Among the vineyardists of Sacramento county is James Tootell, who resides near Florin, where he has a ranch of sixty acres largely devoted to grape culture. He took up his abode on this place in 1877 and has since made his home there. He came to California early in that decade and located first in the city of Sacramento, residing there for a few years, after which he removed to the ranch, and to its further development and improvement he has since devoted his energies.

Mr. Tootell is a native of Manchester, England, where his birth occurred November 14, 1847, his parents being William and Isabella (Butterworth) Tootell. His parents were natives of England and both died in April, 1905. In the British national schools in Manchester, Leeds, and peterborough, England, he obtained his education and was well prepared for the duties of life by thorough training in the common branches of English learning. At the age of fourteen years he entered upon his business career as an apprentice at peterborough to the trade of a locomotive-smith, serving for seven years, and on the completion of his term of indenture he was employed as a journeyman in England. He was at one time associated with the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. Coming to America he established his home in the city of Sacramento and for several years following his arrival in this state he devoted his attention to work as a marine and locomotive engineer and to agricultural interests, but since 1883 he has given his undivided attention to the latter pursuit. He assisted in the construction of the monitor Monadnock, being at that time employed in the navy-yard at Vallejo, California. He also assisted in the construction of the Mohican, the last wooden naval vessel built by the government. He is now giving his attention entirely to his ranch, and year by year sees greater improvement and progress there. He has sixty acres, much of which is utilized for the raising of grapes, and on the market he finds a ready sale for his product.

Mr. Tootell was married ere leaving England, the wedding being celebrated on the 22d of July, 1867, when Miss Susannah H. Ashby became his wife. She was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, on the 7th of July, 1847, her parents being William and Ann (Warren) Ashby, both of whom were natives of England but have now passed away. To Mr. and Mrs. Tootell have been born four children who are yet living: Belle B., the wife of Augustus Benjamin, who resides in Sacramento, California; Jennie B., the wife of Louis Isoard, at Rockland, California; Florence, whose residence is in Sacramento; and Nellie, at home.

In his political views Mr. Tootell is independent, voting for men and measures rather than party. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Florin and is a member of the Sons of Saint George, at Sacramento. As a public-spirited citizen his interest in the welfare of his locality and county is marked and his efforts in behalf of public progress have been far-reaching and beneficial. He and his wife are communicants of the Episcopal church and enjoy the kindly regard of a large cirlce of friends, while their own home is noted for its generous and warm-hearted hospitality. Mr. Tootell was for many years engaged in the trade which he learned in his youth, but since coming to California has recognized and utilized the splendid advantages of the state for fruit-raising and in this business which he has adopted he is meeting with very creditable and gratifying success.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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