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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Joseph Luttringer

From an early period in the development of Sonoma county until his decease Mr. Luttringer gave himself actively to the material upbuilding of this section of the state and proved his worth as a progressive citizen, intelligently supporting movements for the local welfare and cherishing a profound faith in the ultimate prosperity of his adopted home. When in the year 1901 death removed him from the locality where for a long period he had been prominent and influential it was recognized among his old acquaintances that a distinct loss had been sustained by the business interests and the citizenship of the region. The fact that his circle of friends was unusually large may be attributed in part to his genial, companionable temperament and in part to his management of a hotel, which brought him into direct contact with the traveling public not only of Sonoma county, but of other parts of the west. Matters of business or the search for recreation brought strangers to the locality and of these he made friends by his courteous attention to their needs, his genial personality and his broad intelligence.

Born in New York City in the year 1836, Joseph Luttringer was a member of a family occupying an excellent social position and able to give him satisfactory educational advantages. While yet a small lad he was sent to school in France and remained abroad until his graduation, after which he returned to New York and from there, led by love of adventure, he came to the Pacific coast during the early colonization of the west. Many of the exciting events that gave history to the days subsequent to the discovery of gold he witnessed and in some of them he participated, so that he was thoroughly identified with pioneer activities in San Francisco, where he made his home until October of 1871, the date of his removal to Sonoma county. By trade a wood-turner and a skilled worker in his chosen occupation, he followed it for a time in early life, but later give his attention wholly to the hotel business.

Joseph Luttringer was the first to introduce the fruit drying industry in this section, also the shipping of fresh ripe fruits, the shipping points being Ft. Ross and Stewarts Point. He had great faith in this section for fruit raising and as soon as he could set out orchards of apples and cherries, which are now large bearers. The trees in the old apple orchard set out on the place by a former owner in the early sixties are very large and health and bear bountifully. Politics always interested him and as a local worker in the Democratic party he wielded considerable influence.

The marriage of Joseph Luttringer united him with Miss Anna Wackenhut, who was born in Wittenberg, Kolb, Germany, in 18366 and came to the United States in 1854, settling in California, where she continued to reside afterward. A daughter, Theresa, blessed the union. She is now the wife of James McKenna and manages her motherís estate at Plantation, Sonoma county, where Mrs. Luttringer ow2ns a ranch of nine hundred acres and engages in the hotel and summer-resort business besides having sixty acres in fruits of various kinds, mainly apples. The hotel contains accommodations for about thirty guests and is provided with all modern comforts. In addition there is a livery barn with equipment for the entertainment of passing travelers as well as transient visitors. Plantation House is a most celebrated resort reached by daily stage and is seventeen miles from Cazadero and only one and one-half miles from the Pacific, where there is a sand beach and ocean bathing. The Plantation Ranch is well wooded with redwood, pine and oak and watered by the south branch of the Guallala, affording trout fishing, as well as hunting. Mrs. McKenna succeeded in having Plantation postoffice established in 1903 and was the postmistress until she was succeeded by her son, James E. McKenna.

Mrs. McKenna has four children, namely: Anna, Alice, Walter and James E. McKenna, the latter being postmaster at Plantation. Anna, Mrs. Frederick W. Childs, of Sea View, has two sons, James and Donald. James McKenna is actively interested I whaling and is captain of the F. S. Redfield. For thirty years or more he has followed the sea and his absence on long whaling cruises prevents him from taking any part in the management of the hotel or ranch, but his wife with great capability and untiring energy superintends affairs so that the expiration of the year shows a neat surplus as a return from the investment and labor. Born in Liverpool, England, in 1846, James McKenna came to the United States in 1860 and since then has resided in the west. The representatives of the McKenna family are known as reliable citizens and trustworthy neighbors and their standing is the highest in the various communities where they reside.

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