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Madera Biographies: FEE

   FRANCIS A. FEE.  In every era of the world’s history the profession of the law has attracted to its practice many of the keenest minds which their generation could boast.  Notwithstanding the fact that the twentieth century promises to be a strictly commercial age, it would not be unwise to presage for the law that it will continue draw to its practice men of brilliant intellects and that it will continue to fascinate them by the intricate problems it constantly offers for solutions.  Among the attorneys of California who have gained an assured position in he profession mention belongs to Francis A. Fee of Madera who practices in both the civil and criminal branches of the law and in addition to his private practice acts as attorney for the Madera Board of Trade, the Madera Sugar Pine Company, the Commercial Bank of Madera, the Madera Electric Light and Water Companies, and various other concerns of an important nature.

   Many years ago John Fee, who was a native of Carrick-on Shannon, Ireland, became a pioneer of the Western Reserve in Ohio and there developed a farm, where he was largely interested in raising stock until his death.  Like himself, his wife was of Irish nativity.  She bore the maiden name of Sarah Parks and since the death of her husband has continued to live in Ohio.  Of their three sons and one daughter Francis A. is the youngest child and the only one on the Pacific coast.  He was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, November 5, 1859, and received the rudiments of his education in the country schools.  The knowledge there secured was supplemented by study in the Grand Rivers Institute at Austinburg. Ashtabula County.  While still a mere lad he had resolved to become a lawyer and in pursuit of this plan, in 1881, he took u the study of law under Judge Hunter of Warren, Ohio.  Having completed the prescribed course of study and passed the stipulated examination, in October1882, he was admitted to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

   On selection a location for practice Mr. Fee first located in Syracuse, Otoe County, Neb., where he established himself shortly after his admission to the bar.  From there h=in 1888 he came to California and opened an office in Madera, where he has since become known as an able attorney and counselor.  During 1892-93 he took an active part in the county division contest and, with other leading citizens, helped to secure the organization of Madera County.  At the special election of May 1893, pursuant to the organization of the County, he was elected District Attorney on the Independent ticket by a majority of two hundred and twenty-two over his Democratic opponent.  Immediately after his election he took the oath of office and entered upon its duties which he filled with energy and dignity.  At the next election he was the Republican candidate, but suffered defeat by sixty votes.  He has always been a stanch Republican and never fails to give his party the support of his ballot at local and general elections.  Pronouncedly Republican as he is, he avoids any display of partisanship, but evinces instead the public spirit and progressive disposition of a loyal citizen.  While he is not identified with any denomination, he aids in the maintenance of the Madera Presbyterian Church, with which his wife is identified.  Mrs. Fee was formerly Miss Edith Howard and was born in Illinois, but in childhood accompanied her family to Otoe County, Neb., where she remained until after her marriage.  The only child of the union is a daughter, Mamie.  While making his home in Nebraska Mr. Fee was initiated into Masonry in Syracuse Lodge, F. & A.M., and since coming to California has affiliated with Madera Lodge No. 280, F. & A.M.  In the social life of Madera he and his wife bear a prominent part, having by their culture and refinement attracted and retained the friendship of many of Madera’s most respected citizens.

Guinn, J. M., History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, (Chicago: Chapman Publishing, 1905), page 268.

Transcribed by Harriet Sturk.

Last update: September 10, 2000
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