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A Suntl &itnr*g of 

iiarttt md j&otumrn tomi w& 





CHURCH in the U. S. A. 

WARREN H. WILSON, Superintendent 

HERMANN N. MORSE, Investigator 

156 Fifth Avenue, New York City 


A Sunti &iirti*g of 
anb Sonoma 




CHURCH in the U. S. A. 

WARREN H. WILSON, Superintendent 

HERMANN N. MORSE, Investigator 

156 Fifth Avenue, New York City 




General View of the Religious Situation 5 


Organization and Work of the Protestant Churches 12 


Presbyterian Fields in Marin, Sonoma and Lake Counties 19 


The Public School System 26 


Social Resources and Characteristics 30 


Economic Resources . 34 




This survey was the second undertaken by the Country Church 
Work of the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions within the 
bounds of the Synod of California. The first is discussed in the 
Bulletin, "A Rural Survey of Tulare County, California." This 
survey of a portion of the territory of Benecia Presbytery was made 
on much the same lines. The brief discussion which follows 
should be considered in relation to the more extended treatment of 
Californian conditions in the earlier publication. 

Marin and Sonoma Counties are the southernmost of the Coast 
Counties lying north of San Francisco Bay. The configuration of 
both is very uneven, a succession of mountain and hill ranges with 
intervening valleys of varying sizes. The commanding topo- 
graphic feature of Marin County is Mount Tamalpais. The back- 
bone of Sonoma County is a broad valley running almost due north 
and south through its entire length, a distance of sixty miles or 
more, with a varying width of up to twenty-five miles. Scattered 
through both counties are many creeks and rivers, the largest being 
the Russian River. There is much that is scenically attractive 
here, although nothing about the scenery is so remarkable as the 
utter complacence of the inhabitants with respect to it. 

Since Drake first landed on the Marin Peninsula in 1579, six 
different flags have been raised over this territory, parts of it at 
least being successively claimed by England, Spain, Russia and 
[exico, later being for a short time an independent republic and 

finally a part of the United States of America. There are some - 
interesting relics, particularly at Fort Ross, where the Russians 
built a fort and a church in 1811, and at Sonoma City, where can 
be seen the last of the great chain of missions, built in 1823, and 
the flagpole where several decades later Fremont first raised the 
Bear flag of the Republic of California. At San Rafael too was one 
of the last of the original missions, established in 1817, of which 
there are now no visible remains. 

The Protestant Church faces a task of special difficulty. In 
addition to the usual problems incidental to religious work, there 
is here a group of vexing special problems arising out of the nature 
of the population dealt with and the general social and economic 
situation. First we may notice the problems of the suburban 
church. These are chiefly the problems of instability of popula- 
tion and division of interests. The suburban communities, par- 
ticularly the newer ones, have a relatively insecure hold upon their 
residents. There is a good deal of shifting of residence and many 
who do not actually move have it constantly in mind that they may 
do so, which state of mind is reflected in their attitude toward local 
activities and institutions. The average suburban community is 
not characterized by the same degree of neighborliness which one 
would expect in a non-suburban community of equal size. The 
residents by reason of their intimate connections with the city have 
very much less in common locally, as regards business interests, 
personal associations and general social life. There are various 
interests working counter to the interests of the local churches. 
Many nominally church people have a measure of attachment to 
some city church and hesitate to align themselves with the local 
church. The Sunday amusement problem, very important in all 
parts of the State, is particularly so in certain of the suburban com- 
munities. Numbers of people live in such communities as Belvi- 
dere, Sausalito, Mill Valley, primarily in order that they may have 
an opportunity to enjoy certain of their favorite recreations on 
Sunday, as for instance, yachting, golf, tennis, tramping, etc. If 
it were not for these amusements, they probably would not be 
living in these communities. Every Sunday witnesses a great in- 
flux of visitors from the city, which has the effect of interfering 
with the church attendance of some who might otherwise attend 
and of providing a perfectly good excuse for many others. Then, 
of course, the tired business man is the regular week-end -bugaboo 
of most urban and suburban communities. 

Owing to the very meager support which religious work has 



received in these towns in the past and the many obstacles in the 
way, the methods of the Protestant church here have been chiefly 
characterized by a lack of those elements which alone would seem 
to give hope of success. Such are coherence and defmiteness of 
organization, and continuity and definiteness of program, the lack 
of which makes the work rather aimless and haphazard. In these 
fields where, above all others, work along broad lines seems neces- 
sary, there is a very narrow conception of the function of the 
church in the community, and a woeful lack of any community 
effort or interest on the part of the church. In so shifting a popu- 
lation a persistent and wise evangelism would seem to be a neces- 
sary adjunct of organization, but it is almost totally absent from 
the work of these churches. One would infer that either our 
church organizations as a whole have had no plan or program for 
the suburban church, or that they have had no hope for its future. 
All of these problems are thrown into clear relief by the work of 
one eminently successful church in this suburban territory, the 
First Presbyterian Church at San Anselmo. Hampered by an out 
of the way location, much too snugly under the wing of a theo- 

logical seminary, and equipped with a beautiful, but very inade- 
quately arranged church plant, this church, after a considerable 
period of dignified somnolence, has in the last few years given a 
convincing demonstration of what can be done in a suburban com- 
munity. The secret of it is no secret at all, but simply an adapta- 
tion of the usual methods of successful church work to the special 
situation outlined above. It stresses, first, organization. There 
is some definite working organization to fit every member in the 
church, and every church need. These include an efficient Sunday 
School, missionary societies and study classes, social, athletic, 
musical and other organizations. It has furthermore a well 
planned and executed financial program, which includes not only 
the local needs of the church, but various forms of community and 
denominational benevolences. The evangelistic note is definitely 
sounded, not only once a year, but as the keynote of the regular 
work. These things, in addition to the usual services and pastoral 
ministrations, unite to give the impression that this church is 
actually going somewhere, that it knows where that somewhere is 
and that it knows the way. In consequence the church is being 
built up in every department' of its activities, is making itself a 
friendly and helpful church home for an increasing number of peo- 
ple and in many ways is definitely impressing itself upon the life 
of its community. It is also the radiating center of a helpful in- 
fluence which extends to practically every community within 
reach. Outside of San Rafael it is the only Protestant church in 
the suburban district which has any considerable religious mo- 

There are very few churches in either county which do not have 
to face the problem of having in their communities a very consider- 
able foreign population of non-Protestant stock. The foreign 
population whose traditions are Protestant have their own churches 
in those towns where their numbers are sufficient to warrant this ; 
viz. San Rafael, Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Except in the case of 
the Irish, Scotch and English they do not very generally attach 
themselves to the American Protestant churches. Any special prob- 
lem as far as the European Protestants are concerned, however, 
generally solves itself in the second generation. 

The only definite Protestant religious work being done with 
non-Christian or Catholic foreign groups concerns the Orientals 
centered largely in Santa Rosa and San Rafael. But from every 
point of view the problem is more important in so far as it con- 
cerns the Italian, Swiss-Italian and Portugese groups, which are 

nominally Catholic. A very considerable number of these have 
practically or entirely broken the hold which the Catholic church 
has had upon them, and although they could not by any stretch of 
the imagination be considered Protestant, they are Catholic only 
in the most formal and external fashion, if at all. Many have iden- 
tified themselves with a form of socialistic propaganda which is 
definitely anti-Christian. Others with no noticeable antipathy to 
the church have merely divorced themselves from its influence. In 
so far as those of foreign birth remain good Catholics it is not de- 
sirable to attempt a Protestant work among them. But to have a 
very considerable element in the population, whether native or 
foreign, who have no church affiliations and who respond to no 
religious influences constitutes a very serious challenge to the 
Protestant church. 

This aspect of the religious problem is important in every com- 
munity and limits the possible growth of almost every church. In 
some communities the problem is more than important; it is abso- 
lutely vital. There are sections which had strong Protestant 
churches where these churches have been, or are being, practi- 
cally frozen out. It is difficult to say just what attitude toward 
this problem should be urged upon the church. In the opinion of 
the survey the time is probably not yet ripe to undertake any 
definitely evangelistic work among these groups with much hope 
of immediate success. The schools and the other social institutions 
must do their work of Americanizing them much more thoroughly 
before the way will be opened for any aggressive evangelism. In 
a few instances where evangelistic efforts have been made the re- 
sults have been exceedingly meager. But to neglect the problem 
altogether seems suicidal. It is possible for the church in con- 
junction with other community institutions to perform a very 
large function in the way of training them in American habits of 
thought and living. Anything that would enlarge the use of the 
English language in business, society and in the home, that would 
tend to level social and economic barriers, that would unite the for- 
eign and native groups in various forms of recreational and com- 
munity activities, or for the discussion of community problems, 
would seem to have a very real religious value. This is the type 
of preliminary work which might be done now to clear the way for 
.a more definite evangelism later, since a lack of understanding and 
a lack of points of sympathetic contact seem to be the chief ob- 
stacles between the Protestant church and these elements of the 



We are on very much the same ground when we say that 
in certain sections one of the chief religious problems is furnished 
by the nature of the industries practised there. We refer particu- 
larly to the wine grape and hop growing sections where the diffi- 
culty comes partly because these industries employ many foreign- 
ers and partly because certain moral questions have been raised in 
connection with the industries themselves. The very extensive 
prohibition agitation of recent years, much of which has been con- 
ducted along very narrow and unsympathetic lines, is largely re- 
sponsible for the present situation. In communities which are 
largely supported by wine grapes and hops the efforts to destroy 
those industries have created antagonism, not only between the 
church and the people directly engaged in them, but to some ex- 
tent also between the church and its entire community outside of 
the immediate church following. This antagonism has proven an 
almost insurmountable barrier to some churches. It is interesting 
to note in this connection that although we are generally told that 
the influence of those interested in the wine grape and hop in- 
dustries is against the church, there is quite a widespread tendency 
in some quarters to criticize the church which accepts them into 
its fellowship. We do not, of course, question the soundness of 


the prohibition cause, but merely call attention to the fact that 
the methods of its propagation have made a difficult problem for 
the church in the discharge of its primary functions. 

The church is bound to have more or less difficulty in any rel- 
atively new and rapidly developing country simply from the shifts 
of population. The early establishment of churches involves more 
or less an element of guess work as to where the centers of popu- 
lation will ultimately be and as to the type of industry and the 
extent of resources which ultimately will be developed in any par- 
ticular section. In addition to the churches which have been left 
stranded by the changes in the racial composition of the population 
about them there are quite a number of others which have been 
similarly affected by the shifts in numbers and in centers of in- 
terest. Since there is no longer very much question as to where 
the centers of population will be, we may suppose that the task 
of the future in this connection will be largely to keep abreast of 
the needs of a growing population in old or new communities, and 
to provide a measure of religious opportunity for the diminishing 
population of the few neighborhoods without much apparent 

Any catalogue of the special problems of the church here would 
be incomplete without mention of the unfortunate fact that very 
few of the communities in these two counties have any marked 
religious traditions or conscious religious background, at least in 
the Protestant sense. That is why one sees so much in the gen- 
eral current of the community life that is opposed to or indifferent 
to the things that the Protestant church stands for. This has many 
regretable results. A great many people who have had some re- 
ligious affiliations in places of previous residence upon arrival here 
do not unite with the local churches. The churches in general seem 
to feel that the main currents of the community's life set away from 
them. Reacting against this they have become rather less sympa- 
thetic in their attitude, less benevolent in their point of view and 
less broad in their program of work than would seem desirable. 
It is a pity that so sharp a line has been drawn between the church 

I and its interests and so many of the other interests of the com- 
munity, even in some cases between the church and its natural 
ally, the school. In addition to the particularly successful subur- 
ban church which we have already discussed there are in other 
parts of this territory a number of eminently successful churches. 
Without exception these are characterized by completeness and 

I adequacy of organization, by a persistent, rather than a sporadic, 


evangelism, and by a many sided community interest and service. 
There are, of course, other churches whose work meets with a 
varying degree of success, but there is a good deal of work that is 
relatively futile. These ineffective churches are characterized by 
a weakness of organization, by a futile type of occasional evangel- 
ism, by a lack of community effort or of continuity in it, by a nar- 
row point of view and a negative rather than a positive and con- 
structive message for the people about them. 





It is difficult to compute exactly the proportion of the popula- 
tion upon which the Protestant Church must depend for its re- 
cruits; As nearly as it can be estimated from various sources of 
information, outside of the cities of San Rafael and Santa Rosa, 
which will not be considered in the discussion of this chapter, the 
two counties contain an approximate Protestant population of 
35,000. The Protestant work includes 73 organized churches or 
definitely established missions and preaching points, counting 
everything with any claim to be called alive, except the various 
organizations of the Church ; of Christ Scientist. There is also a 
certain amount of Protestant religious work carried on apart from 
church organizations, chiefly in the form of union Sunday Schools, 
in some cases accompanied by Christian Endeavor Societies or 
prayer meetings. Such Sunday School work is maintained regu- 


larly in perhaps fifteen points in the two counties and not so regu- 
larly in a varying number of other points. Although San Rafael 
and Santa Rosa are not to be included in our discussion, we may 
note that San Rafael has five Protestant churches and Santa Rosa 
twenty-two. The Catholic Church has a very large following 
throughout both counties and practically every settled point is in- 
cluded in some established Catholic parish. 

A great many denominations are represented 'but quite a num- 
ber of them are confined to Santa Rosa, which specializes in re- 
ligious variations. Elsewhere the established denominations in- 
clude only thirteen generally classed as Protestant, the Seventh 
Day Adventists and the Roman Catholic. Compared with most 
rural sections this situation is simplicity itself. In Marin County 
the Protestant forces are divided chiefly between the Protestant 
Episcopal and Presbyterian denominations, while of all the larger 
Protestant bodies only the two named and the Methodist Episco- 
pal and Congregational are represented. Sonoma County presents 
a more even division of strength among a number of denomina- 
tions. Of the 73 churches which we are considering, 37 are found 
in suburban sections of Marin County and in the five larger towns 
of Sonoma County (Petaluma, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Cloverdale 
and Sonoma City), 25 are located in the various small villages and 
11 in the open country. The union Sunday Schools and other forms 
of unorganized work are in the country. 

The organized religious history of this territory covers more 
than one hundred years. The first establishments were Greek Or- 
thodox and Roman Catholic. The Protestant work began some- 
thing more than sixty years ago at Sonoma City. The increase in 
the number of churches and in the general scope of the work has 
about kept pace with the increase of population, and although a 
certain number of churches have come and gone, the majority of 
those established are still being maintained. We had to record in 
Tulare County a great many churches of very tender years 'born 
to serve communities themselves newly born. The situation here 
is markedly different. Only eight new churches or missions have 
been established within the last five years and only seventeen all 
told within the last ten years. Fifty-six of the whole 73 now living, 
or partially living, are more than ten years old. Almost the same 
statement would describe the situation as regards the church 
edifices. There are 75 church buildings now in use for some form 
of religious service in addition to a number of totally abandoned 


buildings. Only 24 buildings have been erected within the last 
ten years. 

The church property in the two counties aggregates in value a 
little over half a million dollars. The range in value per church 
is from $500 to $50,000. It is with church buildings very much as 
with school buildings ; a statement of age carries with it a pretty 
definite notion of adaptability for church purposes. The plan of 
almost all of the older churches is dictated by the idea of the church 
as primarily a place of preaching and very few have adequate 
equipment for religious education or for social functions. The 
tendency in the more recent building operations is to make more 
thorough provision for these aspects of the church's work. 

A study of the numerical strength of the churches does not 
give very much cause for elation. The Federal Religious Census 
of 1906 reported a total Protestant membership for these two coun- 
ties representing approximately 22% of the possible Protestant 
population. In 1915, nine years later, all the churches show a total 
paper membership of 5,119. Deducting from this the non-resident 
and definitely inactive members we note a total net membership 
of 4,672. This is a shade more than 13% of the possible Protestant 
population. The gains in local church membership for that nine 
year period have not kept pace with the gains in population, al- 
though the churches do show a very considerable net gain. This 
gain has been confined to about one-half of the churches, and has 
been partially offset by the substantial losses of certain others. 
A number of churches which were at work nine years ago have 
ended their work since that time. Of the 73 which we are con- 
sidering, 24 must be classed as diminishing fields, part of which 
undoubtedly must be abandoned before long. Other fields just 
about manage to hold their own. They make some gain, sustain 
some loss, and end each year about where they began it. Then 
there are some which although they show an actual net gain in 
their membership are in reality growing in membership less rapidly 
than their communities are growing in population. It is, there- 
fore, not surprising that the churches as a whole show a somewhat 
diminishing proportion of the total population in their member- 
ship. There are a few fields which until recently were in very 
poor condition which are now showing much promise. 

If the year immediately preceding the survey may be taken as 
typical the conclusion is inevitable that it will be a long while be- 
fore these counties are thoroughly evangelized by the Protestant 
Church. The gross gains of all churches during the year were 402, 


while the losses for the year from death, removal and other causes 
were 185. This leaves a net gain of 217, which is a little less than 
5% of the previous total net membership. Until these counties stop 
growing, an annual gain of 5% will not accomplish the task of 
winning them to the church. Sixteen of the 73 fields showed a net 
loss for the year. Several of these were fields which showed con- 
siderable gain, but a more considerable loss. Twenty-two fields 
just broke even on the year. Thirty-eight, therefore, or more than 
one-half, have nothing positive to show for the year's work. Eight 
fields made a gain amounting to less than 5% of their previous 
membership. Most of the gain of the year was confined to 27 
churches, of which 15 showed a gain of from 5% to 10% of their 
previous membership and 12 a gain of more than 10%. Granting 
all the difficulties of many of the fields, this is not a very encour- 
aging record. One of the reasons is the same old reason so often 
noted; the large church tends to grow at a much more rapid and 
uniform rate of progress than the small church. A small church 
even in a growing territory, unless it is watched over with care and 
pastored with faithfulness and ability, is not apt to grow with regu- 
larity. Although we have not in this territory as many denomina- 
tions striving for place as we have frequently encountered, there 
are nevertheless many small competing churches with a meager fol- 
lowing and an inadequate opportunity. Of course one understands 
that there are certain denominations which on principle are pre- 
pared to maintain a form of organization without the excuse of any 
considerable constituency. They are always ready to say, "Where 
two or three can be gathered together in our name, there will we 
be in the midst of you". That frame of mind seems to characterize 
many organizations. There are at least 26 churches of little 
strength competing for life with other churches with which they 
have no essential doctrinal differences. With no doctrinal sacrifice 
12 churches could fill the places of these twenty-six. With very 
slight sacrifice sixteen of the 26 could be spared. Small competing 
churches are evangelistic failures. One large reason why the evangelis- 
tic record of the year is so poor is that we have 21 churches with less 
than 20 members each, 22 others with less than 50 members each, while 
only 13 of the entire 73 churches have over 100 members each. 
Of course there are some small churches in fields where there is 
no competition, but most of these small churches are in fields where 
the Protestant forces are divided. 

It will be pointed out in a later chapter that rather a large por- 
tion of the total population are adult males, particularly in Marin 


County where the women are greatly in the minority and where 
four out of every ten residents are males of voting age. The 
church does not always resemble its community and it certainly 
does not in this particular, since the female contingent in the mem- 
bership is 61% of the total. There is a very fair proportion of 
young people in the churches, about 9% of the total membership 
being under twenty-one years of age. There are a number of 
churches which are doing splendid work with their young people. 
The average church parish is an area with a radius of about 3 to 
3^2 miles, though somewhat smaller than this in the suburban sec- 
tions. The total average attendance per Sunday at all services is 
about 5,000, the morning services representing about 60% of that 
number. Services average small in most sections, particularly in 
the suburban towns. The total budget for the last church year was 
approximately $75,000. 55% of this was expended for ministers' 
salaries, 33% for new buildings and for general contingent ex- 
penses, and the remaining 12% for various forms of 'benevo- 
lence. The proportion for benevolences is rather larger than usual 
for churches similarly situated. A number of churches have splen- 
did records for missionary giving. The usual variations in finan- 
cial methods will be found here. About one-third of the churches 
use the budget system, perhaps a fifth using duplex envelopes. In 
the main these are the churches which are in the best financial con- 
dition, although there are exceptions. One church, for example, 
does not use any form of weekly envelopes chiefly because its sup- 
porters make their pledges by the year and pay them in advance. 
There is, of course, with most of the churches a lack of system and 
thoroughness especially evident in the raising of benevolent con- 
tributions. It is interesting to note in this connection that the 
churches which made the best showing in the matter of benevolent 
contributions are also the churches which are the best organized 
for missionary study and work. 

The 73 churches have in connection with their work 70 Sunday 
Schools. These Sunday Schools have a total average attendance 
of 3,180, or about 45 per school. Twenty-eight of the schools have 
an average regular attendance of 25 or less, 24 have an attendance 
of from 26 to 50, while 18 have an attendance of better than fifty. 
These figures are important because they indicate in general the 
character of the work done. A small Sunday School may be a very 
efficient Sunday School, but its lack of members is a handicap in 
many branches of work. Very few of the schools which have an 
average attendance of less than 50 are at all carefully graded. 



Seventeen of the 70 Sunday Schools have organized classes, sev- 
eral being very thoroughly organized. Twenty-five Sunday 
Schools use graded lesson systems in whole or in part. Twenty- 
six have Cradle Rolls, 19 have Home Departments and 12 provide 
some form of Teacher Training. An interesting feature of Sun- 
day School work in Marin County is the County Sunday School 
Athletic League, which holds an annual summer camp near Muir 
Woods and also holds an Interschool Bible Contest in which seven 
schools took part last year. The Union Sunday Schools not 
attached to any church organization have in the main about the 
same characteristics. 

The other forms of church organizations represented include 
Young People's Societies, senior, intermediate and junior, Ladies' 
Aid Societies, Women's Home and Foreign Missionary Societies, 
Brotherhoods, athletic, social, financial, missionary and other or- 
ganizations. Not quite one-half of the churches have Young 
People's Societies. Some of the other churches can find no young 
people, while others can find them but cannot reach them. Fifty- 
five of the churches have Ladies' Aid Societies, the only remarkable 


thing about that figure being the fact that there are 18 churches 
which manage to exist without them. Twenty-three churches have 
Women's Missionary Societies. Four churches have Men's 
Brotherhoods. Eleven of the 73 churches have no form of organ- 
ization at all except Sunday Schools. In the main one may say 
that the churches are very weak on the side of organization, al- 
though the really successful churches are all characterized by 
strength in this particular. 

At the time of this survey 50 ministers were regularly at work 
among the churches, while a certain number of others were oc- 
casionally available for supply. The students from the Theo- 
logical Seminaries at San Anselmo and Berkeley do more or less 
supply work. Of the 50 ministers definitely attached to fields in 
these counties 44 gave their whole time to the ministry, while 6 
combined the ministry with some other form of employment. A 
little more than one-half of the churches are separate charges. 
Nineteen are regularly on circuits of two or three churches. Nine 
churches were vacant at the time of the survey and 7 depended on 
irregular supply. One of the very great weaknesses of the work here 
is a lack of continuity in the ministry. Shifts in pastorate in some 
communities are almost equivalent to a procession. Nineteen of 
the 44 full time ministers were at the time of the survey serving 
their first year on their field, 7 were serving their second year, 16 
the third to the fifth year and two had been serving for six years or 
more. From various sources we learn of a considerable number 
of changes since the field work was completed. The salaries of 
the ministers do not average high but are better than in some sec- 
tions. Of these 44 ministers only 7 receive less than $500 a year, 
8 others receive less than $750, 15 receive from $751 to $1,000 a 
year, while 14 receive $1,000 or more; 37 of the 44 have parsonages 
furnished them. 

The main phases of the religious situation, both from the point of 
view of the present organization and work of the churches and 
from their performances in the past, seem to be four. First, the re- 
ligious problem varies greatly both in form and points of empha- 
sis according to the variations in the kind of population dealt with, 
the changes in the numbers of the population and the kind of 
industries by which the population is supported. Social and eco- 
nomic conditions always give color to the religious problems, but 
here the dependence of the church upon these considerations seems 
more complete than usual, yet the church is not dealing adequately 
with any of the questions raised by these conditions. The second 


feature is the relative failure of the country churches. Quite a 
number of churches which have been established in the country 
have entirely disappeared, while with some few exceptions those 
remaining have declined in strength and influence. The religious 
life of these communities has come to be centered very largely in the 
towns and villages. This lays upon the village churches the neces- 
sity of winning not only their village communities, but also the 
contingent country territory for the Kingdom. In this most of the 
village churches have conspicuously failed. They are not reaching 
the rural territory surrounding them in anything like the degree 
necessary for adequate results. In the third place the years have 
brought with them not a more substantial Christian unity, but 
rather an increasing division of the religious forces, the legacy 
from which is the large number of weak, inadequately supported 
and ineffective churches. Finally, one cannot help but be concerned 
with the failure of the Protestant Church after sixty years 
of work to really impress its claims upon the life of the communi- 
ties, as measured by the communities' support of the church as an 
institution and by the feeling and attitude of the communities to- 
ward matters religious. 



After the field work in Marin and Sonoma Counties was com- 
pleted a very hasty and cursory investigation was made of religious 
conditions in the five principal towns of Lake County, in which the 
Presbyterian Church now has, or in the past has had, work. This 
present chapter merely records the impression of the survey as to 
the present status and future promise of the various Presbyterian 
fields in these three counties. 


This is a meager field, the majority of the population being 
Roman Catholic and the majority of the remainder belonging to 
other Protestant faiths. There are probably several hundred peo- 
ple in the community who are not definitely attached to any local 
church other than the Presbyterian, but this number includes many 
who would not be considered promising material. The work is 
in good condition. The field cannot be said to have much immedi- 
ate promise. 



There is an excellent Presbyterian Church plant here, but no 
following. Yachting, The Christian Science Church and the Prot- 
estant Episcopal Church are the three preferred faiths of the popu- 
lation, in the order named. -There is no outlook for the Presby- 
terian work. 

Corte Madera. 

This field has just been united with Novato under a pastor and 
one student assistant. Larkspur just north of Corte Madera has 
a defunct Presbyterian church. Corte Madera and Larkspur should 
be logically one parish, although between them is a great gulf fixed. 
Many mistakes characterize the history of the Presbyterian work 
here. The two church buildings are undesirably located, the field 
has become very much divided and it has suffered from years of 
ineffective ministry. The surface of this field has hardly been 
scratched. Although there are many local difficulties to be over- 
come, it should be regarded as an exceedingly promising field. 


This field should profit by the grouping arrangement with Corte 
Madera as a temporary measure, because while conserving Home 
Mission funds this will give to Novato for the time being much 
better pastoral service. Like Corte Madera, Novato has been the 
victim of a constant shifting and an almost unvarying inefficiency 
in its ministry. The numbers of Protestant people in the vicinity 
of this village are increasing and this is the one rural field in Marin 
County which has considerable promise. 

San Anselmo, First. 

This church, which was mentioned earlier in the report, has a 
very ample field which is now being adequately worked for the 
first time. 

San Anselmo, Second. 

In the vicinity of this church is a large and increasing Protestant 
population amongst whom aggressive religious work has been done 
for only a very short period. The field is one of great promise. 


The Tomales Church represents a little group of Protestants en- 
tirely surrounded by foreigners. It is a restricted field in which 
very excellent work is being done. There are many difficult prob- 
lems in connection with the work here and the outlook is not very 
bright, but this field has the opportunity of testing out the possi- 



bility of maintaining a Protestant church in the midst of a nomi- 
nally Catholic foreign population. 

There is a church at Bolinas which was for a time served by stu- 
dent supply, but which for two years now has been served only in 
the summer by ministers on their vacations. Some distance north 
of it near the end of Tomales Bay is Point Reyes Station where the 
Presbyterians began service a year ago with a student supply. A 
few miles south of Point Reyes at Olema is an almost defunct 
Methodist Episcopal Church. These three points are grouped here 
because throughout this whole Coast section the Protestant popu- 
lation is very scattered and small in numbers. The only oppor- 
tunity to maintain a Protestant work at all aggressive in quality 
would seem to be by making the whole territory the exclusive 
parish of one organization. 

Two Rock. 

This is a country church with a definite, but restricted field. Work 
along very broad lines is necessary on account of the makeup of 
the population. The church is being and has been very well cared 
for and within the limit set by the numbers of its possible follow- 
ing has a certain amount of promise. 

Camp Meeker. 

This community is chiefly important as a family summer re- 


sort. As a field for all year work it is very limited and is not of 
very great importance. The all-year population on which the 
church depends consists chiefly of middle-aged and elderly people 
who have retired from active work. 


Petaluma is over-churched and very strongly Catholic. The 
Presbyterian church has a very limited field. The various Protes- 
tant churches have to exercise considerable care to make any 
progress without stepping on each others' toes. 


This church has a rich farming district for its parish. The work 
has been in the past quite neglected, but is in much better shape 
now. It is a promising field. 


Healdsburg like Petaluma has too many churches. The Presby- 
terian church has made little progress during its history. The 
work is in better condition now than ever before. The prospects 
are rather limited. 


Lake County is an isolated county without railroad connections 
and separated from the rest of the world by formidable elevations. 
It is chiefly noticeable for its Bartlett pears, its medicinal springs 
and the thousands who come to them every year for a mineral water 
debauch, for its beautiful lakes and for its unbounded optimism. 
Lake County has been expecting a railroad to be built at once for 
many years. The future seems exceedingly uncertain. If it can 
provide itself with more adequate transportation facilities it should 
develop somewhat, for the land is of fair quality, and well adapted 
to certain agricultural pursuits and the county has already proven 
attractive to tens of thousands of tourists annually. The five towns 
mentioned below are the only considerable settlements at present. 


This town on Clear Lake is the county seat. Financial conditions 
here reflect the uncertainty as to the county's future. On the 
basis of its present population and resources the town is very seri- 
ously over-churched. Religious work is purely a competitive 
proposition. Good work is being done in the Presbyterian as well 
as in certain of the other churches, but some combination of the 
present religious forces would seem to be highly desirable if the 


churches are to increase to any marked degree in efficiency. As 
the situation now is the field has very little promise. 


This town, which is the center of the best agricultural district of 
the county, in some respects seems its most promising field. Here 
too the religious forces are divided beyond the point of efficiency 
and the immediate outlook is not very bright. 

Upper Lake. 

This is a limited field in which the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South, maintains a resident pastor. The Presbyterian church is 
not needed and should not be maintained. 

Lower Lake. 

No religious work of any special significance has been done in 
this town for sometime. What little is done, however, is due to the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in conjunction with their field in Kel- 
seyville. The Presbyterian church here has an exceedingly meager 
following and there would seem to be no justification for attempt- 
ing to revive the work. 


This community was supported by several mines which were 
quiescent at the time of the survey. It has some farming possi- 
bilities if it can be awakened sufficiently to discern them. The 
Presbyterian church, which was in very fair condition, was feder- 
ated with the Baptist church several months before the time of the 
survey. This, experiment has not yet had time for a thorough test- 
ing, but the prospects for successful work seem bright. For the 
present at least, this arrangement should not be disturbed. 

The findings in this survey as set forth in this and the preceding 
chapters justify the following recommendations: 

1. We recommend that the Presbytery of Benicia undertake to 
promote the work of the Corte Madera, San Anselmo Second and 
Novato Churches. These promising churches should be put in a 
special class for a period of not less than five years, with a view to 
their advancement into maturity as well-organized congregations. 
A minister suited to the work should in each case be adequately 
maintained without change during the period mentioned. 

2. The greatest need is the adaptation of religious work to the 
three types of people the suburban, the industrial and the foreign- 
speaking. In all this section the work is conventional and tra- 
ditional; but for these three populations there are needed types of 


service differing widely. The mere maintenance of preaching ser- 
vices and the following of a traditional plan of pastoral service will 
not meet the situation. The church must adapt itself to the needs 
of the community, and in a region in which the work is so strongly 
characterized as this there should be no hesitation in adopting pro- 
grams of action which will make the churches of use to the people 
about them. 

3. We recommend that the presbytery concern itself with the 
problem of religious service to the people in the industries of this 
region; in particular, the problem of serving the people engaged 
in the cultivation of grapes, hops and in their conversion into the 
alcoholic liquors should be studied and a definite attitude by the 
Church should be taken with deliberation. It is not enough for the 
Church to take the attitude of opposition. There should be fore- 
sight as to the future. Merely to forbid is only to offend. The 
Church should teach something constructive, and a program of 
adaptation of the work of the church to people whose industrial 
character is marked should be mapped out. The short pastorates 
and the use of students in so many churches result from the lack 



of purpose in the churches. As soon as the churches make up their 
mind to accomplish a definite thing they will lengthen the pastor- 
ates and will engage the hearty consecration of ministers who will 
give their life to the work of the ministry. 

4. We recommend that the village churches recognize that their 
work should be the whole rural community. This means that the 
village church needs to be the center of evangelistic and industrial 
service. The gospel must be preached to the people working in 
the open country in the industries that characterize this region. 
Few open country churches show signs of strength or survival. 
The village church seems to have the future and it cannot do its 
duty when its mind is concerned only with the religious service 
that is found in the village streets. The work of Dr. Silas E. Per- 
sons, of Cazenovia, New York, described in his "The Village 
Church and The Open Country", and the work of Dr. Harlow S. 
Mills, of Benzonia, Michigan, related in his book "The Making of 
a Country Parish", should be an example to the village churches 
on whom the burden of the rural problem falls in these counties. 

5. We commend the evangelistic opportunity in the suburban 
region to the attention of churches there as their chiefest duty. 
Deliberate organization of the church on the basis of continuing 
evangelistic appeal is the only proper solution of the problem of the 
suburban church. Evangelism should be the very alphabet of their 
lesson. It should be the breath of life to them. 

6. Comity and exchange of churches with other denominations 
is not so important in this region as in some sections. It is true 
that some Presbyterian points should be given up, at least some 
preaching stations which have the name to exist but in which re- 
ligious service has been temporarily laid down should not be re- 
sumed. As soon as possible these places should be discontinued; 
but in comparison to the duty of comity among the responsible 
denominations, the great need in this region is the need of extension 
and evangelization. Nevertheless the attention of the churches 
should be directed toward the number of small, irresponsible and 
unnecessary religious groups. This is the bane of religious life in 
California. There is some cause underlying it which does not ap- 
pear in the evidence. We believe that it is the lack of community 
service and of cordial gospel spirit in the churches themselves. The 
responsible congregations representing the larger national denomi- 
nations have the prestige and they should have a spirit which would 
make it unnecessary for the people to go off into small and seceding 
religious groups. It remains for the congregations of the Presby- 


terian, Methodist, Baptist, Congregational and similar communions 
to minister to the whole community by a teaching of the Scrip- 
ture, and a cordial, devoted organization and social life, and by 
such ministry to the whole community as will satisfy the religious 
needs of each neighborhood in which the church is placed. When 
this is done there will be united religious life. 

The general work of superintendence done for Benecia Presbytery 
by the Home Missions Committee and by Rev. Edward K. Strong, 
D. D., superintendent, is heartily commended. Tihis survey does not 
show adequately the extent of the task of the Presbytery, whose boun- 
daries reach northward to Oregon and eastward to the top of the 
Coast Range. In recommending intensive work for a limited area 
we are not forgetful that the first task of the Presbytery is extension 
and the evangelization of this vast region. 


The report on Tulare County, California, contained a rather de- 
tailed discussion of the .public school system, which precludes the 
necessity of extensive treatment of this subject here. The Califor- 
nia school system is so organized that very little is left to local 
initiative except physical equipment and one does not find such 
marked variations in school efficiency as might be expected from 
the variations in economic and social conditions. The reader un- 
informed regarding this system is referred to the previous bulletin. 
There is this marked difference between the two sections. Marin 
and Sonoma Counties are an older settled region than most of 
the San Joaquin Valley and are in many respects not so progress- 
ive. There is not in many sections of these counties the same for- 
ward look in the matter of school equipment that so characterized 
the rural sections of Tulare County. 

The two counties have in all 189 grammar schools, which were 
in session during the school year 1914-15. The one-teacher schools 
greatly predominate, being 75% of the whole number. There are 
only fourteen schools in the whole territory with four teachers or 
more each. The teaching force includes 34 men and 355 women. 
The average remuneration of the teachers is high, both in the 
towns and in the open country. The men receive an average salary 
of $1,114, annually, and the women an average salary of $799. A 
very large proportion of the teachers have had normal training. 




The situation here with regard to the size of schools is the same 
as throughout the State. The movement for the centralization or 
consolidation of grammar schools has hardly begun. It is a com- 
monplace that the very small school is not apt to be as efficient a 
working unit as the larger school. There are more schools in some 
sections than are really needed and many of them are maintained 
with very few pupils, although there are of course some communities so 
situated that a small school is inevitable and no combination with 
other districts is possible. Practically 50% of the 189 schools 
showed an average daily attendance of less than twenty pupils each, 
while one in every four had an average attendance of less than ten. 
Only 30% of the schools had more than thirty pupils each in at- 
tendance. The total enrollment for the schools was 12,161, of 
whom 53% were boys and 47% girls. The aggregate average daily 
attendance was 9,685, or 79% of the enrollment. The enrollment 
both of boys and girls held up fairly well throughout the eight 
grades, 42% of the total number enrolled being in the fifth to eighth 
grades, inclusive. 

Nearly three-fourths of the whole number of schools were in 
session, annually, more than 170 days. The method of organiza- 
tion raises the same problem of supervision here that was noted 
in Tulare County. The duties of the County Superintendents are 
so many and so varied that careful supervision of the work of such 
a large number of schools is impossible. There is, of course, more 
adequate supervision in the larger towns, but 70% of all the schools 
are visited by the Superintendent not to exceed three times in a 
year, while a very large proportion are visited only once. This, 
of course, is not supervision at all, but only inspection. The 
schools, as elsewhere in the State, are very well provided with 
school libraries, the total being 203,434 volumes, an average of 
over 1,000 volumes per school. Very few schools, and those 
mostly in districts recently created, have less than 750 volumes, 
each. The total cost of maintaining the grammar schools for the 
year 1914-15 was $427,685.83. Teachers salaries consumed about 
77% of this total. This makes an average annual cost per pupil 
enrolled, including all expenditures except for buildings, of $36 in 
Marin County and $34.13 in Sonoma County. The schools have 
property of all kinds to the value of $950,910, the buildings, grounds 
and furniture representing about 90% of this total. There are 
many meagerly equipped schools. One in every three holds prop- 
erty valued at less than $1,000, while nearly one-half of the whole 
number hold property valued at from $1,000 to $3,000. The value 


of the building does not necessarily measure its adequacy for school 
purposes, but in this case the figures just given do provide such 
a measure. Thirty-eight districts have some outstanding bonded 
indebtedness totaling $324,213. 

There are nine public high schools, three in Marin and six in 
Sonoma County. These are located at San Rafael, at Mill Valley 
(Tamalpais Union), Tomales (Union), Sebastopol (Analy Union), 
Cloverdale (Union), Healdsburg, Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Son- 
oma (Union). These high schools had in 1914-15 a total enroll- 
ment of 1,605, of whom 681 were boys, 924 girls. The total average 
daily attendance was 1,329. Although eight of the nine high 
schools offer a four year course, the enrollment by grades shows 
the usual dropping out of pupils year by year. The enrollment for 
the first, second, third and fourth years of work, respectively, was 
619, 462, 273, 246. In all 76 teachers are employed, 24 of whom 
are men. The average salaries paid are $1,657 for the men, and 
$1,097 for the women. 

The total expense for the year was a little over $164,000, which 
sum included several items for buildings aggregating about $30,000. 
The average cost per pupil enrolled, exclusive of the cost of new 
buildings, was in Marin County $85.66 and in Sonoma County, 
$104.92. The nine districts have property to the value of about a 
third of a million dollars, five of the nine districts having outstand- 
ing bonds representing about 80% of that amount. 

In addition to these public schools, both grammar and high, 
there are quite a number of parochial and private schools, acad- 
emies and convents, which furnish educational advantages to a 
large number of children, and in several instances draw pupils 
from outside the limits of the counties under consideration. The 
principal schools of this type are in Sausalito, San Rafael, Peta- 
luma and Santa Rosa. 

It cannot be said that any marked effort has been made to adapt 
either the elementary or secondary schools to the needs of their 
respective communities. Neither the formal course of study, nor 
the general community activities of the schools show a tendency in 
this direction, although in some isolated instances an effort at such 
readjustment has been made. Especially in Sonoma County, where 
the interests are so largely agricultural, one would be justified in 
expecting some more definite effort to link up the school system 
with the very obvious and important community problem. The 
racial composition of the population would seem to make some 
such effort all the more desirable. In conclusion it may be men- 


tioned that there is a very strong feeling in a few districts that the 
influence of the schools there is not morally or socially all that 
could be desired. There are many other interesting angles to the 
school situation, but space does not warrant their consideration 


The combined population of the two counties is approximately 
80,000. In 1850 their combined population was a little less than 
1,000. The growth since that time has been steady and in the main 
normal though not uniform throughout. From 1890 to 1900 Son- 
oma County showed an increase of 17.6% and in the following de- 
cade an increase of 25.8%. Marin County showed an increase of 
20.1% and 59.9% for the same two decades. Following the great 
earthquake of 1906 Marin County's population increased very 
rapidly, owing to a very considerable exodus from the city to the 
suburbs. No such rate of increase is to be expected in the future. 
The suburban section of Marin County probably aggregate a popu- 
lation of from 18,000 to 20,000. The six largest towns of Sonoma 
County have in the aggregate within their corporation limits about 
27,000. This leaves a total of from 30,000 to 35,000 for the smaller 
towns and rural sections, perhaps 10,000 of these living in close 
proximity to the larger towns. 

The population is very heterogeneous and is composite of many 
racial strains. In Marin County the native Whites ef native par- 
entage and the native Whites of foreign or mixed parentage con- 
tribute each a little more than a third of the total population. The 
foreign born Whites contribute a little less than a third, a small 
residuum being Negroes, Chinese, Japanese, etc. Between 1900 
and 1910 there was a very marked increase in the proportion of na- 
tive Whites of native parentage, due to the very large increase in 
the suburban and commuting population. In the normal year to 
year growth at the present time those of foreign birth or parentage 
considerably outnumber the native stock. In Sonoma County con- 
ditions are somewhat different. Here the native Whites of native 
parentage constitute nearly one-half of the total population, but 
the proportion is decreasing. Native Whites of foreign or mixed 
parentage make about 29% of the total and the foreign born atout 
22%. In this county also there is a small group of Negroes and 


It is of course a matter of common knowledge that the newer 
immigration differs very markedly from the older immigration. In 
Marin County of the direct importation from the Old Country by 
far the largest element are Italians, Swiss-Italians and Portugese. 
The latter two furnish the dairymen of the county; the former 
most of the day laborers. Next in numerical importance are the 
Canadians and then the Germans, but these two groups live chiefly 
in the suburban towns. Of those who are now a generation away 
from their European homes the Irish come first in point of num- 
bers; the Germans second; the Italians third; the Swiss-Italians 
fourth and the Portugese are a negligible number, indicating 
amongst other things that the immigration of these last three 
groups is of fairly recent occurrence. These are the groups which 
are now increasing most rapidly in this territory. Somewhat the 
same conditions maintain in Sonoma County. Of the foreign born 
Whites by far the largest group are Italians and Swiss-Italians, 
who are found chiefly in the wine growing districts. The second 
largest group is the Germans. Of the older immigration the Ger- 
mans are most numerous, the Italians second, the Irish third and 
the Swiss-Italians fourth. There is an extensive German and Scan- 
dinavian Colony in the vicinity of Petaluma and a somewhat 
smaller number in the vicinity of Santa Rosa. 

Another interesting side light on the character of the immigra- 
tion is furnished by the fact that in the Marin County population the 
males outnumber the females almost two to one, due chiefly to the 
large number of single men in certain of the foreign groups. Over 
40% of the total population are males of voting age. In Sonoma 
County this condition is not nearly so marked, the sexes being 
more evenly balanced in numbers and only a little over one-third 
of the total population being males of voting age. In Marin 
County about one-half of the adult foreign born males and in Son- 
oma County considerably over one-half are naturalized. 

In both counties the foreign elements, particularly the more re- 
cent immigration, are being assimilated very slowly. Their means 
of livelihood and their methods of living result in what is practi- 
cally segregation for many of these foreign groups. As a result 
some of the smaller towns are not very markedly American in 
characteristics. Adult education is here a serious problem with 
which practically nothing is being done in any definite and con- 
certed manner. It is therefore quite natural to find a rather high 
percentage of illiteracy. Of all those of foreign birth ten years of 
age and over about one in eight for Marin County and about 


one in eleven for Sonoma County are illiterate. There is none of 
these foreign groups but has contributed its quota of educated and 
substantial citizens. The chief difficulty comes with those groups 
for whom neither home nor general social conditions provide the 
necessary socializing and assimilating influences. A careful study 
of one such community where the foreign element is very largely 
in the majority indicates a very high degree of thrift and industry, 
but a very low degree of general intelligence and education, a great 
lack of literary and cultural opportunities in the homes and the 
community, a dominant part played socially by foreign lodges and 
by the saloons, and a general sentiment opposed to secondary and 
higher education and to other influences which would probably re- 
sult in the more thorough Americanization of the community. 

It is difficult to treat the question of social characteristics at all 
adequately here because of the many local variations to be noted. 
Economically, socially, religiously the suburban community is sui 
generis; it is neither flesh, fish nor fowl. It has some of the char- 
acteristics of the city upon which it depends, some of the character- 
istics of the small village which it outwardly resembles, but lacks 
the coherence and familiar relationships of the village and the size 
and momentum of the city. This makes it very difficult to evaluate 
a suburban community either socially or religiously. Socially the 
suburbs appear to depend very greatly upon the city, although 
there is a good deal of give and take in this regard. But the city 
is very near at hand and the suburbanite by definition must have at 
least part of his interests there. San Rafael is perhaps something 
of an exception. It seems to have had for a long time a more defi- 
nite community consciousness than the other suburban towns and 
its existence as a community of considerable importance antedates 
by many years the recent suburban development. Elsewhere 
through this section there is an emerging social consciousness and local 
social life which seem to center in large part about the institu- 
tions. This is more marked in some sections than in others. The 
year of the survey could hardly be taken as a typical year to judge 
of this, because of the Panama Pacific International Exposition so 
near at hand. 

The social life of the foreign element, particularly in communi- 
ties where they predominate, very largely centers about their 
lodges. Throughout both counties lodges of all kinds are very 
numerous, there being literally hundreds of locals. They exercise 
considerable social importance, more, seemingly, than is usually 


characteristic of the lodge in country districts or small towns. The 
grange is very strong in some sections of Sonoma County. 

A difficult angle of this problem is furnished by the many re- 
sorts and road houses and by the liquor traffic in general. These 
create in some sections a very serious moral problem, although to 
a considerable extent it is an imported problem. 

Throughout California it is frequently observed that the older 
elements in the population are less progressive and less socially 
minded than the newer element, not considering the foreign popu- 
lation in this connection. It is not easy to say just why this is so 
or just what is the extent of its influence, but the impression seems 
well grounded that the Native Son influence is in general against 
social and religious progress. 

The communities farthest from the city and most nearly free 
from its influence have a more developed local social life. This can 
be seen very clearly in Sonoma County. One indication is the 
considerable social importance of the various annual festivals held 
in the different towns. The most important of these are the 
Cloverdale Citrus Fair, the Petaluma Pure Food Show, the Santa 



Rosa Rose Carnival, the Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple Show, the 
Healdsburg and Monte Rio Water Carnivals and the Petaluma 
Poultry Show. Both counties contain many interesting organiza- 
tions of various kinds other than secret orders. There are also 
various charitable and similar institutions which are interesting 
but of slight local significance. 


By no means all parts of these two counties are important for 
their agricultural interests. We may recognize four main and two 
minor economic differentiations. The thickly settled portions of 
Marin County lying east and northeast of Mount Tamalpais and 
its adjacent hills for a distance of twenty miles or more from Sau- 
salito, the ferry landing from San Francisco, are important chiefly 
as being one of the main suburban sections tributary to San Fran- 
cisco. Most of this territory is probably destined to be an almost 
unbroken succession of suburban homes. The productive indus- 
tries here are of slight importance. A relatively small portion of 
Marin County, chiefly along the Coast around Tomales Bay and 
in the northeastern part of the county, is devoted to agriculture. 
The valleys and many of the foot hill sections of Sonoma County 
are also agricultural territory. The agricultural resources not only 
greatly exceed all the other resources in value of annual output, but 
are of vastly greater social importance. The other two main di- 
visions are those sections which are chiefly important for their 
scenic or resorting advantages and that large section of Sonoma 
County which is in timber. In a limited area some valuable 
mineral products are obtained. The manufacturing interests are 
increasing in importance, being chiefly confined to Santa Rosa and 
Petaluma, towns which are predominatingly agricultural in char- 

The question of transportation is very favorably solved. There 
is direct ferry connection with San Francisco for passengers or 
freight or both from Sausalito and Tiburon and a ferry connection 
between San Quentin and Richmond. Petaluma has direct water 
connections with the city via the Petaluma River, a federal water- 
way, and the San Pablo Bay. This is the route of a vast amount of 
freight traffic from Sonoma County which is handled at a very low 
rate. There are a number of points of call along the Coast for 


ocean going vessels of small tonnage. The main line of the North- 
western Pacific Railroad runs through the entire length of both counties 
with its southern terminus at Sausalito. Various branch lines of this 
road serve most parts of the territory. The Southern Pacific has 
a line from Santa Rosa, running generally southeast with main 
line connections. The Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway Com- 
pany operates thirty-six miles of electric trolley with tide water 
connections at Petaluma. In addition to these rail facilities there 
are a number of important automobile stage lines. Both counties 
are in the way of acquiring a very adequate system of public roads. 

Climate is a matter of economic as well as social concern. 
"Equable" is the word locally used to describe it. The annual 
rainfall, taken with the summer fogs, makes farming possible 
without irrigation. The average annual precipitation is about 38 
inches for Marin County and 30 inches for Sonoma County. Very 
complete compilations of statistics are available to prove that the 
climate is enjoyable and delightful above any other. 
Agriculture in Marin County. 

Its agriculture is by no means Marin County's chief claim to 
fame. The county is a small one, as western counties go, contain- 
ing only 529 square miles, or approximately 340,000 acres. Al- 
though 78% of this area is nominally included in the farms, only 
27% of the total land area is actually in improved farm acreage. 
The total number of farms is 498, representing an investment of 
about $12,500,000, or an average of about $25,000 per farm. Al- 
though over one-half of these farms contain less than 100 acres 
each, many are very large, the average for the county being 529 
acres, with an average improved acreage of one hundred and 

The farming is largely in the hands of those of foreign birth or 
extraction. There are 138 native born farmers as against 360 for- 
eign born, but of the native born a considerable proportion are of 
foreign parentage. 39.4% of the farms are operated by 
their owners, 58.4% by tenants, and 2.2% by managers. The 
farms operated by their owners average smaller than those which 
are operated by tenants, owners operating in all only 28% of the 
total farm area, with the same per cent of the total valuation. The 
proportion of native born farmers is higher among those who oper- 
ate their own farms than among the tenants, the proportions being 
respectively 36% and 21%. Of the whole number of foreign born 
farmers 35% own their own farms. In part these figures indicate 
the ambition of most of the foreign born farmers to acquire land. 



A fair proportion of them succeed in doing this in the first gener- 
ation, and a somewhat larger proportion in the second generation. 
In part the percentages above are due to the fact that in certain 
sections the number of small farms devoted to fruit and poultry 
is considerably increasing and that these are very largely in the 
hands of the native born. On both accounts the percentage of 
operating owners is slightly increasing. A good deal of land is 
held in large estates which are very slowly being broken up. Their 
ultimate dissolution, the time of which cannot be predicted, will 
doubtless result in a great increase in the proportion of operating 

The most important branch of farming is dairy farming, which 
chiefly takes the form of cream, butter or cheese production. The 
annual value of the dairy products reaches an aggregate of more 
than a million and a quarter dollars. Poultry farming is claiming 
increased attention in some sections. There is very little general 
farming. The general average of the dairy stock is of rather low 
quality, the agricultural methods are in the main not modern and 
much of the soil, naturally rather rich, is being depleted. There 
is no strong probability that Marin County will ever be of much 
greater importance agriculturally than at present, although certain 
parts of it doubtless will make considerable progress in this direc- 
tion. The market is San Francisco. The transportation facilities 
are in the main adequate, the number of farms without ready access 
to shipping points being relatively small. 

Agriculture in Sonoma County. 

This is quite a different story, since Sonoma County differs from 


Marin County in that it is primarily an agricultural county. It is 
a very much larger county, having an area of 1,577 square miles, or 
approximately one million acres, which makes it about the size of 
the State of Rhode Island. Approximately three-fourths of this 
total area is included in the farms, approximately one-fourth, or 
250,000 acres, being improved agricultural land. The total number 
of farms is 4,772. They do not average large, more than one-half 
having less than fifty acres, while a fifth of the whole number have 
less than ten acres each. The average total acreage per farm 
throughout the county is 156, while the average improved acreage 
is fifty-two. The total investment is over $55,000,000, the average 
being over $11,500 per farm. It will be noticed that the farm aver- 
ages, both as to acreage and investment, are very much lower in 
Sonoma County than in Marin County, due to the fact that much 
more intensive farming is practised in Sonoma County, where the 
total volume of the business is many fold larger. 

In distinction from Marin County, where only 27% of the farmers 
were native born and many of these of foreign parentage, in Son- 
oma County 57% of the farmers are native born, a large proportion 
of these being also of native parentage. It is to be noticed also that 
the operating owners here are 79% of the total number of farmers, 
as compared with 39.4% in Marin County, and the tenants only 
18.6%, as compared with 58.4%. Like Marin County, however, the 
rented farms here average larger both in acreage and investment 
than those operated by the owners, largely due to the type of farm- 
ing practised by the tenants, who are most numerous in the dairy 
sections and are least in evidence in the poultry sections where the 
most intensive farming is practised. 

Farming in Sonoma County is highly differentiated and for the 
most part highly specialized. Historically it has gone through the 
same stages as many other sections of California, having seen the 
day when its valleys were a vast cattle range and the later day 
when wheat was king. Now, however, the beef cattle are driven 
back to foot hill ranges and wheat has almost disappeared. 

It is doubtful if there is another county in the United States where 
the poultry products are the most important and the most valuable 
single group of agricultural products. This is Sonoma County's 
unique distinction. The poultry industry centers around Petaluma. 
It is also quite extensively developed in the neighborhood of Se- 
bastopol and Santa Rosa. Petaluma is the most important initial 
shipping point for poultry products in the world. In 1913, the 
last year for which exact figures are at hand, there was shipped 



from Petaluma a total of 10,464,744 dozen eggs and 88,824 dozen 
poultry. The rest of the county shipped approximately 2,500,000 
dozen eggs and 22,000 dozen poultry. Transportation facilities, 
climate and all other conditions are exceedingly favorable to this 

The White Hen is by no means Sonoma County's only visible 
support. It is not'possible here to do more than mention the pre- 
vailing forms of agriculture practised, and the sections where they 
are important. The dairy business centering in the Coast region 
is about the same in volume and has much the same characteristics 
as the dairy business in Marin County. Tree fruits are somewhat 
more important. The prune leads with the apple a close second. 
The former has its headquarters in the vicinity of Healdsburg; the 
latter in the Gold Ridge section around Sebastopol. It is worthy 
of note that this section is the home of the Gravenstein, the earliest 
and best of summer apples. There are also some peaches, cherries, 
olives, citrus and other tree fruits in various parts of the county. 
Walnuts are potentially an important crop, with a steadily increas- 
ing acreage. Small fruits are grown very successfully and profit- 
ably, this industry also centering in the Gold Ridge section. 

Viticulture has been and still is a very important branch of the 
county's agriculture, although its relative importance is diminish- 
ing. Practically all of the grapes grown are wine grapes. The 
most important sections are the Sonoma Valley and the uniquely 
interesting Italian-Swiss Colony north of Healdsburg on the Rus- 
sian River. There are many large wineries in the county and the 
product is said to be of more than average excellence. There has 
been, however, in the last few years increasing difficulty in selling 
the wine and in consequence many small vineyardists are transfer- 
ring their attention to other branches of agriculture. Hop grow- 


ing is another very large source of income to the county. The 
especial demands of this crop make only a limited area available, 
but where conditions are favorable it has proven a very profitable 
industry. Sonoma County hops are of the highest quality and gen- 
erally command the very top of the market price. Santa Rosa is the 
hop center of the county. From the above outline it will be noticed 
that each section of the county is chiefly characterized by one type 
of farming. In the local vernacular, Petaluma means chickens, 
Sebastopol Gravenstein apples, Healdsburg prunes, Santa Rosa 
hops, Sonoma City wine grapes, Cloverdale citrus fruits, the Coast 
dairy cows. 

In general, market conditions are highly favorable as regards 
the poultry industry, increasingly unfavorable as regards the 
vineyard products and about average for the other classes of 
products. Transportation facilities are more than usually ample 
at very reasonable carriage rates. Co-operation in marketing is 
not nearly so developed here as in some sections of Southern and 
Central California, but it has made a good start in the apple and 
berry business of the Gold Ridge section. The Sebastopol Berry 
Growers, Incorporated, and the Sebastopol Apple Growers' Union are 
two thriving organizations which have done much in the last few years 
to stabilize the markets for their respective products and to increase 
the margin of profit in their production. 





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