James Larue, of the firm of Mathews & Larue, real-estate and insurance agents, of Oakland, was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, April 12, 1840, a son of James R. and Sarah (Van Buskirk) Larue, who were married in their native State, New Jersey. His father was a paper manufacturer in Bergen county, that State, and about 1838 moved to Michigan, settling in St. Joseph county, as a pioneer, and engaged in real estate, lumbering and farming. Two sons were born there, --L.B. and James, and two daughters, --Maria and Cathleen. The father first came to California in 1849, across the plains, and went to mining in El Dorado county near Placerville; then for two years was engaged in the produce business in Sacramento; next went to San Francisco and took up a claim of 160 acres near the willows, and carried on a dairy business about a year. Selling out there he moved to what was then San Antonio in 1852, bought about 200 acres of the Peralta ranch, kept a general store, -- the first in that place -- bought redwood from the lumber manufacturers and sold it in Oakland and San Francisco, he being thus the first lumber dealer in what is now Oakland. The lumber yard is now conducted by E. M. Derby & Co. He continued in that business until 1858; built two steamers, the San Antonio and Oakland, ferry boats, running them between San Francisco and Oakland until about 1866. After selling the boats to the Central Pacific Railway Company, he continued in the lumber buiness (sic) until his death in January, 1872. He was born in February, 1800. In 1856-7 he was a member of the State Assembly. The mother and one child, Luke B., came out in 1852; James and Cathleen followed in 1853; the others remained. One sister, Maria, now Mrs. J. B. Sutherland, of St. Joseph, Michigan, and James (our subject), are living. She is aged about sixty years. Their mother lived to be about sixty-eight years old, dying in 1878. The grandparents on both sides, natives of New Jersey, were well advanced in years at the time of their death.
James Larue was first educated in Olivet, Michigan, and after coming here, in the Jesuit College at Santa Clara; then in John R. Jarboe's academy in Alameda, about three years. In 1858 he went to work as a steamboat clerk for his father, remaining so employed until the sale of his boats to the railway company in 1866; next he was engaged in mining in Montana, near Helena, for a year; then was assistant of his father here in Oakland in the lumber business until his death in 1872. He then continued the same until 1880, when he sold out and engaged in his present business. In 1885 he formed a partnership with Mr. Mathews, under the present style of Mathews & Larue. Mr. Larue has been Assessor of Brooklyn township, and a member of the Council of the City of Oakland. Is a member of Brooklyn Lodge, F. & A.M.
He was married in Oakland, in 1869, to Miss Lydia Palmer, a native of New York, and a daughter of Silas and Ruth (Reed) Palmer, both natives of New York State, who lived to about the age of seventy, the father dying in Wisconsin and the mother in Oakland. Mr. and Mrs. Larue have five living children, -- Ruth, Mamie, James Buskirk, Lloyd Palmer and Sarah Van Buskirk Larue.
Transcribed 2-17-05 Marilyn R. Pankey.
Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 2, pages 44-45, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.
© 2005 Marilyn R. Pankey.