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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Thomas Mooney

Among the citizens of Petaluma who have won themselves a place of note by years of honest and zealous labor, mention should be made of Thomas Mooney, who is now spending his last years in peaceful retirement. He was born in Ireland in 1830, and was brought to America when he was a child of eight years, so he has practically known no other home than this. After landing on these shore the parents settled in Rochester, N. Y., where the son attended school, and when old enough to prepare for business life took up work at the machinist’s trade. While he was fortunate to fall in the hands of a careful, painstaking master mechanic from whom he was to learn his trade, he met his teacher half way by bringing to his work an apt mind and a willing hand, to the end that he not only learned his trade acceptably, but he learned it well beyond that of his fellows, as was noticeable throughout his business career in that his services were in constant demand.

After completing his apprenticeship Mr. Mooney went to Canada and took up work at his trade, but his stay there was of short duration, for the year 1850 found him on his way to California, responding no doubt to the call of the mines, although the records do not so state. However that may be, he returned east after a stay of some months in the state, only to return west again later. On coming to California the second time he located in Sonoma county, and in Bloomfield opened a blacksmith and carriage sop. His was the first shop of the kind established in the place, and as a consequence he had a monopoly of the business in his line throughout the town and surrounding country. His ability was not confined to the blacksmith’s trade, for he was able to build and repair fine carriages, and also to repair threshing machines and other farm implements. In fact, there was nothing in the line of mechanics to which he could not turn his hand when carrying on his shop, for he was a natural mechanic and no problem in his line was too difficult for him to undertake and solve satisfactorily.

From Bloomfield Mr. Mooney came to Petaluma in 1883, opening a blacksmith shop the same year, and this he conducted until 1900, since which time he has lived retired in his pleasant residence at No. 26 Fifth street.

In western Canada, in 1865, Mr. Mooney was united in marriage with Miss Nora Gleason, a native of Canada. Seven children were born of this marriage, of whom the eldest, Mary Ellen, is the wife of Robert Brown, of Petaluma. Anna J. is the wife of W. S. De Turk, of San Francisco; Edna is the wife of Dr. H. S. Gossage, of Petaluma; William Thomas, who graduated from the Harvard Law school, is now a practicing attorney of San Francisco; Birdie is the wife of Capt. B. J. Benson, of San Francisco; Mabel is deceased; and Josie E. is a graduate of the San Francisco normal school. She is a capable and popular young woman among her associates, as was demonstrated by her election as president of the students body of the school which she attended. In addition to owning considerable real estate in Petaluma and East Petaluma, Mr. Mooney also owns a fine ranch in Two Rock valley comprising three hundred acres, now occupied by a tenant. Public spirited and enterprising, he is one of the staunch, dependable citizens who have contributed so largely to the substantial growth of the city, not only in a commercial sense, but morally as well, as is exemplified in the sons and daughters he and his wife have reared to take their place in the world’s activities.

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