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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John Henry Jacobsen

The agricultural development of Sonoma county owes much to the industry and thrift of our German-American citizens, who, trained to habits of frugality in their native land, have been admirably qualified to endure the hardships incident to the material progress of any region and have proved their worth as capable ranchmen in many a difficult situation. Alone, friendless and without capital, Mr. Jacobsen came to the United States in young manhood, seeking opportunities which he believed would be greater than those offered by his own country. From that position of poverty and dependence he has risen, solely through his own efforts, to an honored place in his community and an influential standing as a farmer. The property which he now owns and occupies consists of one hundred and thirty-five acres on Dry creek near Healdsburg. Thirty-five acres are in bottom land, twenty acres have been planted to prunes of the choicest varieties, almost four acres are in apples and an equal acreage in peaches, the balance of the ranch being in wood land with valuable timber that adds to the financial rating of the property.

Born in Germany in 1846, John Henry Jacobsen is the son of parents who spent their entire lives in that country and who gave to him such advantages as their limited means allowed. When barely twenty-three years of age he bade farewell to old friends and kindred and started alone on the long voyage to the new world. The ship on which he sailed cast anchor in Boston, and from that city he proceeded to New York, thence to New Jersey and secured employment as a laborer. Six months of drudgery convinced him that conditions were not favorable in the east, and thereupon he came to the Pacific coast, landing at San Francisco in 1869, and securing prompt employment in a dairy. Next he worked on a ranch and later bought a way-station in Santa Cruz mountains, where for six months he cared for stage horses. At the expiration of that time he bought a place, where he remained for a year. The sheep industry next engaged his attention, and for fifteen years he maintained a growing and profitable drove. After a visit back at the old home in 1888 he removed from Porterville to Windsor, Sonoma county, where he bought one hundred and sixty acres for $8,000. Twenty years were spent on the ranch, and he then sold out for $16,000, after which he purchased the tract he now owns and operates.

It was not until 1894 that Mr. Jacobsen established domestic ties. During that year he married Miss Freda Michel, a native of Switzerland. They are the parents of six bright, active sons, named as follows: Henry George, born in 1895; Frederick, 1896; Paul Sebastian, 1898; William McKinley, 1900; Teddy Roosevelt, November 7, 1903; and Christian Peter, 1907. Ever since becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States and a voter at elections Mr. Jacobsen has supported Republican principles with all the enthusiasm of his nature. Official honors he does not solicit, and the only position he has held is that of deputy assessor. Active in a number of fraternities, he has been identified for years with the blue lodge of Masonry, having been made a member in Russian River Lodge, F. & A. M., at Windsor, besides which he is identified with Osceola Lodge, I. O. O. F., at Windsor and the encampment at Santa Rosa. For more that forty years he has witnessed the growth of California, and to it he has contributed his quota. With a clear and lasting memory of pioneer events, he often interests friends by relating incidents connected with the era of early settlement. These forty years have brought him a large degree of success and a large circle of friends, and they have witnessed the evolution of the country from frontier conditions to an environment of scenic beauty, material prosperity and contented population.

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