Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Lawrence Meyer

It is a well-known fact that those born under California skies rarely leave their native state to make their home in any other part of the country. This truism is born out in the career of Mr. Meyer, for he has not only remained in his native state, but he has never left his native county, being satisfied with its outlook and not wishing to waste time and energy on speculation as to what other localities might offer. This well-known and successful rancher in the vicinity of Sebastopol was born in Petaluma, Son0ma county, August 31, 1869, the son of Lorenz Meyer, a native of Germany, who came to this country in 1849 in the response to the attractions offered by finding of gold in California during that year. The mines of Virginia City claimed his attention and energy for a time, and from this he turned to teaming, following the latter employment as long as he remained in the mining district. From there he finally came to Sonoma county in 1860, and here the remainder of his life was passed on a ranch in the vicinity of Petaluma, his death occurring here in 1893.

Up to the age of eighteen years Laurence Meyer had remained at home, in his earlier years attending the public schools at Petaluma, and afterward working on the home ranch with his father. Though young in years it was with the courage of a man that he started out to make his own way in the world at the age of eighteen, empty-handed except for seventy-five cents, which he highly prized. For a few years he worked as a ranch hand for neighboring ranchers, lying by from his wages what was not used for the necessaries of life, and with the means thus accumulated he purchased a tract of rough land. Clearing it of trees and brush, he planted it to crops, and in this condition he sold it at a god profit. Four different tracts of land were thus bought, cleared and put under cultivation, and as many ties he cleared a good profit on his investment. His last purchase is the ranch which he now occupies, comprising fifty-nine acres, which he intends to make his permanent home. Like the other tracts mentioned, this, too, was covered with a heavy growth of timber and underbrush , and one seeing the thrifty condition of the ranch today would have considerable difficulty in realizing that it had been evolved from the wild timbered waste that it was when Mr. Meyer purchased it. All of this had given place to cultivated fruit trees, pears, peaches, plums, prunes and cherries, besides which there is a thriving vineyard of twenty acres, from which he gathers fifty tons of grapes annually. Twelve acres of cherries yield annually about twenty tons, apples sixty tons, peaches ten tons, and prunes fifteen tons. When it is considered that all of this has been made possible on land which when Mr. Meyer purchased it eighteen years ago was covered with a virgin forest, his accomplishment has been little short of marvelous. He bought a ranch of one hundred and sixteen acres on Mark West creek in 1907, and in 1910 he traded this property for a building in San Francisco containing eight flats, which he rents, and from which he derives a good income.

In Sebastopol, in 1897, Mr. Meyer was united in marriage with Miss Bertha G. Smith, who though born in England has passed the greater part of her life in the United State, California principally. Three children have been born of this marriage, Charles L., Wesley G. and William W. Fraternally Mr. Meyer is an Odd Fellow, and in his political preferences he is a Republican.

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