prosecution of his calling, and is numbered among the valued citizens of his community.

Like many another of the well-to-do and enterprising citizens who have contributed to the making of this Pacific commonwealth, Mr. Hotle is a native of the middle-west, his birth occurring near Sigourney, Keokuk county, Iowa, May 12, 1865. He was the eldest of the four children comprising the parental family, the names of the children in the order of their birth being as follows: Charles E., Effie C., William M., and Owen E. The parents were Zachariah Franklin and Julia Ann (Smith) Hotle, the father born in Washington county, Pa., in 1838, and the mother born in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1845. Their marriage occurred in Keokuk county, Iowa, October 2, 1862, and their early married life was passed on a farm near Sigourney, Iowa. To be accurate, the farm upon which the parents then settled continued to be the family homestead for ten years, for the year 1872 witnessed the removal of the parents, children and household possessions to Sonoma county, Cal., and this has since been the home of the family. As in Iowa, the father took up agricultural pursuits after locating here, and followed the calling for which he was so well adapted and in which he was so successful throughout the active years of his life. He now resides in Sebastopol, looking after his interests.

Charles E. Hotle well remembers the circumstances attending the removal of the family from Iowa to California, for he was at the time a lad of seven years, an age well calculated to show an intense interest in anything out of the ordinary run of daily events. As he was then of school age he was entered as a pupil in the grammar school of Sebastopol, and the training which he here received during the years which followed eminently fitted him to pursue and make a success of the large business interests he now has under way. However, he has never ceased to be a student in the largest and best sense, keeping abreast of the times throughout the world by the reading of wholesome and instructive literature. With the close of his school days Mr. Hotle devoted his energies to agriculture on the home farm, and when he had attained mature years and was ready to take up life on his own account, he chose farming as the most independent and at the same time the most remunerative occupation to which he might put his energies. Experience has proven the wisdom of his decision, and while he is not as actively engaged in the tilling of the soul as in former years, the foundation of his holdings today was made in this calling, and were he to live his life over he would still select the vocation which has been his life work. In 1892 he went into business on his own account6, buying a tract of land which he put out apples and berries, and he still owns a portion of this land, and now is one of the largest apple growers in the county. He also owns considerable other real estate in Sebastopol and vicinity. In addition to his real-estate interests he also owns stock in a number of business enterp4rises in this city. For five years he was manager of the Hunt, Hatch & Co.’s packing house in Sebastopol until they discontinued this branch, when he became one of the organizers of the Sebastopol Apple Growers Union, of which he is the manager. He was also one of the prime movers in the organization of the Gravenstein Apple Show Association and a member of the board of directors from its inception.

Mr. Hotle’s home in Sebastopol is presided over by his wife, who before her marriage was Miss Vina L. Litchfield, a native of Illinois. She is the daughter of Martin and Elizabeth (Pollock) Litchfield, of Illinois. The mother died in Cloverdale, and the father resides in Santa Cruz. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hotle was celebrated in San Rafael, Cal., and they have two children, Mabel Lillian and Harold Leroy. Politically Mr. Hotle is a Republican, although he is not active in its ranks beyond the casting of his ballot. At the present time, however, he is city trustee, the only office he has ever consented to fill. Fraternally he is associated by membership with the Elks and Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having passed through all of the offices of the latter organization.

It may be added that one of the prime factors in bringing Sonoma county so greatly to the fore in the apple industry these past three years (the results of which were shown at the Watsonville Apple Annual 1910, when the apple exhibit from Sebastopol took first prizes) is on account of the universal spraying of trees brought about by Mr. Hotle’s vicious campaign against the pests, by personally visiting the horticulturists and urging them to spray their trees in 1908-09, The result is that the returns from the pack of 1910 conservatively show an increase of fifty per cent in value.

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