In the rich and fertile districts of California that are devoted to the raising of luscious fruits there has been established no more important branch of horticulture than that relating to the growing of grapes. Prominent among the men who are doing much to promote this special branch of horticulture is Thomas Meek, a well-known resident of Alexander valley, Sonoma county, a large land owner and the proprietor of an extensive winery.
A native son of the state in which his interests are centered, Thomas Meek was born in San Bernardino county in 1872, the son of a pioneer settler in the wet, Nathan Meek. A native of Ohio, he was attracted to the far west some time before the finding of gold in California had drawn the attention of the world to this part of the country. As early as 1847 he crossed the plains with ox-teams, driving a band of cattle, as he did also on two later trips, in 1849 and 1852. During the early mining days he reaped a splendid income from a trading post which he maintained on the Feather river, continuing there as long as the enterprise warranted it, after which he located in San Bernardino county, and in the town of that name he established and ran a saw and flouring mill. He passed away in the locality which had benefited by his pioneer efforts in 1874. The son Thomas was then only two years old, and when he was four years old his mother came to Sonoma county and located at Windsor. In this place he was reared and educated, and early in life became proficient in the duties of ranch life, working for others until he felt competent to manage a property of his own. His advance as a rancher and property owner has been continuous and steady, and in the comparatively short time that he has been engaged in business he has gathered about him much valuable real-estate, now owning three of the finest ranches in the county, all in Alexander valley, besides which he rents two other places of over two hundred acres. The one on which he resides consists of one hundred and twenty acres, of which one hundred acres are in vineyard, and altogether he has two hundred acres in grapes, all of which are manufactured into wine. The winery is one of the most complete and up-to-date establishments of the kind in this part of the county, being equipped with all the latest machinery and appliances, and the output of dry wines, which amounts to over two hundred thousand gallons annually, has no superior. The entire acreage of the five ranches farmed by Mr. Meek amounts to over four hundred acres, of which three hundred and fifty are in grapes, while the remainder is in hay, one hundred tons being the yearly average output. Twenty head of horses are required to carry on the work of Mr. Meek’s large undertaking, which in point of productiveness and appearance has no superior in the county. It goes without saying that Mr. Meek is an enthusiastic booster for the locality in which he has achieved such wonderful success, and as he is still a young man, his success thus far is in all probability but a foretaste of what awaits him in the future.
Mr. Meek’s marriage in 1898 united him with Miss Flora E. Young, who is a native of New York state. Although Mr. Meek is a busy man, he is still not unmindful of his duty as a citizen, and may always be depended upon to further any cause for the advancement of the community, county or state. Politically he is a Republican, and fraternally he belongs to the Eagles.