James E. Isaacs, District Attorney of Shasta County, was born in Shasta, California, June 29, 1855. His father, Josephus Isaacs, was born in England in 1824, and was a pioneer of Shasta County. He married Selada M. Downey, a native of New Jersey. Her father, A.L. Downey, is a pioneer of California; is now eighty-seven years of age, and resides at Sacramento. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Isaacs, only two of whom are living. Mr. Isaacs followed several vocations in life, latterly that of a merchant. His death occurred in 1878. His widow is still living.
James E. was educated in the public schools of his native place, attending school from seven until fifteen years of age. The rest of his education has been obtained in the dear school of experience. His father had made large sums of money, but was unfortunate and lost heavily, and died leaving his estate embarrassed. Thus the care of his mother and her three children devolved up to the subject of this sketch. He engaged in the dry goods and fancy goods business at Shasta, which he continued until 1877. In that year he was elected Justice of Shasta Township, and held the office two terms. In 1880 he was admitted to practice law by the Superior Court of Shasta County, and since then has devoted his time to that profession. Mr. Isaacs has given special attention to the land office law, and is considered the best authority on that subject in Northern California. His father was a stanch Republican, but he has espoused the cause of the Democratic party; and that party, either to show their appreciation of the popular young lawyer or to secure a candidate that they were nearly certain to elect, nominated him for the District Attorney of the County. He was elected by the handsome majority of 321, while the Republican majority for President that year was ninety-six. He has since been unanimously nominated by his party for a second term, and his prospects for re-election are very flattering. Previous to this time, from 1880 till 1884, he was Deputy District Attorney of the County, under District Attorney Taylor.
May 1,1882, Mr. Isaacs led to the hymeneal altar a native daughter of the Golden West, Miss Mary E. Leschinsky. She was born in Shasta County, the daughter of A. F. Leschinsky, also a pioneer of this County. Two children have been born to them: Linie and Edith Thyra.
Mr. Isaacs is a charter member
and one of the organizers of the Mount Shasta Parlor, No.35, Native Sons
of the Golden West. He takes a deep interest in the order, and for
four years held the office of District Deputy. In 1886 he was elected
a Grand Trustee of the Grand Parlor of the State, and was re-elected to
the office in 1887. Mr. Isaacs is an agreeable and courteous
gentleman. He is one who has in his composition the necessary amount of push and go-aheadativeness to succeed in whatever enterprise he undertakes.
Source: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern
California, Lewis Publishing Co., 1891
Transcribed by: Melody Landon Gregory August 2004