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 William Hood

William Hood

Saint Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Death 1 Mar 1903 (aged 84)
Ukiah, Mendocino County, California, USA
Burial Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, USA
Memorial ID 92768971 · View Source
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William's father was a shipwright and Hood grew up learning woodworking skills such as carpentry and cabinet making. As a young man he began in the shipbuilding trade but soon left St. Andrews for London where he was able to make more money building houses. Now in his twenties, the adventurous Hood traveled to Chile to make his fortune rebuilding the earthquake ravaged city of Valparaiso. This was to be the first of his great successes.

While in Peru a short while later, he met James Shaw and his wife, Amelia Wilson. Shaw and Hood became fast friends. When it came time to leave Peru, Shaw, Wilson and Hood all left for California together.

William immigrated to the U.S. in 1846, moving to San Francisco where he set up a carpentry business. Sometime in 1846, Hood allegedly took a trip to the countryside north of San Francisco. It was then that he first encountered the Los Guilicos rancho.

This was the site of Rancho los Guilucos (18,833 acres), granted in 1839 by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to John Wilson and his wife, Ramona Carrillo, sister-in-law of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.

Hood was impressed with the valley and the potential of the ranch. It soon became his goal to make enough money to purchase the property from Wilson. When gold was discovered in 1848, demand for carpentry made Hood wealthier than most of the men scampering off to the gold fields. Business was very good. By 1850, he had earned enough money to purchase a half share in Los Guilicos. The terms of the partnership with a Mr. William Pettit are unclear. Pettit apparently sold his half of the ranch to Amelia Wilson less than a year later. Together, Hood and Wilson hired James Shaw as ranch foreman. Amelia eventually sold her share to Hood around 1854, giving him sole ownership of the property.

In 1857, Hood purchased 320 acres in nearby Analy Township (Sebastopol) and presented half of the plot to his sister, Jane, and her husband Captain John Spence. Around this time, his brother George also came to Los Guilcos before settling in Santa Rosa. With a property and a settled family around him, William began to think about a family of his own.

William Hood married Eliza Ann Shaw in 1858. Eliza was only a teenager at the time so Hood sent her to Europe to receive an education. In the meantime, he constructed the brick building which became known as the "Hood Mansion" as a gift to his new bride upon her return. It is now known as the oldest brick house in Sonoma Co.

Until 1866, William raised cattle. During the 1860s, William also had many problems with squatters and the consequential lawsuits. By the time Hood was finally officially conveyed the property in 1866, it is claimed that only one-tenth of the original rancho remained under his control. This land was the roughly 2000 acres surrounding his brick house. Around this time Hood turned to agriculture because his lands were now too small for ranching. Together Eliza and William planted orchards and vineyards around the property.

1870 U.S. Census for Santa Rosa, Sonoma Co., CA (25 July; P.O. Santa Rosa):
William Hood M 51y, b. 1818 Scotland; farmer
Eliza Hood F 29y, b. 1841 Australia
Mary Hood F 29y, b. 1841 Scotland
Jennie Hood F 20y, b. 1850 New Zealand
James Shaw M 31y, b. 1839 Australia; farmer
Jane Spence F 40y Scotland
W O Spence F 5y California
Caroline Wilson F 45y England
J Finwick F 8y California
Tang M 29y China (cook)
Say M 17y China (waiter)
Fred Clark M 60y England (carpenter)
James Anderson M 32y Sweden (farm hand)
Wm Rufler M 55y Baden (butcher)
Martin Kolbe M 27y Sweden (farm hand)
August Kolbe M 25y Sweden (farm hand)
Robert Johnson M 30y England (hostler; stableman)
A Chagnow M 34y France (distiller)
Felix Cassidy M 36y Ireland (laborer)
Jas Ackerman M 44y Westemberg(Germany; farm hand)
C Siegenspeck M 43y Prussia (cooper; barrel-maker)

William's real estate property was valued at $45K; his personal property worth $25K. Eliza was his wife. James Shaw was Eliza's brother. He was a farmer and had real estate property valued at $3K and personal property at $1,600. Mary, Jennie, Jane, Caroline were "of the family". Jane Spence was his sister.

It is evident that William was a very wealthy man at this time and had a huge operation. Next door to him in this census is a family of 8 Chinese who probably also worked for Mr. Hood. They are listed as laborers.

In 1877 he was forced to mortgage his property on a $30,000 deed of trust to the San Francisco Savings Society. He defaulted less than a year later and the property was sold at auction to local land owner William Bliss. Eliza and William remained on the property and William began to fade from the historic records. It appears that Eliza took over the winery business, hiring in 1878, a well-known wine maker named A. Drioton. He turned the Hood vineyard into a successful and respected wine producer that quickly became one of the largest wineries in the region. Eliza proved to be an efficient businesswoman, having herself declared a sole trader so she could operate business in her own name rather than going through her husband. She immediately purchased over 1300 acres of her Los Guilicos property back from Mr. Bliss. The good times continued and in 1887 a railhead was established a short distance from the "Mansion".

In 1891, Eliza borrowed $27,000 from Francis Wensinger. The circumstances around this transaction have not been fully investigated. However what is known is that she was unable to pay back the money and he foreclosed in 1893. Also unclear is just when Eliza and William vacated Hood Mansion. Family recollections put Eliza at Hood Mansion until around the turn of the century.

1900 U.S. Census for Sonoma Township, Glen Ellen Precinct, Sonoma Co., Calif.:
Mary H. Shaw, 59 yrs, b. Sept. 1840 Scotland; farmer
Marion H Kynversley (dghtr) F 27 yrs, b. Mar. 1873 CA
Uncle William Hood M 82 yrs, b. Sept. 1818 Scotland
Lodger James P Hamilton M 72 Scotland; immig. 1854
Granddau Edith R Kynnersley F 3 yrs, b. Oct. 1896, CA
Servant M Kawata M 44 Japan

Mary Hood Shaw immigrated to the U.S. in 1850. Marion's husband and Edith's father was b. in England.

William Hood died in a state asylum in Ukiah in 1903 and Eliza passed away in 1908 while living in San Francisco.

Note: Hood Mansion has been recognized as a significant historic resource by the State of California and by the National Parks Service. It was listed as a State of California Landmark in 1959 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. It is now tucked behind Sonoma County's Juvenile Justice Center, the old house has lost the commanding view of northern Sonoma Valley that it possessed when it was built in 1858. It is owned by the County of Sonoma.

William Hood was one of the first settlers in the region and established one of the largest and most well-known Californian wineries in the late-19th century on the Los Guilicos property.

Note: Other members of his family are also buried in this cemetery.

For information about his brother George Hood, see Memorial 92789256. He is buried in this cemeterey.

Family Members





  • Created by: J.D. Larimore
  • Added: 29 Jun 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92768971
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Hood (9 Sep 1818–1 Mar 1903), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92768971, citing Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, USA ; Maintained by J.D. Larimore (contributor 47030633) .