León Hiribarren Papers

 Collection — Box: BSQAP0095
Identifier: BAQ041

Scope and Contents

Photocopies of documents from the Hiribarren family. Among them, a notebook of León Hiribarren with lyrics of songs, letters related to his last will, and his naturalization process. The lyrics seem were to be written by him when he was in the military service; in Basque and French.


  • 1884-1975

Language of Materials note

Materials are in English, Basque and French.


Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site.

Biographical / Historical

Captain Léon Hiribarren (Baiona, 1839 – Novato, California, 1920) married Marie Paguesorhaye (St Pierre et Miquélon, France, 1849 – Novato, California, 1911). Hiribarren was living and working in San Francisco, where he operated cargo vessels, when he became acquainted with the early community of Novato, north of San Francisco. He was piloting a scow up Novato Creek in the early 1890s loading apples and pears for sale in San Francisco from the orchards of Joseph Sweetser and Francis DeLong, which at the time was the largest apple orchard in the United States. This lucrative water-borne trade began to dry up when trains service became available, and he decided to settle in the area and bought a place in Old Town Novato. He opened a general store, the “Half Way House”, but sold it after a couple of years and moved the business to New Town. Named the Novato House but often referred to as “the Corner”, it boasted a hotel, saloon and livery stable.

In the early days, traveling salesmen or “drummers” would ride the train to Novato and stay at the Novato House. From there, they would rent a horse and wagon or buggy to sell their wares to local farmers who could not easily get to the city. Marie Hiribarren is remembered for serving guests of the hotel and tavern elaborate meals for 50 cents that included a bottle of wine. In 1900, Hiribarren handed the business over to his son Augère and his wife, Anna, who operated it for several years along with two locally provided cheese factories. Marie died in April 1911 and Léon in October 1920. Their granddaughter Marie lived in the family home on Railroad Avenue until her death in 1975 in a house that still stands today.


ANCESTRY.COM [online]: https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/leon-hiribarren-24-231vhzy

MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL [online]: https://www.marinij.com/2017/12/08/marin-history-novatos-pioneers-the-hiribarrens/


0.25 Cubic Feet (1 box)


Documents from the Hiribarren family, León Hiribarren's notebook that contains lyrics of songs.

Separated Materials

A copy of Mason, Jack. The Making of Marin (1850-1975), where León and his family are described, was transferred to the library's collection.

A guide to the papers of León Hirbarren.
Irati Urkitza Ansoleaga
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Jon Bilbao Basque Library Repository

1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)