Recognizing the possibilities of this newly discovered land, courageous and inventive people began filtering into Alta California from all parts of the world. While Americans rode into Sonoma Valley to seize control during the celebrated Bear Flag Revolt, squatters and homesteaders began to populate the hills above the valley floor. General Vallejo, having recognized the inevitability of California’s secession and U. S. statehood, began distributing the lands he had originally been authorized to oversee by the Mexican government. These are the people that shaped the region known as Glen Ellen.
Principal among these early arrivals was a professor of music and languages that Vallejo had hired, to teach him to play the piano in exchange for a vast land grant.
Roulet & Asbury
Typical of the early settlers in Sonoma Valley, Patrick and Charity Roulet established a farmstead on Sonoma Mountain with their two children Virginia and Henry in 1848. It’s believed that Patrick died the following year; afterwards Charity married Coleman Asbury, for whom Asbury Creek is named.
William McPherson Hill
William McPherson Hill pioneered in the farming of our valley, and was among the first to plant orchards and vineyards of nonmission varieties of wine grapes. He was equally active in the community, serving as county supervisor and state senator.
Joseph Hooker graduated from West Point on 1837, and distinguished himself as a young oﬃcer during the Mexican American War. Afterwards he was appointed adjutant general and was headquartered in Sonoma. During his five years in the Valley of the Moon Hooker purchased a ranch, and settled here until the Civil War began to loom.
Justi began as an immigrant from Saxony, and with an eager willingness to meet the challenges he recognized the opportunities California oﬀered. His is a story of triumph in the wilderness.
Joshua Chauvet arrived in San Francisco on September 17th, 1850, a young man of 28 years with thirteen copper sous in his pocket and dreams of gold on his mind. It had been a diﬃcult sea voyage of seven long months around the Horn, and he was eager to get on to the motherlode to try his hand at mining.
Famous as a restauranteur and hotelier in New York and New Orleans, George Watriss was drawn to the opportunities he believed awaited him in California.
Educated in the liberal region of New England where social reforms began in the early 19th Century, Stuart brought a humane vision to our valley. It was he that called this place Glen Ellen.
A Hungarian émigré after having served as an oﬃcer in the ill-fated War of Liberation, Csomortanyi eventually established one of our first vineyards with the help of his fellow countryman Ágoston Haraszthy.
J. B. Warfield, MD
A doctor at first in the goldfields, and then a successful businessman in San Francisco, Warfield was an early vineyardist in Glen Ellen.