Stephen Akers


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"An Illustrated History of Sonoma County, California", The Lewis Publishing Company, 113 Adams St. Chicago, ILL, 1889, Page 736

STEPHEN AKERS No personal or local history of Sonoma County or this beautiful Sonoma Valley would be considered complete without a more than passing mention of the pioneer and representative man whose name heads this sketch. The facts, in brief, in regard to his life and advent into Sonoma County are of interest. Mr. Akers is a native of Patrick County, Virginia, and he dates his birth July 8, 1815. He is a descendant of one of the old families of the Old Dominion. Nathaniel Akers, his father, was a native of Franklin County, his mother, Elizabeth Akers, was also a native of Virginia.

Mr. Akers’ early life was spent upon his father's farm, receiving such an education as the common schools of that date afforded. Being of an ambitious and self-reliant disposition, he started early in life to seek his fortunes in the newer States of the West, and in 1831, at the age of sixteen years, he located in Saline County, Missouri, where he was engaged in fanning and stock-raising. In 1832 Mr. Akers joined a party of traders who made a trip through the southwestern Territories, this expedition extending into New Mexico. A company of United States soldiers accompanied and convoyed the trains, and established some of the frontier posts.

In 1834 Mr. Akers was united in marriage with Miss Leathu Snead, a native of Virginia. Mrs. Akers parents, Thomas and Cynthia (Penn) Snead, were descendants of the Penn colonists. Her mother was a direct descendant of the historic William Penn the founder of the colony. In 1850 the subject of this sketch started overland for California. This long and toilsome journey was accomplished by the typical ox teams of the period, and aside from the usual hardships encountered upon plains, mountains, etc., was devoid of any startling incidents. October 11, 1850, he arrived in Sonoma County and located in Sonoma Valley, and engaged in farming, etc., until the next year. He then purchased a tract of land about four miles south of the town of Sonoma and commenced his career as a farmer and stock-grower. The rich and fertile soil was then in its wild and uncultivated state, but the energetic and well directed efforts of Mr. Akers soon produced good results and ere long he had one of the representative farms of the section.

Although devoting his time principally to farming occupations he also engaged in other business enterprises, and in 1853, he, in partnership with Willis C. Goodman, established a general merchandise store at San Luis, better known as the Embarcadero, which business was successfully conducted for two or three years.

Mr. Akers is now (1888) the owner of 114 acres located on his original tract, at what is now Shellville, on the Santa Rosa and Carquinez Railroad, in the San Luis school district. Most of the land is devoted to general farming, producing hay, grain and stock. His land is well adapted to the varied products of Sonoma Valley, as attested by the fine fruits grown in his family orchard, and eight acres of vineyard which, in addition to producing wine grapes of the Zinfandel variety, also produces a large variety of table grapes.

For nearly forty years the subject of this sketch has been identified with the growth and progress of Sonoma Valley. His long residence, consistent mode of life, and sterling reputation have gained him the respect and esteem of the community in which he resides. In the earlier days he was called upon to take a prominent part in the affairs of the county, and in 1856 and 1857 was the supervisor of his district. In 1858 he was elected justice of the peace of Sonoma Township, a position which he held until 1854. He was a strong supporter of the public schools, and was one of the first school trustees of Sonoma, and for many succeeding years held that office, he is a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, was one of the charter members of Temple Lodge in Sonoma which was organized in 1851.

In political matters, Mr. Akers is a consistent Democrat of the Jeffersonian stamp. From the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Akers there are five children living: Harriet, Cynthia, Montgomery, Ellen, and Martha. Harriet married Richard Lyon, and resides in Sonoma. Cynthia is the wife of Willis C. Goodman, living in Sonoma County. Ellen married William Cassebohm (deceased]. She is now (1888) living under the parental roof.

Martha married Charles Hardy Dillon in Petaluma. Montgomery married Miss Mary Henderson, a native of Jackson County, Missouri.

From this marriage there are two children, Willie May and Stephen. Mr. Montgomery Akers and family are residing upon the old homestead, where he is associated with his father in conducting the farming operations. He is also the postmaster of Shellville, being the first postmaster ever appointed at this office which was established in 1888.