California Genealogy and History Archives
study of the lives and activities of the pioneers of Sacramento county
discloses no name more worthy of honorable mention than that of the late
James Rutter, who was identified with California as a permanent resident
from the year 1852 until his death. An early acquired knowledge of the
trade of carpenter proved helpful to him after he left his native
country and crossed the ocean to the United States, for this occupation
and kindred pursuits enabled him to be self-supporting from the first.
Notwithstanding the fact that he had reached an age justifying his
complete retirement from all business cares and the further fact that he
had accumulated a competency through his arduous undertakings in the
past, he continued to the last actively interested in all life's
activities, personally overseeing his varied enterprises and showing the
same persevering energy characteristic of him during earlier years.
from a long line of Anglo-Saxon ancestors, and himself a native of
Cornwall, England, James Rutter was born August 15, 1827, and received
such advantages as English free schools afforded. As he came toward
manhood and studied conditions at home he saw no prospects for the
future, and the depressing conditions of labor in his native land led
him to seek the better opportunities of the new world, where he landed
in New York City May 15, 1849. It was not his intention to remain in the
eastern metropolis, and he soon took his way westward to Buffalo. There
he boarded a lake vessel bound for Chicago. On his arrival in that then
insignificant city he found conditions unattractive and the demand for
workmen small, so he proceeded to St. Louis, where he found temporary
employment. Next he filled a position in Quincy, Ill., and from there
removed to Galena in 1851. The following year he came across the plains
by ox-teams, accompanied by his young wife (this being their bridal
tour), the trip consuming the entire summer, but fortunately bringing no
accidents or disasters. In October, 1851, he was married in Galena,
Ill., to Miss Thomasine Penberthy, a native of Cornwall, England. She
was reared in England and when eighteen years old, in 1848, came with
her parents to Galena, Ill. Of this union three children were born, only
one of whom is living. She is Agnes E., the wife of L. M. Landsborough
of Florin. They have five children. Thomas E., Leonard B., Amy L. (Mrs.
McCraney), William Lloyd and Georgia I.
For a period of six years after his arrival in California and his taking up of active labors Mr. Rutter followed the carpenter's trade in the city of Sacramento. During 1858 he removed to Florin, a small village southeast of the capital city, and here he made his home until his death, meanwhile becoming the owner of one hundred and eighty acres of valuable land and improving a homestead attractive in appearance and productive in returns. To him belongs the distinction of having planted the first vineyard in Sacramento county. He further has the distinction of having shipped the first raisins out of the county and sent the first grapes to the eastern markets. Years ago, when methods of irrigation were crude, he put in the first pump- ing plant in the entire state and this same undertaking, which was watched by the citizens with considerable skepticism, proved so satisfactory that others soon followed his example. In making new departures in agriculture or horticulture he indeed proved a pioneer. Fond of experimenting, he made a special study in early days of the soil, the climate and the crops best suited thereto. Some of his experiments cost him considerable sums and yet proved impracticable, but so many of them were successful that in the end he reaped large returns from his new undertakings. Nor was the work helpful to himself alone. Other pioneers, studying his methods, imitated his plan of cultivation and found in him an authority concerning horticultural subjects. Thus he acquired prominence unsought. In Ms desire to promote the welfare of the country he gave freely of time, means and influence, and in his declining days he reaped the rich re- ward of years of self-sacrifice and intelligent endeavor.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011