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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Charles Chester Oliver

Added to a long and worthy record in the business annals of Sonoma county the name of Oliver has gained distinction in the state through its high standing in fraternal circles, indeed it is a characteristic of all the male members of this family to attain the highest rank in the Masonic order. Their business ambition has been no less lofty, and in attaining it they have retained their self respect and the highest respect and esteem from those with whom they have come in contact. The name was established in Sonoma county by J. R. H. Oliver, who was born in McDonald county, Mo., in 1835 and came to California overland with ox-teams in 1857. Six months were consumed in the journey, a short stop being made at Chico, but otherwise the journey was continuous, long though it was. His acquaintance with Sonoma county began in 1865, when he came back to the settlement that later became Forestville and established himself in the blacksmith business, his shop being the first in this section of the state, and naturally it received a large patronage, as those were the days before the coming of the railroad and horses were in constant use. From that time until his death, in 1889, he continued to maintain the blacksmith shop, besides which he owned a fruit ranch of forty acres. As one of the early settlers in this community and a man of unusual progress and perseverance he took the lead in upbuilding movements and throughout his residence here could always be counted on to assist in any project that was for the good of the community or the comfort of his fellow-citizens. He was the owner of the only boat that ever navigated the Russian river, the current of this river being so rapid now that it would be impossible to venture upon it with a row boat. As has been intimated, he attained the highest rank in the Masonic order, as did also his sons. His wife is still living at Forestville, at the age of seventy years.

Charles Chester Oliver is one of the four children of the parental family now living, the others being daughters. Charles Oliver was born on the old family homestead in Sonoma county, in 1867, and was here reared and educated, attending district school in what is now Forestville. In those days it was no uncommon sight to see all kinds of wild game, but all this is now changed, and what was then rough, uncultivated land, is now tinted with the hues of bud, blossom and fruit. Mr. Oliver is now proprietor of the old home place, which is known by the euphonious name of Wildwood, so named no doubt in memory of the old pioneer days, when indeed it was a wild wood. This is now all under cultivation to orchard and vineyard. Not only is Mr. Oliver a great lover of stock, but he is also an extensive breeder of high grade stock, as well as horses, among other horses owning a fine blooded mare, Chilano, with a record of 2.17. Since 1904 he has maintained a livery and sales stable in Forestville, a venture which is remunerative and at the same time one which is interesting, inasmuch as he is unusually fond of horses.

Politically Mr. Oliver is attached to neither of the great parties, but nevertheless is a good citizen, and does not fail to do his duty at the polls, voting for the man best qualified for the office. Fraternally he is as active and influential as have been his predecessors, his affiliations including membership in the Odd Fellows’ Lodge at Forestville, and the various Masonic organizations at Sebastopol, besides which he has attained the Knight Templar degree in the Santa Rosa Lodge.

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