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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Charles Julius Poppe

One of the best-known and most prominent residents of Sonoma county is Charles J. Poppe, postmaster of Glen Ellen, and also one of its foremost merchants. Possessing a remarkable degree of push and energy, he has built up for himself, in the face of severe obstacles, an extensive and lucrative mercantile business; in the meantime winning the confidence and esteem of his fellow-associates. He takes great interest in the welfare of town and county, and is not sparing of his efforts to help forward any measure that is for the general public good.

A descendant of German ancestors and the son of parents who were born in the Fatherland, Charles J. Poppe was born in Sonoma county, Cal., November 21, 1853. The father is deceased, his death occurring in 1879, but the mother is still living, at the age of eighty-two years. Sonoma county has been the life-time home of Mr. Poppe, his first home being in Sonoma, where he attended school, and in which vicinity he later worked as a ranch hand, and in 1873 he established himself in the mercantile business in that place. With the experience of ten years as a merchant in Sonoma he came to Glen Ellen in 1883 and established himself in a similar business, one in which he met with increasing success from year to year until 1904, when he was overtaken by a series of disasters that would have undermined and overthrown the courage of a man less determined than Mr. Poppe. The first of these discouragements was a severe attack of typhoid fever, from while he recovered slowly, and the following year he suffered the loss of his entire stock by fire. But a few months later, in April, 1906, Fate dealt him another blow when the earthquake of that memorable year knocked down and totally destroyed a strong stone building which he had just completed in Glen Ellen. Not dismayed by the obstacles that have been placed in his pathway, Mr. Poppe has risen in spite of apparent defeat and is proprietor of another mercantile store, larger and more complete than the original stock. In 1890 Mr. Poppe was made postmaster of Glen Ellen, a position which he has since filled to the entire satisfaction of his superiors.

In 883 Mr. Poppe was married in Sonoma to Miss Caroline H. Martens, who was born in Callao, Peru, South America, and of the five children born of their marriage, the eldest son is deceased. Those now living are Amy E., who is attending school in Los Angeles; Edna E., who is a graduate of the Sonoma high school; Roberta A., who is a pupil in the latter school; and Carl I., who will graduate from grammar school in Glen Ellen in 1911. Fraternally Mr. Poppe is a member of Temple lodge No. 14, F. & a. M., at Sonoma, and is an active member of the Grange and at the present time is treasurer of Grange No. 299 of Glen Ellen. His interest in school affairs led to his election as clerk of the school board of Glen Ellen in 1884, a position which he has since filled acceptably. Proud of his right to be called a native son, he is an active member of the order, and since 1888 has filled the office of secretary of Glen Ellen Parlor No. 102, N. S. G. W. With his wife he is a member of the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellen, of which he is clerk and also treasurer. A life-long resident in Sonoma county, covering fifty-seven y ears, makes Mr. Poppe an interesting relator of events that have led up to the present epoch in the history of the county and state. He readily recalls to mind the time when Henry H. Haight was governor of the state, and he has watched the growth of Santa Rosa from the days when the plaza was the center of all activity, prior to the building of the court house, to its present prosperity, as one of the thriving cities of the state.

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