California Genealogy and History Archives
Suggestive of the early days in the history of Sonoma county, is the record of the life and accomplishments of John Rule, who though long since passed from the scenes of his earthly labors, is remembered by his contemporaries who are still living as one of the foremost men of his time. A native of England, he was born in Cornwall February 6, 1818, and continued in his native land until the year 1841, that year witnessing his immigration to the United States. One year was passed in Pennsylvania, after which he went to Missouri and for two years was engaged in various mining interests in the lead and copper mines of that state. In the meantime, on October 25, 1844, he had formed domestic ties by his marriage with Elizabeth Craddock, the daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Cook) Craddock, their marriage being solemnized in Madison county.
With his family, in 1846 Mr. Rule removed to Grant county, Wis., where he continued his interest in mining, and still later transferred his interest to the lead mines of Galena, Ill., in which he made extensive investments. In the meantime the finding of gold in California had begun to attract people from all parts of the United States to the Pacific coast, and after withstanding its attractions for a considerable period Mr. Rule succumbed to the western fever, and the spring of 1852 found him wending his way across the plains. A tiresome journey of five months finally brought him to his destination. Volcano, Amador county, Cal., where he engaged in mining for a year, and the following year was passed in the same line of endeavor in Grass valley. A change of location as well as a change in occupation to some extent followed this last-mentioned experience, for after his removal to Brown’s valley, in Yuba county, he combined hotel-keeping with mining. A still later experience took him to Virginia City, Nev., where for five years he carried on a varied and extensive business, carrying on mining, quartz-crushing and teaming. These allied undertakings were wisely entered into and Mr. Rule profited by the venture. Subsequently he removed with his family to San Francisco, continuing there until he purchased the ranch in Sonoma county which is still I n possession of the family. Here he purchased four thousand acres of land, which was well timbered and it was conservatively estimated that it would supply a saw-mill for two decades. He therefore erected an extensive steam saw-mill with a capacity of forty thousand feet of lumber per day. With wise foresight he saw the benefit to be derived from the construction of a bridge across the Russian river and had secured a franchise from the state permitting him to undertake the enterprise, but before the plans were matured his hand was stilled by death. Business interests in Virginia City, Nev., necessitated his being there for a time, and it was while there that he passed away, April 15, 1870. His death was a sad loss, not only to his family, but to the entire community, which for a number of years had benefited by his superior and versatile knowledge and had also profited by the many enterprises inaugurated and carried toward to completion.
It was the following the death of Mr. Rule that his family located on the Sonoma county ranch in July 1870. Mrs. Rule proved herself equal to the task which the management of so large a property involved, and in addition to doing her duty by a large family of children, rearing them to lives of usefulness, she also continued the large dairy and stock-raising business, and also the extensive wood business, all of which had been inaugurated by Mr. Rule. She continued to manage the extensive business planned by her husband until her children grew to mature years and were able to relieve her of the cares which she assumed and carried forward so nobly. She was a native of Missouri, her birth occurring in Madison county February 22, 1822. Nine children were born of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Rule, of whom seven are deceased, as follows: Elizabeth Jane, who was born September 5, 1845, and died February 22, 1854; Thomas Johnson, born August 4, 1848, and died June 24, 1853; Thomas Craddock, who was born September 6, 1853, and died November 8, 1853; John Richard, born January 31, 1847 and died in September, 1908; Hannah Josephine born June 8, 1851 and died in August 1898; Edward James born December 25, 1854, and died January 7, 1911; and William Johnson, born May 24, 1861, and died in April 1910. Those still living are: Nannie Augustie, born March 27, 1858; and Charles Henry Stone, born October 24, 1863.
The son last mentioned, Charles H. S. Rule, is probably the largest dairyman in Sonoma county. His ranch of four thousand acres is located at Jenner, upon which he pastures three hundred cows of fine breed, besides one hundred and fifty head of young stock. Some idea of the tremendous business transacted on the ranch may be had from the statement that forty thousand pounds of butter were produced during a recent season of four months, and was sold in the market for $10,000. The ranch is under the immediate supervision of Mr. Rule.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011