California Genealogy and History Archives
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.
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.
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.
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.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011