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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


John Nerz

Although the country estate owned and operated by John Nerz has been in his possession for a comparatively brief period only, already improvements have been made indicative of the energy of the man and showing his ambition to develop the property. It was during 1906 that he acquired a farm in Mendocino township comprising one hundred and fifty-two acres and boasting a soil as fertile as any within the limits of Sonoma county. Since then he has been devoting his time to the cultivation of the tract, transferring it from a small producing property into a profitable possession. On the land there are six hundred cords of timber which is making a fair growth each year. Seventy acres are in hay, a portion of which is fed to his own live stock, but by far the greater amount is sold to others. A pasture furnishes grass for the stock in season. Eight acres have been planted to fruit of various kinds and in 1907 he set out a vineyard of fine grapes, which promises to be a large factor in the annual income as it comes into full bearing.

Born in Germany in 1862, John Nerz received his education in the schools of that country and early learned lessons of frugality and industry without which his subsequent success would have been impossible. During the year 1880 he came to the United States and since e 1899 has made his home in Sonoma County, where he ranks high as a resourceful farmer and progressive horticulturist. In addition to the management of his property he has maintained an active identification with educational matters has favored the free-school system and for two years has served with intelligence and sagacity as trustee of the school in Junction district, Mendocino township. It is his belief that every child should be given grammar-school advantages at least and he believes also that such education should be acquired without expense to the child, so that the poorest and humblest may not be deprived of the inestimable le advantages of thorough training in the elementary branches. Nor is his interest in progressive movements limited to educational work. All projects for the general welfare have his support and sympathy. Realizing the value of telephones in isolated rural communities he has been a leader in all movements looking toward their establishment and is himself a patron of and stockholder in the line passing his farm.

When a boy in his old German home beyond the sea Mr. Nerz received a religious training in the German Lutheran doctrines and at the age of fourteen he was confirmed in that church, with which he has been identified ever since, supporting its charities and general work to the full extent of his financial ability. When he first became a citizen of the United States he joined the Democratic party, but later he became more independent in his views and of recent years he has not given allegiance to any political organization, but votes for the men whom he considers best qualified to represent the people. During the year 1891 he was united in marriage with Mrs. Ruby (Jacobs) Odell, the widow of Sylvester Odell, by whom she had two children, Harold and Annie. Of the children born to her marriage with Mr. Nerz, two are living, Tessie and George. In addition to the care of their horticultural and agricultural affairs and the supervision of their home, Mr. and Mrs. Nerz have found leisure for the development of Paradise Grove, a resort on Mill creek, in a picturesque and attractive location on his farm, where he has provided accommodations for twenty people at one time and also can accommodate about twelve tents as campers. The resort is becoming well known and increasingly popular each season, and those who are entertained there always speak in terms of warm praise concerning the location and the accommodating disposition of the proprietors.

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