Tirey L. Ford

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Tirey L. Ford
Tirey Ford.jpg
18th California Attorney General
In office
Preceded by William F. Fitzgerald
Succeeded by Ulysses S. Webb
Personal details
Born (1857-12-29)December 29, 1857
Died June 26, 1928(1928-06-26) (aged 70)
San Francisco, California
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Emma Byington
Children Byington Ford, Mary Relda Ford, Tirey Lafayette Ford Jr.
Profession Attorney, Politician

Tirey Lafayette Ford (December 29, 1857 – June 26, 1928) was a successful and noted San Francisco attorney, State Senator, and Attorney-General of California. The family came to America in 1650 by French Huguenots, who located in Virginia. His great-grandfather, Jacob Ford, was with General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia when the surrender of Lord Cornwallis occurred. His grandfather, Pleasant Thomas Ford, was with General William Henry Harrison in the Indian campaigns which made the Battle of Tippecanoe famous.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Ford, was born in Monroe County, Missouri, the son of Jacob Harrison Ford and Mary Winn Abernathy. In 1877, at the age of 19, Ford came to Colusa County, California. For three years, he worked on his uncle (Hugh J. Glenn)'s ranch; Hugh Glenn was a Democratic candidate for Governor. Ford became a student in the law office of Colonel Park Henshaw in Chico, California.[4] Ford was admitted to the California Bar in August 1882.[5]

Ford moved to Oroville, California to practice law, but after about three years moved to Downieville, California, the county seat of Sierra County, California. On February 1, 1888, he married Miss Mary Emma Byington, sister of Lewis Francis Byington in Downieville, California. They had three children, Byington Ford, Mary Relda Ford, and Tirey Lafayette Ford. Mary Relda Ford married Samuel Finley Brown Morse on February 18, 1919.

Political life[edit]

Tirey L. Ford
  • District Attorney – In 1888, Ford was elected District Attorney for Sierra County on the Republican ticket by the largest majority than any candidate for that office in 17 years and was re-elected in 1890 to the office without opposition, the Democrats making no nomination against him.[6]
  • State Senator – Ford became Republican State Senator in 1892 and 1895 for California's 3rd State Senate district, Plumas, Sierra, and Nevada Counties.[7]
  • State Board of Harbor Commissioners – He was appointed attorney for the State Board of Harbor Commissioners in 1895, which office he held until elected Attorney General for the state of California in 1898.[8]
  • California Attorney General – He served as the 18th California Attorney General 1899-1902. He resigned in the midst of a bribery scandal in 1902, but was later found to be innocent.[9] The bribery scandal was one of the many San Francisco graft trials.
  • United Railroads – In August 1902, Ford was appointed general counsel for the United Railroads of San Francisco.[10]
  • State Board of Prisons – In 1905, Governor George Pardee selected Ford to be the State Prison Director. Ford wrote a book called California State Prisons: their history, development and management.[11]

Private life[edit]

During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, he became a member of Mayor Eugene Schmitz's Committee of Fifty. Adolphus Frederic St. Sure joined Ford's law firm in San Francisco.

Ford was a member of the Pacific-Union Club, Bohemian Club, Union League Club of San Francisco, Commonwealth Club of California, Press, Transportation, Merchants, Amaurot, and Southern Clubs, and as a Knight Templar. He was also a golf enthusiast and belonged to the Presidio Golf Club.[12]


After his retirement, Ford took up historical studies and literary pursuits. In 1926 he published the well received novel, Dawn and the Dons: The Romance of Monterey, with vignettes and sketches by artist Jo Mora.


On June 26, 1928, Ford died at the Pacific-Union Club in San Francisco, aged 70. A funeral service was held at 10 o'clock at Gary's Chapel on Divisadero street at Post. He was interred at the family mausoleum, at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, San Mateo County, California.[13]


  • Dawn and the Dons; the Romance of Monterey [14]
  • California State Prisons, their history, development and management [15]


  • A Tribute to William McKinley. Speech on national issues[16]
  • The Lamp of Experince Its Light on the Political Situation"[17]
  • The Law and the Miner"[18]


  1. ^ History of the New California, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905, pg 470.
  2. ^ American Biography and Genealogy California Edition, Robert J. Burdette
  3. ^ Recollections of her grandfather Jacob Ford-Josephine Boyle
  4. ^ A History of the New California by Leigh Hadley Irvine. The Lewis Publishing Company. 1905. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ "The State Bar of California". the State Bar. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 84, Number 144, 4 February 1893
  7. ^ California State Capitol Museum
  8. ^ San Francisco Newspaper, June 26, 1928
  9. ^ "Tirey L. Ford Resigns and US Web Will Succeed Him" (PDF). San Francisco Call. September 12, 1902. Retrieved 2013-04-07. 
  10. ^ Press Reference Library, 1915, INTERNATIONAL NEWS SERVICE
  11. ^ Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 20
  12. ^ Notables of the West, International News Service, 1915, page 125
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard
  14. ^ Tirey L. Ford (March 1, 2007), Dawn Of The Dons, Kessinger Publishing, LLC, ISBN 9781432516307, 1432516302 
  15. ^ Tirey Lafayette Ford (1910), California state prisons, San Francisco: [The Star Press] 
  16. ^ Tirey L. Ford (1902), Notable speeches by Notable Speakers of the Greater West, San Francisco: The Whitaker and Ray Company 
  17. ^ Tirey L. Ford (December 1, 1896), Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, San Francisco: Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine 
  18. ^ Tirey L. Ford (1896), Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, San Francisco: Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William F. Fitzgerald
California Attorney General
Succeeded by
Ulysses S. Webb