five years of law in California. Advanced years and
impaired health might have justified my avoidance of the task, but all of
my life I have been a creature of sentiment. Since eight months old
California has been my home. Since December, 1861, San Francisco has
been my home town, and I must say has been very good to me. I am
intensely interested in the successful celebration of the seventy-fifth
anniversary of California's entry as a state into our nation of
commonwealths. Whatever my misgivings as to the character of the work,
I cannot shirk it.
When first conscious of my environment I found myself the eldest child of
Irish Catholic parents in a long cabin near the bank of Brush Creek,
Nevada county, about three miles from the county seat. My father's
occupation was placer mining on the opposite bank of Brush Creek. Among
the miners working the claim adjoining my father's was a "Tom"
McFarland. Placer Miner McFarland was a young lawyer, who had been
admitted to the bar of Pennsylvania in the county of his birth by Judge
Jeremiah Sullivan Black, who, in 1860, became attorney-general of
the United States. After a short mining career, McFarland resumed law
practice and in 1861 he was elected district judge of the Fourteenth
District of California, consisting of Nevada county. Still later he was
elected for two successive terms as Justice of the Supreme Court created by
the Constitution of 1879. He had a brilliant career and was justly regarded
as one of the ablest members of that court.
The Sullivan placer claim did not "pan out" very well and the family
became domiciled in Nevada City. As the eldest child on family errands I
frequently passed the imposing building in which the District Court was
held, and among the day dreams that I cherished was one that some day by
hard study I should become one of those lawyers who aided the judges in
administering the law.
In December, 1861, my father removed the family to San Francisco, his
main object and life effort being to obtain a thorough education for myself
and younger brothers and sisters. Twenty-five years later, as
superior court judge of San Francisco, at the request of Judge Caldwell, I
held court in the same courtroom where Judge McFarland has presided.
Diamond Jubilee Edition
September 8, 1925