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Madera Biographies: SLEDGE


As chairman of the board of supervisors of Madera county, Cal., Strudwick Sledge ranks among the most prominent ranchers of that section. Born March 30, 1865, in Alabama, he was taken to the Golden state by his parents at the age of three years. Reared on his father’s farm, he attended the public schools of Fresno (now Madera) county, and he then became a student at the San Jose Business College, where he took a complete commercial course. He has followed farming all his life. In 1903 he was elected to the office of supervisor of the First District on the Democratic ticket, and upon the organization of that body he was selected chairman. In addition to his extensive business interests, Mr. Sledge has ample time to attend to social duties to some extent, and affiliates with the Masonic and the Ancient Order of United Workmen lodges.

In tracing the ancestry of Mr. Sledge, we find him to be a descendant of an old southern family. His father, L. A. Sledge, was a native of Alabama, born April 3, 1823, and in that state he was united in marriage with Martha Strudwick. He was one of the founders of the Alabama settlement in Madera County, Cal., then a part of Fresno County. This colony was organized to form a settlement in 1868; they purchased about twenty thousand acres of land in the vicinity of Madera from the Chapman estate. But the colony proved to be a failure and Mr. Sledge returned east in 1875, a couple of years later he again came west and the balance of his life was spent in California. He engaged in sheep raising, meeting with varied success, and became one of the prominent stockmen in the San Joaquin valley. At the time of his death, July 3, 1896, he left a valuable estate, about eight hundred acres, which is now included in the home ranch.

Four children blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sledge, namely: Sallie, Winnie, Levin L. and Strudwick. Since the death of the father these children, with the widowed mother, have continued to reside on the home place. This ranch is located five and one-half miles southwest of Madera and is devoted to the raising of alfalfa, grain, vineyards and stock. In addition to attending these broad acres, the brothers rent about eighteen hundred acres of additional land, and upon the latter they carry on grain raising on a large scale.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 277.

Transcribed by Harriet Sturk.

Last update: October 17, 2012 
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