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Pen Portraits

Autobiography Of State Officers, Legislators,

Prominent Business And Professional Men Of

The Capital Of the State Of California;

Also, Of Newspaper Proprietors,

Editors, And Members Of The

Corps Reportorial


Compiled by

R. R. Parkinson,


In Sacramento City, during the Session of the Legislature of 1877-8.




Officers of the Supreme Court.


Not being acquainted with the Supreme Judges, we refrain from attempting their pen portraits, merely giving their names and residences, and confining our remarks to the Clerk of the Court and his Deputy.


Supreme Judges.



William T. Wallace, of San Francisco.




Associative Justices.


A. L. Rhodes, of San Jose.

A. C. Niles, of San Francisco.

E. W. McKinstry, of Oakland.

Joseph B. Crockett, East Oakland.

D. B. Woolf, San Francisco, Clerk.

John P. Poole, Sacramento, Deputy Clerk.

H. P. Bush, San Francisco, Assistant Clerk.

Charles A. Tuttle, Oakland, Reporter.

Charles A. Sumner, San Francisco, Photographic Reporter.

C. C. Finkler, San Francisco, Secretary and Librarian.

Thomas F. O'Conner, San Francisco, Bailiff.

The April and October terms are held in the capital.  The January and July terms in San Francisco.




Clerk of Supreme Court.


[Marysville, Sacramento City, Santa Cruz, & San Francisco.]


D. B. Woolf, the present incumbent of this important office, is a gentleman worthy of notice, being in the true acceptation of the term, a self-made man.  Mr. Woolf was born in London, England, in 1832, and at ten years of age came to America and learned the trade of a carpenter, and the profession of a dentist in Kentucky.  At the age of 20 years he practised dentistry, and has been entirely self-supporting since his eleventh year.  In 1853 Mr. Woolf arrived in California, and settled in Marysville, and in 1856 raised a company of volunteers for the Walker Expedition.  He went to Nicaragua with his company, and returned almost alone, in 1857.  He then located himself in the City of Sacramento, and engaged in the mercantile business in that city.  In 1861 Mr. Woolf went to the then Territory of Nevada, and became connected in the management of the first newspaper, the Enterprise, published at Carson, and afterward at Virginia City.  In connection with Mr. Lovejoy, since deceased, he started, in 1864, a daily paper called the Piute.  In Virginia City Mr. Woolf has a host of friends who admire his determination and ability.  In 1867 Mr. Woolf left Nevada and settled in Santa Cruz, and the following year went East as delicate to Grand Lodge,  I.O.O.F., of United States.  Of that order Mr. Woolf has long been one of the most prominent members.  He returned to California in 1870, and was appointed by Governor Clerk of the Municipal Court of San Francisco, and held that position until elected to his present position.  Mr. Woolf has always been a Democrat, although not a particularly rabid one.  He is still a bachelor, which is strange, he being considered the handsomest among the State officials.  In age he is 46, but does not look it.  He is rather short in stature, but firmly built.  In disposition he is genial in the extreme, and looks every inch the English gentleman Byron depicts in his Don Juan.  Mr. Woolf will doubtless retain his office as long as the present political party is in the ascendancy.




Deputy Supreme Clerk.




Mr. John Poole, who occupies this position, is a native of England, a married man and 43 years of age.  Mr. Poole is a lawyer by profession, and has traveled in Australia and other countries, and both from experience and clerical ability is well  suited for the assistant to the Supreme Clerk, while duties call him so much from the Capital of the State.  Mr. Poole has his residence in Sacramento.  Like the generality of the State officials, he is ever ready to do all in his power to make visitors from abroad welcome to the Capital.




Governor's Private Secretary.


[Nevada County and Santa Rosa, Sonoma County]


Mr. E. W. Maslin is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and age 43 years.  He emigrated to California in 1853, and, like most all new comers, followed mining for a business.  He is a lawyer of by profession, and was elected District-Attorney for Nevada county in 1859.  Mr. Maslin was clerk of the Board of Equalization, until the administration of Governor Booth, when he removed to Santa Rosa and engaged in the practice of law, until the present Governor took the Executive chair, when Mr. Maslin was appointed Private Secretary.  Mr. Maslin is a shrewd, sharp-faced business man; by no means handsome nor large, yet showing in all he does the man of culture and education.  Kind to friends and attentive to visitors, he is a worthy assistant of the and proper to the companion and counsellor to such a man as Governor Irwin.  Mr. Maslin is a widower and father of a numerous family; and by the twinkle in his eye looks as though he would not object to being a Benedict a second time.




State Librarian.



[Sacramento County]


Mr. R. O. Cravens, the occupant of this position, is a man of middle age, and is a lawyer by profession.  He has held the situation for eight years, and by an untiring energy brought the splendid library to its present state of perfection.  Mr. Cravens is a married man, and long time a resident of Sacramento; and it gives much pleasure to the citizens to know that he will continue to hold this position for four years longer.  It is conceded by all, irrespective of politics, that Mr. Cravens is the right man in the right place.  The office of Librarian is in the gift of the Board of Directors, who are elected by the Legislature every four years.  It is an office of great consequence to the State at large, and one that ought not be considered political.  The present Legislature evidently recognized the fact that Mr. Cravens was the right man for the position, or he would not have been elected for the third term.



Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton.