WILLIAM HENRY KNOWLES.
In the veins of William Henry Knowles flows the blood of one of the state's sturdy pioneers of the year 1852. This
pioneer was his father, James Hume Knowles, who was born in England in 1831, and in 1852, when he was twenty one
years old, came to the New World practically penniless, and unaided and alone made his way to financial independence.
His first experience in the state was in San Francisco, whither he finally came to Sonoma county, and here the
remainder of his life was passed in agricultural activities. (A more detailed account of the life of this interesting
pioneer may be found on the preceding page.)
It was while his parents, James H. and Clara (Canfield) Knowles, were living on a ranch near Sebastopol, Sonoma
county, that William H. Knowles was born October 19, 1857. His schooling was obtained in the public school of Petaluma,
and at the age of nineteen he was ready to take up the serious duties of life. While attending school he had learned
considerable about ranching through the performance of his share of the chores on the home ranch, and at the age
mentioned it was with no little experience that he accepted a position with his grandfather. W. D. Canfield, as
a ranch hand, on a dairy ranch of eighty cows. This association continued for two years, when Mr. Knowles left
Bloomfield and went to Cazadero, where for the following fifteen years he was employed on the large ranch of eleven
hundred and twenty five acres owned by his father. This was maintained as a cattle and sheep ranch, ands on its
broad acres many hundreds of animals were raised and fattened for market.
Since 1894 Mr. Knowles has occupied his present property in Bloomfield section, where he owns a ranch of five hundred
and thirty acres of fine land, well adapted for both agricultural and dairy purposes. A considerable portion of
the land is used for dairy and stock purposes, and of the remainder thirty acres are in vines, which yield two
tons to the acre, and the same amount of land is in orchard, in which all the best varieties of apples are grown
especially. The maintenance of the ranch does not represent all of Mr. Knowles' activities, for in addition to
this he is the owner and proprietor of the well known Knowles Hotel in Sebastopol.
The marriage of Mr. Knowles in 1876 united him with Miss Mattie Field, a native of New York, and five children
were born to them, Mary, Nellie (deceased), Allie, William H., Jr., and James H., the latter named for his paternal
grandfather. Mr. Knowles is identified with but one order, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of Santa Rosa.
History of Sonoma County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1911
Sonoma County, CA
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