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, Aniador 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
in 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 forward to completion.
It was 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.
History of Sonoma County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1911
Sonoma County, CA
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