Otto Von Detten, auditor and recorder of San Joaquin county, California, is one of California's native sons. He was born near Stockton, December 11, 1871, son of Clement and Agnes (McElroy) Von Detten, the latter a native of New York.
As the name indicates, the Von Dettens are of German origin. Clement Von Detten was born in Germany. In 1847 he came to California, making the voyage via Cape Horn from New York city, and upon his arrival in San Francisco became a wholesale merchant of that city. Although a man of means when he came to California, he did not at first meet with success in his business ventures, on account of heavy loss he sustained by fire, being twice burned out in San Francisco. Late in the '50s he moved to Stockton where he became the owner of a large vineyard and later was extensively engaged in exporting wines to the eastern markets. He continued in that business under the firm name of Clement Von Detten & Son up to the time of his death, in 1888. He left a family of five children, three sons and two daughters.
His son Otto was educated in private and public schools in Stockton, concluding his studies with a course in a normal and business school. At the age of fifteen he accepted a position as bookkeeper and later was employed as clerk, after which he learned telegraphy and was a telegraph operator for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. While with the railroad company he took up the study of law, diligently devoting his leisure time to it with a view of engaging in legal practice. In 1894 he was elected justice of the peace. This office he filled for a term of four years, it being followed by his election in the fall of 1898 to the office of county auditor and recorder, to which office he was re-elected in the fall of 1902 for another term of four years, his re-election being evidence of his acceptable service, and his popularity in San Joaquin county.
Mrs. Von Detten, who was formerly Miss Katharyn Sutherland, and whom he wedded in 1989, is a native of Stockton and a daughter of James and Helene Sutherland, California pioneers who crossed the plains in 1848.
Mr. Von Detten is a past president of Stockton Parlor No. 7, of the N. S. G. W., and a member of the Elks and the Order of Eintrachts. Politically he has always been an enthusiastic supporter of the party that has honored him with official position--the Democratic party.
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