Judge Thomas Bard McFarland

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Thomas Bard McFarland

Birthplace: Mercersburg, PA
Death: September 16, 1908 (80)
Immediate Family:

Son of John McFarland and Eliza Parker
Husband of Susie Briggs
Father of Jennie H McFarland
Brother of Ann Patton McFarland; Jane Cochran McFarland; Robert Parker McFarland; John Franklin McFarland; Mary Smith McFarland and 1 other

Managed by: Curtis Bard
Last Updated:

About Judge Thomas Bard McFarland


Thomas Bard McFARLAND, Esq., son of John and Eliza (Parker) McFarland, was born at Mercersburg, Pa., April 19, 1828. He entered Marshall College as a Freshman in 1842, became a member of the Goethean Literary Society, and in 1846 was graduated with his class.

Immediately after his graduation he entered the office of Robert M. Bard, Esq., at Chambersburg, Pa., as a student of law, continuing therein until his admission to the Bar of Franklin county, in that city, in 1849. He continued his practice here less than a year, when he decided to cross the plains to California as a gold seeker, arriving on the western slope of the Sierras in September, 1850. For over three years he followed mining with varying results in El Dorado, Placer, and Nevada counties. A not uncommon disillusioning was the result, so that in the winter of 1853-1854 he returned to his briefs by opening an office in Nevada City, California. His practice soon became an extensive one.

In 1856 he was elected a member of the State Legislature from Nevada county. In 1861 he was elected judge of the I4th Judicial District, then composed of Nevada county alone. In 1863 Placer county was added to his district, when he was re-elected judge for a second term, which closed in January, 1870.

At the conclusion of this judgeship he moved to Sacramento City, where his law practice at once became even more extensive than it had been at Nevada City. In 1872 he was appointed register of the United States Land Office at Sacramento, and was reappointed to the same position in 1877, resigning, however, in May, 1878. In June he was nominated and afterwards sweepingly elected to the convention to frame a new constitution for the State of California, as a non-partisan, although in politics he was a Republican. As a member of this convention he voted against most of the provisions of the constitution, and afterwards unsuccessfully opposed its adoption by the people in 1879.

In 1882 Governor Perkins appointed him judge of the Superior Court of Sacramento county, and in 1884 he was nominated by acclamation for the ensuing term and elected by a very large majority. In 1886 Judge McFarland was nominated by the Republican State convention for justice of the Supreme Court of the State. His election followed, and after having served a full term of twelve years, in 1898, he was again nominated and elected for another term of twelve years. On his election to the Supreme Bench he took up his residence in San Francisco, where he resided to the time of his death.

Judge McFarland was regarded as one of California's greatest lawyers. During the thirty-six years he was on the bench he took part in perhaps more decisions than any other California judge, decisions that embraced a manifold variety of subjects. His legal work absorbed nearly all his energies, although he delivered occasional addresses and wrote papers on literary and kindred subjects. He was a trustee of the Leland Stanford, Junior, University from its foundation until his death, and was a member of the Union League Club of San Francisco.

On November 20, 1861, at Nevada City, he was married to Miss Susie Briggs, daughter of Caleb and May Briggs, of the State of New York. One child was born to them, Miss Jennie H. McFarland, who with her mother survived him.

Judge McFarland and his family were sufferers in the destruction of San Francisco in April, 1906, to which reference was made in an article in the New York Evening Post at the time.

After a long illness, caused by a cancerous growth of the neck, Judge McFarland died at his home on September 16, 1908. He was buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery of San Francisco.

[Shuck, Oscar T. History of the Bench and Bar of California, 1901; Biographical Sketches of the Delegates to the Convention to Frame a New Constitution for the State of California, 1879; College Student, October, 1908, 29:26; F. and M. Weekly, October 7, 1908; New York Evening Post, May 1, 1906; Who's Who in America, 1908-1909.]

(Source: Googlebooks: Obituary record ...: a record of the lives of the deceased alumni ..., Volume 2 By Franklin and Marshall College. Alumni Association, Marshall College (Mercersburg, Pa.))


Birth: Apr. 19, 1828 Franklin County Pennsylvania, USA Death: Sep. 16, 1908 San Francisco San Francisco County California, USA


Many Strong Men Weep During Simple and Impressive Funeral Service

Judges and Lawyers Join in Eulogies and Family Watches at Crematorium

Fellow Jurists, men prominent In the city's official and commercial life and several hundred friends assembled yesterday afternoon in a chapel on Geary street to pay final tribute to the memory of Justice Thomas Bard McFarland.

As in his everyday life, where simplicity held sway over ostentation, the funeral ceremonies were plain and impressive, while strong men wept and pioneers who numbered the eminent jurist among their closest friends were greatly affected.

The honorary pall bearers were: Chief Justice W. H. Beatty, Justices F. W. Henshaw, Luclen Shaw, F. M. Angeliott, W. G. Lorigan and M. C. Sloes; Judges J. J. de Haven, W. C. Van Fleet and John Hunt; Justices N. P. Chipman and J. A. Cooper; President David Starr Jordan, C. G. Lathrop. Ralph O. Harrison. Peter F. Dunne, Dr. J. W. Keeney, Dr. W. K. Clunees, G. M. Mott, F. M. Coxe and Judge A. F. Leib.

The floral offerings formed a solid bank of beauty, among them being a large wreath of pink roses resting upon an easel, which was offered by the dead justice's associates on the supreme bench. The subordinate officers of the court sent a broken column of bridesmaid roses.

While the mourners gathered, strains of sacred music came from the organ loft and as the casket was borne' into the chapel past the line of pall bearers a quartet sang "Lead, Kindly Light," a hymn long cherished by the dead jurist.

PASTOR PRONOUNCES EULOGY The service was conducted by Rev. George C. Adams. He read from the ninetieth psalm, which was followed by the hymn, "Nearer, My, God, to Thee," by a quartet. A brief but appreclative eulogy was then delivered by Dr. Adams. At the close of the eulogy, "Good Night, I'm Going Home," another of the judge's favorite hymns, was sung and after a closing prayer the intimate friends and members of the family remained in the chapel for the private services.

The remains were borne to the Odd Fellows' crematorium, where in the presence of the sorrowing family and friends they were consigned to the, in- - Those who attended the final rites at the crematorium were: Mrs T. B. McFarland, Mrs. Albert Gallatin, Miss Jennie H. McFar, Miss Mollle Carpenter, and Mrs. Harvey • Senator Thomas A. J. K. Polhemus Bard, Dr. James W. Keeney, T. Frank McFarland, Mrs. S. M. Coxe, Mrs. V. L. Hinkson, Mrs. Lyman N. Welch, Mrs. J. Frank, Clerk Bruce MacNell, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, Mrs. T. B. Bishop, J. N. Thompson, Miss Mattle Ricord, Mrs. C. W. Clarke, L. A. Washbonrne, Mrs. J. H. McKune, Dr. George C. Adams, and Mrs. Charles E. Greenel.

COURTS SHOW RESPECT In adjourning court Judge J. J. de Haven paid a glowing tribute to Justice McFarland's work on the supreme court bench. All the local courts adjourned at noon after addresses in honor of the dead judge. The bar association of Alameda county and the five judges of the Superior court assembled In Department 4 In Oakland, passed resolutions eulogizing Judge McFarland and sent a copy to the members of his family.

California Digital Newspaper Collection > San Francisco Call > 19 September 1908 > TRIBUTES PAID TO JUDGE M'FARLAND

Note: When the Odd Fellows Cemetery in San Francisco was closed the remains were removed to Greenlawn in Colma. Many people question whether al 26,000 interees of the Odd Fellows cemetery were actually moved and it was later discovered that the tombstones were broken up by the city and used for public projects.

He died September 16, 1908. The cause of his death was throat cancer.

Burial: Greenlawn Memorial Park Colma San Mateo County California, USA

Created by: John Reeder Record added: Dec 15, 2012 Find A Grave Memorial# 102202818 Judge Thomas Bard McFarland Added by: John Reeder

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Judge Thomas Bard McFarland's Timeline

April 19, 1828
Mercersburg, PA
September 16, 1908
Age 80