Roulet & AsburyIn 1848, Patrick and Charity Roulet, with their two children, Virginia and Henry, established a farmstead on Sonoma Mountain near a spring above Vallejo’s saw mill, where Patrick worked. After Patrick’s death a year or so later Charity married Coleman Asbury, and they had a son named George.

Life there was tough, as Coleman’s niece Mary Jane recalled: “our house had only a roof and walls up, and father was still working for General Vallejo (who owned the grant). Father was working for $8.00 and $10.00 per day. Gen. Vallejo had wished that father would settle near the fort in order to protect his family…

“The lumber from the trees was split and worked into condition to build our house. Quilts were hung over the openings. It was a real struggle of brave people living in that undeveloped section. We were forced to make our own coffee and flour. The coffee was made from roasted barley. Later coffee was brought up on a supply ship which came up Petaluma Creek from San Francisco and cost $50.00 for a barrel. Usually mother and I drove to Sonoma for our supplies once each month. We left at daybreak in a buckboard wagon with “Hun” the mare to drive. Wild Spanish cattle would sometimes follow. The horses would take them as foes and tried to drive them off by rearing and pawing.

“We used to play with the Vallejo children; they learned English and we learned Spanish. There were fifteen children. We used to go to dances with the Vallejo girls, at the Vallejo adobe fort outside of Petaluma. Lib and I were the only ones old enough to go. The Vallejo girls carried cigarettes in their corset. When we got home mother would smell our breath and switched us. She said, “tobacco is for the comfort of old people.”