Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Richard Redmond Patten

Were it possible to compile a complete record of the early experiences of Mr. Patten, an authentic account of pioneer times in Sonoma county would likewise be presented, for the man and the county have a history with much in common. It is said that Mr. Patten, in 1848, was the only white child in Sonoma city, and certain it is that he was one of the very first white children to live in this region. As memory recalls to his mind the scenes of early days he is impressed with the fact that n attempt had been made at the most vital improvements; the country was rough and covered with brush through which no paths had been made. Few roads have been opened and fewer schools had been started. Out of the chaos of primeval conditions there has gradually developed an environment of prosperity and progress, fully equal to the demons of the civilization of the twentieth century.

The first representative of the Patten family in California was John Patten, our subjectís grandfather, and a pioneer of 1846 on the Pacific coast. Two years later, in 1848, the father, Joseph Patten, who was born in Missouri in 1822 and was a widower at the time mentioned, started across the plains with wagons and ox-teams, being accompanied by Richard R., born in Missouri in 1844 and scarcely four years of age at the time of the westward migration. Although so young at the time the journey made an indelible impression upon the mind of the child and the incident he most forcibly recalls is that of losing some oxen as a result of Indian depredations. He recalls the settlement in Sonoma county in 1848 and here he has since resided with the exception of two years. After coming to this state the father married Louise Chambers, who was born in Ohio and came to the west at the age of ten years. At this writing she resides near Cozzens, and here her husband died November 25, 1910 at the age of eighty-nine years.

It was not p9ossible for Mr. Patten to secure the education that children of the present day enjoy, for Sonoma county had few schools and these were held at irregular intervals. His entire schooling consisted of an attendance of seven months during a period of three years and the last time he ever attended school the term was abruptly concluded by reason of the teacher, Mr. Graham, killing Mr. Cooper at a horse race. That thrilling episode marked the year 1 857 and terminated his educational advantages. However, through self-culture he has acquired a broad knowledge of men and things and is particularly well informed regarding the soil and agricultural possibilities of the region. On settling in California the family secured all of their supplies from General Vallejo, who also presented them with thirty-two acres of raw land. This trace the father traded for cattle and removed to Dry creek, where he has since planted a vineyard and engaged in raising grapes. In sight of this same ranch Richard R. has made his home for fifty-two yeas and at this writing makes a special feature of raising grapes. He owns the old Davenportort Cozzens place of thirty acres. As a citizen he favors movements for the general welfare and particularly fosters all enterprises for the horticultural development of the region.

Among the pioneer whom Mr. Patten remembers with especial pleasure is Davenport Cozzens, who came to California about 1856-57 and engaged at first in selling poultry. To that man belongs the distinction of being the first resident of the county to engage in the manufacture of wine, and likewise the first pioneer to erect a store in Geyserville, before this he also operated a store in San Francisco. At this time his son, Davenport Jr., is proprietor of a store at Cozzens, where he erected a building utilized as a postoffice. From early pioneer days that family has been prominent in the county and Mr. Patten recalls with interest many characteristics of the first of the name here. The bonds that united pioneers were closely knit and time has not lessened their feeling of affection for one another, but in the heart of every early settler there lingers a feeling of deepest regard for those who with him shared hardships, trials and countless vicissitudes in the effort to bring out the civilization and refinements of the present era.

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