Biography of Elbridge Gerry Rector

A Mexican War veteran and a pioneer of 1849 in California, Elbridge G. Rector first saw the light in Sevier County, Tenn., on February 19, 1816. His father was Kenner Avery Rector, a Virginian, who participated in the War of 1812, and gained the reputation of being the best shot in General Jackson’s army. He married Elizabeth Randall, prominently connected with families of the Old Dominion. The Rector family was transplanted on American soil from German forebears who first went to Scotland, thence to Virginia, where, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Charles Rector, a prosperous planter, accompanied by several of his sons, joined the ranks of the colonists and fought for their independence. One of his sons was named Benjamin, born in Virginia and later a planter in Sevier County, Tenn. Next in line was Kenner Avery Rector.

Elbridge G. Rector went to Texas in 1835, where in 1836 he joined the Texan army and in the battle of San Jacinto was twice severely wounded, from the effects of which he never recovered. Later he was in the Indian War as a Texas Ranger under Colonel Jack Hayes and Captain Bird. In 1847 he took part in the Mexican War and served until peace was declared. In 1849, this intrepid frontiersman took a train of pack mules and set out for California, via El Paso, Tucson and Yuma to Los Angeles, and thence up the coast and across the mountains to San Joaquin County. He landed in Mariposa County in September, made memorable in the history of the State as the date of the election of members of the California constitutional convention. He mined for a time, then turned his attention to ranching in 1853, and later conducted a hotel at the Green Valley ranch for a time. He settled on the Merced River and became closely identified with the interests of the citizens of the locality. His first public effort was to circulate a petition for the setting off of Merced County from Mariposa County, which was successfully accomplished in 1855, and he was elected the first county clerk and for seven years he filled that post; he was next elected to the office of sheriff and served two years ( 1864-1866 ) .

In 1868, Mr. Rector moved into Stanislaus County and farmed opposite the present site of Modesto, but in 1870 he removed to Mariposa County, and followed the same line of endeavor near Coulterville. His next move took him to Texas, in 1877, and there he engaged in the stock business in San Saba County. Five years later, in November, he came back to Merced County and from January, 1889, to January, 1891, he was county treasurer. For many years he had been a leader in the Democratic party and he had a happy faculty of making and winning friends. He was very public spirited and what he did was from a sense of public duty, not for emoluments that he might attain. He was a Mason of the Royal Arch Degree. He died in Merced County on October 19, 1902.

The marriage of Elbridge G. Rector in 1860, in Merced County, united him with Amanda McFarlane, who was born in Jackson County, Ala. Her parents, Robert and Elizabeth (Hobbs) McFarlane, were natives of Virginia and settled in Tennessee at an early day, thence removing to Alabama. There were five children in the family of Elbridge and Amanda Rector: William Fielding, Thomas Blackstone, Elbridge N., Mary E.. and Laura A.

Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.

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