Contra Costa County











JAMES W. HAMMOND, M.D.  By reason of his intimate connection with the professional interests of Byron and his association with movements tending to promote the progress of the place, Dr. Hammond is recognized as one of the influential citizens of this growing village of Contra Costa county.  Although the greater portion of his life has been spent in California, and he is a true and patriotic son of the state, he is of eastern lineage and Wisconsin nativity.  His father, William P. Hammond, who was a man of superior mechanical ability, was born at Haddam, Conn., March 20, 1811, and grew to manhood in New York and Indiana.  At an early age he displayed the possession of inventive genius and his natural tastes led him into mechanics.  While working as a cabinet maker he manufactured a unique and handsome table, which was presented to Daniel Webster, and highly appreciated by that statesman.  Among the various patents which he secured or endeavored to secure was one on a revolver of his own invention.  This he entrusted to a man to take to Washington, D.C., for the purpose of taking the necessary steps for a patent.  On his return the man claimed to have lost the model on a boat.  Shortly afterward the now celebrated Colt revolver was patented, and it proved to be an exact reproduction of his model.  However, he was unable to prove his claim and so lost a patent that would have brought him fame and fortune.  For some years he made his home in Wisconsin, and from that state came to California during the excitement caused by the discovery of gold.  After his arrival in Sacramento in 1850 he conducted a saddlery and also became financially interested in mining.  Success came to him in sufficient measure to justify the establishment of a home of his own.  Returning to Wisconsin he there married Miss Emily Barrett, who was born August 30, 1835, in the state of New York.


The Hammond family came to California in 1860 and settled in Napa City, where Mr. Hammond conducted a gunsmith’s shop and also did considerable work as a cabinet-maker.  During his residence there he invented and patented an ore-crushing machine known as the W. P. Hammond ore crusher, the patent for which is now owned by Dr. Hammond, his brother, Harry T., and his sister, Mrs. P. T. Turner, of Stockton.  Until his death, which occurred June 23, 1888, Mr. Hammond maintained a constant interest in mechanical devices and patents, especially such as were similar in purport to his own inventions.  The death of his wife occurred August 30, 1891.  They were the parents of five children, namely:  James W., of Byron; Oliver P., deceased; Harry T., of San Francisco; Frederick R., who died in infancy; and Mrs. Lydia R. Turner, whose husband is a dentist in Stockton.  At the time of coming to California Dr. Hammond was a child of only four years, hence he entertains but vague recollections of his Wisconsin home and the long journey across the plains.  As a boy he attended the public schools in Napa, receiving such advantages as they afforded.  With a broad grasp of mind, he constantly endeavored to expand his scope of learning.  The acquirement of knowledge was his ambition.  With a decided leaning toward the medical profession he earnestly desired to enter upon its study, but the way did not seem clear for some time.  Meanwhile he became a professional nurse, studying for eighteen months in the St. Helena Sanitarium.  From that work he entered upon the study of materia medica, graduating in 1897 from the California Medical College of San Francisco.  His thorough knowledge of nursing proved helpful to him in his professional studies and earlier work as an active practitioner.  Immediately after his graduation he engaged in his profession in San Francisco, but in 1898 came to Byron, Contra Costa county, where he has since made his home.  The practice that he has established extends into all the surrounding country.  Necessarily it entails upon the doctor a large amount of driving, frequent night trips, and other hardships that test even a robust physique, but he shrinks from no hardship that will bring relief from pain to a suffering patient.  Professional zeal is one of his leading characteristics, and the science of therapeutics has no disciple more devoted than he. 


There being no drug store in this part of Contra Costa county, Dr. Hammond carries in his office a complete stock of drugs and medicines and fills all of his prescriptions.  It is a matter of importance to him to keep driving horses able to endure long drives, and with this object in view he has raised a number of standard-bred roadsters, both for sale and for his own use, that have no superiors in the entire county.  In his stables he now has the finest type of brood mare, stallion and standard bred colts.  During the period of his residence in San Francisco he was actively identified with the San Francisco County society of Physicians and Surgeons, in which he still holds membership.  At this writing, in addition to the management of his large private practice he acts as medical examiner for the local lodges of Ancient Order of United Workmen and Native Sons of the Golden West, also examiner for the Prudential and New York Life Insurance Companies.  By his marriage to Ida Hiserman, who was born and reared in California, he has one son, William Theodore, a lad of fine mind and great promise.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

­­­­Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 386-389. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2015  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library