DeLUCCHIs and DONHAMs of Novato and Petaluma, California

The DeLUCCHIs and DONHAMs of Novato and Petaluma, California
by Scott T.S. Trimble
written 8 March 1995, revised 21 March 1995;
published in "The Marin Kin Tracer", Vol. 18, No. 2, 1995;
and also in "The Clay County Researcher", Vol. 16, No. 2, 1995.
revised for the Internet 3 Jun 1995
edited to protect privacies 29 March 1999

The MeadowsThe Marin Independent Journal's "Time Exposure" (8 Jan 1995, page C2) recently published a picture of The Meadows in abt 1978. The Meadows was a bar located in Novato (Ignacio), Marin County. Today there is a Shell Gas Station standing at that spot. Between about 1937 and 1955 the Meadows was run by Alfred William DeLUCCHI. My grandmother, Genevieve Mignon (DONHAM) DeLUCCHI, worked there too when she was married to Al in the early 1940s. She remembers getting up early every morning to open the bar at 6:00 in the morning. She usually worked the first half of the day and Al worked the second half, closing the bar that night. They lived in the rooms upstairs. At one time, the rooms upstairs were occupied by Al's sister and brother-in-law Stella and Edmund PODESTA. The bar was busiest on days when the men at nearby Hamilton Air Force Base got their paychecks. Frank GALLI and his father ran Galli's Restaurant next-door. He would close early on those days to help out at the bar.

Alfred William DeLUCCHI was born 2 Jul 1915 in Novato. He was the son of Ferdinand DeLUCCHI and Laura SOLARI. His father, who was known as "Fred", was the Novato town constable. He was well-known for giving out speeding tickets. He would wait beside the highway in his white Mercer and catch the San Franciscans speeding on their way north for the weekend. Mary UNGENASCH's book, Novato Township: Land Grants to World War II, reports that he would take the culprits to Judge RUDOLFF at the Novato French Cheese Factory (owned by the judge) where they would be fined $5 and given a box of cheese. Frank GALLI says that the Old Town section of Novato was paved with the fines that Ferdinand DeLUCCHI collected! Frank also said that Ferdinand, "literally put Novato on the map". Novato was a very small town back then and one could pass it without even noticing. But, after awhile, everybody going north knew about Novato and the speeding tickets from Ferdinand DeLUCCHI.

Jackie MOORE, a Novato historian, said that at Halloween the children used to like "to devil him". They would be up to trouble at one end of the street, attracting Ferdinand over there. Once he shooed them away, other kids would be doing things at the opposite end of the street. They would do this repeatedly. Ferdinand was a member of the Novato Masonic Club. He became a Steward of their Lodge of Instruction when it was begun in May 1923. Many remember his limp that was the result of some accident.

Ferdinand was the son of Augustino DeLUCCHI and Maria OLIVERI. He had siblings: Frederico Augustino (also known as "Fred") DeLUCCHI, Mary NAVE, Julia PEZZI, Sarah ROSSI, Virginia VALLE, Colorinda SOLARI, and Adele DENTONI. They were all from the small town of Varese, in Ligure, Genoa, Italy. The father, Augustino, immigrated to either New York or San Francisco first, and worked there for awhile. He then returned to Italy with the money he had earned. He did this several times before he had enough money to bring the rest of the family to the United States. His wife Maria did not want to go to America and died in Italy. Most of the family went to Stockton, California, while Ferdinand DeLUCCHI and Mary (DeLUCCHI) NAVE went to Novato. Mary's descendents were also prominent in Novato. She married Pasquale PIETRONAVE, also of Italy, who had changed his name to Peter NAVE. Their children were Louis J., Fred, William F., Katherine, and Mollie NAVE. Fred NAVE was elected as Novato constable, replacing his uncle Ferdinand DeLUCCHI. William NAVE and now his children own the Nave Shopping Center area where Nave Drive and Nave Bowling Lanes are located at.

Augustino, who was the son of Dominick DeLUCCHI, had a sister named Rosinga DeLUCCHI and a brother John DeLUCCHI who came to America also. John married Louise BURRONE and had eight children: Peter, Lydia, Charles, Daisy (m. BARRY), Tessie, Frank, Stella (m. Al MILLIKIN), and Linda DeLUCCHI. Many of their descendents are also in this area.

Two of Augustino's children married SOLARIs. Ferdinand married Laura SOLARI and Colorinda married Louis SOLARI. Laura and Louis were children of Stephanie SOLARI and Carmelita SOLARI. There were also siblings: Edith, Louise, and Frank SOLARI. Laura and Ferdinand had three children: Alfred William, Stella, and Lena DeLUCCHI. Lena (who married Frank CARRARO) believes that Carmelita's maiden name was also SOLARI and that she and Stephanie were distant cousins.

Alfred William DeLUCCHI married Genevieve Mignon DONHAM on 21 Jan 1940 in Petaluma, Sonoma County. Genevieve was the daughter of Melvin Roy DONHAM and Rose Marie HEIM. She had three older siblings: Eugene Melvin, Roy Lee, and Virginia Hope DONHAM. The children were born in San Francisco, but the family moved to Petaluma in abt 1924. There, Melvin ran a chicken farm at 510 Madison Street which had one acre of land that led up to the Petaluma River. They had apple orchards, blackberries, and over 100 chickens. Early each morning Melvin went to San Francisco to sell eggs door-to-door -- San Franciscans were very eager to buy fresh eggs from the farm. Today a Clover-Stornetta milk factory is located at the area of Madison where number 510 might have been, though I am told by a member of the Petaluma Historical Society that the house might still be standing.

Genevieve Mignon Donham, Petaluma High School, 1939 Genevieve was often in the floats during Petaluma's Egg and Butter Day Parades in April. There are many pictures of her holding chickens and rabbits or riding a huge chicken float. Many of the newspaper captions beneath these pictures described her as the "local beauty". In 1937 she was on the Sonoma County float in the parade that went across the newly-completed Golden Gate Bridge. Her sister Virginia also was in some of these pictures or riding on floats. Virginia was Miss Petaluma and became Miss Sonoma County on 4 Sep 1933. On 30 Jun 1935 she became Miss California and later that year the 1st Runner-Up for Miss America with a first place in evening gown competition.

Melvin's father , Ferdinand Lee DONHAM, also lived at the Petaluma farm, until his death in 1927. He is buried at Petaluma's Cypress Hill Cemetery. Gen remembers that he lived in an extra room that was separate from the house. Ferdinand was born 3 Mar 1851 in Clay County, Indiana. He was the son of Abijah DONHAM and Margaret DONHAM. Ferdinand married Florella Jane RECTOR on 4 Sep 1880 in Cory, Clay, Indiana. Florella, who went by "Jenna" or "Jennie" was the daughter of Enoch Mabury RECTOR and Elizabeth DONHAM. Thus Melvin had three grandparents who were born DONHAMs. Also, it has been discovered that Melvin's great-great-grandmother Mary SUTTON was probably the daughter of John SUTTON and Mary MARTIN, who was the daughter of Jonathan MARTIN and Elizabeth DUNHAM. Thus there were four lines of DONHAM or DUNHAM ancestry. The following chart shows those connections:

       England's House of DUNHAM
        I                      I
        I                      I
    Deacon John DUNHAM     (unknown) DUNHAM
        |                      |
    Benajah DUNHAM         Richard SINGLETARY
        |                      |
    Rev. Edmond DUNHAM     Jonathan SINGLETARY
        |                      |
    Elizabeth DUNHAM       Nathaniel DONHAM Sr.
        |                      |
    Mary MARTIN            John DONHAM
        |                      |
    Mary SUTTON + Nathaniel DONHAM Jr. + Keziah CROSSLEY
                |                      |________________
     ___________|        Thomas BROWN                 __|_________
    |                 + Mary Osborn BALL             |            |
    |                     ______|_____               |    Abel DONHAM
    |                    |            |              |  + Eliz. FERGUSON
    |           George BROWN      Rachel BROWN       |            |
    |  + Margaret Rebecca CONRAD  + James ARTHUR Jr. |    Abel M. DONHAM
    |              |                 |               |   + Matilda REECE
  John DONHAM + Eliz. BROWN  Sarah ARTHUR + Wm. DONHAM       |
              |                           |            Elizabeth DONHAM
             Margaret DONHAM + Abijah DONHAM       + Enoch Mabury RECTOR
                             |                             |
            Ferdinand Lee DONHAM + Florella Jane "Jenna" RECTOR
                    |                            |
              Melvin Roy DONHAM       Goldie Elizabeth DONHAM
Ferdinand, Goldie, and Melvin Donham.  Indiana, 1897.Ferdinand and Jenna had at least four known children, though only two lived beyond infancy. I have not found a death record for Jenna, but family legend says that she died in childbirth. She died after 21 Jul 1887 when an unknown boy was born, and before 1897 when on Deed Record 66, page 454, Ferdinand L. DONHAM was recorded as "unmarried". This deed was a transfer of land to from Ferdinand to his sister Melissa (DONHAM) JAMES, wife of Dr. Oliver JAMES. He probably sold the land at this time because this was when he left Indiana. This formal picture of Ferdinand, Melvin, and his other child Goldie Elizabeth DONHAM was taken about this time, when Ferdinand and Melvin were about to leave to the Alaskan Gold Rush.

Goldie, who was born 1 Sep 1886 in Jackson Township, Clay County, was approximately 13 or 14 years time her father and older brother left. On the 1900 census she was living with her maternal grandparents Enoch Mabury and Elizabeth (DONHAM) RECTOR. By 1915, when the World's Fair was in San Francisco, Goldie was living in San Jose with a Mrs. R.O. LANGFORD. She became an army nurse in the Great War and went to Europe. "The Cory Story", a historical publication from Clay County, printed the following excerpts from the Terre Haute Tribune which published her letters at the time.

Goldie Elizabeth Donham, granddaughter of Enoch Rector and a member of the Stanford University Hospital Unit, wrote to her aunt, Melissa James: "I must assure you, before going any farther, that any facts that I give you, is to impress on your minds, not criticism, but honor and reverence for the English people. Don't fail to appreciate the wonderful privilege of living in our beloved United States. Pray, love, work, sacrifice anything to save our country.

"He who said 'America is God's last chance to win this war' knew what he was predicting. Since arriving less than a week ago, I have come in direct contact with the results of the war. I never knew so many sad faces could exist. I never saw so many poor, ragged children. I never saw women so heroically doing such hard, degrading work. If only the American people could see for themselves what poor England is doing.

"I have visited five military hospitals since arriving here, and such pitiful sights as men without legs, arms, eyes, scarred faces, terrible wounds, everything terrible to make one hate the Germans, if possible, even more".

Later, after the Armistice was signed, she wrote again: "It looks as if peace has come at last. I have been in more or less of a dazed condition ever since the word came to us that hostilities had stopped. I never dreamed that the end was so near, and when it came I was quite unprepared for it. The only thought that came to me is, Thank God, no more mothers will have to give up their boys. Really the mothers are the ones that have made the heaviest sacrifices to win the war".

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. "The war to end wars" was over.

Mrs. James wrote in her diary: "November 11, 1918. Ideal day. Temperature, 35 degrees. A message came this morning that the Kaiser had surrendered. The whistles commenced to blow at 4 a.m. and at 10 a.m. the anvil at Cory began to boom. Bells and whistles made the old town of Cory lively. They rang the bell at the M.E. Church for one hour this forenoon. Nearly everybody from Cory went to Terre Haute tonight. At 8:30, Riley people came and gave us a demonstration. The people all around and about Cory met here, about 1,000 people. There were three drum corps and plenty of noise. Autos were draped, young and old were in the parade. They sang patriotic songs and then they left to go to Riley".

In 1919 San Jose, CA, Goldie married Lot Dean LOCKWOOD, son of Thomas D. LOCKWOOD and Albertina BROWN. Together they moved to Manila, Philippines. They had one daughter Martha Elizabeth LOCKWOOD. Goldie's obituary appeared in the Terre Haute newspaper on 27 February 1921, about seven months after her death, and The Cory Story confirms our family legend that Goldie died within a month after Elizabeth was born. Thus "Elizabeth" was probably born about June 1920. Sometime after Goldie's death Dean remarried to Bertha GARDNER, daughter of Charles GARDNER. Bertha had been previously married and had a daughter named Alice WILCOX who later married Frederick MARQUARDT. Dean, Bertha, and Elizabeth on Naushon Road, in Pasay (a suburb of Manila). Dean, who worked as a bank attorney, was known as "Judge LOCKWOOD" and he also co-owned a bus company. The family returned to the United States in 1940 and lived in Atherton, San Mateo County, CA, and Palo Alto, Santa Clara, CA. Apparently, Dean and Bertha were into racing horses and had a grand estate where the heart of Farlap was buried. Elizabeth LOCKWOOD later married Norman Elwood LAEDERICH.

Ferdinand and Melvin had left for Alaska about 1897 or 1898. According to Mervyn Clement CHIOINO and Virginia Hope (DONHAM) CHIOINO, they were in Colorado for a short while where Melvin washed dishes. When they got to Alaska they panned for gold at a place called Mary's Igloo, which is an Eskimo reservation today. All they had to eat up there were beans and ptarmigans. When they didn't strike it rich they ended up in San Francisco's Barbary Coast where Ferdinand ran a saloon. Melvin bartended and cleaned up while his father operated the place.


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