Bio- Pen Pictures

            Among the public officers of Santa Clara County there is no one who is held in more general esteem than Hon. Rush McComas.  He was born in Cabell County, Virginia, in 1830.  His parents, Hiram and Rebecca (Hatfield) McComas, were natives of that State, and in 1841 removed with their family to Platte County, Missouri, where the youth and early manhood of the subject of this sketch were passed following the pursuits of a farmer’s son, and picking up the rudiments of an education in the country schools.  In 1853 he was elected Assessor of Platte County, but subsequently resigned to engage in mercantile business at Parkville, Missouri, ten miles from where Kansas City now stands.  At that time the site was known as Westport Landing, and consisted of a couple of dozen of houses and several warehouses on the flat under the hill; nothing more.  During the season of 1857-58 he acted as clerk on a Missouri River steamboat, the firm of which he was a member being part owner, but continued in the general merchandise and produce business until the spring of 1861, when the shadows of war darkened the land, and by the following fall financial ruin had overtaken nearly every man in business in that part of Missouri, himself among the number.

            In October he removed with his family to California, reaching Santa Clara, via Panama, early in November, 1861.  For several years he worked as a day laborer during the harvest season.  In 1864 he bought his present home of eighty acres, purchasing the claim from different individuals, but afterward discovering that it was Government land.  This place he has gradually improved until now he has four acres of pears, four of quinces, ten of strawberries, and the rest in general farming.  It lies on the Coffin Road, about four miles north of Santa Clara, and is watered by three artesian wells, which furnish an ample supply for all purposes.  In 1877 Mr. McComas was elected to the State Legislature, serving with credit to himself and giving satisfaction to his constituents. 

            In 1878, under the existing laws, the entire support of the government fell upon the laboring and producing classes, money at loan upon mortgage not being taxed.  To correct this and other evils, a constitution convention was called.  Mr. McComas was elected a member of it, having shown much interest in the endeavor to remedy them.  They met in October, 1878, in Sacramento, and, after a session of five months, succeeded in framing the present Constitution of the State, which was adopted by vote of the people soon after.  The equalization of taxation effected by this has given a great impetus to all the material interests of the State.  In 1879 he was again elected a member of the Assembly, served on the Committee on Education and Claims, and was Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, and took a leading part in the successful effort to obtain the appropriation to build the present State Normal School in the city of San Jose.  In 1884 Mr. McComas was elected County Treasurer, and again in 1886, being now the incumbent of that office.

            He was married, in 1853, to Miss Ann E. Swope, of Missouri, her parents having removed thither from Madison County, Kentucky, early in its history.  Mr. and Mrs. McComas have seven children:  William, now living on the home farm; Cora, wife of D. W. Burchard, of San Jose; Ella, Harrieet, Anna, Katy, Allen, and Henry.  Most of them are still living under the parental roof.

            Mr. McComas is a member of the Masonic Order, as also of the Patrons of Husbandry, the A. O. U. W., the Chosen Friends, the American Legion of Honor and Order of the Eastern Star.  He is a stanch Republican, and believes fully in the protection of American industries.  A man of rigid integrity and crystal probity, he has the fullest confidence of the people, as is evinced by the fact that he experienced not the least difficulty in furnishing bonds to the amount of $300,000, as County Treasurer and Tax Collector.  Mr. McComas is a careful and conscientious public officer, and a leading member of the Republican party, receiving the unanimous vote of the convention which nominated him.  While holding the highest esteem of his own party, he possesses likewise the fullest respect and confidence of every citizen.

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.

Pg. 363-364
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy



SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight