Contra Costa County











            The ranch of four hundred and ten acres owned by Hon. Walter B. and A. Hayward Cope is located about three miles from Danville, Contra Costa county, in Green valley, and is given over entirely to the cultivation of grain and fruit, and to stock-raising.  These brothers are the sons of the late Hon. Warner Walton Cope, a pioneer of the state, who was born near Hopkinsville, Ky., January 29, 1824, and was there reared and educated.  After the completion of his common school studies he read law and was admitted to the bar in 1850, in which year he crossed the plains to California.  Upon his arrival in the state he located at Jackson, Amador county, and became interested in mining, but at the same time established an office and entered upon the practice of his profession.  He met with success and attained a prominent position among the citizens of that community.  September 20, 1859, he was appointed associate justice of the supreme court to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Chief Justice Terry, and on Chief Justice Field's retirement from the court he became chief justice, a position he filled until his own retirement in January, 1864.  During the time he was on the bench he wrote no less than two hundred and thirty-one opinions, nearly all of which were concurred in by his associate judges, and all of which showed careful and deliberate preparation.  At the time of his death Judge Cope was one of the directors of Hastings College of Law, and for a number of years he had been president of the San Francisco Bar Association.  For a time Judge Cope resided in Sacramento, later removing to San Francisco, where by reason of his large acquaintance he soon acquired a prominence in public life which gave to him positions of importance.  In later years he became supreme court reporter.  In 1884 he purchased of W. Z. Stone the four hundred and ten acres now owned by his sons, of which eighty acres had been planted to fruit.  Mr. Stone had set out one of the largest almond orchards in the county, and finding it a success by reason of its high elevation which made it practically free from frost, he continued its cultivation, this being about the only successful orchard of its kind on the west side of Mount Diablo.  Mr. Cope afterward added to the orchard, and remodeled and enlarged the buildings on the ranch and by many improvements added to its value.  In later life he retired and turned over the property to his sons, who became the owners by purchase.  He died January 17, 1903, at the age of seventy-nine years, while his wife, formerly Martha Ann Neil, died in 1902, at the age of seventy-seven years.  Their children were as follows:  Elizabeth; George, employed in the custom house at San Francisco; Kate, who married Alonzo Webb; Annie, Walter B.; and A. Hayward.

     Hon. Walter B. Cope was born in Sacramento October 22, 1861, and following the example of his father took up the profession of law.  He first practiced in Santa Barbara county, where he was elected district attorney, and afterward superior judge, being the youngest in the state, and winning the highest regard of his legal brethren and the general public by his efficient discharge of duties while in an official capacity.  He later located in San Francisco, where he has since built up a large and lucrative practice.  He married Daisy A. Hartson, a native of Napa county, and the daughter of Chancellor Hartson.

     A. Hayward Cope was born in San Francisco February 4, 1863, and since attaining years of maturity he has devoted his time exclusively to the cultivation and improvement of the large ranch owned in conjunction with his brother.  The approach to the residence leads along a beautiful road through an avenue of luxuriant shade trees, giving the appearance of an old English park, while the grounds are tastefully laid out in lawns covered with flowers and tropical plants.  Since purchasing the property Mr. Cope has set out an additional orchard, now having one hundred and twenty acres in fruit altogether, of which seventy are devoted to almonds, thirty-five to Bartlett pears, and about fifteen acres are in mixed fruits.  The rest of the ranch is devoted to the raising of grain and cattle, the entire property receiving an abundance of water.  The ranch gives evidence of the unusual ability and skill which have been brought to bear upon the native wilds of the state, the rich lands in the foothills of Mount Diablo having been transformed into a productive and attractive ranch by the undivided attention of the Cope Brothers who take great interest in its successful cultivation and improvement.





Transcribed 3-20-16  Marilyn R. Pankey.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 1048-1049. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Marilyn R. Pankey.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library