Contra Costa County












HON. JOSHUA PLUMMER ABBOTT.  Among the leading citizens of Contra Costa county, Antioch numbers J. P. Abbott, a successful attorney and business man.  He was born March 3, 1840, at Boscawen, N.H., a son of Jabez and Eunice (Moody) Abbott.


Jabez Abbott was born in the same place July 3, 1800, and followed farming during his entire life in the vicinity of Boscawen and died there at the age of eighty-six years.  Eunice Moody Abbott was born in 1811 in New Hampshire and was a descendant of a distinguished Massachusetts family, of whom the late Dwight L. Moody was also a member, and a first cousin to Mrs. Abbott.  She died in 1876.  Eight children were born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Abbott, of whom four are living.


In tracing the ancestry of J. P. Abbott it is found that the American branch of the family was founded by George Abbott, who emigrated from England and settled in Massachusetts in 1640.  One of his descendants, Samuel Abbott, was one of the founders of the Andover Theological Seminary at Andover, Mass., in 1807.  After a time members of the family migrated to Concord, N.H.  The celebrated divine, the late Lyman Abbott, and also the noted vocalist and actress, the late Emma Abbott, were cousins of Jabez Abbott.


J. P. Abbott received his education in the common schools of his native town, afterward attending Elmwood Institute, from which he was graduated with honors.  He then became a student at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H., in 1862, but left school the fall of the following year to come to California.  Among his classmates was Henry C. Ide, United States commissioner on the Taft commission appointed by William McKinley to the Philippine Islands.


Coming to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, Mr. Abbott arrived at his destination November 1, 1863, the trip consuming about one month.  The first six months of his residence were spent teaching school in Napa county.  Having decided upon the profession of law as his life work, he accordingly became a student, and under the preceptorship of W. W. Pendegast and Thomas J. Tucker he diligently pursued his studies, and was admitted to the bar in 1866.  Going east on a visit, from which he returned in 1867, he immediately located in Antioch, Contra Costa county, and for a number of years he served as deputy district attorney.  During this time Mr. Abbott was also engaged in newspaper work, editing the Antioch Ledger for a period of ten years.


In 1876 he received the appointment of deputy internal revenue collector for this district, a position he filled with credit until 1879.  In the meantime Mr. Abbott abandoned newspaper work and has since engaged in the practice of his profession in Contra Costa county.  He has also served as notary public for thirty-two years and as justice of the peace for a number of years.  In 1886 he was nominated state senator from his district, being elected on the Republican ticket, and by his many acts of usefulness proved his fidelity to the people and to his section of the state.


Success has crowned the efforts of Mr. Abbott from a financial standpoint, as well as professional and official.  In 1882 he purchased a quarter interest in the Antioch Lumber Company and also the Rouse-Beede Company, retaining his interest in these companies to the present time.  By his marriage, in Antioch, June 25, 1872, he was united with Miss M. G. McMaster, who was born December 3, 1853, in Antioch, and to whom belongs the distinction of having been the first white child born in that place.  She is a graduate of Mills College with class of 1872.  Mrs. Abbott is a daughter of J. C. McMaster, who was among the gold seekers of 1849, and who for a period of sixteen years was county supervisor of Contra Costa county.  Mr. Abbott is allied with the Masons, holding a membership in Antioch Lodge No. 175, F.& A.M., and Antioch chapter No. 65, R.A.M.  Mr. Abbott is recognized as one of the substantial and leading men of the community in which he resides, giving of him[sic] time and means toward the upbuilding of the county.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 407-408. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2015  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library