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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Charles A. Offutt

With Charles A. Offutt agriculture is a science that has been carefully studied, continually improved and indefatigably pursued. As a result he is recognized today throughout Sonoma county as an authority on the best methods of ranching in this particular part of the state, where his entire life has been passed. Years of unremitting labor in his chosen line of endeavor have brought him satisfactory returns from a financial point of view, and in addition to the fine family residence in Petaluma, at No. 509 Main street, he also owns considerable other city real estate, as well as two flourishing ranches in the county.

At the time of the birth of Charles A. Offutt, which occurred in October, 1852, the family home was in Jackson county, Mo., which had been very satisfactory as a home place until California became the magnet in the early 50s and drew settlers from all part of the Union to her borders. It was the year following the birth of his youngest son that Charles Offutt, with his wife and three children, crossed the plains by the only means then available, ox-teams. Seven months were consumed in covering the distance from Jackson county, Mo., to the Golden state, and it was a thankful party that finally settled in Vallejo township, Sonoma county, near what is now the thriving town of Petaluma. All the country round about was a wilderness and Petaluma boasted only a few houses and a single store. Upon a ranch which the father purchased in this locality he passed the remainder of his life, actively and interestedly doing his part as citizen, friend and upbuilder, and when he was called hence, in 1888, his death was the cause of sincere grief on the part of those who had been associated with him during a long term of years.

Coming to the far west when he was a child in arms, Charles A. Offutt has no knowledge of any other home than California. At the time of his boyhood and youth, educational advantages in Sonoma county were as nothing compared with conditions today, but nevertheless he gained a good general knowledge, and as he has never ceased to be a student, reading good literature and keeping abreast of the times in current events, he has become well informed and is a pleasing and intelligent conversationalist. When not attending the short terms of the country school near his home he was helping his father in the clearing of the ranch and placing the land under cultivation, all of which was valuable experience and laid the foundation for the successful handling of land on his own account in later years. The home ranch was a valuable tract of one thousand acres located seven miles from Petaluma, in Marin county, and to a great extent was maintained as a dairy ranch, one hundred and fifty cows supplying milk for the dairy. Until he was of age Mr. Offutt was interested with his father in the maintenance of the home place, subsequently becoming the pr9operietor of a ranch of his own, and he now owns two valuable ranches in Sonoma county, one of three hundred acres which is maintained as a dairy ranch, and the other as eighty-acre ranch near town. Although to a certain extent he has retired from active ranching pursuits, having turned the work of the ranches over to competent superintendents, he makes regular visits to the ranches and is at all times in close touch with conditions. Recently he erected a fine modern resident in Petaluma, bungalow style of architecture at No. 509 Main street, and here the family are enjoying all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.

Mr. Offutt married, in December, 1889, Miss Belle Walker, a native of California, and they have two children, Jennie B., the wife of A. W. Stephenson, of Petaluma, and Charles G. Fraternally Mr. Offutt is identified with but two organizations, the Woodmen of the World and the Good Templars, and his work in the latter organization in behalf of the cause of temperance has been incalculable. As a citizen of Petaluma and Sonoma county no one has been more enthusiastic than has he, his public spirit extending to all departments of activity. In banking circles his name has been known and his influence felt for many years, and he assisted in the organization of the Petaluma National Bank.

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