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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


William Christopher Howard

Alike as the scene of childhood pleasures and the strenuous activities of manhood, Sonoma county is endeared to this native son, who has witnessed the gradual transformation of the region from its primeval wild and undeveloped condition to a state of prosperous fertility in harmony with the progressive tendencies of the people. When he was a young lad much of his time was devoted to hunting and he became an expert marksman, supplying the family larder with every kind of wild game that the locality afforded. With the incoming of settlers in large numbers the game became less plentiful, but he is still able to secure numerous trophies of his skill with the rifle, and has a local reputation for hunting the deer in their season. He still makes his home in Occidental, where he was born in 1868 and where practically all of his busy life has been passed, the only exception being a period of fourteen months spent in San Francisco as an employe of the California Street Car Company.

The residents of Sonoma county and particularly those associated with the local early history recall with interest the personality of that early settler and honored citizens, William Howard, who came to this part of the state in a very early day and contributed his quota to local development, being especially active in village affairs at Occidental, his home town. A native of Copenhagen, Denmark, he came to Occidental in the Ď50s and engaged in the stock business. While he did not accumulate large means he gained that which is more to be desired, viz.: the esteem of associates and the warm regard of acquaintances. To his children he gave such opportunities as his limited means permitted, and his son, William C., was sent to the local schools until he had completed the regular course of study, after which he took up the task of earning a livelihood. Going to San Francisco he remained for fourteen months, but at the expiration of that time he returned to Occidental and embarked in the transfer business, which he conducted for three years. Next he entered the employ of the Northern pacific Railroad Company as a bridge carpenter, and for seven years he remained in the same position since which time he has been continuously engaged as section foreman on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, with headquarters at Occidental, his native village.

The marriage of William C. Howard was solemnized in 1893 and united him with an attractive Italian girl, Tresa Franceska, who had come to this country in childhood from her native Italy. Only one child blessed the union. This daughter, Mabel Caroline, was born at Occidental in 1894 and has been given splendid advantages, being a graduate of the Meeker grammar school and also a talented musician. The family has a large circle of friends and enjoys the regard of all with whom business or social relations bring them in contact. While interested in all movements for the general welfare, Mr. Howard has never sought political prominence nor is he indentified with any of the fraternities. In casting his ballot he supports the men whom he considers best qualified for public service, studying their ability and character rather than their partisan views. The responsibilities of his position are such that he cannot identify himself actively with public enterprises, yet he has proved himself to be patriotic and progressive. Such men, industrious, loyal and well-informed, form the bulwark of the community and our nationís chief source of strength.

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