Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Guest Post: by Signa Mascot

For school work, Signa (my 11-year-old daughter) did a report on the history of Tracy, California.  She decided to focus on the schools in Tracy, but also decided to use census records to learn about the founder of the Tracy schools.   Then we took a trip to the cemetery to photograph Rufus' grave. I think she did a great job!!!


The History of Tracy Schools
By Signa Mascot

The first school of Tracy was decided when a farmer named Rufus Saddlemire made a petition to make a school.

Rufus Saddlemire was born in 1832 in New York and then moved to Tracy. In that time he was a farmer and lived with his wife Helen Beverly who was born in 1838 and his son Jesse Saddlemire who was born in 1880.

Rufus knew that he wanted his children to have a good education, but there were no schools in Tracy.  In that time Tracy was still a coal mining city with not many children living there. Rufus made a school petition, and then in 1866, the Willow School District was made. 

Years went by, and Willow Schoolhouse wasn’t big enough to hold so many children and classes, so one class was held in an unused part of the Methodist church. Eventually, more schools were made, such as Tracy Grammar School built in 1912, West Park  and Southside Schools in 1920, West Side built in 1928, Central Grammar School built in 1938, and  Banta in 1950.  After 1938 Tracy Grammar School served different purposes like the Service Men’s Club and Town Hall, but in 1961, the building was torn down. There is another school, Early Day, which I cannot find the year it was built.  New Jerusalem School was built in Tracy in 1874, but it was outside of this school district.

In conclusion, one man who wanted his child to have a good education started a whole school district in Tracy and helped make Tracy a city.


Tracy Historical Society. Images of America Tracy.  Great Britain, Arcadia Publishing, 2004. 1900 United States Census for Rufus Saddlemire, 1900. New Jerusalem School’s History, 2013-2014. Tracy Public Cemetery, 2014
Tracy Public Cemetery Visit. March 19, 2014.  Tracy, California.


  1. great job Signa.

  2. Very impressive. I can't believe she even found their resting place.

  3. Very impressive. I can't believe she even found their grave.