Biography of Owen Duffy
Napa County, CA Biographies





OWEN DUFFY.
During the past thirteen years Owen Duffy has satisfactorily filled a most important position as business manager of the Napa State Hospital, and has gained high prestige because of the able and judicious direction he has given to the business affairs of that institution. He is a native of the state of Nevada, born on the 15th of November, 1884, and is a son of Philip and Catherine (Maxwell) Duffy. The father was born in Ireland, from which country he emigrated in 1850, landing at New York city, where he remained for seven years. He then went to Missouri, where he engaged in farming and at the end of seven years, he again turned his face westward, crossing the plains with ox teams and arriving in Sacramento in 1865. The following spring he went to Lander county, Nevada, where he engaged in raising cattle, sheep and horses until 1901, when he sold his extensive holdings in that state and bought the John W. Grigsby ranch, on the Big Ranch road, on which he located and named it the Nevada Rancho. There he spent the remainder of his days, his death occurring August 24, 1917. He is still survived by his wife.

Owen Duffy was educated in the public schools and took a course in a business college. As his father's assistant on the home ranch he learned the lessons which have since been so valuable to him in his operation of the state hospital farm. He remained under the parental roof until July 1, 1913, when he was appointed to his present position and has since devoted himself indefatigably to the work of his department. He has developed and improved the hospital farms and has so managed the property that they now return a considerable profit to the state, besides producing all the vegetables, fruit, grain and other growing stuff that the hospital requires, as well as dairy products. This means much to a great institution like this and Mr. Duffy has been strongly commended for the splendid results which he has attained here.

In a history of Napa State Hospital it was said: "In the year 1913 Owen Duffy was appointed steward of Napa State Hospital. Some time later the legislature changed the title of the office to business manager. This did not materially change the duties of the office. It simply extended and broadened them and made for the greater efficiency of the various departments placed in that official's keeping. An expert in the handling of livestock, experienced in all kinds of farming, a splendid executive with the happy faculty of enlisting the enthusiasm of those under him in their work, Mr. Duffy has made an ideal business manager. He has not only discharged with great acceptance the duties of steward or business manager of Napa State Hospital, but he some years ago became superintendent of Napa State Farm (formerly Fry ranch bought by the state in 1911), and has made that a money saver in the matter of furnishing beef, mutton and pork to the Napa State Hospital, the Veterans Home at Yountville, the Sonoma State Home and San Quentin Prison in competition with outside firms and at a profit for the state. Napa State Hospital Farm consists of 1,912 acres, much of the land having been reclaimed the last few years. The orchard interests have under Mr. Duffy's direction, been extended and within a short time Napa State Hospital will have enough fruit of all varieties for its own population of twenty eight hundred and more people, and it will be able to supply other institutions, with the best the market affords along those lines."

Mr. Duffy married Miss Nellie Strohl, who was born in Texas, but was reared in Napa county. They are the parents of two children, Owen and Philip. Politically, Mr. Duffy is a stanch adherent of the republican party, and has always taken a commendable interest in public affairs, particularly such questions as affect the welfare and prosperity of his own community. Fraternally he is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and is a third degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He is a man of great energy and indomitable persistence, thoroughly understands his work and has proven himself eminently the right man for the place he is filling. He is friendly and genial and has won a host of warm friends throughout this locality.

From:
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
and Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1926


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