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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Dr. R. E. Perkins

There are many doors of opportunity open for the individual who has a great desire to advance in life and amount to something. There are those who are content to plod along the highways of tradition, walking in the footsteps of their forebears without thinking of the wonderful possibilities that lie within their reach. There are those who endeavor to accomplish something in the world of achievement, but because of faulty application of principles governing such cases, or because of the fickleness of Dame Fortune, they have to abandon the quest for a life work that is distinct, and these fall back into the mass of mediocrity. The third and last class comprises those who find that by the exertion of mind and body they can reach out and attain success, in spite of seeming defeat and failure; to this class belong those splendid, strong characters that have made our nation one of the best in the history of Time. In studying the life work of Dr. R. E. Perkins we are forced to admire this courageous man for the success that is his along the specific lines of work that he has chosen, for we well know that achievement such as his comes not without much effort and the exercise of those large qualities of mind and heart that are the hall mark of the true man.

Dr. R. E. Perkins was born in Cleveland, Ohio, December 5, 1858, a son or R. E. and Harriette (Standish) Perkins. The former, a native of Massachusetts, was shipbuilder and architect in Cleveland, and he designed and built the Michigan and Sherman, the first gunboats built for fresh water; during the Civil war he served in an Ohio regiment and died in 1873. Dr. Perkinsí mother, who is now a resident of Detroit, Mich., was born in New Hampshire. Dr. Perkins is the second oldest of a family of four children and received his primary education in the public schools of Cleveland. When he was thirteen years old is father moved to a farm near Parma, where the young boy found that he could study and associate himself with horses to his heartís content. He soon began studying with Dr. Stephens, a very successful veterinary surgeon, and afterwards began the practice of veterinary surgery on his own account. Still later he attended and was graduated from the Veterinary Science Association of Ontario. In 1875 he removed to Kansas, and after practicing in Rooks county for four years, returned to Cleveland, and in 1882 he removed to Albion, Boone county, Neb., where he accepted a position as foreman for Clarke Brothers, extensive breeders of Durham cattle.

In 1895 Dr. Perkins removed to Cloverdale, Cal., and eight months later he became manager of the John Brown Colony Company, but they failed in one year and he then located in Madera, Cal., and from there he went to Salinas. There he remained until the gold rush to the Klondyke in 1898, when he and three others set out to seek their fortune in the great Arctic expanse of Alaska. Crossing the Chilcoot Pass, they arrived in Dawson with fourteen hundred pounds of food between them. In Dawson Dr. Perkins was manager for the Arctic Meat Company and also practiced veterinary surgery and was interested in mining. This latter enterprise was successful and he returned to Salinas in 1900. Two years later he came to Petaluma and established what is today the largest and most complete veterinary hospital in Northern California, the location being on the old Brink Ranch, five miles out of the city. Here the enterprising surgeon soon had a large and lucrative practice, his fame and ability spreading to adjacent counties. In 1905, so large had his practice grown, he found it necessary to seek new quarters and forthwith purchased the present place on Main street, Petaluma. Here buildings have been erected, the land improved and additions to the equ9ipment have been made until now Dr. Perkins has the finest equipped veterinary hospital in the Bay region. No expense has been spared to make this institution perform a work for humanity in caring for the beasts of burden. A part of the equipment consists of an operating table and all the latest instruments for the performance of surgery. The place has accommodations for thirty head. Green alfalfa is raised in the adjoining field and five crops per annum are reaped and the product given to the sick animals. Dr. Perkins owns two fine stallions: Oseto W., by Wayland W. of the Wilkes strain, is the finest standard-bred stallion in the county; he also has an English Shire stallion, five years old and weighing nineteen hundred pounds. In addition to these he has several fine drivers. The practice of this versatile man extends to Sonoma, Sebastopol and almost to Santa Rosa, and he receives numerous cases from San Francisco.

Dr. Perkins has also originated and compounded a Wonder Salve that has proven very efficacious in the curing of eczema and sores from varicose veins, having cured many persons that were pronounced incurable, and thus being a benefactor to humanity in the alleviation of suffering.

Dr. Perkins was united in marriage with Miss Bessie Nicholas, a native of Parma, Ohio, and two children were born to the union: Cora, now Mrs. Jackson of Petaluma; and Nettie at home. Dr. Perkins is a member of the Petaluma Camp No. 515, Woodmen of the World, holding the position of manager of the same. Politically he is a Republican and adheres to the institutions of his native land. He and his wife are well respected in the community and have many friends. They are progressive, sociable and kindly in disposition and the future holds even a greater measure of success in store for these two people than has been theirs in the past.

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