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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Henry Philip Lichau, Jr.

The childhood memories of Mr. Lichau are associated with the county of Sonoma, but he is of eastern birth and German extraction. His father, whose name he bears, was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, February 22, 1826, and died in California March 12, 1909, at the ripe old age of eighty-three years. During the temporary sojourn of the family in Massachusetts the elder son was born at Greenfield January 21, 1855, and the younger son, Albert E., was born April 18, 1856, after the arrival of the parents in California. The mother, who bore the maiden name of Mary Hockey, was born in England in October of 1830, but came to the United States at an early age. Albert E. married Mary E. Beeson, who was born in Australia in 1851. They became the parents of five children, Chester, George R., Charles, Mabel G. and Annie E. George R. married Annette Ribbley and Mabel G., is the wife of Frederick Mitchell and the mother of three children, Claude, Frank and Fern.

Early in the year 1856 the family arrived in San Francisco after a tedious voyage from New England via the Isthmus of Panama, which they crossed on the backs of mules. A brief sojourn in San Francisco was followed by removal to Sonoma county, where land was taken up near Petaluma, but during the spring of 1869 removal was made to the northern extremity of Vallejo township, where the father remained until death and where his son and namesake still resides, occupying the old homestead nestling at the foot of the Sonoma mountain. When he was a boy he found one of his greatest pleasures in hunting and to this day he retains his fondness for the sport, although game is far less abundant now than in the pioneer era. Deer, Pacific wild cats, coons and bears were the animals most frequently seen. At one time Mr. Lichau and his dogs chased an animal that had molested the turkeys. After running almost a mile the creature took refuge in a tree, perching on a branch one hundred and fifty feet above the ground. An old gun, bought in 1860, brought down the game, which proved to be a lynx weighing thirty pounds. One reason for the abundance of game was that fact that water always could be found on the ranch, there being not only three streams, but also forty-nine springs of pure water, an item of no small value in considering the attractions of the place.

The first home of the family was constructed out of hewn redwood timber, framed, mortised and pinned together without the use of nails. In this cabin, built in 1858, many social gatherings were held. Here was celebrated the first marriage performed in the neighborhood, the clergyman on the occasion being Rev. Noah Burton, who in 1880 united in marriage Henry Philip Lichau, Jr., and Emma Hockey at the same place. In 1882 Mr. Burton was appointed chaplain of San Quentin prison, which at that time contained nineteen hundred inmates, and he continued there as chaplain until his death. Near the Lichau ranch was a cemetery of two acres, donated by General Vallejo and containing all that was mortal of many of the earliest settlers.

Miss Emma Hockey was born in Devonshire, England, November 11, 1854, being the only child of Samuel and Johanna (Bowdege) Hockey, natives of Stockland, England, the father following the occupation of a butcher in his native land. Mr. and Mrs. Lichau are the parents of seven sons, namely: Harry P., Charles F. B., Archie C., Edward P., Arthur Lincoln, Ernest Albert and Elmer C. Archie married Alberta Belle Harvey, a native of Santa Barbara county, and they and their son, Beverly, make their home in Sonoma county. Charles F. B. married Jessie Farrer, a native of California, and they have two children, Raymond and Clarice. Politically Mr. Lichau always has been loyal to the tenets of the Republican party and fraternally he holds membership with the blue lodge of Masons at Petaluma. For two terms he has served as trustee of the Copeland school district.

Under the personal supervision of Mr. Lichau is a tract of one hundred and seventy-five acres, devoted to the raising of farm crops and to dairying and poultry-raising. Thirty head of fine milch cows and young cattle are carried on the ranch, besides several horses and a number of hogs. The cattle are of the Holstein breed, while the horses are Percherons, the head of the herd being a splendid stallion, Modoc Chief. Recently he sold one of his colts, Blanche, two years old, which gave promise of approaching an ideal perfection of the Percheron breed. The poultry yard has five hundred hens of the Andalusian blue breed, in the sale of which Mr. Lichau has been extensively engaged. Eggs bring $2.25 for a setting of fifteen. Hens sell at $2 each, while the cockerels bring from $5 up according to quality and markings. Orders for chickens and eggs come to Mr. Lichau from various parts of the state and those who have embarked in the industry have only words of praise for the virtues of this beautiful fowl.

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