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The Phillips Family
of Healdsburg, California


Duvall Drake Phillips
(1822 - 1904)

The following articles are taken from various sources (noted).  There is conflicting information regarding the amount of acreage that the ranch consisted of but the rest of the information is pretty well documented.

Duvall Drake PhillipsDuvall Drake Phillips was born to Gabriel Phillips, Jr. and Fannie Copper Phillips on May 1, 1822 in Mason County, Kentucky.  At the age of five years his parents moved to Pike County, Missouri where he was reared on the home farm and educated in subscription schools.  He married Amelia Ann Kennedy in 1843 and through this union had two sons, George and Duvall.  She died March 10, 1847.

In late 1847, D. D. enlisted into the Third Regiment of the Missouri Mounted Volunteers.  The regiment served in the Mexican War from July 1847 to October 1848. (1)

He had been in the service a short time when he was detailed to be one of a party of twenty-eight men to accompany Kit Carson, who was a dispatch carrier, to General Kearney in California.

After accompanying them to Santa Fe, in New Mexico, Carson obtaining a fresh escort, he and his comrades remained at Santa Fe until their respective commanders arrived, after which they proceeded to Chihuahua and Santa Cruz, in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico.  Mr. Phillips remained with this command until the Fall of 1848, when he got his honorable discharge.

After the cessation of hostilities, he returned home to Ralls County, where he spent the Winter.  In the Spring, in company of three companions, he started across the plains with ox-teams.  They arrived at "Hangtown", now Placerville, on September 1, 1849.

He spent the next seven years mining.  He was remarried in January 1855 to widow Mrs. Mary C. Terry McCloud, he purchased 160 acres of the Tzabaco Rancho Land Grant from the Spanish authorities with a partner, Sam Heaton.

He later purchased an adjoining 220 acres making a specialty of fruit raising - devoting 35 acres to vineyards and 20 acres to prunes.  He developed one of the most productive Oscar Frederick Phillipsranches in Dry Creek and lived there until his death on June 02, 1904.

Of his seven children from his second marriage, his son Oscar Frederick Phillips (born October 9, 1858 - picture at the right) remained in Healdsburg and produced the lineage that owns the property today!

"As a veteran of the Mexican war, a California pioneer, and a typical representative of energetic and able men who fought and won their way through life's battles, Duvall D. Phillips, who died in Healdsburg, June 2, 1904, will always be held in loving remembrance throughout the community in which he lived and maintained a superior rank among the successful businessmen of Sonoma county." (2)

A Brief History of the Rancho Tzabaco

Mih.ila'khawna, the valley of Dry Creek and the home of Southern Pomo tribes, became a portion of Tzabaco Rancho when José German Piña applied for a Mexican land grant in 1843. Building an adobe that was fashioned more like a fort, José Piña developed the property and raised cattle, corn, wheat and other crops.  Dying before the age of 25, the property passed on to his brothers Francisco, Lewis and Jesus and a sister, Clara and her husband William Fitch.

D. D. Phillips' Tzabaco Rancho ca. 1875The history of Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards begins with Duvall Drake (D. D.) Phillips in 1856.  Having crossed the plains on horseback in 1849, D. D. had lived in the gold fields as a miner and flume-builder for over five years before realizing that his future lie elsewhere.

During a scouting trip in 1855 to Sonoma County D. D. approached the Piña family in regards to purchasing a portion of their 17,000 acre Tzabaco Rancho.  They were not willing to sell at that time, but misfortunes of drought and crop fire the following year caused them to reconsider.

In the fall of 1856, D. D. and a partner named Samuel O. Heaton, bought 137¼ acres for $1112.82½.  Over the next few decades more property was purchased, some was sold, and Samuel and D. D. went their separate ways after a fifty-fifty split of their properties.

Source:  Tzbasco Rancho Vineyards and The Piña's of Dry Creek and Rancho Tzabaco

"Mr. Phillips (Duvall Drake Phillips) served with distinction in the Missouri Mounted Volunteers in 1847 and was one of the 28 men who accompanied Kit Carson when he served as dispatch bearer to General Kearney in California.  In 1856 he settled on the 223 acre adobe home ranch in Dry Creek Valley."

From the obituary of Mrs. Amelia Bell

D. D. Phillips settled in the Dry Creek Valley in 1856 and bought the adobe home and 132 acres from José German Piña. He planted grape plants around 1870 and in the 1880s, prune orchards. The adobe was only a fort, four walls and small portholes for windows and a low doorway hung with bearskins. The adobe house was occupied continuously by Phillips family members until the mid-1940s. It is presently (4/25/1994) owned by Jack Long.

Information provided by Mrs. Hollis Black - source was "A History of the Dry Creek Valley."


  1. Descendants of Mexican War Veterans
  2. Sonoma County Historical and Biographical Record, p.471
  3. History of Sonoma County, 1880
  4. The Piña's of Dry Creek and Rancho Tzabaco
  5. Tzbasco Rancho Vineyards

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Updated on March 03, 2018

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