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Jeremiah F. Sullivan
Dean of San Francisco Bar and Former President of Bar Association.

The Bulletin has requested from me a short story of seventy-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 Judicial 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.

The Bulletin
Diamond Jubilee Edition
September 8, 1925

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