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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The name of this sturdy Swiss farmer and stock-raiser was known to the people of Sacramento county principally through the successful identification of his sons with agricultural affairs and dairy interests. It was his good fortune to possess the splendid qualities that have given pre-eminence to the republic of Switzerland, where he was born in 1829 and where in 1866 he married Katharina Marty. In their native land they labored industriously on a small dairy farm and by frugal management earned a comfortable livelihood. They became the parents of six sons and all are now living with the exception of George, who died in the old country at the age of twelve years, and Joseph, who was accidentally drowned in the Sacramento river at the Monument ranch, March 18, 1912, at the age of thirty-nine years. All of the sons were educated in Swiss schools, trained to a knowledge of every department of agriculture and qualified to support themselves as farmers in any part of the world. They became men of excellent capacity for work and remarkable powers of physical endurance. Four of the five came to the United States and settled in Sacramento county, where they achieved a degree of success altogether commendable and certainly merited.

The eldest of the family, Antone, born January 20, 1869, was the first of the family to seek a home in the new world. Arriving in Sacramento April 30, 1890, he worked for three years as a day laborer on a ranch operated by his uncle, Joseph Marty. With the savings of that period he bought a one-third interest in the dairy herd of his uncle. This purchase did not include any interest in the land itself. In order to render possible the enlargement of the dairy the partners rented additional tracts of land. Eventually the young man became the owner of one-half of the dairy business and during 1902 he bought the remaining one-half interest, thus becoming the sole owner of the dairy. With the year 1909 the lease of twenty years expired and he sought other headquarters. Thereupon he removed to the Monument ranch, his present location. By his marriage to Miss Susie Durrer of Red Bluff he has three children, Hedwig, Antone and Adelhaide, all of whom are now students in the schools of Sacramento county. The family are honored members of the Roman Catholic Church and he holds active connections with the Young Men's Institute. In addition lie is identified with the Woodmen, Foresters, Turn Verein, Improved Order of Red Men and Helvetia Society, the last-named a Swiss organization of local prominence.

The only daughter in the family, Katharina Marty, was born in Switzerland January 20, 1870, and still lives near the old Swiss home- stead. Her husband, Peter Meister, a large land owner, extensive agriculturist and successful specialist in fruit, also is a man of prominence in public affairs and is well known throughout all of their district. There are ten children in the Meister family. The only other member of the Marty family to remain in Switzerland is the youngest brother, Frank, a young man of ability and a skilled worker in the cheese industry. Through his recognized thoroughness as a cheese- maker he has been retained in important positions and now is inter- ested in a large cheese factory in Bavaria, Germany, where much of his time is spent. He still considers Switzerland as his home, al- though business interests keep him elsewhere much of the time.

The father's namesake, Ben, Jr., born in 1871 and a resident of Sacramento county since 1891, worked for his uncle, Joseph, for some time after his arrival. During 1902 he bought a small ranch down the river and became interested in the poultry industry. By his marriage to Albertina Zuger he has one child living, Albert, four- teen years of age. Like his brothers he holds membership with the Improved Order of Red Men and the Helvetia Society. Joseph, born in 1873, came to the new world in 1892 and had the supervision of the ranch until his death in 1912. He was prominently connected with the Foresters, the Improved Order of Red Men and the Helvetia Society.

No member of the family has exhibited greater energy, more un- daunted courage and more sagacious judgment than has characterized the efforts of Martin Marty, a native of Canton Schwyz, Switzerland, born February 2, 1876, and a resident of the Sacramento valley since the year 1892, when he accompanied his brother, Joseph, to the ranch home of their uncle, Joseph. Although at the time he was a mere lad, unfamiliar with American institutions and Californian methods of agriculture, he was so willing and capable that he secured steady work without difficulty. For four and one-half years he worked at the old Sprague ranch on the Freeport road. At the time of the discovery of gold in the Klondike he went to Alaska, going over the Chilcoot pass with two others, carrying thirteen hundred pounds of food. On Lake Bennett they whipsawed the lumber and built two boats in which they made their way through Wildhorse Rapids and down the Yukon to Dawson. There he prospected for two years and then went to Cape Nome and other fields. During the four years of his sojourn in the north he staked out one claim that later proved to be very valuable and it was his intention to develop this, but his entire outfit was stolen and he was left without adequate means for recuperating his losses. On such small events do human destinies turn. The theft of his outfit prevented him from making a fortune in the mines and he returned in 1902 little richer than when he started, yet possessing a wealth of information about Alaskan mines and that vast unexplored region near the Arctic seas.

After his return to Sacramento county Martin Marty with two of his brothers bought out their uncle and located eight miles up the Sacramento river on the Yolo side, where they bought five hundred acres of bottom land. Of this they now have over four hundred acres in alfalfa, which has been improved from brush and tules, and in the year 1912 they cut four thousand tons of hay from February to December. They have on this tract three hundred and fifty head of cattle, among them being two hundred and forty milk cows of the best grades. Eight dairy wagons are kept in constant use and two thousand gallons of milk are handled and sold daily, a milk boat being run from their ranch to Sacramento twice daily. The brothers also own a stock ranch of one thousand acres in Placer county. On December 3, 1904, Martin Marty married Miss Katharine Mente, a native of Austria, and of this union they have one daughter, Marguerite, born July 25, 1910. The family holds membership with the Roman Catholic Church, in which he is a liberal giver and active worker. Fraternally he is associated with the Foresters of America, the Improved Order of Red Men, Woodmen of the World and the Helvetia Society. 

History of Sacramento 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: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011