Biography of Hon. William H. Waste
San Francisco, CA Biographies





HON. WILLIAM HARRISON WASTE
A leading representative of the California bench and bar is Hon. William Harrison Waste, who has served as chief justice of the supreme court of this state since January 1, 1926. He was born on a farm near Chico, in Butte county, California, October 31, 1868, his parents being John Jackson and Mary Catherine (McIntosh) Waste, natives of New York and Kentucky, respectively. The father was of English lineage and the mother came of Scotch and Irish ancestry. We quote from "California and Californians," published in 1926: "John Jackson Waste came over the plains in 1851, riding a thoroughbred Kentucky horse and carrying his rifle on the pommel of his saddle, acting as guide and hunter for an emigrant train that was three months in making the trip. For a time he remained at Sutter's Fort, then engaged in farming and stock ranching at Princeton in Colusa county, and followed the same occupation at Chico in Butte county, where he died in 1882."

William Harrison Waste acquired his early education in the first and secondary schools of Butte county and attended high school at Los Angeles from 1882 to 1887, when he entered the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1891. He studied law in the Hastings College of Law at San Francisco, graduating in 1894, and paid his expenses by working as a reporter for San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley papers. In 1894 he began the work of his chosen profession in Oakland, California, and built up a substantial practice throughout the bay region. He was a member of the assembly of the state legislature from 1903 until 1905, and through his influence appropriations were secured for the building of California Hall, the first permanent building of the Bernard plan, at the University of California. He was the organizer and first president of the Holmes Library Association of Berkeley, to which Mr. Carnegie contributed forty thousand dollars for the erection of a building. He served as attorney for the First National Bank, the Homestead Loan Association of Berkeley and the Berkeley Bank of Savings and Trust Company.

On April 13, 1905, Governor Pardee appointed him judge of the superior court of Alameda county. He served in that capacity until January, 1919, when Governor Stevens made him presiding justice of the district court of appeals of the first appellate district, division one. In November, 1921, Governor Stevens made him an associate justice of the supreme court. On January 1, 1926, he became chief justice, which high position he has held to the present time. Devotedly attached to his profession, systematic and methodical in habit, sober and discreet in judgment, calm in temper, diligent in research, conscientious in the discharge of every duty, courteous and kind in demeanor and inflexibly just on all occasions, these qualities enable Judge Waste to take first rank among those who have held the highest judicial office in the state, and made him the conservator of that justice wherein is the safeguard of individual liberty and happiness and the defense of our national institutions. His reported opinions are monuments to his profound legal learning and superior ability, more lasting than brass or marble and more honorable than battles fought and won. They show a thorough mastery of the questions involved, a rare simplicity of style and an admirable terseness and clearness in the statement of the principles upon which the opinions rest.

On the 16th of September, 1896, at Oakland, California, Judge Waste was united in marriage to Miss Mary J. Ewing, of Maxwell, this state. She was born in Lee county, Virginia, July 20, 1872, a daughter of Dr. Archibald and Rowena R. (Taylor) Ewing, who came to California from Virginia. Among her early forbears were the Jefferson and Sharp families, who lived in the Old Dominion in Revolutionary days. The two children of Judge and Mrs. Waste are: William Ewing, of Berkeley, who married Miss Elizabeth Ten Eyck, of Los Angeles; and Eugenia McIntosh, the wife of Estolv Ward, of Berkeley.

Judge Waste is a republican, inclined to liberal and progressive ideas. He has been president of the Berkeley Young Men's Christian Association since 1903 and has given generously of his individual talents and means to the welfare of his home city and state, its people and institutions. For two years he was president of the Commonwealth Club of California, the largest organization of the kind in the west, and is now serving on its board of governors. He is a trustee of the College of the Pacific at Stockton, a trustee of the Pacific School of Religion at Berkeley, and a trustee of the Glide Memorial Foundation of San Francisco. A prominent Methodist layman, he is president of the board of trustees of Epworth Church at Berkeley. He is a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West and along strictly professional lines has membership in the California State Bar Association. Fraternally he is identified with the Woodmen of the World, the Loyal Order of Moose and the Masonic bodies. He was grand commander of the Knights Templar of California in 1922 and is now serving as president of the California Knight Templar Educational Foundation. He has attained the thirty second degree of the Scottish Rite in Masonry and is also a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. His name is on the membership roll of the Masonic Club of San Francisco, and he has long enjoyed an enviable reputation in fraternal, social, civic and professional circles here. He has his office in the State building of San Francisco and resides at 1172 Spruce street, Berkeley.

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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