Biography of Charles A. Lauff
Marin County, CA Biographies





Charles August Lauff. This gentlemen and old pioneer, whose portrait appears in this work, was born at Strasburg, at that time a city of France, February 26, 1822, and was the youngest child of Jacob and Caroline Ashelmann Lauff. While yet an infant, his father died, and at the age of five years he came with his mother to New York City. With the exception of two years spent at his birth place, he remained in New York till he was nineteen years of age, when he shipped before the mast on board the bark "Byron," Captain Wilcox, master, for a cruise to the South Shetland Islands. At the end of eighteen months the vessel was wrecked while trying to make port during a heavy snow storm. He was soon after landed by another bark at Cape Horn, from which place he shipped on the bark "Warren," Captain Barnham, master, bound for Sitka and the north west whaling grounds, and at the end of her cruise, which lasted for six months, he came to San Francisco. This was in the Fall of 1844 He applied to Thomas O. Larkin, American Consul, for a transfer from the "Warren" to some coast vessel. He was transferred to the bark "Tasso," Captain Tibbey, master, a vessel engaged in the hide droghing business. At the end of three months he left this vessel and shipped in the bark "Pisquamnaa," Captain J. B. R. Cooper, master, and cruised as far south as Callao, engaged in tallow droghing. He returned to San Francisco from this voyage in 1845, and went at once to the Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio, Margin county, and engaged in whip sawing. He remained here until the breaking out of the Mexican war, when he enlisted under Colonel Thomas McLane, and served till the close of the war, being honorably discharged at Los Angeles. In the Fall of 1847 he was again in Margin county, this time at Ross' Landing, working for James Murphy, and remained in this vicinity till the gold excitement in 1848. He was among the first to go to Sutter's fort, and remained at Coloma for six months. He then returned to San Francisco, and engaged in piloting vessels up the San Joaquin river to. Stockton. He was the first man to take a vessel through what is now known as New river. He took one Chillanian ship. through to Stockton and received five hundred dollars gold coin for his services. He and two other men purchased a top sail schooner, paying ten thousand dollars for her, which amount they cleared on their first trip to Stockton. This is but one of the many fabulous fortunes which were made

"In the days of old, in the days of gold,
In the days of '49."

He continued in the piloting business till December, 1849. In the spring of 1850 he came to Bolinas for the purpose of getting out timber for the San Francisco wharves, having a sub contract under Hoff & Hatch. He remained here one year, when he started for the Trinity mines, but did not go all the way, having heard that they were a failure. He then returned to Bolinas, and soon after took' charge of Rafael Garcia's ranch in Mendocino county, where he remained one year. He then came to Fort Ross, Sonoma. county, and had charge of that ranch, for Benitz and Meyers. He then went on an extensive prospecting tour through the Coast Range Mountains. with the Kelsey expedition. We next find him, in 1856, in charge of the Rancho Punta de los Reyes, under Joseph McCorcle, where he continued for one year. In 1857 he purchased a squatter's claim near Olema, where he resided till 1862, when he purchased his present homestead in Bolihas. He now owns two hundred and ninety eight acres, and is engaged in dairying. Mr. Lauff is still as hale and hearty as at thirty, and is withal a very genial gentleman, ands a few hours spent with him while rehearsing the old pioneer experiences afford a very rare treat. He was married April 19, 1862, to Mrs. Maria J. Sebrean, daughter of Gregorio and Ramono Briones, who was born in Santa Clara, June 8, 1831. His children are: Joseph L., born August 17, 1856; Charles A., born March 27, 1861; Oscar, born June 26, 1863; Caroline, born January 24, 1866; Valentina and Julia, twins, born Febryary 16, 1868; Alfred, born May 20, 1869; Marcius, born October 16, 1870; and George, born November 17, 1872. Mrs. Lauff had by her former marriage two children: Mary Adaline, born February 9, 1850; and John, born June 8, 1852.

From:
History of Marin County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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