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Riverside County








            Steadily progressing in the field of professional service, the Hon. Frank E. Densmore made an enviable record as judge of the juvenile court of Riverside County and was known and esteemed as a man of fine intellect, broad sympathies and scrupulous honesty.  Born in Independence, Inyo County, California, August 18, 1869, he was the only son of Sanford A. and Elizabeth E. (Cofer) Densmore.  His father, a native of Maine, sought the opportunities of the west as a young man, becoming a pioneer rancher and fruit raiser of northern California.

            After attending an academy in his native county the Hon. Frank E. Densmore read law in his brother’s office and at the age of twenty-one was admitted to the bar of California.  For a time he practiced in Inyo County removing to Riverside in 1902, and soon became recognized as an able attorney and safe counselor.  On the 18th of August, 1906, his thirty-seventh birthday, he was appointed judge of the juvenile court of Riverside County, assuming these duties on the resignation of Judge Noyes, and later was elected to this office, which he filled with distinction for ten years, or until his death on the 11th of March, 1916.

            Judge Densmore was a devoted husband and a kind and indulgent father who sought earnestly to promote the welfare and happiness of his family.  His widow, whose maiden name was Nellie L. Craig, was born in Trinity County, California, a daughter of C. W. and Elizabeth E. (Lockhart) Craig.  The father was a pioneer newspaperman of Trinity County.  Mr. and Mrs. Craig had three children, of whom one is deceased.  The others are:  Nellie L., the widow of Judge Densmore; and George L. Craig, who lives in Los Angeles.  Mrs. Densmore obtained her high school education in Oakland, California, in the social life of Riverside she has been accorded a place of prominence and is a past president of the Wednesday Club and one of the Daughters of Rebekah.  Judge and Mrs. Densmore were the parents of three children:  Enid M., who is the wife of Ralph D. Chambers, city license clerk, and the mother of two children, Lyndell Jean and Lorena Jane, twins; Lorena, who died at the age of thirty years; and Craig F., who resides with his mother in the family home at 4567 Seventh Street, Riverside.

            Judge Densmore was a man of kindly nature, with a firm belief in the ultimate triumph of the right and with a clear understanding of the frailties of human nature—an understanding that made him sympathetic and helpful and at all times lenient in his judgment of others, while his own life was exemplary and in many ways of inspirational worth.  At his passing the following resolutions were adopted by the Riverside County Bar Association:  “Whereas, the judge of our superior court, Hon. Frank E. Densmore, has been stricken while in the full strength of years, and has been summoned by the decree of an all wise Providence within that portal which swings ever inward but never outward, and Whereas, he had served the people of his native state for a decade in the exalted position for which his abilities so eminently fitted him, and Whereas, his relations with the members of the bar of the court over which he presided with such distinction, were always marked by courtesy, friendliness and cordial good-will; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Bar Association of the County of Riverside that in the passing of Judge Frank E. Densmore the people of the State of California have lost the service of a judge whose every action was guided by conscience, whose learning in the law conspicuously fitted him for the duties of his high office, whose course never swerved from the paths in which he believed right and justice to lie, whose judgment was never swayed by considerations other than a desire to administer law in the light of justice, who held kindly intercourse with his fellows in hours of leisure, but who knew neither friend nor foe while on the bench, who held the scales of justice evenly poised, and by the gifts with which nature had endowed him determined the issues before him under the guidance of his conscience, of whom it should be said that he was a just and good man, a wise and upright judge, and be it further Resolved, that, although he has been called to a higher and better existence while yet a young man, the record of his life and work will be cherished by all who know him; and his high attainments, his scrupulous integrity, his tireless devotion to duty and his upright course will ever remain as a sweet and fragrant memory, a consolation and a blessing to those who mourn his death; and be it further Resolved, that with profound sorrow for his death, mingled with reverence for his happy memory, and with sincere sympathy for his family, a copy of these resolutions be presented to the court to be spread upon the records thereof and be transmitted by the clerk of the court to the family of our deceased friend.”

            Dated March 13, 1916

                                Craig, Hugh H.

                        Winder, A. H.

                        Freeman, G. R.

                                    Committee of the Riverside County Bar Association


            The following tribute was paid by the juvenile court committee:  “Whereas, the community has suffered an irreparable loss in the passing of Hon. Frank E. Densmore, judge of the superior court, and who has presided so wisely and efficiently over the juvenile court, and Whereas, the probation committee has found in him a wise counselor, a courteous and kindly official whose heart was full of love and tenderness for the sad waifs whose misfortunes brought them under his ministration, now, therefore, be it Resolved that in the death of Judge Densmore, juvenile judge of the County of Riverside, the community has lost an unwavering friend of the cause of civic righteousness, an upright administrator of the law, who with his keen intellect and warm heart never failed to uphold the principles of the law, yet tempered his justice with the mercy of a personal friendliness; and be it further Resolved, that with grief and sorrow for our own loss and with profound sympathy for the family of Judge Densmore, that a copy of these resolutions be filed with the records of the juvenile court and be sent by the secretary of the probation committee to the bereaved family.”



          Dated March 13, 1916.


                        R. E. Moss, president

                        Harriet Robbins

                        W. H. Robinson

                        John Wherrell

                        Stella M. Atwood

                        C. W. Matthews

                        Isabel Rutherford, secretary

                                    Juvenile Court Committee


            The judges of the superior court of Los Angeles County adopted the following resolutions:  “Whereas, our brother jurist, Hon. Frank E. Densmore of Riverside County, has been suddenly summoned to that higher Tribunal before which all must appear, and Whereas, we have observed the fidelity with which he has performed the arduous duties of his high office, and have known of his splendid qualities as a lawyer and judge, and appreciate that by his ceaseless attention to the multitudinous duties of his office, by his splendid mental equipment, by the dignity as well as the kindliness with which he has performed his judicial work, he has maintained the respect and authority of our courts so essential to the maintenance of a free country, and Whereas, we appreciate his high qualities as a son, a husband, a father, and as a citizen, and desire to express our deep sense of loss and our sympathy to those who, with us, mourn his death, therefore be it Resolved that the undersigned judges of the superior court, in and for the County of Los Angeles, State of California, tender to the people, and especially to the bar of Riverside County of our said state, our sincere sympathy for the loss of an able, efficient and conscientious judge, and to the wife and children of Judge Densmore we tender our sympathy for the loss of a loving husband and father suddenly stricken while exercising the cherished duty of a father—teaching a son; to the surviving mother of Judge Frank E. Densmore we express our sympathy for the loss of a loving and dutiful son.”

            Gavin W. Craig                       Charles Monroe                       Charles Wellborn

            Frank G. Finlayson                 Louis W. Myers                      Curtis J. Wilbur

            Leslie R. Hewitt                      Sidney N. Reeve                     Frank R. Willis                       

            Frederick W. Houser               John C. Rives                          J. T. Wood     

            Grant Jackson                         John N. Shenk                         Lewis R. Works

            Paul J. McCormick                  Fred H. Taft                            John M. York





Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 211-215, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.