The 49er’s Granddaughter

Rathbun1Ruth Rathbun is the granddaughter of aspiring gold miner William Wallace Wilkins, who came to California in 1849. After failing to find his fortune in gold, Wilkins turned to timber and then dairy ranching. He married at age 55, sent two daughters to college at Stanford in the early 1900s, and periodically got so drunk enough at the local bar that his horse had to find the way home for both of them.

Now 90 years old, Ruth spent her childhood summers on the family’s ranch on the edge of the Bolinas Lagoon, just north of San Francisco. In this episode of the Story Shed, we hear Ruth and her son Dan share family stories, childhood memories of the ranch, and how she returned there with her own family in the 1970s. Listen to the show by clicking the arrow below, or download the mp3 here.

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