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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Achille Ricioli

The dairy business has been one of the important factors entering into the material development of Sonoma county, with the poultry industry a close second, scarcely less enormous in volume and not less significant of success in the gratifying amount of its profits. To both of these occupations Mr. Ricioli devotes considerable time, and from both he is in receipt of large annual returns, representing a fair return for his investment of capital and labor. The ranch which for years he has occupied consists of five hundred and seventy acres, owned by the different members of his family, a large part of which is in pasture, a considerable area in meadow, and the balance in farm crops suited to the soil and climate. Five head of horses are kept on the ranch and used in the cultivation of the soil. One thousand chickens being in their moneyed returns and seventy head of cows and young cattle are large elements in making the ranch profitable to its proprietor. The land lies six and one-half miles from Petaluma, on Rural Route No. 5 out from that city, which is not only the postoffice for the family, but also the market for supplies and for the delivery of the farm products.

Born in canton Ticino, Switzerland, in 1866, Achille Ricioli was one of four children, the others benign Joseph, Charles and Olivia. The parents, John and Marie (Zanini) Ricioli, were native of Switzerland, the former born in 1826 and the latter in 1828. As early as 1852 the father had visited the United States and had landed in San Francisco, from which place he went out into the state, earning a livelihood in mining and farming. On his return to the old country he had married and established a home, devoting his attention to the earning of a fair living for his family. His son Joseph married Irene Selaci and became the father of four children. The daughter, Olivia, Mrs. Victor Lafranchi, had a family of five sons and five daughters, namely: Guildo, Alfoneo, Fredileno, Adolph, Achille, Virginia, Retai, Amelia, Erma and Irene.

A common-school education secured in the schools of his native land prepared Achille Ricioli for the intelligent management of business affairs, while under the training of his parents he was prepared for earning a livelihood with thrift, economy and perseverance as helpful agents in the struggle toward success. At the age of sixteen years he started out to earn his own way, coming direct to America and landing at New York City, whence he traveled by train across the continent to San Francisco. On his arrival in Sonoma county he secured employment as a ranch hand and always he has followed farm pursuits, with dairying as a specialty. During the early period of his residence here he devoted some attention to hunting and always found great pleasure in the sport, but since game has become less plentiful he has been less ardent in his efforts as a Nimrod. As soon as he became a citizen of the United States he began to vote the Republican ticket and always since ten he has been stanch in allegiance to the principles of the party. Reared in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, he has been a consistent supporter of its missionary work and a loyal adherent to its doctrines.

Not a little of the success enjoyed by this Swiss-American citizen is due to the wise and earnest co-operation of his wife, who was formerly Mrs. Matilda Respini, born in Switzerland in 1861 and a resident of California since 1870. She was the only daughter of Joseph and Josephine Traversi, natives of Switzerland, and in very young womanhood she was married to Michael Respini, who was born in Switzerland in 1850 and immigrated to California in 1866, settling in California, where he met and married Miss Traversi. Three children blessed their union, but the later union with Mr. Ricioli was childless. The three Respini children are Camelo, Robert and Irene. The daughter married Amedeo Morelli and they and their two children, Camelo and Alvin, make their home at Petaluma.

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