Contra Costa County












DANIEL R. McPHERSON.  The foundation of the civilization of the west has been laid for the greater part by men who came here poor in worldly goods, but who were rich in such old-time possessions as perseverance, honesty and well defined ambition.  Such a one has been D. R. McPherson, a pioneer of Contra Costa county, who has weathered many discouragements and has reached a high goal of success, becoming not only highly honored in his community, but the owner of several valuable tracts of land.  Mr. McPherson is of Scotch ancestry, and was born in Logan county, Ky., December 26, 1835, a son of Murdock and Elizabeth (Fitzhugh) McPherson.  At an early age he moved to Kansas City, Mo., where he lived for the balance of his youth.


As a boy Mr. McPherson had more adventures than the average youth of his time and place, for it was his good fortune to accompany Messrs. Major and Russel across the plains on freighting expeditions.  In 1857 he came to California, settling on a tract of land in Ignacio Valley, Contra Costa county.  This proved to be grant land, and in 1859 he abandoned it rather than have any trouble, and went to Sycamore valley, where he again entered land and lived until 1862.  He then disposed of his property and pre-empted land in the Tassajara valley, purchased the same at a later period and engaged in general farming and stock-raising.  In time he made a specialty of grain raising, and added continually to his ranch until he owned seven hundred and twenty-four acres.  In 1897 he rented his land and moved to Oakland, remaining there four years, but having contracted asthma he returned to Contra Costa county, where he had previously purchased the Wells ranch on Walnut creek, one hundred acres in extent.  He lived here until buying the Hammett ranch, which he rents at the present time, but upon which he now makes his home.  He finds this place better suited to his peculiar difficulty, a malady which, however, fails to make any impression upon his splendid physique, his good spirits or his popularity.  He has a cheerful disposition, generous, kind-hearted, and a more public-spirited man it would be difficult to find.


At Blue Springs, Mo., in February, 1856, Mr. McPherson married Rhoda Harris, a native of that place and daughter of William Harris.  Mrs. McPherson died in California in 1896 at the age of fifty-five, leaving the following children:  Martha Jane, the wife of William Barnett; Mary, the wife of Adolph Podoa; William L.; Emma V., the wife of James Kerr; Effie M., the wife of W. Goold; Robert E.; Nina, the wife of Edward R. Williams; Ernest F.; Clarence L.; Elsie, wife of W. S. Clyma; and Tessie A.  Three children died young.  Mr. McPherson has laid up to his account a great deal of practical hard work, and he is credited with being a shrewd, intelligent business man.  He has richly deserved whatever of success has come to him, and it is the wish of all who know him that he may long live to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and the good will of his many friends.




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 531-532. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2015  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library