Professor James G. Force, whose scholarship, experience and untiring labors constitute him a most efficient county superintendent of schools in Monterey county, was born at Tehamah, Burt County, Nebraska, September 2, 1881, the son of Franklin F. and Jane ( Chapman) Force. His father, a native of Iowa, was a Civil War veteran, who served as a First Lieutenant in Company B., of the Eleventh Iowa Infantry. He was also a Nebraska pioneer. Mrs. Force was a descendant of Governor Ansel Brigg, a native of Vermont who was the first governor of Iowa, serving from 1846 to 1850. She is still living, and is popularly known among the Hawkeyes as “The Daughter of Iowa,” being the only living relative of this pioneer governor.
James G. Force attended the public schools of Nebraska, and also the Kearney Military Academy, of Kearney, and here he left that institution was made senior captain and taught in the academy. He came to California twenty years ago and attended the San Jose and the San Diego normal schools, and also the normal school in Hollister, San Benito county. Then, for two and a half years he taught school at Tres Pinos, and for another year in Glenn county and finally for twelve years at Soledad, in Monterey county. On March 17, 1921, he was appointed by the board of supervisors to fill the position of county superintendent of schools to fill an unexpired term. Since he has assumed office many improvements have been made in the district schools and the high schools at Salinas, Kings City, Gonzales, Monterey and Pacific Grove, in the matter of equipment, buildings and grounds.
Just what has been accomplished under the enlightened and progressive leadership of Professor Force may be surmised from one c,- two paragraphs from his report on the county schools published in the Salinas Daily Journal, in 1924. “Upon my visit at the Nacimiento School,” he writes, “I was informed by the teacher that the children were somewhat nervous and upset because a few hours before a large snake had crawled along the rafters over their heads and entered the attic through a large knot hole. The well was full of dead squirrels, snakes and rats, making the water absolutely unfit for human consumption. Barbed wire had been strung along the top of the school fence, thus endangering the pupils when they were running and playing. Upon investigation, I found that there was only one trustee left in the district, the other two having moved away. I immediately set about to secure capable, interested parties for trustees. When these had been secured, the schoolhouse was thoroughly overhauled, inside and out, the well was thoroughly cleaned out, a sixteen-inch corrugated pipe was put in, filled about with clean rocks and gravel, an excellent pump was put in and the well made proof against the entrance of insects or vermin of any sort. The whole school today presents a modern, up-to-date appearance, a place where the children can go and study under the very best conditions.
“The Mansfield school was re-established, and where the teacher had been using redwood boughs to fill up the windows to keep out the cold, new windows were installed and the schoolhouse put into neat and orderly condition. A thoroughly-trained college graduate, also, was secured to teach the children. At the Pacific school, where the teacher and children had been forced to go down on the beach and gather up driftwood to keep them warm, the trustees were instructed to provide wood and other supplies for the proper conduct of the school.
“On the top of the mountain at the head of Pine Canyon, about twelve or thirteen miles west of King City I heard of a number of children who were woefully in need of better school facilities. An old house was rented, the partitions taken out, the books, desks and other school supplies from an abandoned district were taken to this home and an extra teacher was provided. In the Vineyard school district twenty or thirty 4 pupils were crowded into a small schoolroom, with cross light, improper ventilation and conditions that were anything but conducive to health and advancement. The trustees, however, cooperated with me in every wish. In the Indian Valley district some of the children lived more than eight miles from the schoolhouse, across a stream, dangerous in winter. I took the matter up at once and those children who live more than eight miles away are now transported to school by the teacher, without any extra cost to the county or district. In Priest Valley school district the schoolhouse was almost ready to tumble down, but the trustees responded nobly to my request for better conditions.”
At Tres Pinos in the year 1910, Professor Force was married to Miss Adeline Rianda, a native of Santa Maria, and a member of a fine old pioneer family. Three children have brightened their home—Richard Gordon, aged eleven; Betty Jane, of the age of five; and Marjorie May, who has seen two years. Professor Force is a member of Mound Lodge, No. 166, I. O. O. F., of Hollister, the Elks Lodge and the Masons. With high ideals he combines quick and practical actions and his labors along educational and other lines are far-reaching and resultant.
Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California’s history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925.