Charles Justi was born in Saxony Germany in 1806, and emigrated to America where he became a jeweler and watchmaker. When gold was discovered in California he and his wife Marie sailed around the Horn to San Francisco, where he continued his work as a jeweler a while longer. He purchased a steamboat in 1853 and operated a freight and passenger service from San Francisco to the Embarcadero near Sonoma.

Later Captain Justi (as he was then known) purchased 425 acres near Glen Ellen, where he farmed and made wine. His ranch was midway between the towns of Sonoma and Santa Rosa, and so it became an important layover for the Wells Fargo Stage Line. In 1872 Justi was named the first postmaster of Glen Ellen, a post he held until 1872. He died in 1885.

Charles and Marie had eleven children. One of their sons, Leopold, was born on the ranch in 1864. He was a deeply respected judge, and served for many years as the local justice of the peace. He died in 1946.