Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Richard H. Rountree, for years under-sheriff of Santa Cruz county and one of the best known and most popular citizens of that county, is a native son of California, a member of one of the real pioneer families of this state, and has lived here all his life, connected with the sheriff's office in Santa Cruz since 1907. He was born in Santa Cruz, July 24, 1870, and is a son of Almus L. and Elizabeth (Hildredth) Rountree, the latter of whom was twice married and by her first husband, Ezekiel Rubottom, was the mother of two children, one of whom died in infancy. The other, Emphrey J. Rubottom, became a well known figure in the development of Santa Cruz county. Mrs. Rountree had come to California in 1852, crossing the plains from Missouri with her father, Jesse Hildredth, the family settling in the vicinity of the San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles county, where she was married to Ezekiel Rubottom. After his death she became the wife of Almus L. Rountree and by this latter union was the mother of nine children, six of whom survive.

Almus L. Rountree, born in Memphis, Tennessee, October 28, 1828, and moving to Springfield, Missouri when four years of age, came into California by the northern route, in 1852, and presently became engaged in wheat farming in the Sacramento valley. When the Civil war broke out he was given charge of the wagon trains of the Banning Transportation Company, hauling supplies for the government to Yuma, and late in that same year, 1861, he opened in Santa Cruz the first butcher shop and retail meat market established there, where he made his home and where he spent the greater part of the remainder of his life. In 1868 he was elected sheriff of Santa Cruz county and served a term of two years in that important public office. He then was for a number of years engaged in farming and afterward in the hotel business, operating hotels in Felton and Davenport, and thus expended his aquaintance throughout this region. Almus L. Rountree died in 1900, and his widow survived him for six years. Richard H. was the sixth in order of birth of these nine children.

Richard H. Rountree completed his education in the schools of the village of Felton, Santa Cruz county, his father at that time being in the hotel business there, and his first real "job" was as a driver in hauling wood to the lime-kilns. He next became a clerk in one of the stores in Felton and afterward engaged in merchandising in Boulder Creek, a line which he followed for some years, or until in 1907, when he was appointed under sheriff of Santa Cruz county and has since made his home in Santa Cruz, where he and his family are very comfortably situated. Mr. Rountree's widely recognized capacity for public service in the department he so long has represented has kept him in that service during the successive incumbencies in the sheriff's office, and he has rendered continuous service in that office for nearly twenty years, which is believed to be a record in this part of the state, if not in the state at large.

On October 1, 1900, in San Jose, Richard H. Rountree was united in marriage to Miss Belle Simpson and they have two children: A son, Lowell Rountree, and a daughter, Miss Jane E. Rountree. Mrs. Rountree was born in San Bernardino county, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Simpson, and grew to womanhood in the beautiful valley of the Pajaro. The Rountrees are members of the Congregational church and politically are democrats, Mr. Rountree long having been recognized as one of the leaders of that party in his home county. He is a member of the parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West in Santa Cruz and is also affiliated with the local lodge of the Foresters of America, in the affairs of both of which organizations he takes an earnest interest.

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.