One of Sierra valley’s most successful ranchers and influential citizens is Raffaele Dotta, whose well improved ranch lies two miles northwest of Loyalton. He was born in Fontana, Canton Ticino, Switzerland, on the 8th of August, 1863, and is a son of Frank and Deborah Dotta, who died at the age of sixty-nine and seventy-four years, respectively. His father was a carpenter by trade, a landowner and had a small farm. Of the eight children, three sons and five daughters, born to his parents, he is the third child in the order of birth and the second son.
Raffaele Dotta assisted his father during his boyhood and attended school until fourteen years of age in his home neighborhood. From eleven to seventeen years of age he herded sheep and goats during the summers and attended school to some extent during the winters. In 1882, at the age of nineteen years, in company with Caesar Dotta, he came to the United States, embarking at Havre, France, and arriving at the port of New York. He reached Reno, Nevada, March 16, 1882, and was there met by his uncle, John Dotta, who was the owner of a ranch in the Sierra valley. Raffaele Dotta went to work on his uncle’s ranch, being at first employed as a milker. He worked for ten years for four different employers, eight years as a milker and two years in the city of Sacramento, as a waiter and bartender in the old Western Hotel. After two years there he returned to the Sierra valley, where he has since resided. He had carefully saved his earnings and with the assistance of his uncle John, he bought six hundred acres of land, his initial purchase. This he stocked with thirty head of milch cows, and when that land was paid for he bought adjoining property from time to time until he had accumulated eleven hundred and sixty acres of land. On this he made valuable improvements, building a house, dairy barns and other necessary buildings, and here he has paid close attention to the dairy business to the present time. He milks about sixty head of cows, besides which he has two hundred and fifty head of cattle. Mr. Dotta helped to establish the Loyalton Cooperative Creamery, which is now known as the Sierra Valley Creamery, Inc. He also helped to organize the Bank of Loyalton, of which he was president from 1921 to 1928 and is still one of the principal stockholders. On his farm he employs three men regularly, two milkers and one farm hand, and during the haying season employs fourteen other men. He puts up from four hundred and fifty to five hundred tons of hay every year, mostly the native bunch grass. In addition to this ranch, Mr. Dotta also has a half interest, with his brother-in-law John Genasci, in five hundred and fifty acres of land seven miles west of Loyalton.
Mr. Dotta became a naturalized citizen more than thirty years ago and has since given his political support to the Republican Party. He was reared in the faith of the Roman Catholic Church and is a consistent and liberal giver to the church at Loyalton. He is an honorary member of the Sierra Valley Swiss Club and throughout the community where he lives he commands the highest respect, due to his worthy and honorable life.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 3 Pages 164-165. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.