Solano County

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One of the venerable pioneers who remains to tell the story of the early days in California is Robert P. Duff, of Vaca valley, near Vacaville, a man whom to know is to honor and accord the highest esteem, for his life has been exemplary and his influence has been exerted for the best interests of the community. The history of this locality and that of his own career are closely allied, for he came to California over seventy years ago and to Vacaville nearly forty-five years ago, so that he has been a witness of and a participant in the wonderful development of this section of the state.

Mr. Duff was born at St. John, New Brunswick, on the 18th of August, 1839, and is therefore now eighty-six years of age. His brothers also were early pioneers of California, having come here in 1849, making the journey by sailing vessel from Boston, Massachusetts, by way of Cape Horn. They were the founders of the city of Eureka, Humboldt county, owning the town site and erecting the first buildings. Their father came later and joined them at Eureka. They built the first sawmill at that place and surveyed the town, paving the way for the future splendid growth which that thriving city enjoyed. In those early days they had much trouble with the Indians and also were greatly annoyed by wild animals. Often when the cows were driven home in the evenings elks would come with them.

Robert P. Duff came to California in 1854, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, which he crossed partly on muleback and partly on foot. He remained at Eureka a number of years, but in 1883 he came to Vacaville, Solano county, and bought a twenty acre ranch in the Vaca valley, where he still lives. He planted the tract to deciduous fruits, and he has made many good and substantial improvements on the place, being now very comfortably situated. Mr. Duff is one of the fine old gentlemen of Solano county, and no one enjoys to a greater degree the respect and esteem of all who know him. He is a remarkably well preserved man for his age, while his mental faculties are as keen and alert as in his younger years. He has kept in close touch through the years with the events of his state and community and his reminiscences of the early days here are extremely interesting. Mr. Duff was married to Miss Bella C. Tower, a native of the state of Maine, and to them were born two daughters.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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This page was last updated 28 Oct 2007

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