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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The Celtic origin of the family appears not only in the name of Mr. Ahern, but also in the cheerful energy, the genial tact and the physical alertness with which he fills the responsible office of county sheriff. However, while claiming Ireland- as the home of his ancestors and Sacramento as the center of his personal business activities as well as his home from boyhood, he is a native of an old southern city that wielded a wide influence in the prosperous era prior to the Civil war. The imperishable memories of childhood cluster around the Old Dominion and the then flourishing city of Richmond, where he was born September 22, 1859, being a son of John and Katharine Ahern. The family had been established in the new world by the father, who, born in county Cork in 1830, left Ireland in early life and crossed the ocean to America, where he hoped to find better opportunities for advancement. For some years he was employed in the Tredical Iron Works in Virginia and made Richmond his home, but in 1864 he came via Panama to California and settled at Sacramento. For many years, indeed, almost until his demise in 1900, he engaged in construction work along the lines of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

After having attended public school between the years of six and thirteen, David Ahern then turned his attention to the learning of a trade and the earning of a livelihood. As an apprentice he learned the trade of a horse-shoer under John Doyle, with whom he continued for thirteen years, meanwhile developing into a skilled and capable blacksmith. When finally he left the old shop it was to embark in blacksmithing for himself and from that time up to the present he has continued at the head of a large shop of his own. The demands of the shop have been constant. The necessity of earning a livelihood and the desire to accumulate something for old age kept him at unceasing toil until finally he allowed public affairs to interest him, thus creating a fortunate diversion in his life of hard work. During 1893-94 he served acceptably as fire commissioner. From 1906 until January, 1911, he represented the first district as a member of the county board of supervisors, having been elected on the Democratic ticket.

The satisfaction afforded to the people through the loyal, clean and conscientious service of Mr. Ahern in the office of supervisor led to the mention of his name as a candidate for the shrievalty by his intimate friends, but was fought by the bosses of both parties. In spite of this, however, he received the nomination in the Democratic convention and although the county is nominally twenty-five hundred Republican, he received a majority of one thousand, the fight being won on his record as a public official.

Since his election he has given his time to the exacting duties of sheriff, in which he has proved to be a strict upholder of the law, an impartial administrator of justice and a successful guardian of the peace. Various organizations have had the benefit of his membership, included among these being the Sacramento Turners, Elks, Eagles and the Young Men's Institute. By his union with Miss Margaret 'Toole of Sacramento, solemnized December 22, 1891, he has an only daughter, Kathaleen, who is a graduate of the Sacramento high school, and is popular among the younger social circles. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011