As It Was: Bavaria-born Jeweler Becomes Scott Valley, Calif., Rancher

Oct 10, 2017

Charles Nentzel was a year old in 1833 when his family immigrated to America from Bavaria.  He grew up in New York, assisted his father as a blacksmith, and became a jeweler’s apprentice.

At age 18, he joined his father’s retail business in Scott Bar, Calif.  To get there, he sailed south, crossed Nicaragua and landed in San Francisco in 1853.

His health failed in 1865, and he returned to New York, where he worked as a jeweler for many years.  When his brother David died in 1872, Nentzel came back to Scott Valley to manage his brother’s ranch.  This time, the trip took 13 days by train to San Francisco and another five days to Scott Valley.

A contemporary biographical sketch describes Nentzel in these words, “Although the work and management was for him a novelty, he entered upon the task with courage and energy and succeeded so well … that he may be regarded as one of the prosperous farmers of Scott Valley … known for his sterling integrity.” 

By 1883, Nentzel had purchased his own 480-acre ranch.
 

Source: Wells, Harry L. History of Siskiyou County, California. Oakland, D.J. Stewart & Co, 1881, p. 50.