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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Benjamin J. Patocchi

There is much in the California environment to win and hold the affection of the people of Switzerland, as is demonstrated by a large number of her citizens who have come here to make their permanent homes. Among this number is Benjamin J. Patocchi, who was born in Canton Ticino, Switzerland, May 18, 1866, and has been a resident of California since his early youth. No fortuitous circumstances had made his life an easy one in his native land, for his parents, Dominico and Benedetta Patocchi, were farmers on a small tract of land from which they endeavored to make a living for their family. The conditions by which they were surrounded proved less irksome to them than they did to their son, Benjamin, who then a mere boy had resolved to go to the far-famed land of promise. Hearing the stories of the wonderful resourcefulness of California and success achieved by his countrymen in the land of the golden west, it appealed to him like the tales of the Arabian Nights and he was not satisfied until he had obtained his widowed motherís consent, his father having died when he was only seven years of age. He joined a party who, having made one successful trip to California, were returning at that time. Mr. Patocchi came to the vicinity of Petaluma, where he was employed at farming for many years and by strict economy and close application, he was enabled to purchase the ranch upon which he now lives, consisting of one hundred and thirty acres of excellent land. His place is known as Live Oak Knob Ranch, and located in Chelino valley, six miles from Petaluma. Here he carries on the occupation which his forefathers have been famous from time immemorial, dairying, which he conducts on an extensive scale, having a herd of thoroughbred Short Horn and Jersey cattle to maintain this branch of his ranch enterprise. The raising of chickens is an industry which is carried on with equal success. His horses are of the Norman strain, of which he has some very fine specimens and in which he takes great pride. A small family orchard in which are grown a variety of fruits common to this section of the country adds to the value of the ranch, which undoubtedly is one of the most productive and attractive in appearance in this immediate section of the country. Here Mr. Patocchi makes his home with his wife, no children having blessed their marriage. In maidenhood Mrs. Patocchi was Miss Delrina Martin, the daughter of Charles and Catherine (Traversi) Martin, both natives of Switzerland, but who have been residents of California for many years. They were married in Petaluma September 2, 1862, and here all of their seven children were born and reared. (For a fuller account of the Martin family, the reader is referred to the sketch of Leopold Martin, Mrs. Patocchiís brother.) Politically, Mr. Patocchi is a Republican and fraternally he is a member of Petaluma Lodge No. 901, B. P. E. E.

It is wonderful how this man has built up a competence, coming here a youth of nine years, since which time success seems to have attended him on every hand. True, all was not smooth sailing, for he had his us and downs, but he labored steadily with optimistic ambition and high standards until he has reached his goal, while till in middle life. He has been ably assisted by his wife, who is a woman of great resource and rare ability, being very much of a helpmate to him in every way. His mother, too is still living, although across the sea, and rejoices in the achievements of her industrious son, feeling now, although she opposed him at the start, that his accomplishments have proven his venture to have been a success.

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