Merced Express, February 6, 1925


The Passing of John Ruddle,
Merced County's Oldest
Pioneer Resident

John Ruddle, Merced county's oldest pioneer resident and one of the most
highly respected men who ever made his home in this county, passed away last
Sunday afternoon at his home at 436 Twentieth street, death coming after a
long illness due to the infirmities of advanced age.

John Ruddle was born in New Madrid county, Missouri, October 17, 1830, and
was therefore just past 94 years of age at the time of his death. He spent
his boyhood days in his native State, and in 1849 he came across the plains
to California, going first to Los Angeles, where he remained for a short
time, and then to the mines of Mariposa county. Late in 1850 he settled on
the Merced river near Hopeton and engaged in farming on a piece of land then
known as the "Forlorn Hope." This land is still the property of the Ruddle
family and is one of the few ranches in California remaining in the family
of the original owner. After about twenty-seven years of farming operations
on the river Mr. Ruddle in the late '60's became associated with the private
banking firm of Wigginton, Blair & Co. At Snelling, and when the Merced Bank
was established shortly after this town was founded in 1872 he became
president of the institution continuing in the position until the bank
closed in 1894. He then returned to Hopeton and for several years conducted
the Merced River Flour Mills, Which he had purchased from the late Lucien
Curtis.  He returned to Merced in 1900, residing here until 1910, when he
moved to Santa Cruz, where he remained for eight years and then again
returned to Merced to spend the remainder of his days.

On August 23, 1869, Mr. Ruddle married Miss Ann Elizabeth Hardwick, a member
of a pioneer Merced river family, who is now affectionately known as
"Grandma Fuddle." To this union were born five children only one of whom
lived to maturity - James G. Ruddle, who for many years has conducted the
original Ruddle ranch at Hopeton, Other surviving relatives are three
grandchildren - John Garland, Allan F. and Miss Alice Ruddle.

Mr. Ruddle had been an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
South, Since 1855, and for many years was the mainstay of Bethel Church of
this city. He was a man of the strictest  integrity, an unassuming man of
kindly nature and his memory will long be revered by his large circle of
friends and acquaintances.

Funeral services were held at the chapel of Welch & Griffin at 2 o'clock
Tuesday afternoon, conducted by Rev. D. C. Williams, pastor of Bethel M. E.
Church of this city, assisted by Rev. John Kenney of Visalia, a former
pastor of the local church. Mrs. A. L. Silman, accompanied by Mrs. O. A.
Baker, sang Mr. Ruddle's favorite hymn, "The Unclouded Day," and a quintet
composed of Mrs. Hendrick, Mrs. Silman, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. J. R. Cornett and
Marguerita Winton, accompanied by Mrs. Castle Robinson sang "Asleep in

The services were largely attended, and a profusion of handsome floral
offerings attested the esteem in which Mr. Ruddle was held.  As a tribute of
respect to the departed pioneer the members of Yosemite Parlor No. 24, N. S.
G. W., attended the services in a body.

Interment was in the Kinghts of Pythias cemetery, Mr. Ruddle's two grandsons
and four nephews acting as pall-bearers, as follows; Garland and Allen
Ruddle, Frank Howell, Chess Hardwick, Harry Howell and John Howell.

contributed by: Thomas Hilk