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                   John Heard, an original petitioner of Sacramento Lodge, was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, March 15, 1812. Upon the death of his father in 1815, his mother moved to Howard County, Missouri where John received instruction in a small select school on the edge of Boone County, Missouri. Subsequently he studied law for four years with Judge Thomas Reynolds who later became Governor of Missouri, and he was admitted to the bar in December, 1833. He then moved to Paris, Monroe County, Missouri where he practiced law until 1841. At Palmyra, Missouri in 1836 he married Miss Lucy Thornton Buckner, daughter of Charles Buckner of Virginia and in the same year was appointed Circuit Attorney resigning after eighteen months service to accept appointment as Register of State Lands at Jefferson City, capitol of the State of Missouri. Here he resided until 1846 then resuming the practice of his profession at Independence, Missouri. In 1848, because of ill health, he interrupted the practice of law temporarily going to Chihuahua, Mexico, where his personal friend, General Sterling Price, was serving as military Governor. In the spring of 1849 John joined a party of six young men in a trek to California across the plains. Traveling by team via Salt Lake and Carson River they arrived after a 22 week journey at Weber Creek about 2 miles south of Placerville where some of the party remained. John came on to Sacramento where he entered into law practice with Judge William C. Wallace. On November 18, 1852, he was appointed by Governor Bigler to fill the vacancy of County Judge caused by the death of Judge E. J. Willis and at the following election on Sept. 7, 1853 was elected to that position, serving until Jan. 1, 1858, when he resigned to resume law practice. The old Courthouse at 7th and I Streets, which had been used as the State Capitol was destroyed by fire on July 13, 1854, and it was chiefly due to the cooperation of Judge Heard, (the Board of Supervisors not having been organized until 1855) that the plans for a new and larger courthouse were prepared and the building hurried to completion in January, 1855 so that the session of the Legislature would not be delayed. In 1854, his wife came across the plains and joined him in Sacramento. They had a family of four daughters. At the time that John Heard tendered his resignation on December 4, 1857, the Sacramento Daily Union of December 5, stated in part as follows: "The office of County and Probate Judge is one of more real importance to the people of this County than any other in their gift, and Judge Heard has discharged the duties pertaining thereto in a manner so generally satisfactory to the people as to entitle him to their grateful thanks. In most countries it is no great credit for a man to honestly discharge his obligations in an official position, but in California it is high praise to be able to say that a public officer has faithfully and honestly discharged the obligations devolved upon him by virtue of a public position." John Heard practiced law in Sacramento from 1858 to 1860 when he returned to Chihuahua, Mexico and superintended the mining of silver. In 1866 he returned to Sacramento and again resumed the practice of law, specializing in land titles, a field in which he was very successful. Brother John Heard died at his home in Sacramento on the morning of March 22, 1891, after several years of failing health. The Sacramento Union of March 23, 1891 paid him the following tribute: "When in his prime he was very successful in his profession. He was an excellent lawyer of the old school and was regarded as a very able advocate. He was a man of Roman firmness of character and imbued with a high sense of honor." John Heard was a charter member of the Society of California Pioneers organized August 31, 1856. From information received from the Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Missouri A. F. & A. M., Brother John Heard was a charter member and Junior Warden of Paris Union Lodge No. 19 A. F. & A. M., Paris, Missouri, in 1834. This Lodge received its dispensation on April 18, 1834 and its Charter on March 1, 1835. There is no record of the Lodge from which he originally came. He dimitted from Paris Union Lodge No. 19 on December 3, 1840 and became an original petitioner of Sacramento Lodge July 26, 1853. He dimitted from Sacramento Lodge No. 40, December 7, 1855.




Transcribed by Sally Kaleta.

Proofread by Betty Vickroy.

2007 Sally Kaleta.





Sacramento County