Placer County








            Prominent among the distinguished member of the bar of Placer County is numbered William Branson Lardner.  He is actively connected with the profession which has an important bearing upon the progress and stable prosperity of any section or community, and one which has long been considered as conserving the public welfare by furthering the ends of justice and maintaining individual rights.  In political circles Mr. Lardner has also gained distinction and in 1899 and 1900 represented the thirteenth district of California in the general assembly, and is now state senator from the fifth congressional district.

            A native of Michigan, he was born in Niles, on the 12th of December, 1850, and is a representative of an old English family.  His great-grandfather, Lynford Lardner, immigrated to Philadelphia in 1740.  He was a brother-in-law of Richard Penn and went to Philadelphia in the interest of the Penn heirs, having charge of the estate there.  He settled at Lansdowne and had one hundred acres of land at Holmesburg, on the Delaware River.  His son, William Lardner, the grandfather of our subject, married Miss Ann Shepherd, of North Carolina, and their son, Lynford Lardner, was born in Philadelphia.  Having arrived at years of majority he married Sarah K. Moore, also a native of the Keystone state.  In 1832 he removed to Cincinnati, prior to which time he was in the United States Bank in Philadelphia, with Nicholas Biddle, a cousin and one of the most distinguished financiers the country has produced.  Later in life Mr. Lardner engaged in the wholesale grocery business in Cincinnati.  In religious belief he was an Episcopalian, while his wife was identified with the Methodist church.  They became the parents of nine children.  The father died in 1882 at the age of seventy-six years, and is buried at Auburn, California.  His wife passed away October 13, 1899, at the advanced age of eighty-one years.  Only four of the family yet survives.

            William Branson Lardner, whose name introduces this review, was educated in Cornell College, Iowa, being graduated in that institution with the class of 1875.  Determining to enter the profession of law he prepared for the bar by pursuing a course in the law department of the State University of Iowa, in which he was graduated n 1877.  Previously he had engaged in teaching school for five years in Iowa and in California, and when he had mastered the principles of jurisprudence sufficient for admission to the bar he came direct to Auburn and opened a law office, in which he has since continued.  He has a close and discriminating nature, with keen powers of analysis, is logical in argument, forceful in delivery and convincing in his appeals before court and jury.  He is now well known as a well-read lawyer and an able advocate, having been connected with much important litigation whereby his ability has been demonstrated.  In 1879 he was elected district attorney and served in that office most capably for two years and ten months, during which time he prosecuted the train-wreckers who had wrecked the train at Cape Horn Mills.  This was a very celebrated case, and two of the men were convicted.  The able manner in which he handled the suit won for Mr. Lardner considerable celebrity as an able criminal lawyer.

            In 1898, while he was in the east, he was nominated by the Republican Party here as a candidate for the assembly, and returning home he entered upon the campaign, making a capable canvass of his district.  He received the flattering majority of eight hundred and ninety-three over his competitor, a most excellent man.  Mr. Lardner possesses marked energy and determination and is an active factor in political circles.  Since coming to Auburn he has frequently done able work on the stump for his party, and has also been one of the most influential promoters of the interests of the town and county along many lines which have contributed to the material upbuilding and progress of this portion of the state.  His is a loyal devotion to the county’s good, and his efforts have been of benefit in many directions.

            Mr. Lardner is a member of the Miners’ Association and labored for the mining interests of California through his membership on the mining committee of the legislature.  He is also a prominent Mason, holding membership in lodge, chapter, and commandery.  He is also a Forester and is identified with the Improved Order of Red Men, and in all these organizations he takes an active interest, being imbued with the helpful and benevolent spirit of the fraternity.

            On the 11th of January, 1881, Mr. Lardner was married to Miss Jennie Mitchell, a native of Essex County, New York, and a daughter of William H. Mitchell, now a prominent citizen and leading politician of Beloit, Kansas, who served as a delegate to the national convention held in Philadelphia in 1900.  Mr. and Mrs. Lardner have five children, all born in Auburn, namely:  Mabel Frances, Mary Biddle, William Branson Penn, Georgia Florence and Effa Elvira.

            The parents are active members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Lardner is serving as the senior warden and superintendent of the Sunday-school, having occupied both positions for many years.  He is a member of the Monday Night Club, whose object is to study and cultivate a taste for literature, science, art, music and patriotism.  This is one of the leading organizations of the city and in its work he takes a deep interest.  He has a nice home and finds great pleasure in improving his grounds and in caring for his fruits and flowers there.  His is a well-rounded nature, in which devotion to a single interest alone has not produced a one-sided development.  His career, both public and private, is marked by the strictest integrity and faithfulness to every trust reposed in him.  The record of his life is unclouded by any shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil.  He is known as an honorable man, a pleasant, social companion, a devoted husband and father and as one who holds friendship inviolable.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 222-224. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




Placer County Biographies

California Statewide

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