Carl August Frederick Justi emigrated to America from Saxony, where he was born in 1812; he anglicized his name to Charles and settled in South Carolina with his wife Marie. He is typical of the courageous and inventive people that came to settle in our valley. These pioneers were characterized by an eager willingness to accept and meet challenges, with a recognition of the opportunities California offered.
After his arrival in America Justi became a jeweler and watchmaker, but when gold was discovered in California he sold everything he had to buy a sailboat, which he filled with lumber to build their new home, and sailed around the Horn to San Francisco. During that journey of nine months, the first of eleven children was born. When they finally arrived in 1849, he scuttled his boat in the bay to serve as a warehouse and built a home on Jackson Street, carrying each timber there by hand.
Justi opened a jewelry business, and made a name for himself gilding buttons for the uniforms of officers at the Presidio. In 1853 he closed his shop, purchased a steamboat, and began operating a freight and passenger service to Sonoma. While in Sonoma he bought 551 acres in the Glen Ellen region and began raising grapes and making wine, while Marie kept a boarding house for travelers. Because their ranch was halfway between Sonoma and Santa Rosa, Wells Fargo established a stage coach stop there, and in 1872 he was named the first postmaster of Glen Ellen.
Charles died on his ranch in 1885, where his son Leopold was born in 1864. A deeply respected judge, Leopold served the community for many years in many ways, including as the local justice of the peace; he died in 1946.