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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


J. Luppold

The self-made men of Sonoma county have a fine representative in J. Luppold, of Santa Rosa, one of the respected and popular men of his community. Cordial, frank and sincere in speech, he makes friends with all with whom he comes in contact, and is an active participant in the affairs that affect community, state or nation. A native of Missouri, he was born in Bridgeport, Warren county, March 26, 1860, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Luppold, both of whom were natives of the Fatherland. The parents lived to attain good ages, the father living to the age of eighty-five years, while the mother passed away when seventy years old. In so far as their circumstances permitted the parents gave their son every advantage for an education, his schooling including attendance at the common and high schools of Bridgeport.

However, it was early in life impressed on the mind of Mr. Luppold that he had his own way to make in the world, and accepting the situation philosophically he lost no time in finding employment after his school days were over. Working as a farm hand in the vicinity of his home was the first work to which he turned his hand, and he continued there in that line of occupation until the year 1888. That year marks his advent in the west and the beginning of his career covering nearly a quarter of a century in Sonoma county. Here as in his home locality he continued agricultural pursuits, working for a time in the employ of Winfield Wright, of Santa Rosa, and subsequently establishing himself on a ranch of his own in this vicinity. This is an exceptionally fine property, located four miles north of Santa Rosa on the Healdsburg road, and here he has resided alone for the past twenty years, never having formed domestic ties. In 1901, with the accumulations of a number of years hard labor, he went to Nome, Alaska, in the hope of finding sudden wealth, but he was doomed to disappointment, as instead he lost all the means that he had saved. Disappointed but not discouraged, he returned to his Sonoma county ranch and has since been contented with the peaceful, wholesome and remunerative life which it affords.

An incident which comes to the mind of every resident of Santa Rosa when the name of Mr. Luppold is mentioned is that concerning the burning of the “hoodoo automobile.” An account of the event was graphically told in the Press-Democrat of November 5, 1908, from which we quote as follows: “The hoodoo auto goes up in smoke. In the presence of a tremendous crowd of spectators Luppold’s hoodoo automobile was burned at ten o’clock last night, November 4, 1908. The auto held a big bale of hoodoo hops, grown in 1902 placed on a specially selected pile of oak and pine cord wood. At a given signal a sky rocket was sent up, at the same time Milton W. Wasserman applied the torch to the wood just mentioned. The crowd cheered themselves hoarse as the flames danced here and there amid the wood that had been saturated with oil to insure its burning. Good Luppold was the hero of the hour on this occasion. He said the auto should burn and it did. He kept his part of the agreement and the people were satisfied. The old auto was soon reduced to ashes, as the embers died down there was heard across the din the exultant voice of Mr. Luppold saying: ‘I guess the hoodoo is sure gone now.’ Among those gathered in front of Luppold’s place were a number of hop growers who had come from all parts of the county to see the hoodoo bale of hops burned. The hops were 1902’s, the hoodoo-price year. The hop-growers hope that this hoodoo disappeared when Luppold’s did. Luppold and his hoodoo auto nave become known from coast to coast and newspapers everywhere have printed accounts of the affair. In the burning of the auto last night Mr. Luppold celebrated the election of Taft. He said he would do so when he first said he would burn the machine or the hoodoo would go up in smoke.”

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