California Genealogy and History Archives
Pennsylvania has contributed a number of substantial citizens to Santa Rosa and vicinity, and among them mention belongs to Reuben Koch, who for forty-five years has been a continuous resident of this locality. Recollections of his boyhood are of a home in Reading, Pa., where he was born August 20, 1842, the son of parents who had also been born in that same eastern state. With the other children of the parental family Reuben Koch was given such advantages as the time and place afforded, and while still quite young began contributing to his own support by working in a hardware store in Reading. It was while filling this position that the call of President Lincoln for able-bodied men to come to the country’s rescue led him to give up his position and enlist his services in the Union cause. Though he was in the service altogether only nine months, he participated in some of the most severe battles of the entire war, among them the battle of Harper’s Ferry, Bull Run, Antietam and the battled of Fredericksburg, being wounded in the last-mentioned engagement.
After the close of his war service Mr. Koch returned home and resumed his position in the hardware store, but continued their only a short time, however, for the year 1864 found him making his way to California in company with a brother who had also participated in the Civil war. Their journey’s end brought them to Petaluma, Sonoma county, where Reuben Koch was variously employed for about a year, when he became interested in mining and followed it for about six months. Contrary to the general rule, he was one of those who was fortunate in the undertaking, and with the proceeds of his six-months venture he came to Santa Rosa and settled down to make his permanent home.
In 1870 Mr. Koch was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Welsh, a native of Massachusetts, who passed away in 1902, leaving, besides her husband, three children, two sons and one daughter, all natives of California. The eldest of the children, Edward, was born in 1872 and is now interested in mining in Alaska; Mamie, born in 1874, is in San Francisco; William, born in 1876, is in the mail service in Santa Rosa. As a citizen Mr. Koch is loyal to his home town, a champion of measures for its improvement and an interested participant in local affairs.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011