THE RUSH FAMILY
Early family history:
Trooper John Rush married Susannah Lucas in Oxfordshire England in 1648. It is said that prior to his marriage he commanded a troop of horse in Cromwell's army. In 1683 Trooper John and Susannah, along with their children, settled in Byberry, Pennsylvania. The family was large and there is indication that at least some family members were Quakers. Eventually, family members branched off and moved to different parts of the country. Some relocated to New Jersey and others to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Two of Trooper John and Susannah's children were sons John and William. John Rush was the great great grandfather of Hiram Rush and William Rush was the great grandfather of Dr. Benjamin F. Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Hiram's parents were Leonard Rush and Jemima Hormel. Leonard had served in the Revolutionary War. Two of Hiram's older brothers were born in Pennsylvania and Hiram was born in Ohio around 1810. The family then moved to South Bend, Indiana. Also moving to South Bend from England in the 1830s was the Innwood family. Hiram married Ann Innwood in 1835 and they subsequently had two daughters; Eleanor in 1837 and Sarah in 1842. After his wife Ann died Hiram married her sister, Sarah Eade Innwood, in 1849. Both the Rush and Innwood families owned businesses and extensive land holdings and were considered well to do for the times. Hiram was employed by the Mishawaka Iron Works, but dissatisfied with his prospects for future advancement, he began to envision a better life him and his family in the far west.
He decided to purchase a small herd of cattle as seed for larger cattle operations; then, he and his family joined a wagon train and began their journey across the plains and mountains lying between them and the golden west. Upon joining the wagon train Hiram was selected to be the captain and under his direction the long journey was accomplished without loss of life, cattle, or possessions. (To read a first hand account of the journey west written by Eleanor Rush, Hiram's oldest daughter, click here)
Hiram and his family parted ways with their fellow travelers upon reaching the Sacramento Valley where they decided to settle. Hiram and his cousin John established a hotel known as the Fourteen-Mile House in the area known today as Elk Grove. It quickly became a popular stopover for weary travelers and social scene for local residents. In the meantime Hiram was also involved in the cattle business and his original herd had grown substantially. His cattle business required more and more of his time, so he turned the hotel operation over to his wife Sarah and under her stead, it too was highly successful.
Shortly after opening the Fourteen-Mile House both John Rush and his wife Elizabeth died of cholera, leaving behind three orphaned children. Hiram and Sarah assumed responsibility for raising the three orphans in addition to Hiram's two daughters. Hiram and Sarah had their first child Benjamin Franklin in Sacramento County in 1852 and then two more daughters, Mary in 1857 and Kate in 1859.
Sometime around 1852 nearby Sacramento had been devastated by a fire and then a flood which worried Hiram and Sarah so they began to seek a safer place for their growing family to live and plenty of room for their growing cattle operation, eventually deciding on the southwestern part of Solano County. Hiram first began to purchase land in 1858 and acquired property in and about Suisun City and also a section about four miles north of what became Rush Ranch. In 1864 he started acquiring the land in the Protrero Hills, which eventually grew to 5100 acres and became Rush Ranch. In subsequent years Hiram increased his land holdings to approximately 51,000 acres, the majority of which was a portion of the Milpitas Grant in Monterey County; with holdings in the Suisun Valley as well. As he increased his land holdings he also increased the size of his herds. He had several thousand head of cattle, several thousand sheep, and hundreds of horses. In addition to his livestock operation, Hiram also grew grain in the Protrero Hills, built the three-story Mason's building in Suisun City, and erected Rush Landing on the Suisun Slough for the shipment of farm products by boat to San Francisco. Hiram Rush’s level-headed business decisions were highly successful and he soon became recognized as one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Solano County. In 1865 Hiram and Sarah purchased a second residence in San Francisco. This was a common practice for the wealthy as there were better schools and health care, and for Hiram's business, it was located halfway between his properties in Solano and Monterey Counties. On October 4, 1869, tragedy struck when 60 year old Hiram, attempting to cross a stream on the Protrero Hills property, was killed when he was ejected from the buggy he was driving.