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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



As a rancher for many years in Colusa county and later as a horticulturist in Sacramento county, Mr. Raper has gained a thorough knowledge of the soil in this section of the state and also of its adaptability to varied products. Himself a pioneer of the '60s, having crossed the plains a number of years prior to the spanning of the continent by the first railroad system, he has witnessed the progress made by the west during the past one-half century, nor has his own part in the slow work of agricultural evolution been insignificant or unworthy of honorable mention. On the other hand, he was one of the large number of patient tillers of the soil without whose intelligent efforts and unwearied industry the present degree of prosperity could not have been reached.

While Illinois was vet a frontier state and the large steamers on the Mississippi formed the principal means of transportation for the people of the north and south, Robert Raper was born in Fayette county, January 3, 1839, and was reared in Hancock county. The educational advantages which he enjoyed were excellent for those days. Later he enlarged his fund of information through close reading and self-culture. Early in manhood he established a home of his own, being united in marriage April 18, 1861, with Miss Caroline F. Allen, a native of Henry county, Iowa. The young couple began housekeeping on a farm, but soon they began to be interested in reports concerning California, and it was not long before they decided to seek a home in the far west. During the summer of 1864 they traveled across the plains with a wagon and mules and notwithstanding the hostility of the Indians they reached their destination without delays or attacks.

Shortly after his arrival in Colusa county Mr. Raper rented a tract of raw land on which he raised wheat and barley. Later he bought four hundred and twenty acres of unimproved land and this he cultivated for a number of years. When he disposed of that place he purchased three hundred and twenty acres, which he cultivated for several years. Meanwhile he began to realize the need of better educational advantages for his children, and desiring to live where he could send them to first-class schools, he sold his country home, moved to College City, bought a lot and built a residence. For about twelve years he engaged in farming near the town, but continued meanwhile to occupy the village home until the children had completed their studies.

The World's Fair attracted Mr. and Mrs. Raper to Chicago during the summer of 1893, and they enjoyed the splendid exhibits from their own state, as well as from other parts of the country and other regions of the world. Desiring to see something of the east, they traveled on to New England and found much to interest them there. After they had visited several of the most important eastern cities they spent some time among old friends in Iowa and Illinois, thence coming back to California, which seemed more desirable than ever before as a place of residence. Their enjoyment of the east did not lessen their affection for the home of their choice. Prior to that trip they had sold out in Colusa county and bought ten acres at Orangevale, three miles from Folsom, Sacramento county, which tract he had planted to apricots, almonds and prunes. On his return from Chicago and the other cities of his visitations, Mr. Raper built a substantial house on the place and made other improvements. Shortly afterward he bought two adjacent tracts, thus giving him forty acres altogether, of which ten acres are in Tokay grapes. Another tract is utilized for hay and pasture.

The only son of Mr. Raper is 0. L. Raper, a prosperous farmer of Glenn county. The eldest daughter, Nora M., is the wife of J. L. Patterson, a prominent rancher of the Orangevale district. The second daughter, Jennie Q., is Mrs. G. C. Clare, of Mendocino county, and the youngest, Lou, is the wife of W. T. Eddy, who at this writing carries on the Raper ranch. The wife and mother passed away December 15, 1909, leaving to her loved ones the memory of a kindly heart ever ready to succor those in need and willing hands ever ready to minister to the wants of her family. The uplifting teachings of Christianity were exemplified in her daily acts of kindness and words of love. Mr. Raper also has been a consistent believer in the Gospel and a devoted member of the Christian church. As a member of the school board for thirteen years he worked effectively to promote educational interests. Politically he has been identified with the Republican party, but in principle he always has been an ardent Prohibitionist and has dis- played his belief in the cause of temperance both by precept and example. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011