James F. Breen, Donner Party

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James Frederick Breen

Birthplace: Keokuk, Lee Co., IA
Death: Died in San Francisco, CA
Immediate Family:

Son of Patrick Breen and Margaret Breen, Donner Party
Husband of Catherine Breen
Father of Margaret Breen; Peter William Breen and Grace Lund
Brother of John Breen, Donner Party; Edward Breen, Donner Party; Patrick Breen, Donner Party; Simon Breen, Donner Party; Patrick Breen, Donner Party and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
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About James F. Breen, Donner Party

Survived, age four.

James graduated from Santa Clara College and became an attorney. He established his practice in San Juan Bautista about 1863 and was a prominent local citizen. He served as district attorney, assemblyman, and county judge for Monterey County; when San Benito County split off from Monterey County in 1874 he was appointed judge of the new county and, in 1879, became its superior judge.

In December 1878 business took James to Reno. Passing through Truckee, he dropped by the office of the the Truckee Republican, and asked to subscribe to the local newspaper. When editor Charles Fayette McGlashan wondered why someone from so far away would be interested, Breen, "tall and commanding in appearance," with "a fine intelligent countenance," answered that he had been a member of the Donner Party. McGlashan’s interest was piqued. He threw himself into research and two months later the Republican published the first installment of a series of articles which evolved into the classic History of the Donner Party.


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James F. Breen, Donner Party's Timeline

Keokuk, Lee Co., IA
Age 34
Age 36
Age 39
Age 58
San Francisco, CA