Contra Costa County











     The lineage of the Dunkel family is traced to Germany.  The first of the name in this country was Ephraim Dunkel, who was born and reared near Berlin and immigrated to the United States in early manhood, settling in New York.  There he gained a thorough training in the mercantile business.  When gold was discovered in California he determined to seek a fortune in the far west, and in 1850 took passage on a sailing vessel bound for San Francisco via Cape Horn.  After a long and uneventful voyage the ship cast anchor at the Golden Gate, and Mr. Dunkel immediately hastened to the mines.  While no great luck awaited his efforts as a gold-seeker, he was pleased, nevertheless, with prospects on the Pacific coast.  He settled in Calaveras county where he was married to Bertha Berliner, but later removed to Placer county.  During his residence in the first-named county he conducted mercantile establishments at Chinese Camp and then at Angels Camp, and on going to Placer county he was similarly engaged at Colfax.  On disposing of his interests at Colfax he moved to Eureka, Nev., but in a short time removed to San Francisco, and in 1879 came to Pacheco, Contra Costa county, where he opened and operated a general store.  After several years he disposed of that business and removed to Benicia, Solano county, where he died in 1891, at the age of sixty-six years.  His wife, who bore the maiden name of Bertha Berliner, was born in Germany and died in California at the age of fifty-seven years.  All of their five daughters are deceased, the only living member of the family being the son, Aaron E., who is recorder of Contra Costa county.

     While the family were making their home at Angels Camp in Calaveras county, Cal., Aaron E. Dunkel was born October 20, 1862.  His education was obtained principally in the schools of San Francisco.  While still a mere boy he learned book-keeping and this occupation he followed until 1885, when he was appointed deputy county recorder of Contra Costa county under Charles S. Cousins, now deceased.  After nine years of service as deputy, in 1894 he was elected county recorder on the Republican ticket.  The satisfactory nature of his work may be recognized from the fact that he has been chosen to be his own successor at each subsequent election and is now (1904) serving his third term in the office.  Other interests receive his aid and cooperation, notably the Contra Costa Title Company, of which he is president.  At the time of the building of the Martinez library he acted as secretary of the Library Association which had charge of the important work of building.  No enterprise has been planned for the benefit of his home town which has failed to receive his support, when he has been convinced of its merits.  The welfare and growth of his town and county are objects very dear to him and he has ever been solicitous concerning them.

     The comfortable home of Mr. Dunkel is presided over by his wife, formerly Eva Hathaway, and is brightened by the presence of their son, Herbert E.  Mrs. Dunkel was born in Contra Costa county, of which her father, Roswell B. Hathaway, was an early settler.  Mr. Hathaway was born in Canandaigua county, N.Y., February 6, 1826, and grew to manhood in Michigan.  During 1854 he became a pioneer of California.  For a short time he engaged in mining in Amador and other counties.  In 1857 he settled on a farm near San Ramon, but later turned his attention to butchering.  For ten years and ten months he served as treasurer of Contra Costa county, to which office he was elected on the Democratic ticket.  The fact that he was re-elected to office four times proves his popularity as an official, for his party was in the minority in the county.  Since leaving the office he has lived retired in Martinez.  In 1861 he married Wilhelmina Murasky, by whom he has eight children, namely:  Matilda, Ella, Minnie, Eva, Roswell B., Hiron, Bertha and Lulu, the last named being deceased.  Fraternally Mr. Dunkel is connected with Martinez Lodge of the Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he is past grand, and the Mount Diablo Parlor No. 101, Native Sons of the Golden West, in which he is past president and a charter member.





Transcribed 6-8-16  Marilyn R. Pankey.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 1204. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Marilyn R. Pankey.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library