No citizen of Oakland stands higher in the esteem of his fellowmen than does Preston Higgins, widely known as an
able and successful lawyer and the present city attorney. He was born in Fairfield, Somerset county, Maine, April
23, 1891, and is a son of William Francis and Elizabeth Jane (Daugherty) Higgins, the former of whom was born in
Bath, Maine, February 17, 1839, and was of Scotch-Irish descent, while the latter, who was born in Council Bluff,
Iowa, July 27, 1850, and was of English and French antecedents. William F. Higgins came to California in the early
days and was living in Santa Cruz at the outbreak of the Civil war He responded to President Lincoln's first call
for volunteers and during the greater part of the war was engaged in fighting and holding in check the Indians
in California and Utah. At the close he was mustered out at Camp Fort Douglas, Utah and soon afterward met his
future wife, who had crossed the plains in 1865. They came to California in March, 1892, and located in Santa Clara
Preston Higgins attended and graduated from the Lincoln grammar school at Cupertino, Santa Clara county, and was
graduated from the San Jose high school in 1911, after which he entered Leland Stanford University, graduating
from that institution in 1915. He had a splendid record there and was the first student to make the varsity debating
team in his freshman year, in consequence of which he was admitted to the Delta Sigma Rho international honorary
oratorical fraternity during his first year in college. On leaving Leland Stanford he became secretary to the mayor
of Oakland, in which position he served until 1919, and has since engaged in the practice of law. He conducts a
general practice but specializes in jury trial work, in which he has been remarkably successful, having won one
hundred and ten out of one hundred and fifteen jury trials, a record that has hardly been excelled in the history
of the courts of this country. Thoroughly grounded in the basic principles of jurisprudence, careful and painstaking
in the preparation of his cases, determined and resourceful in the trial of causes and a forceful and convincing
speaker, he is regarded as one of the leaders of the bar of Alameda county. Mr. Higgins served as deputy district
attorney from 1921 to 1923 and has been city attorney of Oakland since July 26, 1927.
On April 18, 1917, in Oakland, Mr. Higgins married Miss Beth Jaeger, who was born in Indiana, November 14, 1896,
and left an orphan in young girlhood, after which she made her home with her three brothers. Prior to her marriage
she served as a deputy in Associated Charities work. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins have one daughter, Jane Elizabeth, who
is ten years of age and is a pupil in the John Muir school in Berkeley.
Mr. Higgins is a member of Oak Lodge No. 324, L. O. O. M., of which he was dictator in 1922-3; Oakland Lodge No.
171, B. P. O. E., the Modern Woodmen of America; the Athenian Nile Chub; the Athens Athletic Club; the Orinda Country
Club; and the Berkeley Tennis Club. During the World war he had charge of the registration and draft for Oakland,
under Mayor Davie, who in turn acted under Adjutant General J. J. Boree. After the Mayor had appointed the draft
boards, in accordance with the national program, Mr. Higgins acted as advisor to the boards in interpreting their
many inquiries as to procedure. He also gave his active support to various other war measures and did effective
work throughout that period. A man of keen and alert mentality and a pleasing personality, he makes a favorable
impression on all with whom he comes in contact and he commands the confidence and esteem of his fellowmen.
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928
Alameda County, CA
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