Sheriff of San Jose 1883-1887

 Bio-Pen Pictures

real estate dealer, No. 50 South First Street, San Jose, has been a resident of California since 1846, and of San Jose for the same period. Born in Callaway County, Missouri, July 25, 1845, he was brought by his parents, in the following year, to California, crossing the plains and learning to walk while on that trip.
He attended at first a private school, and later the public schools of San Jose, completing a course later at the San Jose Institute, under the management of Freeman Gates. In 1865, at the age of twenty years, he graduated in the Commercial Department of that institute. Previous to this he had worked at times on his father's ranch, and had been engaged in herding sheep in the mountains and in the Santa Clara Valley for his father. The familiarity with the surrounding country gained by this experience was later of much value in his official career. In 1868 he was appointed Deputy County Treasurer under P. O. Minor, and served until the close of the latter's term, in March, 1870. In 1871 he went into El Dorado County to take charge of a mine, which he managed for a mining company for three years. From that place he went to Lassen County, where his father owned mining interests, and engaged in mining until 1874, when these mines were abandoned. He then returned to Santa Clara County, leased his father's ranch, and conducted it for two years. He was then appointed Under-Sheriff, by N. R. Harris, in which capacity he served until March, 1880, when Sheriff Harris went out of office. In June, 1880, he was appointed bookkeeper for the San Jose Savings Bank, which position he filled until November, 1880, when the bank commenced retiring from business. In 1881 he took the position of clerk and assistant bookkeeper in the Mariposa Grocery Store, on Market Street, San Jose; this place he held until after his nomination and election as Sheriff, which position he assumed in January, 1883. He was re-elected to this office in 1885, holding it until January, 1887, being succeeded in that year by the present incumbent.  He then engaged in the real-estate business, in which he is still occupied.

        In 1879 he was married to Mrs. Mary A. Walsh, a native of Maryland. To this marriage has been born one child. Charles E., born in June, 1881. Mr. Branham has always been an active supporter of the Democratic party, which has twice honored him with its nomination and suffrages. In being elected to the shrievalty of Santa Clara County on the Democratic ticket, it has always required support from individual Republicans, that party being largely in the majority. This support has been given freely to Mr. Branham, not only in recognition of his own sterling integrity and good qualities of heart and head, but also as an evidence of the high esteem and popularity in which his father and the family have always been held by the people of this county, without regard to political affiliations. Mr. Branham, while Sheriff, was largely instrumental in arresting and bringing to justice several murderers, against whom the evidence was at first apparently meager, but who later received the gallows as the reward for their crimes. During his adminisstration of the office of Sheriff the escape of important criminals was practically unknown.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 518-519


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight