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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The discovery of gold was the immediate cause of the identification of the Doan family with California, the year 1853 having witnessed the arrival in the west of Riley R. Doan, a native of Lyman, Ohio, and a mechanic by trade. While still very young he had gained considerable experience as a millwright and after he settled at Shingle Springs, Cal., he followed that occupation, but after removing to other parts of the state he followed various other means of livelihood, as opportunity was offered. From 1864 until 1868 he engaged in mining at and near Austin, Nev. Upon his return to California in 1868 he became interested in mining at Colfax, Placer county, but two years later he transferred his headquarters to Eldorado county and secured employment in the Baltic mill. During the period of his connection with that mill he invented and patented a steam wagon and upon liis removal to Sacramento in 1874 he began to manufacture these wagons, in which line of business he remained actively engaged until 1885. From that year until 1898 he engaged in mining with J. H. Roberts at Harrison Gulch, Shasta county, this state, but his ventures brought him little material success and in the year last-named he decided to relinquish his mining interests for the more sure but less fascinating occupation of ranching. Removing to Elmira. Solano county, he bought a tract of land, developed a farm and gave his attention to the management of the property until his death, which occurred in August of 1903, fifty years after his arrival in the state. During that long period it had been his privilege to witness a remarkable change in the aspect of the country. No longer was a cosmopolitan throng of miners the principal sight to be seen upon the streets of the little frontier towns. Instead, there was a cultured class of citizens whose prosperity gave evidence of the advantages afforded by residence in the western cities. The country had many thrifty villages and well-improved farms, in striking contrast to its appearance at the time of his arrival in the pioneer era of western history.

Among the children of Riley R. and Sarah C. Doan there was a son, Warren E., born at Portland, Ore., March 8. 1862, and educated in the public schools of Sacramento. Leaving school in 1878 he began to earn his own livelihood, but meanwhile he had become interested in the study of stenography, in which by constant practice he acquired expert skill. His first experience in court reporting occurred in 1881, when he was appointed to report on a case in the superior court of Eldorado county. The success of the transcript brought him the praise of attorneys and in a measure determined his life work. Returning to Sacramento be secured a position as deputy official reporter of the superior court under Mr. Davis. In the spring of 1883 he resigned from court service to accept a position as amanuensis with the Huntington-Hopkins Hardware Company and in that responsible post be gave general satisfaction. However, in 1885 he accepted an opportunity to engage with Mr. Davis in general court reporting, after which he carried on a stenographic office until 1889. From that year until January of 1897 he served by appointment as official court reporter of Placer county. When he resigned and returned to Sacramento, it was for the purpose of accepting an appointment as official reporter of the superior court of Sacramento county, in which trustworthy post he has given universal satisfaction, having indeed won a reputation as one of the most expert reporters in the entire state. The most intricate and complicated cases he has been able to report satisfactorily, and he has exhibited in his typewritten reports an absolute accuracy, quick comprehension and keen intelligence that, combined with his unusual speed as a stenographer, gives him an enviable reputation among the jurists and attorneys of the district. Fraternally he is a member of the Elks, Knights of Pythias and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In Yolo county, this state, October 17, 1883, occurred his marriage to Miss Kittie E. Young. They are the parents of an only child, Norman E., a young man of ability, who since having completed his education at the Leland Stanford University has filled the position of county law librarian at Sacramento, and he is now a student at law.


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