Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Everything forceful and vital in the word pioneer finds its example in the life record of Joseph Roadhouse, who braved the dangers of the unknown west and was one of the first to penetrate into the wilds of California, blazing the trails for the oncoming thousands. He aided in bringing to light the wonderful resources of the Pajaro valley and was numbered among its foremost agriculturists and stock raisers. As a citizen he was universally esteemed-an honor to his own generation and an example to the generations that are to follow.

Mr. Roadhouse was a native of England. He was born in Yorkshire and came to the United States in his youth. In 1849 he started for California with a party of emigrants, who chose him as captain of their train. He made the journey with a horse and buggy, being accompanied by his wife and infant sons: George W., now deceased, and John J.; and brought with him a band of horses. Mr. Roadhouse first located in Stockton and there opened a hotel which became the headquarters for thegrospectors going to and from the mines in the mother lode district of California. In 1853 he moved to what was then Monterey county, settling on a farm in the Springfield district of the Pajaro valley. He prospered in his undertaking and gradually increased his holdings until he at length became the owner of one thousand acres of land, on which he engaged in raising horses, cattle and other stock, also operating a dairy. He brought to his occupation keen intelligence as well as a progressive spirit, and by systematic work and unabating energy converted his private enterprise into a public asset.

Mr. Roadhouse was married in Wisconsin to Charlotte Elizabeth Norriss, a native of London, England, and their union was severed by his death in 1871, at the age of fifty-five years. For many years his widow successfully operated the ranch and her demise occurred at the ripe age of eighty-three years. Mr. Roadhouse had the welfare of his community deeply at heart and was ever ready to further any plan for its improvement. He stood firmly for right and justice and was a member of the Vigilantes committee that succeeded in clearing the district of cattle thieves and other desperadoes. When only slightly beyond the meridian of life he was removed from his sphere of usefulness. His integrity of character, unselfish nature and marked public spirit won for him a secure place in the regard of all who knew him.

The son, George W. Roadhouse, served for eleven terms as justice of the peace of Monterey county, of which he also acted as county recorder. He lived in Salinas but is now deceased. The surviving children are John J. Roadhouse, of Berkeley, California; and Mrs. Charlotte R. Harding and Mrs. Sarah Lily Palntag, residents of Watsonville. The last named was the second white child born in Pajaro valley. The son, John J. Roadhouse, was born in Wisconsin and is a graduate of the Heald Business College in San Francisco. He owns a portion of the old Roadhouse ranch in the Pajaro valley and also has a fruit orchard near Selma, in Fresno county, California. His son, Dr. Chester L. Roadhouse, now a veterinary surgeon, is a graduate of the Cornell university, and is in charge of the agricultural school at Davis, California. Mrs. Harding has been married twice. Her first husband was J. L. Bruce, a native of Scotland. By that union she has a son, Robert J. Bruce, a prominent building contractor living in King City, Monterey county. He has a wife and three children and along fraternal lines he is identified with the Masonic order. The second marriage of Charlotte (Roadhouse) Bruce was with Marion L. Harding, a first cousin of the late President Harding, and to this union has been born a daughter, Marion. She is now the wife of R. C. Bowlby, of Carlsbad, San Diego county, California, and they have two sons, Ellsworth and Chester.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.