Biography of Lewis F. Coburn

Lewis F. Coburn, senior member of the well known Yreka law firm of Coburn and Collier, is representative of the enterprise and progressive spirit which have been stimulating the growth and development of the industries and material resources of Siskiyou county and northern California during the last decade, thus placing this section of the state on its proper plane as one of the most profitable fields for capital and industrial and commercial exploitation in all California. Mr. Coburn has been a practicing lawyer in the state for the past twenty years, and is thoroughly identified with the western spirit and ideals, and in addition to caring for a large and lucrative private clientage has made his influence felt in the political and public affairs of the state.

He was born at Newbury, Vermont, May 21, 1854, and belongs on both paternal and maternal sides to old American families prominent in their respective localities during colonial, Revolutionary and national periods of history. His father was Calvin P. Coburn, born in New Hampshire, and died at Brunswick, Maine, in 1900, at the age of eighty years. He was a farmer, known as one of the solid and substantial men of his community, and was a deacon in the Baptist church. He lived in Boston for a time, and in 1860 bought the farm at Brunswick, Maine, where he lived till his death. He married Rachel Ferrin, who was born in Maine and is still living at the old home in Brunswick. Her family was prominent in the Pine Tree state for many years, and her father, Lazarus, was a sea captain, living in Bath at the time of his death. There is a little house just behind Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Known to be over one hundred and twenty-five years old, and which was built by her grandfather. Mr. L. F. Coburn has one brother, Edward E., on a farm near Brunswick.

Lewis F. Coburn was educated in the public schools and in the University of Maine at Orono, where he graduated with the class of ’75, with the degree of C. E., having taken a special course in civil engineering. He had also taught school during his college career, and altogether was in that profession five years while in the east, having been principal of the schools at Booth Bay for some time. He came out to California in 1877, and was principal of the schools in Crescent City, whence in the fall of 1881 he went to Dutch Flat and was principal of the schools there until December, 1883. During all this time and even while still living in the east he had been studying law, and in 1883 he was admitted to the bar.

He opened his office at Jackson, Amador county, but a few months later received a severe injury which compelled him to go to Smith river near Crescent City, in Del Norte county, where he remained a year in getting back to health. He then commenced practice in Crescent City, and continued there till January, 1891, since which time he has been a leader of the bar at Yreka. In March, 1903, he formed the co-partnership with B. K. Collier which has since become one of the strongest legal combinations in this part of the state, and the firm represents many interests and is very influential as originating factors of business prosperity. They organized the Siskiyou Abstract Company, owning the greater part of the stock, and Mr. Collier is president and Mr. Coburn vice president. They also have mining interests in the county, and Mr. Coburn has made a study of mining and assaying. It was through the public-spirited efforts of Coburn and Collier that some Colorado men became interested in the extension of the railroad from Yreka to Trinity Center, and the firm are the legal representatives of those capitalists.

Mr. Coburn is one of the influential Republicans of the county, and has attended state and county conventions many times, and served on the county central committee. He was elected district attorney of Del Norte county in 1884 for a term of two years, and again elected in 1888 for the same period. He is trustee of the law library in the court house, and has been city attorney for Yreka since October, 1903. He was one of the moving spirits in the organization and is the president of the Business Men’s Athletic Club, which it is now proposed shall be turned into a chamber of commerce for furthering the interests of the city and county and for advertising the resources of the region, maintaining, among other things, a big mineral exhibit.

When in college in Maine Mr. Coburn was first lieutenant in the finest drilled cadet company in the state. He is a blue lodge, chapter and commandery Mason, being past master of Howard lodge No. 96, F. & A. M., and past commander of Mt. Shasta Commandery No. 32, K. T., of Yreka. He is a past chancellor commander of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He is president of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, in Yreka, and is member of the Union League Club of San Francisco.

Mr. Coburn was married in Del Norte county, June 26, 1880, to Miss Ella C. Anthony, a native of Del Norte county. Her father, Joseph G. Anthony, was a miller and farmer, now retired, and was one of the state’s pioneers, having been, when he first came to California, the confidential clerk of Harry Meiggs. He is of an old New Jersey family, of Quaker extraction, and a relative of Senator Anthony of New Jersey. Mr. and Mrs. Coburn have two daughters and one son: Luella, Kate and Bert, all in school, and Luella soon to graduate from high school.

Source: Leigh H. Irvine; A History of the New California Its Resources and People, 2 Volumes; New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.

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