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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Clarence Frederick Lea

The profession of law in Sonoma county has no more able or more honored representative than Clarence F. Lea, a well-known attorney of Santa Rosa. Endowed with keen intelligence and discrimination, he is at all times and under all circumstances actuated by the highest principles of honor and fair dealing, and has thereby gained the esteem and respect of his associates and the confidence of the people among whom his lot has been cast.

Mr. Lea takes a commendable pride in the fact that he is a native son of the state, and also that he is the son of early settlers and upbuilders of this great Pacific commonwealth. Born in Highland Springs, Lake county, Cal., July 11, 1874, he is a son of James M. and Elizabeth Trower Lea, the father born in Tennessee in 1827, and the mother born in Kentucky in 1831. Their marriage occurred in Missouri in 1857. Shortly after the finding of gold in California the elder Mr. Lea came to the state, in 1851 across the plains, returning to Missouri five years later, and the following year, 1857, occurred his marriage. The young people settled down to agricultural life in Greene county, that state, and remained there until 1865, when they came to California and located at Cloverdale, Sonoma county. Two years later the family home was transferred to Highland Springs, Lake county, and there the death of the father occurred in 1901. Nine children were born to these worthy parents, as follows: Emmet N., Mary (who became the wife of Douglas Shartzer and is now deceased), Orlando, Alonzo, Horace, Finice L., Loutitia, Elizabeth and Clarence F. All of the children who survive are married and established in homes of their own with the exception of two daughters.

With his brothers and sisters Clarence F. Lea was given splendid educational facilities, the parents realizing the importance of a good education, in fact considering it a prime requisite in their training. In the common school of Highland district Clarence F. Lea laid the foundation of his education, following this by a course in Lakeport Academy, and this by a two-year course in Stanford University. A predilection for the legal profession led him to take a special course in the Denver Law school, from which he graduated in 1898, and on August 1 of that year he opened an office for the practice of his profession in Santa Rosa. In the more than twelve years that he has been located here he has built up a splendid practice, and counts among his clients some of the most influential citizens of the town and county. A stanch advocate of Democratic principles, Mr. Lea loses no opportunity to further the interests of the party to which he gives his allegiance, and on numerous occasions he has made stump speeches in behalf of his political friends. At the hands of his fellow-=citizens he was elected district attorney of Sonoma county in 1906, and re-elected in 1910 with a majority of twenty-one hundred votes. Prior to holding this office, in 1902, he was nominated for the office of superior judge of Sonoma county, but lost the election by two hundred and eighty-one votes.

Mr. Lea’s marriage united him with Miss Daisy A. Wright, a native daughter of California, her birth occurring in Oakland, Cal., September 10, 1874. She is a daughter of James A. and Emma Russell Wright, natives respectively of Canada and Oakland, Cal. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wright, Daisy A., Mrs. Lea and Myrtle, the wife of W. H. Stewart. Mr. Lea holds membership in a number of fraternal organizations, being identified with the Woodmen of the World, Modern Woodmen of America, Improved Order of Red Men, and he is also a prominent member of the Native Sons of the Golden West.

History of Sonoma 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: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011