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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Antonio Maestretti

We who have always enjoyed the privilege of citizenship in a free country, where the rights of each are limited only as they encroach upon the rights of others, can scarcely realize the sense of freedom with which those born under less favorable conditions come to our shores, and after finding the particular locality in which they wish to settle, devote all their energies faithfully to the improvement of the land and their sympathies and activities to the upbuilding of the community. Among those who have taken advantage of the privileges which the United States offers to young men of undaunted perseverance is A. Maestretti, who though a native of the republic of Switzerland, realized early in life that hits larger and older republic offered a larger field of activity than his own.

Born in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, in 1854, A. Maestretti is a son of Peter and Angelina Maestretti, the former of whom was born in that same country in 18093, the latter also being a native and life-time resident of Switzerland. Eight children, four sons and four daughters, were born of this marriage, Angelo, James, Amily, Antonio, Catherine, Francesca, Josephine and Angeline. Leaving his wife and children in Switzerland, in 1854, the same year in which our subject was born, the father came to the United States on a tour of inspection, attracted hither on account of the gold excitement of that period. After landing at the eastern port he re-embarked in a vessel bound for the Isthmus of Panama, and after crossing that body of land, re-embarked on another vessel that brought him to the coast of California. The records do not state further details of his experiences in this country, but it is safe to presume that he returned to his native land and rounded out his career in the country in which he was born and in which he had passed fifty years before coming to this country. Next to the oldest son in the parental family, James married Miss Sarah Merchand, by whom he has four children, one son and three daughters. Amily chose as his wife Meda Orr, and they and their eight children are residents of Sacramento, Cal.

Antonio Maestretti was a youth of nineteen years when he set sail for the United States in 1873. He, toon, was attracted to California, for a different reason, however, than the one which had attracted his father here nearly twenty years previously. The gold excitement was not longer the attraction to this section of country, but the more enduring possibilities of agriculture were attracting a class of citizens that was destined to be permanent and enduring. After a residence of thirty-seven years in this section of the country Mr. Maestretti has nothing but praise to say of it, for here he has been enabled to progress in a way which would not have been possible in his native country. He leases a ranch of one hundred acres near Petaluma, on Rural Route No. 5, where he maintains a dairy ranch of fifteen cows, besides considerable young stock, and he also raises chickens, having two thousand at the present time. Three head of work horses and other stock find ample pasturage on the land not in hay or not occupied by the dairy of chicken industries. This business does not represent all of Mr. Maestretti’s interests, for he is the owner of two valuable business properties in Petaluma, one at the corner of Bodega and Baker streets, and the other at Baker and Stanley streets.

Before her marriage Mrs. Maestretti was Miss Lidia Maestretti, and was born in Switzerland in 1878. Three children have been born to Mr. Maestretti and his wife, Peter M., John B. and Mary Rose. The family are communicants of the Roman Catholic Church of Petaluma, and politically Mr. Maestretti is a Republican. Since 1883 he has held membership in the Odd Fellows order, and is an active and interested member of his lodge.

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