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California Genealogy and History Archives

San Bernardino County and Riverside County


CHARLES RUEDY. The thriving little City of Upland in San Bernardino County was formerly known as North Ontario. The first development and settlement were made there a little more than thirty years ago, and one of the first arrivals to identify himself permanently was Charles Ruedy. Mr. Ruedy came to California for the benefit of his wife's health, had been a successful business man in Southern Illinois for a number of years, invested some of his means in citrus groves at Upland, but for the most part has been a promoter, stockholder, investor and officially identified with some of the larger business organizations that represent the industrial activity of the community. Mr. Ruedy has been a real town builder, and has probably been responsible for as much constructive work in Upland as any other citizen.

He was born at Highland, Illinois, February 25, 1852. Highland is one of the interesting old communities of Southern Illinois, settled almost exclusively by people who came from Switzerland, and the population today is largely of Swiss descendants. His parents, Daniel and Mary (Marguth) Ruedy, were natives of Canton Graubuenden, Switzerland and settled in Illinois in the early forties. Daniel Ruedy was a farmer. Of his sixteen children three died in infancy and thirteen lived to maturity and were married.  

Charles Ruedy had only a common school education, and his life to the age of twenty-one was devoted largely to assisting on the home farm. When he left home he clerked in a store a year and a half and soon afterward married Miss Julia M. Landolt, also of Highland, where her parents were farmers. In 1874 Mr. Ruedy engaged in the mercantile business for himself, and for seventeen years conducted a general store.  

About that time physicians advised that his wife must seek a drier climate, and for six months they traveled over the West and Southwest, visiting Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. They went back to Highland, and Mr. Ruedy wound up his affairs there, and about six months later returned to California.  

It was in 1891 that he joined the little colony at Upland and at once began taking an active part in its affairs. He bought two orange groves of ten acres each, one in Ontario and the other north of Upland on Fourteenth Street, West, including what was known as Chaffee's boarding house, one of the first houses built in Upland. At this time Upland had no business houses, and most of the magnificent orange groves in that section were then waste land. Mr., Ruedy soon sold his groves, and in 1894 engaged in the feed and fuel business. He conducted this for seven years, and then sold out to a stock company, of which J. M. Hartley was manager. Mr. Ruedy early became interested in the dried fruit business, being one of the organizers of the North Ontario Packing Company, in which he became a director. This concern handles dried fruits and is one of the largest organizations of its kind in Southern California, with headquarters in Los Angeles. Mr. Ruedy is one of the larger stockholders. He is president of the Citizens Land & Water Company, was one of the incorporators and for several years a director of the Citizens National Bank of Upland, is president of the Magnolia Mutual Building and Loan Association of Upland, and owns some of the principal business blocks of the city. He owns the entire northwest corner of Second Avenue and Ninth Street, where most of the business structures stand. He owns the packing house occupied by the G. A. Hanson Fruit Company. The old packing house was burned in 1915, entailing a heavy loss to Mr. Ruedy, but he rebuilt it with a fireproof plant. With a view to stimulating the commercial development of the town and affording additional employment to its citizens he was one of the liberal investors in the shoe factory and foundry, both of which concerns were operated at a loss.  

Mr. Ruedy is an attendant of the Presbyterian Church and has been a life-long republican. Mrs. Ruedy found health and strength under California skies and enjoyed life here until her death in November 17, 1917. For his second wife Mr. Ruedy married Maude A. Thomas. She was born in Princeton, Illinois, July 6, 1872, and she and a sister were left orphans at the age of six and seven years. They then came to California to live with an aunt and uncle near Sacramento, subsequently lived for a number of years near Marysville, and later at Livermore, where their aunt and uncle died.  

Mr. Ruedy started life when he left the farm with practically no capital and with limited business experience. His industry, his care and skill in making investments have brought him financial independence and at the same time he has been one of the most substantial factors in the growth and upbuilding of Upland.

History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011