Contra Costa County











     A citizen of sterling worth and ability, Henry Raap occupies a prominent position among the representative men of Martinez, Contra Costa county.  He was born in Holstein, Germany, January 20, 1830, the son of Conrad and Vepkia (Hohlan) Raap, a substantial and well-to-do family of that section, where the elder Mr. Raap owned a large estate.  After completing his education, however, Henry Raap  decided to try his fortunes in the broader opportunities of the western world, wishing as well to escape the strict military law of his own country, and accordingly took passage for America upon attaining his majority.  He first located in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked for a railroad company and also engaged in agricultural pursuits.  Through the glowing reports which were continually received all through the states of the east and middle west of the possibilities to be found in the mines of California, he felt impelled to take the trip to the Pacific slope, and having saved sufficient money came by way of the Nicaragua route in 1854.  Upon his arrival he went at once to the mining districts, being located for some time in Placer county, and going to the Fraser river in 1858, where he remained two years.  In 1860 he returned south and two years later went to the Salmon river.  In all this time he met with the usual fate of miners, winning a fortune at one time, which he would lose in another venture; but, unlike the great majority of men, the life appealed to him and he found pleasure if not profit in his efforts.  He prospected in many of the western states, and also went to Alaska for a time.  In 1862 he returned to Germany, having amassed considerable capital, and married Marie Magdalene Classen on the 10th of December of the same year, who returned with him to New York City.  He there engaged for a time in a sugar refinery, but the genial climate of California and its possibilities tended to draw him back eventually to a home here. Upon his final return to the state he purchased his present home, located a mile south of Martinez, going heavily in debt to accomplish it.  He engaged in grain raising, in which his first efforts failed, as there was a failure in crops, his loss for that one year being about $3,000.   His creditors at once began to press him for their money, and in his extremity he was forced to cable to his home in Germany for assistance.  An evidence of the high esteem in which he is there held was the fact that the $3,000 asked for came at once.  He was thus able to meet all his obligations and was once more in a position to continue his work.  In a few years he was entirely out of debt and owned a fine ranch of two hundred acres, of which fifty is devoted to vineyards and fifty to various orchard fruits, while the balance if given over the cultivation of grain and hay, and stock-raising.  The improvements, with the exception of the dwelling house, which was built in 1854 and has since been enlarged by its present owner, are the work of Mr. Raap, who has taken a keen interest in putting out fruit, shade trees, and in building barns and ample accommodations for all stock and implements.  He is a progressive and enterprising rancher, and personally is held in the highest esteem.

     Mr. Raap's wife died in 1901, at the age of sixty-three years, leaving a family of five children:  Harry; Adele, the wife of Vincent Hook; John, Alfred and Otto.  Mr.  Raap made a trip to Alaska in 1895 and in 1900 in the interest of his sons.  Fraternally he has been a member of the Grange for thirty years, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen for twenty-five years.





Transcribed 3-29-16  Marilyn R. Pankey.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 1095. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Marilyn R. Pankey.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library