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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Samuel Walter Purrington

Numbered among the prominent and substantial citizens of Santa Rosa is Samuel Walter Purrington, whose thrifty ranch is one of the busiest centers in the agricultural community of which he is a resident. As a citizen he is held in high repute, and by his excellent character and straightforward business course in life he has fully established himself in the esteem and confidence of his neighbors and associates.

A native son of the state and also of Sonoma county. S. W. Purrington was born in Two Rock valley January 1, 1861, one of five children born to his parents. Joseph and Frances (Hogg) Purrington, natives of Mattapoisett, Mass., and England respectively. The father is now deceased, but the mother is still living and a resident of Santa Rosa, where she is beloved by all who know her for her kindness and fine traits of character. Of late years her health has not been as robust as formerly. She came from England in a sailing vessel and reached her destination after a voyage of sixteen weeks on the Atlantic. She and her companions crossed the Isthmus of Panama and there took steamer for San Francisco. Sixty of the passengers died of fever. For some time after her arrival in San Francisco she was matron of a hospital in that city. In the east Joseph Purrington had learned the trade of ship carpenter before he was sixteen years of age, and was industriously working at this trade in Mattapoisett, Mass., when the attractions of the west proved too strong to allow him to remain contented with the work at his trade any longer. The year 1853 found him emigrating to California via the Isthmus, and throughout his life he never had any regrets that fate turned his footsteps westward, where, in this land of opportunity, he realized the expectations of his young manhood. In San Francisco, in 1855, he was united in marriage with Frances Hogg, their union resulting in the birth of two sons and three daughters, as follows: Samuel W.; Henry L.; Elizabeth M., who married R. B. Sinclair of Graton; Elinor F., who married W. B. Tedford, of Santa Ana, Cal.; and Margaret, who married J. H. Ballard, of Graton. Henry Lincoln Purrington, the younger of the two sons, chose as his wife Nellie Wilber, and three sons and three daughters were born to them.

Samuel W. Purrington received such education as the common schools of Two Rock valley and Petaluma afforded, and early in life turned his thoughts toward the establishment of a ranch enterprise, thus following in the footsteps of his father in the choice of an occupation. Not far from Santa Rosa he has several ranches, in all about five hundred and twenty-two acres, of which one hundred and forty acres are in hops, forty acres in wine grapes, twenty acres in prunes, thirty acres in apples of the Gravenstein variety, eighty acres in hay, and the balance of the land is used for pasture and as a runway for his chickens. In his hennery he has about four thousand laying hens, besides three thousand young chicks, this one enterprise of itself being sufficient to occupy the time and attention of anyone less ambitious than is Mr. Purrington. His income from hops during the year 1909 was $20,000, the grapes bringing $1,500, prunes $1,500, while the sale of eggs and chickens this year amounted to $7,500. From these figure some idea of the enormity of the undertaking which Mr. Purrington is maintaining with such wonderful ability may be realized. His is the master hand that keeps all departments of the ranch running without halt or friction, and he abundantly merits the reputation which is his, namely that of being one of the most successful and versatile ranchers in Sonoma county.

On January 1, 1885, in this county, Mr. Purrington was united in marriage with Miss Louise H. Miller, a native of this county and a daughter of Thomas B. and Mary Ann (King) Miller, both pioneers of Sonoma county where they had lived since their marriage, which took place just over the line in Marin county. This had also been the home of Mr. Miller before his marriage, but Mrs. Miller had been a resident of Marin county. Mr. Miller passed away January 26, 1892, and his wife survived until January 9, 1904. The Miller family was of southern origin, and James P. Miller, the grandfather of Mrs. Purrington, was a native of Virginia, who served as second lieutenant of the Twelfth United States Infantry in the Mexican War; his wife, Charlotte (Bell) Miller, was a native of Tennessee. After the close of the Mexican war, Mr. Miller, with his two sons, Thomas B. and Gideon T., immigrated to California, locating in Placer county, where they opened a store of general mining supplies, but not meeting with the hoped-for success, the father returned to his home in the south in 1850. Thomas B. Miller was not so easily discouraged, however, and after this e experience came to Sonoma county in 1851, and engaged in farming near Sebastopol. From there he removed to Marin county, where he farmed until 1855, when he moved to Healdsburg, making that city his home until 1874, when he came to Santa Rosa and purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land five miles from town, on Santa Rosa creek, upon which he engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits throughout the remainder of his life. Of the children born of the marriage of Thomas B. and Mary Ann (King) Miller, we mention the following: James P. is a resident of Russian River; Charlotte E. is the wife of E. H. Parnell and resides near Graton; Thomas Boone is an extensive hop-grower in Russian River township; Louise H. is the wife of Mr. Purrington; Mary Alice is the wife of Alexander Ragle, of Eldorado county; Irene B. is the wife of S. E. Ballard and resides in San Jose; Josephine is Mrs. Spencer Grogan, of Santa Rosa; Laura E. is the widow of Thomas Barlow, of Sebastopol; Henrietta is the wife of F. Byron Chenoweth, of San Francisco; and Robert L. is deceased. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Purrington, a daughter and son. Edna Irena, born January 9, 1886, married Marion Morgan, of Morgan, Texas, and she died September 14, 1908; Joseph Miller was born May 31, 1887, and is a valuable assistant to his father in the care of the ranch. Mrs. Purrington is an intelligent and well-educated woman, a graduate of Pierce Christian College, and with her husband is interesting in upbuilding projects in the community in which they live. Both are members of the Christian Church of Santa Rosa. Politically Mr. Purrington is a Republican. Personally he is a man of high mental and moral caliber, no one in the vicinity of Santa Rosa bearing a better record for absolute sincerity and devotion to the highest welfare of his home city, county and 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