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Judge Randall, now the editor of the Union Democrat, and a resident of Sonora during some thirty years, and, withal, one of the most widely known and honored of all those who have owned Tuolumne as their home, has kindly put the publisher of this book in possession of a few plain facts relating to his life, of which of the following are subjoined:


The Judge was born in Providence, Rhode Island, June 7, 1824.  Went from there to New York City in 1844, from New York City to Tennessee in 1846, coming to Cal­ifornia around Cape Horn, landing in San Francisco Sep­tember 9, 1849.  In that year he mined at Weber Creek, a tributary of the American River.  In 1850 he went to Cen­tral America, spent the Winter in Nicaragua, returned to California in 1851, and came to Chili Camp, Tuolumne County in that Spring.  Followed mining in the county until the Fall of 1853.  In October, 1853, he entered the Sheriff' s Office, under Major P. L. Solomon, continuing with him during the term, or until the Spring of 1856.  Solomon was appointed United States Marshal in 1857, and Mr. Randall was Deputy in his office until the Fall of 1858, when he returned to Sonora, and entered the mercantile business with the late James Lane, doing business under the firm name of Lane & Randall until 1862.  In 1861 he was elected Supervisor, and served six years.  In 1867 he was elected County Judge, serving from June 1, 1868, to January 1, 1872.  In 1869 he bought the Union-Democrat, conducting it until August, 1875, when he sold it and moved to San Francisco.  In two years he came back, and bought into the Democrat again, where he now is.  In politics he was originally a Whig.  After the Presidential election of 1852 he was identified with no political party until 1856, since which time he has supported the Demo­cratic party.  Most of the time since 1856 he has been an active partizan, and has taken much interest in the welfare of the county.  The Judge was one of the mass in early times, and saw many of the exciting scenes of those days.  He says: “I hope to always live in the county, for it is my home, and all other places are strange to me compared with it.”  It may not be out of place to say that he has been an active Odd Fellow since 1846; was Grand Master of the State of California in 1878-79, and has represented the Grand Encampment of California in the Sovereign Grand Lodge, I. 0.  0. F., for five sessions.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 418-419.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on March 5, 1832.  He left the island in October, 1854, taking passage on the steamer “North Star” for the Isthmus of Panama, and arrived in San Francisco in November of that year. He came direct to Sonora, and, with the exception of six months spent in the East on a visit, he has maintained a permanent residence in Sonora, where he has been steadily engaged in the hardware trade.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 359.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Born at Patterson, Putnam County, New York, March 29, 1813.  Came to California, arriving November 7, 1852, via Panama.  Remained in San Francisco until about March 1, 1853.  Went to Sacramento, taking a position in the banking house of D. O. Mills & Co., remaining however only two months, going from there to Tuolumne County, engaging in mining in the vicinity of Columbia.  In the Summer of 1853 he became Secretary of the Tuolumne Water Company.  In the Fall of 1855 he was elected County Clerk, his opponent being General Evans, and held the office for two years.  In 1859 Mr. R. left Tuolumne County to take charge of Lloyd Tevis & Co.’s ditch, and lived in Knight’s Ferry and vicinity for two years.  Since his de­parture from Stanislaus County, Mr. R. has been placed in numerous positions of trust; especially may be mentioned his connection with various copper interests in Calaveras and some of the southern counties, where his sound judg­ment saved his patrons thousands of dollars which might otherwise have been uselessly involved.  For the past nine years he has been in the office of the Superintendent of Streets and Public Highways, occupying the position of Chief Deputy.  Though taking the post under Republican administration, such were his capability and efficiency that with each change of party the incumbent of the office—the Superintendent of Public Streets—has deemed it desirable to retain Mr. R. in the capacity of Chief Deputy.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 413-414.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Mr. Rodgers has spent thirty years of an active and suc­cessful life in Tuolumne County, having come here in 1852.  Born in the Green Mountain State in 1825, he entered Harvard College at a suitable age, and graduated duly, having acquired an excellent classical education that has served him excellently well throughout all the ensuing years.  Pursuing legal studies in the office of an able practitioner, Judge Underwood, he was admitted to the Bar, but did not engage at once in the practice of his profession, but came to California.


Spending first a year at Jamestown in mining pursuits, he next removed to Sonora, where he has since made his home.  His law practice began on his admission to the Bar of Tuolumne County, which took place June 20, 1854, he then entering upon a prosperous and active career, which has continued up to the present time with unabated vigor.


Mr. Rodgers’ first labors being in mining, he had little opportunity to attract the attention which his original genius and undoubted mental powers have since com­manded; but about 1853 he began to interest himself in political affairs, and in a series of articles upon political topics, published in the Sonora Herald, there are the first evidences which we have of the remarkable way in which he has impressed his individuality upon his surroundings.


His succeeding career has been that of a very successful attorney, who has at times entered upon politics, and who has done a great deal of work for the good of his fellow citizens.  In 1860 the citizens of Tuolumne demonstrated their sense of his abilities by electing him to the Legisla­ture.  In 1869 he became District Attorney, holding that office to the general acceptation of the citizens.


Mr. Rodgers married Miss Henrietta Morrow, a native of Massachusetts.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 394-395.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Judge Rooney is a native of Cold Springs, New York, and was born on the 27th of July, 1836. His parents took him to Dubuque, Iowa, in 1840. Mr. Rooney was placed under the instructions of a private tutor, and this method of laying the foundation for a thorough education was pur­sued for a number of years. He then entered Sinsinawa Mound College, in Wisconsin, receiving there his academi­cal education. The Judge came to California via Panama in 1862, arriving in San Francisco on the 19th of July. On the 28th of the same month he arrived in Sonora, where he has since lived. Here he studied law, and was called to the Bar in November, 1863, commencing and continuing to practice in Sonora. In September, 1877, he was elected District Attorney. This position seemed to be but the stepping-stone to higher honors, for in December, 1879, he resigned that office to be sworn in as the Superior Judge ot [of] Tuolumne county, to which office he had been elected. Evidently Judge Rooney’s motto through life has been “Aut vincere aut mori”—to conquer or die. When we contemplate his career we may well suggest the idea.  One who has, without tho [the] aid of any one, gained an honest living, a liberal education, and reached a high and honorable position while still young, must glance over his past life with feelings of pride when he thinks that what he is, and what he has, are due entirely to his own unaided resources. He married Virginia, daughter of Dr. W. E. Eichelroth, and has two children.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 387-388.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Was born in Saratoga, New York.  January 24, 1829.  In 1852 he came to California, locating in Tuolumne County, and for one year kept a store at Kincoole' s Flat.  Next he engaged in mining, but concluded to give that up to follow his trade of painting.  As an example of the prices obtained for provisions in those days, for a load of flour, which in 1852 Mr. Rosekrans brought from Knight' s Ferry, he received $200 a barrel.  After over three years' resi­dence in Sonora, he removed to San Francisco, still following his trade, all his undertakings in the latter place having been attended with success.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 417.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Among the pioneers of ‘49, is the one whose name ap­pears at the head of this sketch.  Mr. Rudorff is a native of Prussia, and was born May 3, 1825.  Mr. Rudorff rounded the Horn on the old ship "Talisman," landing in San Fran­cisco on September 12, 1849. Here he remained until February, then went to the mines at Dutch Bar, near Coloma.  After mining here during the Summer season, and then working and prospecting in various mining districts thereabouts, he bought a ranch in Mokelumne Hill, in 1851, on which he settled.  This farm he sold in 1852, and in the Summer of that year settled at Springfield, in this county, where he kept the old Union Hotel, then settling at Sonora in 1860.  On September 12th of this year Mr. Rudorff will have been a resident of the State thirty-three years, and of Sonora twenty-two years.  He married, while residing at Springfield, Henrietta Schleicher, a native of Saxe-Weimar, Germany, on July 23, 1854.  They have four boys and four girls.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 401.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






This gentleman was born in Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts, in September, 1835.  Leaving there when ten years of age, he settled in Canandagua, New York, growing up and attending the Academy with Henry H. Haight, afterwards Governor of California.


In 1849 Mr. Rutherford, holding a position in the ser­vice of the United States Government, was located at San Antonio, Texas.  In 1852 he went to Sonora, having arrived in this State a few weeks previous.  Taking a partner, he erected a cloth tent on Washington street, it being just after the great fire, and commenced business as painters.  The Hook and Ladder Company had just been organized, and Mr. R painted all the paraphernalia required by its one hundred and fifty members.  During his stay in So­nora he erected the brick building which Dr. Sears now occupies; also the brick residence of Mr. John Cowie.


Leaving Sonora in 1861, Mr. R., after three years spent in various parts of the State, located permanently in Oak­land, and carries on the painting business at 1014 Broad­way.  His family comprises three children.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 383-384. (See Appendix pg. 15, below)

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton




[Appendix page 15.]




Born in Newburyport, ,Massachusetts, in September, 1835, Mr. Rutherford left there at the age of ten years and settled at Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York.  In the schools of that place, the young Rutherford was a classmate of the late Governor Haight of this State. In 1849 he went to San Antonio, Texas, holding there the position of clerk in the Quartermasters Department of the United States Army.  Going to Mexico for a time, he then went to California, getting to San Francisco in October, 1852.  Although obtaining remunerative occupa­tion there, he nevertheless left that place in a month or so, going next to Sonora.  He arrived there after the great fire, and set up a tent on Washington street, in which he did business, following his occupation of painter.  His first work in Sonora was to paint the apparatus of the new hook and ladder company, and which contained one hundred and fifty members, many of whom achieved sub­sequent fame in their several walks of life.


Mr. Rutherford, in the course of his residence in So­nora, erected the brick building now occupied by Dr. Sears; also the pretty brick structure now occupied by Mr. John Cowie as a dwelling-house.


Selling out to Mr. Cady, Mr. Rutherford left Sonora in 1861 and went to San Francisco in 1861, remaining there two years, then spending one year in San Luis Obispo County.  He next went to Oakland, and has been a con­stant resident there since, carrying on his painting busi­ness at No. 1014 Broadway.  He has held the Office of Public Administrator of the county for four years.  The gentleman is married and has three children.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Appendix pg. 15.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton



© 2002 Nancy Pratt Melton

Tuolumne County Biographies