Contra Costa County












            There are few native sons of Contra Costa county now approaching fifty years of age who are still living on the farm upon which they were born. Such a one, however, is Albert E. Hodges, who was born November 1, 1856, a son of Samuel and Mary Jane (Whitcomb) Hodges, and grandson of David Hodges. David Hodges settled in Wisconsin in the early ‘30s, finding there a dreary wilderness, uninhabited as yet by any pale faces save those who had traveled hither as fur traders or missionaries. With his faithful wife he built a rude cabin, and out of the soil took the competence which enabled him to surround himself and family with material comforts. His son Samuel grew into a fine, strong youth, who, in 1850, left the home fireside and courageously turned his face towards the west. Accompanying him was a brave hearted young wife, the daughter of a near-by farmer, whose girlhood name was Mary Jane Whitcomb. For a year after the arrival in the west Samuel lived in the mining districts on the American river, and in 1851 came to Contra Costa county where he bought two hundred acres of land, where had already been erected a temporary house. On a very small scale himself and wife started into brave the loneliness and deprivation of their new home, their cattle being the chief source of revenue until their land could produce crops. There were no fences, and they were allowed the whole range surrounding them, a distinct advantage, since some time must elapse before the settlers could find time or means to build fences. Mr. Hodges found his land extremely fertile, and after erecting his fences planted wheat and barley almost exclusively, grains upon which he has since almost entirely depended. In time he erected a handsome residence, large barns, and provided modern agricultural implements, becoming one of the substantial and prominent men of the county. His death, October 3, 1889, removed a man to whom the county had looked for the promotion of its best interests, and who had invariably lent his influence to worthy and lasting efforts. Albert E. is his only son and oldest child, besides whom he had two daughters, Elizabeth and Rhoda. In the meantime, David Hodges, hearing good news from his son on the coast, sold his farm in Wisconsin and brought his family to California in 1852. Purchasing the property now owned by Mrs. Morton, he engaged in general farming and stock-raising until shortly before his death in Lafayette, at the age of seventy-five. His wife lived to be eighty-five.

            From his father, Albert E. Hodges learned to be a model farmer, and while continuing on the farm taken up by his father in the early days, has made many fine improvements over those of the older man, and now has a valuable and highly cultivated ranch. He is one of the most successful grain raisers in his neighborhood, and one of its most prosperous and public spirited farmers. Mr. Hodges married Hattie Donner, a native of Illinois, and daughter of John Donner. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hodges are: Sumner, Frank, Harold, and Alberta. The youthful appearance of Mr. Hodges has always caused him to be the object of good natured jest on the part of his friends, and it is probable that to-day he is the youngest looking man for his age in the county, if not the state. The years have made hardly any impression on his face, and his spirits and enthusiasm are as keen and infectious as when he used to engage in sports with the boys during his school days. His children inherit his mental activity, and, judging from the opportunities which it is the intention of their parents to place in their way, should develop into not only useful, but gifted men and women. In the early days Mr. Hodges joined Alamo Lodge, F. & A. M., and he is also a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.




Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 366-367. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2015  Cecelia M. Setty.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library