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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Wesley Mock

Throughout the entire history of the world there always have been some who sought ease and the comforts of existence along sunshiny paths, while others, sought of limb and blind to hardships, followed pioneer paths in the vanguard of civilization. To the latter class belonged that sturdy pioneer, Wesley Mock, whose destiny it was to be identified with pioneer labors in the Missouri river valley and along the Pacific coast. Nature qualified him for the life of a frontiersman. Dangers failed to daunt him and perils but aroused his courage to great heights. Inured to physical privation, he followed the road whither fate led him and out of discomfort, peril and sacrifices he eventually won honor, success and influence, from the time of the admission of California as a state until tee time of his demise he followed every phase of the development of the commonwealth, participated in all efforts at local upbuilding and, as he gazed backward in his old age over the strenuous years gone by, with their triumphs and their toil, he could well feel that he had borne an honorable part in the wonderful work of advancement whereby the state had risen to a front rank among the galaxy of stars adorning the flag of our country.

The lineage of the Mock family is traced back to Germany, but several generations have lived and labored in the new world. David and Elizabeth Mock were born in Pennsylvania, and during early years learned to speak fluently in both the English and the German languages. From the Keystone state they removed to North Carolina and for twenty years he served as clerk of Davidson county, where also for a long period he acted as postmaster at Fairgrove. Throughout the county he was favorably known and highly honored. Although differing in many opinions from his southern neighbors they rendered a full meed of praise to his strict honesty and painstaking industry, and he in turn admired their courteous chivalry and high spirits. In his family there were seven sons and six daughters namely: Charles, William, Christena, Franklin, John, Elizabeth, Sarah, David, Margaret, Wesley, Mary, Martha and George.

The eldest daughter of the household had become the wife of Dr. H. C. Davis, and had removed with him to Missouri about the year 1834. The long and dangerous journey ended, she had written back from the new home glowing accounts of Missouri, its fertile soil and undeveloped resources. These inviting descriptions induced the father to decide to remove to the newer country. In 1835 he packed the household necessities in two wagons, provided a large supply of provisions and started on the tedious trip. A carriage was taken along, and in it rode the mother with the little ones. Among the children was eight-year-old Wesley, who had been born April 12, 1827, during the residence of the family in Davidson county. Although so young, the boy possessed a retentive mind and an eagerness to learn, so that the journey made a lasting impression upon his memory, and years afterward he accurately recounted incidents connected with the month spent between the old home and the new.

Arriving at their destination David Mock, with the assistance of his eldest sons, cut timber and hewed logs with which he constructed a cabin without the use of a nail. The little house furnished a shelter for the family and offered a kindly hospitality to belated travelers en route to the nearest postoffice, which was sixteen miles distant from the farm. It was the task of the sons to go upon hunting expeditions, and from these they invariably returned with an abundance of game, the family thus securing the meat necessary for the table. With the passing years the boy grew to manhood and gained a broad fund of information from habits of close observation rather than from any extended study of text-books. A great change came into his life when, in the year 1848, the United States government arranged to build a line of military posts from the Missouri river to Oregon, and appointed Colonel Powell commander of the large expedition organized for the purpose named.

A party of six men went from the neighborhood in which Wesley Mock lived, and he was one of the number, his particular task being the driving of five yoke of oxen. Many bands of Indians were met, but the company was so large that the savages dared not molest them, although they annoyed them to a degree by their frequent depredations. The work for the government completed, Mr. Mock returned to the east, but had scarcely reached the old Missouri home again when he heard of the discovery of gold in California, and this interesting news excited him to such an extent that he lost no time in making preparations to go west. May 10, 1849, he joined a large expedition bound for the coast, and with this party he crossed the plains, meanwhile meeting with many thrilling experiences and undergoing frequent perils in encounters with the Indians. The company disbanded October 28, 1948, near Red Bluff, in the Sacramento valley, and its various members sought the localities desired by them.

The first mining experience gained by Mr. Mock was at Missouri Bar on the Feather river, and later he mined at Fosterís Bar on the Yuba river. At the expiration of three years devoted to mining he turned his attention to other lines of industrial activity. For some time he lived in Petaluma. From there he came to Santa Rosa during the early Ď60s. Four miles from town he took up a quarter section at Belleview, and at once began the transformation of the tract from a barren waste into a productive dairy ranch, well supplied with milch cows, provided with large pastures and meadows, and to a small extent utilized in the raising of grain. Throughout the balance of his useful existence he engaged in ranching and made the dairy industry his specialty. In advanced years he retired from the most arduous of his labors and established a home in the city of Santa Rosa, where he died October 1, 1909, having been an Argonaut and a resident of California for sixty years lacking one week.

At the time of coming to the west Mr. Mock had no domestic ties, and he was still a bachelor when he came to Sonoma county. His marriage was solemnized near Petaluma, November 13, 1853, and united him with Miss Sarah Jane Thornton, a native of Howard, Mo. During the early part of 1853 she had crossed the plains from Missouri to California, and had made the long journey with relatives, riding in a wagon drawn by oxen. The marriage ceremony was solemnized by Father Waugh, one of the beloved pioneer preachers of the country and the marriage certificate was signed by James G. Fair and Robert Thompson. Six children were born of the union, namely: Sarah A., who died at twelve years; Alonzo W., now residing at Los Gatos, this state; Willie Ann, wife of A. N. Rawles, of Boonville, Mendocino county; Edward W. and George L. both of whom died in infancy; and Margaretta M., who married Joseph H. Hunt, of Oakland, now residing at No. 160 Lake street, that city, and where Mrs. Mock is now making her home.

Few matters possessed for Mr. Mock a deeper or more vital interest than the material progress of Santa Rosa, and in every way possible he promoted the civic welfare. Among the local officers which he filled were those of city marshal and street commissioner. In these capacities he labored to maintain order, enforce the laws and grade the streets, recognizing the fact that these are necessities in every progressive town. Doubtless, however, it was in the church that he found his greatest enjoyment. Of a deeply religious nature throughout all of his life, he labored to promote the spiritual welfare of the human race. No duty was neglected that tended to the uplifting of his community and the advancement of the church. As president of the board of stewards and as a trustee he was intimately identified with the management of the Santa Rosa Methodist Episcopal Church. For thirty years he led the choir of that congregation, and meanwhile he aided many young people in the cultivation of their voices, promoted an interest in sacred music, and brought to many a realization of its close association with religious progress. When finally death brought to an end his splendid, useful labors he passed into eternity, sustained by the Christianís faith and comforted by the hope of again meeting his loved ones within the gates of Paradise.

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