Almost half a century has passed since Henry Koontz came to California and he is therefore numbered among its pioneer residents. He has watched its development through a long period, noting with interest the changes that have been wrought as its natural resources have been developed and the work of improvement and civilization has been carried forward. His labors have largely been put forth along agricultural lines and he is now the owner of a good ranch near New Hope, in San Joaquin county.

Mr. Koontz was born in Ohio, April 22, 1837, a son of John and Elizabeth (Knupp) Koontz, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. When their son Henry was two years old they removed to Wayne county, Illinois, where he was reared, remaining in that locality until he had passed his twentieth birthday, when he came to California. He had been educated in the schools of Illinois, such as existed in a pioneer region, and after arriving at years of maturity, believing that he might benefit his financial condition thereby, he emigrated to the Pacific coast, making his way westward by the isthmus route. He went first down the Mississippi river, thence to the isthmus and thence up the Pacific until he reached San Francisco. From the Golden Gate he proceeded at once to San Joaquin county and settled upon his present ranch over a quarter of a century ago. In the meantime, however, he had carried on agricultural pursuits in the employ of others and later had engaged in farming on his own account on the Mokelumne river, a short distance west of his present home.

On the 29th of June, 1874, Mr. Koontz was united in marriage to Miss Clemance A. Hay, who was born in Wayne county, Illinois. They became the parents of six children: John L., a resident of Oregon; Elizabeth, deceased; William H., who is living in New Hope, California; Katie, wife of Leonard Thisby, of Sacramento county; Clemance A., wife of Robert Thisby, also of Sacramento county; and George M., who is with his father. The mother died several years ago. She was a member of the Presbyterian church and a most estimable lady, whose death was the occasion of deep regret to her many friends as well as her immediate family.

Mr. Koontz still resides on the ranch which has been his home for a quarter of a century and which comprises one hundred and four acres of rich land on the Mokelumne river, not far from the town of New Hope. He carefully conducts his farming interests, following progressive methods, and therefore meeting with desirable success in his undertakings. In politics he is a Democrat and has served as a trustee of the school district in which he resides. He belongs to the Presbyterian church at Woodbridge, and his life has been guided by its teachings, so that his fellow citizens know him as an upright man, worthy of the esteem and good will of all with whom he has been brought in contact.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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