Author: John Outcalt (1925)


One of the most likable men in Merced County and one who has witnessed the gradual growth and development of the whole State since he was old enough to remember, is James G. Ruddle, born January 7, 1862, the oldest and only surviving child of the family of the late John Ruddle and his wife, who are mentioned at length on another page of this history. James G. attended the schools in Hopeton and in Merced and he has spent his entire life on the ranch.
At an early age he began riding the range, the country then being in its virgin state when there were no fences to impede travel and with cattle roaming at
will. During the late seventies he was engaged in sheep-raising and wool-growing and continued along those lines for more than ten years with varied success. He owns some 2000 acres of river bottom land upon which there is being carried on six dairies with about 1000 head of milch cows which are owned by the tenants. This industry was started with about 100 cows and with the passing of the years has grown to be a large and paying industry. Mr. Ruddle devotes his time to viticulture and horticulture, beginning in 1921 to plant fruit on a commercial scale in order to keep up with the progress of the county along those lines of industry. Mr. Ruddle has set a section of his own land to peaches, 640 acres to Thompson seedless grapes and eighty acres to Malagas. Of this privately-owned tract, 800 acres are in the Merced Irrigation District and the balance is on a higher elevation, supplied with water from three deep wells, the smallest of which throws 1200 gallons per minute. Mr. Ruddle has men who have been in his employ for thirty-five years.

As the stock-raising and farming interests increased Mr. Ruddle kept abreast of the times and in time he conducted a mill, fitted with modern machinery and sanitary in every way to make flour; and the mill was run to capacity, which is 100 barrels of flour daily. He has come to own 3800 acres of land, all of which he has operated himself until he began leasing to dairy tenants. With James F. Peck, J. D. Bradley and others Mr. Ruddle installed the electric lighting plant in Merced Falls, it being the first water-power plant in this county, and he was one of the organizers of the Merced Falls Electric Light Company. He has been a hard worker, thoroughly honest and straightforward in all his dealings, and has won a high place in the esteem of his fellow-men.

Mr. Ruddle was united in marriage with Annette Stockard, born at Hills Ferry, Stanislaus County, a daughter of the late John Stockard, a California pioneer of 1852, and a niece of James J. Stevinson, who settled on the San Joaquin River in 1852. The children born of this union are: John Garland, who is associated with his father in business and is a favorite native son of Merced County, and Allan B., who resides in Merced. James G. Ruddle is a member of the Merced Lodge of Elks, having been one of the men who was instrumental in its organization; and he belongs to the Knights of Pythias in Merced. Politically he is independent and gives his co-operation to all progressive movements. The Ruddle home site is one of the most scenic in the county as it overlooks the fertile lands on the river below the town of Snelling, and here a broad and liberal Californian hospitality is dispensed to a large circle of friends.

Additional Comments:

Biographical Review
The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been
Identified with Its Growth and Development
from the Early Days to the Present



File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:
Joy Fisher February 4, 2006, 11:39 pm