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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


George H. Jacobs

Considerably more than one-half century has brought its cycle of change to the manifold industries of California since first Mr. Jacobs passed through the Golden Gate into the harbor of San Francisco and thus became identified with the pioneer history of the coast. The long voyage from New York City had given him his first glimpse of the world beyond the boundaries of his native land, but had only served to strengthen those ties of patriotic devotion binding him to the country of his birth. Nor have the experiences of maturity weakened the chords of loyal affection to country and commonwealth. Especially is he interested in the development of that portion of California to which Destiny led him and in which desire has made him a permanent resident. Within the boundaries of Sonoma county he has lived an active, useful existence, his industry bearing its fruitage of deserved success, so that he is now able to pass his declining days in comfort at his pleasant home in Healdsburg, his landed estates cultivated by others under lease and his investments made so that they yield him enough for the necessities of life.

Born in Chester county, Pa., in 1829, George H. Jacobs is a son of William C. and Mary (Price) Jacobs, natives respectively, of Germany and Pennsylvania. At this writing he has only one brother living. W. R. Jacobs, a resident of Texas. As a boy he attended school in Coshocton county, Ohio, whither his parents had removed when he was a child of three years, and there, at the expiration of his rather meager schooling, he served an apprenticeship to the blacksmithís trade, in which he became very skilled. April 19, 1852, he left Ohio in company with a relative and proceeded to New York City, where he boarded a ship bound for San Francisco. Coming on the Northern Light to Gray Harbor, after crossing Lake Nicaragua he boarded the propeller steamship Lewis destined for San Francisco, reaching that city July 7, 1852. The tedious voyage came to a safe termination when the vessel cast anchor at its destination, and thus he became identified with our western country. Temporary employment as a blacksmith at Sacramento was followed by his removal to Petaluma in the spring of 1854, and about that time he relinquished work at his trade in order to develop a claim in Sonoma county. At the expiration of two years he removed from his original location to Sebastopol, and in 18578 he moved to the mountains, where he still owns twenty-three hundred acres of land, in the foothills of Black mountains, known all over as Jacobís ranch.

During September of 1861 Mr. Jacobs was united in marriage with Miss Ann Maria Caldwell, who was born in Missouri, the daughter of Hugh Caldwell, a native of New Jersey. At this writing two of her brothers, S. T. and John G. Caldwell are residents of Sonoma county, the latter making his home in Healdsburg. Twelve children formed the family of George H. and Mrs. Jacobs, and of these seven are now living. William M. and Edward S. reside in the same part of Oregon, the former working as a blacksmith, and the latter cultivating a farm. Ruby, Mrs. John Nerz, lives on Mill creek in Sonoma county. Minnie, Mrs. Stockstill, died about eighteen years ago, leaving a daughter, Minnie Leota, who was reared by her grandparents and is now the wife of C. Fredson, of Winnemucca, Nev. George, who is married and has two children, is now living on a mountain ranch near Healdsburg. Nettie, Mrs. Leach, has two children and lives at Willits, Mendocino county. Hattie makes her home with her parents. Stella, Mrs. Henry Bowers, has two children and lives on a ranch in the Alexander valley.

For a long period the activities of Mr. Jacobs were concentrated upon his extensive mountain holdings, and the result was profitable, repaying him for privations and hardships incident to ranching in an isolated location. Finding that sheep did well on his land he invested in a large flock, and for years the sale of wool and lambs formed a considerable factor in his income. Eventually he disposed of his entire flock of twelve hundred head. A portion of his ranch he kept in meadow, and a large part furnished pasturage for the stock, while in addition he also became interested in practical horticulture and planted fruits of many kinds. On his ranch now may be found many varieties of fruits, although his specialty has been the raising of winter apples. Peaches also have proved profitable, and besides he has walnuts, figs and olives. It was a source of pleasure to him to experiment with nuts and fruits, in order that he might ascertain the varieties best adapted to this soil and climate, and his experiments proved helpful to those who afterward embarked in the fruit business.

The political affiliations of Mr. Jacobs have been with the Republicans ever since the organization of their party during the Ď50s. and meantime he has not only kept posted concerning public questions, but in addition he has been prominent in local affairs. As school trustee and road commissioner, he has aided in promoting two of the movements most vital to the well-being of any locality. His labors in both offices have been governed by wise judgment and guided by loyal devotion to the local progress. As early as 1852, while yet living in Ohio, he became connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, joining the local lodge at Utica, that state, but afterward transferring his membership to a western lodge, and is now one of the oldest Odd Fellows in the United States. In addition he has been active in promoting the good of the Rebekahs, to which his wife belongs. The people of the home town hold him in the highest esteem, and recognize in him the possession of the traits that make a man desirable as a citizen, successful as a rancher and companionable as a friend. Long after he shall have passed from earth his memory will be kept green in the hearts of the associates of olden days, as well as in the minds of the younger generations, who realize their indebtedness to the self-sacrificing pioneers. In the annals of his county the name of George H. Jacobs is worthy of a permanent place.

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