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Franklyn A. Mecham

It would be difficult to find in Sonoma county a more popular or better informed man than Franklyn A. Mecham, a native son of the county, and whose life-time home has been in this section of the state. Though born and reared in an agricultural community and made familiar with the duties of the farm from his earliest boyhood days, his versatility and large capacity for managing a number of enterprises with equal facility, has made him one of the best-known as well as one of the wealthiest men in the county. Rancher, dairyman or banker, Franklyn A. Mecham has been the same hearty, whole-souled gentleman, making and retaining friends, and to-day he stands as the best type of the sturdy westerner, a man whose word is as good as his bond, ever ready to advance any interest that is for the betterment of the community in which he lives or the country he loves.

Mr. Mecham was born at Stony Point, Sonoma county, June 1, 1854, a son of Harrison and Melissa Jane (Stewart) Mecham, natives respectively of St. Lawrence county, N. Y., and Indiana. (For a full account of the history of the Mecham family the reader is referred to the sketch of Harrison Mecham, which will be found on another page of the history.) Six children were born into the parental household, of whom four attained mature years, one son and three daughters, Franklyn A. being the eldest. He was educated in the public schools at Petaluma during his early years and later attended the California Military Academy at Oakland for three years. As he was the only son it was quite natural that he should become of great assistance to his father on the ranch, and when he attained maturity he had no inclination to seek other employment than that with which he was familiar, father and son continuing work harmoniously together, and when the elder man passed away in April, 1909, the son assumed the entire responsibility of the large property, and has managed it alone ever since. Not far from Petaluma, in Petaluma township, he owns five thousand acres of excellent land, in addition to which he owns twenty-six hundred acres in Vallejo township, known as the old Sears Point ranch. This he leases out to tenants for dairy purposes. The remainder of the land is used as grazing land for five thousand head of sheep, all of which are of the best-known breeds. He also has a large herd of Red Polled stock of the best varieties, besides twenty-five head of horses which are also of high breed. Stock-breeding has been a life-time study with Mr. Mecham, which accounts for his unparalleled success and for the fact that his stock invariably brings the highest price in the market. Not only is Mr. Mecham the largest stock-raiser in this part of Sonoma county, but he also claims credit for being the largest raiser of wild turkeys in this part of the state, having a flock of five hundred at the present time. No part of his large acreage is allowed to remain idle, and in planting a portion of it to eucalyptus trees he has laid the foundation for another valuable source of income. In the foregoing enumeration of the enterprises in which Mr. Mecham is interested all of his interests have not been mentioned, for he is as well known in banking circles as he is in agriculture and stock-raising. Altogether he is interested in one capacity or another in seven banks in Sonoma county and the state, being a director of the Sonoma County National Bank of Petaluma, also a large stockholder in the Santa Rosa Bank and a director in the Santa Rosa Savings Bank, and a large stockholder in the American National Bank of San Francisco. After the death of his father he succeeded the latter as director of the Santa Rosa Savings Bank, being elected by the stockholders to take his place.

In Fulton county, Ill., November 9, 1895, Mr. Mecham was united in marriage with Miss Corinne Belle McQuaid, the daughter of James McQuaid, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, December 11, 1844. He immigrated to the United States, going to Pennsylvania first, and from there the same year went to Illinois and located in Canton. At the present time he is in Montana, where he maintains several large stock ranches. In maidenhood his wife was Miss Mintie Lucinda Craig, who was born in Lexington, Kent, January 1, 1846. They were married in Canton, Ill., April 4, 1868, and all of the seven children born of their marriage are living. Their daughter, Corinne Belle, was born on the Illinois homestead in November, 1872, and in 1895 she became the wife of Mr. Mecham. Five children have been born of this marriage, as follows: Harrison, Francis A., Corinne Gladys, Margaret Craig and Franklyn A., Jr.

Source:
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