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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


George Rielly

Born in County Kings, Ireland, March 7, 1851, George Rielly inherits the characteristic energy and ability of the nation to which he belongs, having added to his native qualities whose which accrue from an American citizenship. He was reared and educated in his native land and, when little more than a boy, when only sixteen years old, had become sufficiently accomplished as a stonecutter to work as a journeyman. He had worked at his trade altogether about three years when, at the age of nineteen, he set sail for the United States, and in due time arrived at the port of New York. Finding work at his trade in that metropolis, he remained there until the spring of 1872, when he came as far west as Chicago, and there, as in the east, sought and found work at his trade. He continued to work at his trade in the employ of others in that city for about ten years, when he branched out as a contractor on his own account, supplying the stone for the buildings which he erected from his own stone-cutting plant. At the time his was the largest plant of the kind in that city, and was equipped with every device then known to the trade. Many fine buildings had been erected under his immediate supervision, and a large business was under way when the fire of 1903 destroyed his plant and ended his career in that city.

From Chicago Mr. Rielly went to Lewistown, Mont., where he continued work at his trade, and one of the finest specimens of his handiwork may still be seen in the fine bank building which he erected there of native stone quarried near the city. He has used Bedford limestone brought from Indiana in some of the fine buildings which he has erected in late years, finding it more durable and satisfactory than other grades of stone formerly used. It was with the accumulated experience of many years in the east and middle-west that Mr. Rielly came to California in 1906 and settled in Santa Rosa in the spring of that year, immediately following the disaster of the earthquake and fire. Much of the construction of the new city is the work of his hand and brain. The first concrete building erected after the fire he constructed for Mr. Marcille, and he also built the Mitchell Hall building, of re-inforced concrete, a row of ten stores on Third street, the foundation for the Masonic Temple on Fourth street, and the granite work for the new court house, including the steps and foundations. All of the foregoing is in Santa Rosa, while in Sebastopol he has erected a bank building that is said to have no superior in point of architectural beauty and utility combined in the state. In addition to maintaining a granite-cutting plant which is equipped with all the latest improvements in power machines, planers, etc., he also has a plant for the manufacture of sewer pipes and cement block used in erecting business structures. One of the contracts filled from his plant was an order for seven thousand five hundred feet of sewer pipe for the city. Mr. Rielly has just completed the George Prindle building, consisting of three stores on Fourth street, also the addition of the Elite Theatre in Santa Rosa, and is now erecting three stores in Sebastopol for Robinson Brothers. These buildings are constructed of concrete blocks manufactured in his own plant.

In 1873 Mr. Rielly was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Boland, who, like himself, was born in Ireland. Seven children have been born to them, as follows: Mary, John, Elizabeth, Margaret, Catherine, Lucy and Sarah. Mr. Rielly is identified with only one social order, the Knights of Columbus of Santa Rosa. No better evidence of his satisfaction with this city as a place of residence could be cited than the fact that he has recently completed a fine residence for his family at the corner of Laurel and Olive streets. This is representative of the best and most durable work turned out by Mr. Rielly, and in keeping with his policy of late years he has used Bedford stone in the construction of the basement and granite for the steps.

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