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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


A. H. Laton

Numbered among the prominent and substantial men of Sebastopol is A. H. Laton, whose residence here antedates it incorporation as a town, and as one of its incorporators and most indefatigable upbuilders a large share of the credit for its present high standing among the thriving towns of the commonwealth is due to him.

A native son of California, Mr. Laton was born in Analy township, Sonoma county, October 30, 1860, the son of M. F. and Elizabeth (Brians) Laton, pioneer settlers in California who made their way across the plains with ox-teams in the year 1852. The long and trying journey came to an end and found them in Sonoma county, where, at Bodega, the father purchased a ranch upon which he lived a short time, when he sold out and later made his home with his son. As one of the early settlers his death, July 1, 1908, was mourned deeply, for during his long residence here he had endeared himself to all classes of citizens, both old and young. His widow is still living at a good old age, making her home in Petaluma.

With the exception of a short period when his father was interested in a hotel in Winters, Yolo county, known as the Parker house, and the year which he spent in Alaska, the entire life of A. H. Laton has been passed within the limits of his native county. Here, too, he has been interested almost continuously in the lumber business, which has grown to large proportions, his being the only lumber yard in this section, and one of the largest in Sonoma county. In 1895 he came to Sebastopol and established the nucleus of the business which is his today, opening a small yard, which he has been obliged to enlarge from time to time to meet his growing needs. With the exception of one year which he spent in Alaska during the memorable gold excitement at Nome, his lumber business has received his personal attention since the day of its founding. His efforts have extended beyond the interests just mentioned, resulting in 1906 in the incorporation of the Laton Lumber and Investment Company, of which he himself is president and manager. This is one of the largest and most promising enterprises undertaken in the town in recent years, and has every promise of a successful future. Among their holdings is a tract of eight hundred acres of timber land in the Russian river.

In his marriage of 1893 Mr. Laton was united with a native daughter of the state in Minerva M. Joy. Three children have been born to them, Anita D., Alfred J. and Burle C. Mr. Laton is a well-known figure in Masonic circles, being identified with the order in all of its various branches, and he also belongs to Santa Rosa Lodge No. 646, B. P. O. E. Probably none of the citizens of Sebastopol has watched the growth of the town with greater interest than has Mr. Laton. When he located here it was little more than a small village, which he assisted in developing by establishing the lumber yard of which he is now the proprietor, and upon the incorporation of the town he was elected one of the town trustees, by re-election serving altogether six years, and a part of this time was president of the board. In February, 1911, he organized the Sebastopol Times Company, which print a newspaper here, and is serving as president of the company.

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