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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Leopold Martin

One of the notable ranches in the vicinity of Petaluma is that owned by Mr. Martin, and which has practically been his life-long home. The first to establish the name in the United States was his father, Charles Martin, who was born in Switzerland in 1829 and came to the new world in 1852, at the age of twenty-two years. Upon landing at New York City he at once re-embarked for San Francisco, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and reached his western destination on June 15, 1852. Although he was a mason by trade, he did not follow that calling altogether after coming to the west, but on the other hand was variously engaged in an endeavor to find the most remunerative occupation for his abilities. It was not until he located as an agriculturist in Marin county that he found his true sphere in life, as a result of steady application and unwearied effort he became one of the largest land-owners in this part of Marin county. To the nucleus of his original purchase in the Chelino valley, San Antonio township, he added from time to time as his means and requirements made it necessary and possible, until he became the owner of five thousand acres of as valuable land as can be found anywhere in this section of the state. During the early years of his experience on the ranch he carried on general farming, gradually, however, concentrating his efforts upon dairying, this ultimately becoming his chief industry. In connection with this he also maintained a commission business in San Francisco, under the firm name of Martin & Feusier, the latter remaining in the city and looking after the interests of the commission business, while Mr. Martin devoted himself to the dairy business. This association was maintained profitably for thirty years, after which Mr. Martin closed out his mercantile interests and after that devoted himself to his dairy interests. By his marriage with Miss Catherine Traversi, which was solemnized September 2, 1862, he became the father of several children , named in the order of their birth as follows: Delfina, Carniglia, Anita, Charles G., Arnold J., Leopold and Ermelinda. Mr. Martin died April 15, 1905, his wife having passed away September 17, 1897. Some years prior to his death Mr. Martin had incorporated all his interests under the name of Charles Martin Company, of which he was the president until his death. Since then the company has been continued with Charles G. Martin as president, Arnold J. Martin as vice-president, Leopold Martin as treasurer, and Delfino Patocchi as secretary.

Next to the youngest of the children in the parental family, Leopold Martin was born on the Marin county homestead May 26, 1873, and received his education in local schools and at Santa Clara College and Healdís Business College, from which he was graduated in 1892. In the selection of a vocation in life he wisely chose the one with which he was familiar from childhood and the one in which his father had made such a notable success. He now resides on the old homestead and is engaged in the dairy business. Seventy-five cows contribute to the maintenance of the dairy, besides which he owns several head of young stock and seven high-grade horses, and also raises hogs to some extent. Some idea of Mr. Martinís success as a dairyman may be gathered from the statement that each cow averages an annual income of $50. The dairy industry and its allied stock interests, however, do not represent the total of Mr. Martinís activities, for he is also an extensive chicken-raiser, having in his yard at the present time six hundred chickens of the Leghorn breed.

Before her marriage Mrs. Martin was Marie Zanini, who was born in Maggia, Canton Ticino, Switzerland, in 1870, the daughter of Louis and Johanna (Quanchi) Zanini, who were also native of that country, born in 1822 and 1830 respectively. The father is now deceased, but the mother is still living at the age of eighty years. Mrs. Martin has been a resident of California since 1891, and her marriage occurred September 15, 1897. Four children have blessed the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Martin, Elfo, Marie, Emeline and Estella, all of whom are receiving the best advantages for an education that it is in the power of their devoted parents to bestow. The family are communicants of the Roman Catholic Church at Petaluma, and in his political preferences Mr. Martin is a Republican. In 1906 Mr. and Mrs. Martin made a trip to Switzerland, besides that country also visiting Italy, France and Germany, and after a stay of two years returned to their home in California in 1908.

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