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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John Lafranchi

While in perhaps smaller proportions than other European races have the Swiss identified themselves with the advancement of the United States, het is their influence felt in an appreciable degree and the results of their painstaking toil in every instance have proved the value of their citizenship. Occupying a leading position among the Swiss-American residents of Sonoma county we mention the name of the Lafranchi family, whose former head, John, has entered into his eternal rest after a busy, useful existence, begun in the land of William Tell and completed near the shore of the Pacific ocean, remote from the environment familiar to his boyhood years. Genealogical records show that the ancestry was identified with Swiss history for many successive generations and John, Sr., with Mary, his wife, spent their entire lives within the shadow of the Alps in a quiet valley such as abound in that republic. Besides their only son, John, Jr., whose name introduces this article, they had three daughters, Celestina, Mary and Giovanna; the last-named is married and the mother of two children.

The scenes of homely toil in the land where he was born in 1847 remained familiar to John Lafranchi until his departure from his mountain home and the crossing of the ocean to the new world, where he proceeded direct to California. During the remainder of his life he had a home in Sonoma county and here for years he made a specialty of the dairy industry, in which he had served an apprenticeship in an old country and meanwhile had acquired a thorough knowledge of every detail connected therewith. Until his death which occurred in June, 1906, he followed dairying and general ranching at the farm which he had purchased in an early day and which through his arduous application had been placed under cultivation to a large extent. Five hundred and fifty acres formed the homestead and the entire large tract remains in meadow and pasture, with thorough facilities for the care of the seventy cows comprising the dairy and for the care of the other stock kept on the place.

The marriage of John Lafranchi united him with Miss Virginia Pozzi, a native of Switzerland, but an early immigrant to the United States and for many years an occupant of the Sonoma county farm brought into profitable management by her husband. There are six children in her family, namely: Henry, Oterino, John, William, Edward and Ida. Henry, who married Nettie Scott and has two sons, is engaged in operating a first-class butcher shop in Duncans Mills. The only daughter in the Lafranchi family is now the wife of Harry Roberts, of Fresno. Oterino, John and William reside in Oakland, while Edward E. is engaged in the wholesale and retail meat and produce business on the home ranch. Mrs. Lafranchi is a daughter of Thomas and Carmilla (Conelli) Pozzi, natives of Canton Ticino, Switzerland, their family comprising seven children. In the death of Mr. Lafranchi the community lost not only a capable dairyman, but also a loyal citizen, a kind neighbor and an accommodating friend, a man who blessed and honored his adopted county in the high quality of his citizenship and who passed out of life’s shadows into the sunlight of Paradise, serene in the consciousness of a life well lived and the tasks of earth faithfully completed.

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