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George A. Lasher

Petaluma is known the world over as the largest chicken raising center, conditions in all lines contributing to make this possible here as nowhere else, but notwithstanding this happy condition of natural advantages, they would never have been recognized and taken advantage of had not men who understood and appreciated the possibilities have stepped in and done the part that remained for them to do. Among those who have contributed to making the industry what it is today no one is deserving of more credit than George A. Lasher, one of the pioneer chicken hatchers of Petaluma.

A native of Ohio, Mr. Lasher was born in Meigs county in 1860, and up to the age of sixteen years his life was associated with the locality of his birthplace. Though only a child in years he showed the possession of considerable courage in starting out at that age to make his own way in the world, and though occasionally he met with rebuffs and discouragements, he persevered and is enjoying the results of his efforts, in the maintenance of one of the most successful industries in this section of Sonoma county. In setting out from Ohio he first went to Illinois, where he found employment on a farm, but after he had been there a few years he again became dissatisfied with his surroundings and from there he went to Arizona and engaged in the cattle business. All was not smooth sailing there, for the Indians destroyed his cattle and made it impossible for him to continue there longer. Selling the cattle that remained, he continued still further west, reaching California in the summer of 1883, and during the same year he made his first attempt as a chicken raiser in Modoc county. The incubator which he there constructed and put in operation was the product of his own brain entirely, for up to that time he had not seen a device for hatching chickens. Though crude as compared with present-day incubators, he nevertheless realized that his idea was in the line of progress and he determined to locate where conditions were more conducive to carrying on the business on a larger and more successful scale. It was for this purpose that he came to Sonoma county in 1892 and set up the incubator which he brought with him from Modoc county. With renewed zest and interest he worked industriously in building up the poultry industry and was doing a thriving business in hatching chickens, when he became a victim to the gold fever that broke out in Alaska in 1897. Two years spent in that cold, northern country found him returning to California, in 1899, a poorer but a wiser man, and the same year he resumed the work which he had laid by, manufacturing incubators and raising chickens. Each year that has since elapsed has marked a steady growth in volume of business, and today he has one of the largest hatcheries in the county. A large brick building has recently been erected to properly house his incubators, of which he has seventy-five, each of which has a capacity of thirteen hundred and twenty eggs. A departure in the chicken business that is probably practiced nowhere except in California, is the shipping of day-old chicks to purchasers within reasonable distance. Mr. Lasher has been especially successful in this branch of his business, and not only makes shipments to all parts of California, but also as far east as Salt Lake City. Notwithstanding the fact that the latter trip occupies three days, the chicks arrive alive and in good condition.

While a resident of Modoc county, in 1888, Mr. Lasher was united in marriage with Miss Nora Drew, a native of Iowa. Six children have been born of this marriage, Cora, Lela, Clara, Amil, Nora and Charles. The second daughter, Lela, is now Mrs. D. K. Hutchinson, of Madera, Cal.


Source:
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