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Author: Sean Bressie

How Mark West Creek got its name

By ARTHUR DAWSON / Special to Towns  Press Democrat story... ** Posted here at the SCHS website for informational and research purposes only. ** Mark West Creek flows from its headwaters in the Mayacamas to the Laguna de Santa Rosa near Forestville. Its name recalls one of the first families to settle Sonoma County in Mexican times. As a young man, William Mark West left England to work as a ship’s carpenter. Reaching Mexico’s Pacific Coast in 1825, he stayed for seven years, long enough to learn the language and culture. Then he headed north to the territory of California. Read more

Support the Rural Cemeterey

THE RURAL CEMETERY, the tree-shaded historical treasure on Santa Rosa's Franklin Avenue, requires a lot of attention. The cemetery is the community prize it is because of the care it receives from volunteers on the Preservation Committee. This group also puts on a grand party. Preparations are quickening for the Historical Ball that is coming July 20 to Mableton, AKA the McDonald Mansion. It's an opportunity to dress from the era of 1830 to 1930, take a dance lesson under the stars, tour the gardens, enjoy an elegant meal and watch a hat fashion show arranged by hostess Jennifer Webley's Portobello Hats. Chris Smith - The Press Democrat


Visit the new West End Farmers Market and stop by to say "Hello!"

When you visit the new West End Farmers Market in Santa Rosa don't forget to stop at the historical society's booth. The new market (10 AM to 2 PM) is held on Sundays from June 23 through October 27, 2013. The market is on Donahue Street just north of Railroad Square. Our booth is right next to the famous De Turk Round Barn, recently restored by the City of Santa Rosa. Stop by and say "Hello!" Jeremy Nichols, President Sonoma County Historical Society

Call for Historic Photos of the Carrington Ranch

Carrington Ranch
The Sonoma County Ag Preservation and Open Space District, is looking for historic photos of the Carrington Ranch a 335 acre parcel along Highway 1 just  a few miles north of Bodega Bay (where Coleman Valley Road forms a T with Highway 1). The two-story ranch house was built between 1857 and 1862 and may be the second oldest structure on the Sonoma County coast, save Ft. Ross.  The house, along with its outbuildings and the windbreak foliage that surrounds it, are eligible for inclusion on the federal National Register of Historic Places. Read more

The rebirth of Ya-Ka-Ama

In 1969, a group of Native Americans declared that surplus U.S. land should revert to the tribes and occupied Alcatraz Island to make their point. Some were from Sonoma County, which has a population of 10,645 Native Americans according to the 2010 census. Indians across the country were galvanized and also began occupying surplus government land. Read full story at

Sheep return to central Cotati

The city of Cotati, which purchased the Veronda-Falletti Ranch in 2008, has recently partnered with Split Rail Family Farms of Penngrove to reintroduce a flock of sheep to the old farm on West Sierra Avenue. City officials say the animals are a reminder of Cotati's agricultural past...  Read full Story on

Local Govt. still required to answer requests for public records in 10 days..

The legislature has passed a bill that ensures local governments will still be required to answer requests for public records in 10 days or give reasons why they need longer. This requirement was made optional in the latest budget bu public outcry caused it the be reversed. The newspaper article says noting about the proposal to charge a fee to access the records. Read story...

SCHS Board Meeting Minutes – 6/19/2013

Sonoma County Historical Society Minutes Sonoma County Library Annex Wednesday, June 19, 2013

  Board Members Present: Jeremy Nichols, Lee Torliatt, Tony Hoskins, John Schubert, Jeff Tobes, Sean Bressie, Jim Shere, Joann Mitchell, Guy Smith, and Kathy Fitzpatrick Absent: Harry Lapham, Marj Torliatt Call to Order:  Jeremy called the meeting to order at 6:25pm Minutes:  Tony motioned, Kathy second, unanimously approved the May meetingminutes. Thank you Laura!   Treasurer’s Report:   Jeff distributed the Income/Expense report for May 29, 2013 - June 19, 2013. Tony motioned, John second, unanimously approved the Income/Expense report.   Jeff also shared the financial summary for the June SF History walk. This year’s walk showed a profit of $1,086.98! A total of 113 walkers started out for the 25 mile walk. 108 walkers completed the trek. The group went a little over 25 miles - 26.5 miles to be exact. Extra maps of the walk were handed out to board members.   Membership Report:  Due to Marj’s absence - Lee reported the membership report on her behalf. Currently we have 594 members. Total number added from this year’s walk = 74. Marj has sent out 136 renewal letters to members whose membership will be terminating. 2014 Annual Lunch: Lee reports for Marj confirming the reservation has been submitted to the Flamingo Resort for next year’s luncheon. Date is set for March 23, 2014. Marj will present menu choices at next meeting. Board members are asked to think about a speaker for the luncheon. Archivists/Journal Editor Report:  Lee is working on several stories for the next Journal issue. He plans to include a piece on the recent History Day walk, Civil War topics such as how Sonoma County was affected by the Civil War and a piece on John Goete Pressley - Confederate soldier. Story of shooting in 1935 Sonoma County of Police Chief by Al Chamberlain is topic of book - Race (or Rage? Can’t read my notes!) of Honor by Denny Peticart (sp?)   Lee will be giving talk on Watson School at the Watson School on July 12, 2013 President’s Report:  Jeremy reports the re-installation of the Brewster tombstone will take place on July 20th Cleanup of the Chanate Historic Cemetery is planned for July 15th - 18th by the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corp. John Ryan has volunteered along with 8-10 peoples for the project. Local Areas:  Russian River -  John reports the annual Bohemian Show (Monte Rio Variety Show) is planned for July 25th. The Russian River Historical Society September newsletter will have a story on Duncan’s Mill School. A clean up of Duncan’s Mill cemetery is planned. John also requested he would like to nominate Cheryl Parmenter (sp?) for one of the 2014 Annual Luncheon awards for her work on clean up and mapping of the cemetery. PCAM -  Guy reports PCAM is doing fine - looking to expand in future. They also are busy gearing up for this year’s air show in August. A benefit will be held at Georgetown for the Healdsburg Museum on July 21, 2013. Glen Ellen -  Jim reports the recent panel discussion at Mayflower Hall on winemaking went very well. DVD’s of the panel will be available for purchase in a couple of weeks. The next panel discussion topic planned is History of Music in the Valley. Date and location TBD. QR code set up is being done around Glen Ellen and Jack London Village. The restoration of Jack London Village is still under way. An impromptu discussion was held on ideas to preserve legacy. Jim is looking for ideas/suggestions for his monthly column. Petaluma - No report - Due to recent resignation of Ken Nugent. Board members are asked to think about another person to fill Ken’s position. Suggested someone from Petaluma area? Committee Reports: Website: Sean reports ongoing posts to keep home page updated and newsworthy. Photo contest winners from History Day walk will be announced and posted on the website in a couple of weeks. Total number of photos submitted to the contest: 17 adult entries and 1 student entry. Heritage Network: Next meeting is planned for Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 10am. Location: Marshall House in Guerneville. Signs directing will be out on Armstrong Road. Old Business: History Database:  Joanne reports she continues to not have much success in reaching any contacts from previous listing. She is attempting to contact Dan Markwyn however she has not had any response yet. Is wondering if we need to start back at square 1?   Fees for Records Research:  Joanne reports this issue has been currently dropped by the State Legislature. Not enough funds in the state budget so the issue was not pushed through. Letterhead/Envelopes/Business Cards: Jeremy researched the cost of color business cards = 500/count for $8.50. Jeremy will email board members with any additional information on the print job. West End Farmers Market: Time for the booth at the market is 10am - 2pm. Discussion on possible fee waiver since SCHS is a non-profit. It was decided not put any info of the WE Farmers Market on SCHS website until the issue on fees is addressed. Jeremy plans to be at booth - if any board members are interested in helping out - please notify Jeremy. San Francisco Bus Trip:  Ken Nugent was beginning the organization of trip. A new leader will need to take over due to his recent resignation. Annual Picnic:  Spector/Kling/Lapham Ranch in Occidental on Sunday, 09/08/2013 11am - 3pm. Harry has been in contact with Harvey Henningson to give talk on Sturgeon’s Mill and their upcoming anniversary. Sean’s video of the tree take down on the Ranch by Guy & Company will be shown. Jeff suggested the History Day winners be invited to present at the picnic. Two students from PHCS and Stacy Olson (National winner) selected with payment of $25/student ($75 total) be given at the picnic to them for presenting to SCHS members in attendance. Lee motioned, Joanne second and the board unanimously approved. New Business: 100 Year anniversary: 2015 marks the 100 year anniversary of the 1915 Treasure Island World’s Exposition. Jeff suggested we celebrate this milestone as great men of the time gathered at the Exposition - Luther Burbank, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Jeff will do a rough draft letter and forward to Jeremy for review. Board Member Resignation:  Sadly, Ken Nugent has resigned from his duties on the SCHS board. Jim suggested a card be sent to Ken from the board thanking him for his services. Ray Johnson was suggested to replace Ken. Jeff will ask if he is willing and able to commit to the board. Royal Visitor:  Tony has a young German friend, Duke Alexander of Mecklenburg, who will be visiting at the end of the month. Tony shared his royal ancestors which include the Russian Tsars who ruled during the Fort Ross period of 1812-1841. Next Board Meeting:  Wednesday, July 24th 6:15pm at the Library Annex Please email Jeremy to add any items to the meeting agenda. Respectfully submitted by Kathy Fitzpatrick, Secretary

One year reprieve from research fees

Sonoma County Historical Society's board member Joann Mitchell reports that the proposed $10 court records search fee appears to be absent from both state House and Senate budget proposals.  We see this as a win! ...for at least one more year, and free from a records research charge at the county.

In the News: Long Overdue - Libraries remain closed on Mondays and evenings

bohoStacksNorthbay Bohemian: Dr. Carmen Finley, a retired research scientist and genealogist, still remembers the "Juvenile Hall" of the Santa Rosa public library. During the 1930s, her mother worked at a shop near the library, dropping her off every day before work. "I have such fond memories," Finley says, recalling that the children's librarian "taught me how to write my name before I entered school so that I could get a library card." More...