Robert S. Riley, one of the highly respected citizens of Berkeley, is successfully engaged in the practice of
law at 1078 University avenue. His family has long been closely and actively identified with the public affairs
of California, his father, grandfather and an uncle having attained eminence and distinction in the legal profession.
Robert S. Riley was born at Dutch Flat, Placer county, this state, on the 3rd of September, 1889, and is a son
of George E. and Nellie (Johnson) Riley, the former born in South Carolina and the latter in St. Louis, Missouri.
His paternal grandfather, Mitchael Riley, was an early pioneer of California, having lived for many years at Grass
Valley, Nevada county, where he engaged in quartz mining. He also practiced law, proving an able and resourceful
member of the bar, and served as district attorney of Nevada county. He and his wife were among the first settlers
at Grass Valley, his wife being one of the first three white women to keep house in that locality, the other two
being Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Brock. That was also the home of Bret Harte, with whom the Rileys were well acquainted.
George E. Riley came to California by way of the isthmus of Panama, he and his mother riding into California on
mules, his father having come to this state previously. Like his father, he also was a lawyer and served as district
attorney of Nevada county. An uncle, Peter Riley, was a veteran of the Spanish-American war, in which he held a
commission as captain. In his later years George E. Riley moved to San Francisco, where he taught school, and there
his death occurred in 1923, at the age of fifty six years. His wife died in 1908. They were the parents of eight
children, of whom Robert S. is the oldest, and three of the children are living.
Robert S. Riley attended the public schools of Grass Valley and Berkeley, and then entered Leland Stanford University.
Having determined to devote his life to the legal profession, he enrolled as a student in the Hastings College
of Law in San Francisco, the law school of the University of California, from which he was graduated with the degree
of Bachelor of Law in 1918. He had worked his way through college, his attendance, however, being interrupted by
his service in the United States Army during the World war, in which he was disabled while at Camp Lewis. He was
honorably discharged in 1918 and resumed his law studies. On graduation and admission to the bar, Mr. Riley began
practice in San Francisco in the office of his uncle, J. F. Riley, who for forty years has been numbered among
the leading lawyers of that city, and there remained until 1922, when he came to Berkeley, where he has since engaged
in the practice alone. He specializes in real estate law and has won a large and steadily growing clientele, having
gained recognition as an able, resourceful and dependable lawyer, well worthy of confidence and trust.
On April 26, 1919, in Alameda, Mr. Riley was united in marriage to Miss Edna Lewis, who was born and reared in
that city and is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Lewis, the former a well known carpenter and builder. Mr. and
Mrs. Riley have three children, Patricia, Carmel and Robert, Jr. Mr. Riley is a member of the Loyal Order of Moose,
the American Legion, the Disabled War Veterans, the Chamber of Commerce, and the West Berkeley Commercial Assocation,
of which he is secretary. He and his wife are earnest members of the Congregational church. Professionally Mr.
Riley is careful, painstaking and thorough in his preparation of cases, is alert and determined in the trial of
causes, and as an office counselor is sound and reliable, so that all who have come into contact with him hold
him in high regard as a lawyer, while throughout the community he is recognized as a loyal and public spirited
citizen, always to be depended upon to support measures for the advancement of the public welfare.
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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