Rufus J. Bagby, one of the oldest contractors and builders in Visalia and a citizen who commands the highest
meed of respect throughout this community, was born on the 3d day of September, 1860, near Raleigh, North Carolina,
the son of J. W. and Jane (Edwards) Bagby, both of whom also were natives of North Carolina. The family is of Scottish
origin, Rufus J. Baghy's paternal grandfather, Abner Bagby, having come from Scotland to North Carolina in an early
day. J. W. Bagby was drafted by the Confederate army during the Civil war, but his sympathies being with the northern
cause, he escaped through the lines and enlisted in the Union army, in which he saw much active service. After
the close of that struggle, having lost all his property, he went to Iowa, where he became a minister of the Presbyterian
church, and later of the Seventh Day Adventist church, and filled a number of leading pulpits through the middle
west. His death occurred in 1882.
Rufus J. Bagby received a good education, having passed through the common schools, the high school and a normal
college at Clay Center, Kansas. He then served an apprenticeship to the plastering and bricklaying trades and became
a contractor in those lines. He has followed this business intermittently all his life and has handled a number
of large and important contracts in Kansas and California. He came to the latter state in 1888, locating first
in Fresno, where he followed his trade, and in 1890 came to Visalia, where he has since resided. He has been very
active in many ways since locating here and no man in the entire community stands higher in the confidence and
esteem of the people generally. In 1901 he was elected a member of the city council, but resigned from that body
in order to take charge of the construction of Visalia's first sewer system. It involved the building of nineteen
miles of sewers and was a two year job. He served as foreman on the construction of the city hall, the Catholic
church and the Goldstein building, and was city superintendent of the construction of the Mill Creek conduit, which
required a year to build. In July, 1913, Mr. Bagby was appointed postmaster of Visalia, holding that position until
June, 1922, a period of nine years, and giving to both his official superiors and the public, faithful, painstaking
and conscientious service. This was a trying period, as during the period of the World war much extra labor fell
to the postmaster. Since retiring from the postmastership Mr. Bagby has not taken a very active part in business
affairs, his health having become somewhat impaired.
Mr. Bagby was married to Miss Elizabeth Hughes, a native of England who came to the United States in girlhood.
Mr. and Mrs. Bagby have a son, Earl A., who is a graduate of the law department of Michigan State University and
is now chief counsel for the California Transit Company at Oakland. Mrs. Bagby is a lady of many commendable qualities
of head and heart and is active in local lodge and social life. In May, 1925, Mr. Bagby was elected to the city
council, being one of four candidates for two places, and was elected by one hundred twenty five majority over
the next high man. Mr. Bagby is a democrat in his political affiliation and has served as a delegate to many state
and county conventions. He has also served on school and election boards many times, always with entire satisfaction.
Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the
Woodmen of the World and the Loyal Order of Moose.
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
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