Much has been written concerning corruption in public office, and while there are instances of this, much to be lamented, it is the exception and not the rule. Abraham Lincoln said "You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." This truth is especially manifest in politics and as long as the attainment of public office depends upon popular suffrage so long is trust to be placed in the common sense of the American people, who will not retain in the pubkic service those whom they have no reason to trust. There is in the history of San Francisco county no record more clean and commendable than is that of John Lackmann, who is now serving as sheriff and who in former years and in other offices discharged his public duties with such fidelity and promptness that he won the unqualified trust and confidence of the entire public. At the three last elections held in this county he has received the largest vote given any candidate on the Republican ticket--a fact which indicates an unblemished official career and the warm regard and friendship entertained for him throughout the community.
Mr. Lackmann is a native of Germany, his birth having occurred in the fatherland on the 27th of February, 1863. His parents were Henry and Elizabeth Lackmann, both natives of Germany and the former a farmer by occupation. In the family were five sons and two daughters: Frederick, deceased; John; Henry; Herman; Ernest; Elizabeth, the wife of H. Rippe; and Annie, the wife of F. Rippe.
John Lackmann was a student in the public schools of Hanover, Germany, between the ages of six and fourteen years. He then put aside his text-books and has since been dependent upon his own resources for a living. He came to America in 1878, when fifteen years of age, landing in San Francisco on the first of September of that year. Soon he secured a clerkship in a grocery store, where he worked industriously and energetically. His fidelity won him promotion, and saving his earnings he was in 1885 enabled to embark in business on his own account and opened a grocery store, which he conducted with success until 1900, when he disposed of his stock.
In the meantime, Mr. Lackmann had become deeply interested in political affairs, having for fifteen years been a recognized leader in the local ranks of the Republican party in San Francisco. He was frequently chosen a delegate to the city, county and state conventions of his party, where his opinions carried weight. He was first called to public office in 1896, when elected to the position of supervisor for a term of two years. He discharged his duties with such capability that in 1898 he ws re-elected, receiving the endorsement of all the people. He had served for one year when the new city charter went into effect, and he ws then elected sheriff of the county in 1899 for a term of two years. Again his fidelity in the discharge of duties won him re-election. At the last three elections since 1898 he has headed his ticket with the largest number of votes. In 1900 in a Democratic year he was elected sheriff by over eight hundred majority, his majority being as great as that given to all the rest of the Republicans together, yet his competitor was an old-time Democrat, who was held in high esteem by the people. He believes in conducting his office upon an economic basis and to show no favoritism. he discharges his duties in a most conscientious manner and is prominently spoken of for re-election.
In April, 1891, Mr. Lackmann was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Schortemeier, a native of San Francisco, and a daughter of Henry H. and Mary Schortemeier, who were early pioneer residents of California. Mr. and Mrs. Lackmann now have one daughter, Mary, who is attending the public schools. He is a well known Mason, belonging to the Knight Templar commandery and to the Mystic Shrine. He is also connected with the A. of F. Throughout his entire life he has followed the ancient maxim of "Honesty is the best policy," and this characterizes his official as well as his business career. His public course is indeed worth of emulation. When serving as supervisor he labored earnestly to prevent all fraud and made a creditable record on the water and gas questions. He is not a politician in the common acceptance of the term, but an honorable and active business man who brings to his official duties the same fitness, energy and enterprise which characterized him in a mercantile career.
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