Charles J. Heggerty, of San Francisco, stands to-day as one of the foremost representatives of the bar of California. From humble surroundings he has made his way to large success through the open door of personal opportunity which is the pride of our American life. Choosing as the field of his labors a profession wherein advancement depends entirely upon individual merit and ability, he has worked his way upward until, entrusted with most important litigated interests, he has won for himself the admiration and respect of the general public as well as of the members of the profession who judge his work from a more strictly technical standpoint.
Mr. Heggerty is one of California's native sons, his birth having occurred in Smartsville, Yuba county, December 27, 1860. His father, Morris Heggerty, was a native of Ireland and in 1849 crossed the Atlantic to New York, whence in 1853 he came to California, settling in Yuba county. He was a blacksmith, having learned the trade in Paisley, Scotland. His death occurred in 1873, when he was forty-five years of age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary O'Donnell, was born in County Donegal, Ireland, and emigrated to America with three sisters, arriving in New York in 1841. Three years later she started for California and took up her abode in Smartsville, Yuba county, where she gave her hand in marriage to Morris Heggerty. She survived her husband for about a year and died at the age of forty-five. There were but two children in the family. One died in infancy.
Charles J. Heggerty, the surviving member of the family, was but fourteen years when left an orphan. He acquired his early education in the public schools of Yuba county and in St. Mary's College of San Francisco, and completed a course in both the commercial and collegiate departments, the former in 1878, the latter in 1880. In the latter year he won the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Following his graduation Mr. Heggerty took up the study of Law the Geo. A. Knight in 1881, and later read with the firm of Clunie & Knight. He was admitted to the bar before the supreme court of the state in 1889, and the following year entered into partnership relations with Geo. A. Knight under the firm name of Knight & Heggerty, a relation that has since been maintained. In 1903 he was admitted to practice before the United States supreme court. He has engaged in a general law practice, and the legal interests entrusted to his care have been of a very important character. The first important case with which he was connected was that involving the right of the hydraulic mining claims of Yuba county to work their mines by the hydraulic process and deposit the mining debris in the Yuba river. Mr. Heggerty represented the Golden Gate Consolidated Hydraulic Mining Company, whose mine was situated at Smartsville, about a mile and a half from the Yuba river. His next important case concerned the estate of Judge Solomon Heydenfeldt, who was one of the justices of the supreme court of the state of California and a very celebrated mining lawyer. He left an extate valued at seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and his will, being contested by some of his children, the estate became involved in a mass of litigation which was in the courts from 1890 until 1902, when it was finally decided in favor of Mr. Heggerty's clients.
At the time of the death of Senator James G. Fair, in December, 1894, Mr. Heggerty was representing the son, Charles L. Fair; for seven and a half years the litigation over that estate was pending in the various courts of California and was finally concluded in May, 1902. Upon its settlement Charles L. Fair and his wife, Caroline D. Fair, left California for a trip to Europe and both were killed in an automobile accident near Paris, France. Upon their death the estate again became involved in extensive litigation which is now pending in the courts of California and New York. In this litigation Mr. Heggerty represents Herman Oelrichs as administrator of the estate of Charles L. Fair and Joseph Harvey and Charles S. Neal, as administrators for the estate of Caroline D. Fair. The Fair case involved the most extensive probate and general litigation that has ever come before the courts of California, the estate of Senator Fair being valued at thirty millions of dollars.
In September, 1890, Mr. Heggerty was united in marriage to Miss Annie M. Cashin, a daughter of John and Grace Cashin, who were pioneer residents of Nevada City, Nevada county, California, coming to this state about 1850. Her father was interested in mining in early days and subsequently in banking and stock-raising in Nevada county. The only child of Mr. and Mrs. Heggerty died in infancy. Their home is at No. 2319 Scott street, which was completed in the spring of 1903. His political allegiance is given the Democracy, and he is a popular representative of several local organizations of a social nature, including the Native Sons of the Golden West, the Young Men's Institute, the Hibernians, the Press Club and the Olympic Club. Of strong mentality, developing his talents through use and adding to his native ability that which comes as the result of thorough preparation, he has made for himself an enviable name in legal circles and his name is to-day by no means limited by the boundaries of city or county, but extends beyond the limits of the state.
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