JOHN McFARLING, of Oakland, owner of agricultural and mineral lands, and breeder of fancy poultry, was born in Belmont county, Ohio, near Barnesville, June 11, 1829, a son of Ralph and Margaret (McKnight) McFarling. The father, a native of Shenandoah county, Virginia, was a farmer and a soldier of the war of 1812. He lived to be over fifty. The mother, a native of Loudoun county, was a daughter of Benjamin McKnight, a soldier of the Revolution and afterward a farmer. He reached the age of about ninety-six, being a pensioner for many years before his death. Grandfather McFarling was a freighter or teamster in ante-railroad days, and his son Ralph, the father of our subject, was also brought up to that business, teaming to Charleston and other mining centers in the Shenandoah valley. The McFarlings and McKnights are of Scotch ancestry, but have been settled in Virginia for several generations.
John McFarling received a little schooling in his youth, a few months in
the year, and was brought up to farm work. Early in the fifties he spent a part of two years in Iowa, where an older brother James, had settled in 1844. This brother had come to California in 1849 and gone back to Iowa, whence he again started for California in 1854, accompanied by our subject, arriving in Nevada City August 24, 1854. John McFarling went to mining, and continued more or less interruptedly[sic] engaged in placer-mining until 1863. He is still interested in that industry, being general superintendent and part owner of the Juniper and Mount Hope mines in Lassen county, which are leased to working miners. In 1879 he bought 150 acres of farming land near Calistoga, Napa county, on which he still carries on a general farming business. He took up his residence in this city in 1881, and in 1883 adopted as a specialty the business of raising poultry. He keeps a dozen or more varieties of fancy fowls – blue Andalusians, golden Wyandots, Rose-combs, brown and white Leghorns and others. With good management and plenty of room, the business may be made quite profitable; and even a moderate yard in the hands of a skilled breeder affords a fair living.
Mr. McFarling was married in Gilroy, California, in 1880, to Miss Susan J. Rogers, born in Washington county, New York, a daughter of Francis Rogers, now living in Calistoga, aged over eighty. This family, American for some generations, claims descent from John Rogers, the Smithfield martyr. The mother of Mrs. McFarling, nee Mary Boody, died March 1, 1875, aged fifty-seven. Mr. and Mrs. McFarling have three children - Lura,
born May 9, 1881; Rose Eleanor, October 27, 1882, and Ashley Rogers, November 1, 1884.
Transcribed by Walt Howe.
Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 2, pages 28, Lewis Publishing Co., 1892.
© 2005 Walt Howe.