Driving Cattle to California, 1853

Bio-Pen Pictures

one of Santa Clara’s early settlers, resides upon a fine farm of 120 acres in the Braley District, about one-half mile west of the Saratoga and Alviso road, and one mile north of Lawrence Station.  This fine tract is now owned by his son, James T., and, with the exception of a small portion reserved for a family orchard, is devoted entirely to hay and grain.  Only such stock is raised as is needed in the farm work.   

            Mr. Rutledge was born in Montgomery County, Virginia, September 25, 1808.  His parents, Edward and Ann (Gillespie) Rutledge, were natives of Virginia, and descendants of settlers of the first white colony of that State.  His father was a Revolutionary soldier, and referred with pardonable pride to his service under General Washington.  It is worthy of remark that the rifle carried by the father is still in the family, and is in good condition.

            The subject of our sketch was reared on a farm, and, after his father’s death, conducted the home place for many years.  During this time, in November, 1829, he married Miss Lydia Thompson, daughter of Archibald Thompson of Tazewell County, Virginia.

            In 1841 he left his native State for Washington County, Missouri, where he engaged in farming and stock-raising.  He also turned his attention to mercantile business, keeping a general merchandise store.  At one period he had charge of a hotel, and thus various enterprises engaged him until, in 1853, he came to California.  He came overland, bringing with him a drove of cattle, and coming directly to Santa Clara County, where he entered into farming and stock-raising.

            The latter branch of his business he found very profitable, his herds increasing until they numbered over 600 head.  But this good fortune was not to last, for the two dry seasons of 1862 and 1863 caused the death of hundreds of cattle, reducing Mr. Rutledge’s herds to about sixty head !  He then turned his attention principally to farming, and about this time took possession of the large farm where he has since made his home.

            Mr. and Mrs. Rutledge are the parents of four children, one of whom is deceased:  Archibald E., born September 2, 1830, died May 26, 1875, at his father’s home; Mary Jane, born October 21, 1832, married James Reife, of Washington County, Missouri, now a resident of Santa Clara County; Ann Rebecca, born June 24, 1835, is the wife of A. B. Hunter, a native of Virginia and a pioneer of California, now a resident of San Jose; and James T., born July 8, 1837, who resides on the old homestead as its owner.

            Mr. Rutledge is almost entirely self-taught, and is an intelligent and well-read man.  Although he has reached an advanced age, he feels the deep interest in all public affairs of one who has long been a resident of a section which has almost entirely developed since his acquaintance with it.  He is a strong adherent of the Democratic party, and a member of the Presbyterian Church, in whose welfare he feels the deepest interest.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H.S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. p. 424-425

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight