STEPHEN J. FIELD
An almost continual service, commencing with Alcalde in Marysville in 1849; legislator, code commissioner, Justice and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, and for a quarter of a century Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, has give Stephen J. Field the honor of having done more to mould, formulate and establish our code of law and jurisprudence than any other one of our distinguished pioneers. He is a native of Connecticut; a son of a noted minister, and one of the members of a family of Fields whose achievements and intellectual greatness have given them a national reputation as men pre-eminently in the front rank in their respective professions. At the age of thirteen years, Justice Field was sent to Greece and Rome, to more thoroughly acquire the Latin and Greek languages and study the classics. His extensive and practical education enabled him to grasp and cope with the new order of surroundings incident to the settlement of a new country, where the worst elements of the world in the mad excitement of gold and silver mining undertook to establish mob rule and clannish aggrandizement. It required keen intellect, sagacious statesmanship and courage to invent and enact a system of law to govern and control the cosmopolitan and depraved men who gathered from the ends of the earth to dig for gold in our gulches, ravines and mountains. His work as a legislator, while a young man, in aiding in passing a law that gave to each individual a right and protection under enacted district and neighborhood laws will remain unto all time in the light of experience a more honored service as a public servant than all his appreciated labors as an expounder of Constitutional and territorial law. His early education in foreign lands and subsequent experience as an Argonaut, has made him a typical Californian in whom we have the highest admiration and pride. He has been prominently before the people as a candidate for President. His judicial work forms a goodly portion of the judicial history of our State, and his pointed and well-written decisions will be quoted with approbation in all the years that shall come under our system of government. It seems quite appropriate that he should have been selected as one of the trustees of the Leland Stanford, Junior, University.
Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.
Source: “Illustrated Fraternal Directory Including Educational Institutions on the Pacific Coast”, Page 28, Publ. Bancroft Co., San Francisco. Cal. 1889.
© 2012 Cecelia M. Setty.