The following snippets of history were prepared by volunteers at the Western Sonoma County Historical Society. For more information about local history, go to the WSCHS website at wschs.org, or email comments or questions about this History Corner to Mary Dodgion at wschs.historycorner@gmail.com.

100 years ago — July 1920

Winery raiders must face court

William Lehn, the proprietor of the Forestville Winery, which was raided last Thursday evening by four youths from the Bay region, has sworn out complaints against the quartet, charging them with malicious mischief. One of the boys appeared before Judge Marvin T. Vaughan Wednesday and entered a plea of guilty. He was accompanied by his attorney, who asked to enter a plea of guilty for all four. Judge Vaughan, however, indicated that he desired the presence of the other three youths and set the case for Friday with instructions that the whole quartet be on hand at that time for sentencing. According to the officers, the boys were attempting to take a quantity of wine for their own purposes from the winery when they were surrounded by a posse of citizens and taken into custody.

75 years ago — July 1945

Juvenile grange is organized

A.C. Smith, district deputy, organized a Juvenile Grange in Sebastopol, July 2. The charter members are as follows: Susan and Dayle Purdom, Lois and Warren Johnson, Sharlene and David Thurston, Mary and Salvadore RE, Ruby and Sherwin Tarrington, George Todd, Raymond Williams, Wayne and Willis Sheldon, Jimmy and Warren Powers, Helen and Gladys Hanks, Carolien, Volkine, Anette, and Ralph van der Star, and Evelyn Hugill. Lucille Williams is Juvenile Grange Matron. The only order of business was the election of officers, followed by a party game then the Grange members joined the Subordinate Grange members for supper.

50 years ago — July 1970

Independence Day celebrations in west county

The City Parks and Recreation Dept and the Optimist Club will celebrate the Fourth with an old-fashioned outdoor vaudeville show in the park. The free evening show lasted over an hour, was emceed by Randy Myler, an Analy graduate. Phil Jones was a show stopper with his piano playing, singing, jokes and pantomime. Curt Wadman and Cynthia Stefenoni, both Analy graduates, and Libby Earons sang 1920’s songs to the accompaniment of Mary Ellen Burklund. Richard Penryn-Lowe, another Analy graduate, acted as a straight man in the vaudeville routines.

Monte Rio’s 9th annual Water Carnival started with the flotilla at sundown on the Russian River. The flotilla is under the direction of Bob Siggins, with Gaylee Shuey, Russian River Rodeo Queen, acting as parade marshall. There will be no queen contest or pet parade this year but is expected to continue next year. Activities continue Sunday with a canoe race from Manning’s Beach to the Monte Rio public beach. Festivities will end with a baseball game at the Monte Rio School.

Sebastopol Jaycees are sponsoring a July 4 program in front of the Veterans Memorial building. According to Bud Robbins, the guest speaker will be Herb Lukas, Sebastopol mayor, Rev. Ron Cundall, Hessel Union Church will give The simple ceremony will commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

St. Sebastian’s Church held the annual Fourth of July celebration where almost 500 members and friends attended the festivities. Entertainment by the Ballet Folklorico of Sonoma County and Mexican group performed customary dances. Games, music from the choir and food were provided. This annual event was started in 1965 by Father’s Fleming and Sullivan after a large influx of new members.

Happenings at West County Museum:

What have you been doing during our stay in place (SIP)? I have been working on my family tree in the French area. While I do not speak French, I know key words in French documents, which can lead me to the ancestors in my tree. While French is pretty much a foreign language, the internet and websites of fellow genealogist make this not so foreign. One source I have discovered is Facebook. While many of us are familiar with Facebook as a social media site to keep in touch with our loved ones while we are kept in place, it is also a valuable avenue for searching for ancestors. I have found that French people, and I am sure many other areas, are also staying in place and are using this time to help others in understanding and translating documents. French birth, marriage and death documents of the various Archive Departments are available to view online. If you are interested in French genealogy or any other area consider a Facebook search, or contact me for help.

The West County Museum on behalf of the WSCHS submitted an application to California Revealed granted by the California Library System, who would award preservation grants to digitize audio or audio visual recordings and text data. We are happy to tell you that we have been awarded both of our submissions. The first is the Oral History audio recordings of local towns’ people taken by our volunteers. The collection of the Sebastopol Grange minute books from 1906 – 1945 have also been awarded the digitizing project. The Oral History collection includes over 65 recordings of some of our kindly remembered town members recalling many elements including the railroad system, the apple industry, and town events and organizations. The Sebastopol Grange books, never before seen by the general public, reveal many important events happening worldwide and how it affected our town.

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