The Valley of Heart's Delight
MRS. CATHERINE F. BRATTAN
HISTORY OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY 516
FIRST WOMAN PROBATION OFFICER IN CALIFORNIA
SURNAMES: O'Donnell, McCarton,
Since the entrance of women into the active civic life of the community
during the past generation, so gradually and naturally have they worked
to bring about much needed reforms, that only by comparison with
another day can one judge of the forward strides that have been made.
Especially is this true in the hundreds of cases that come under the
jurisdiction of courts, particularly where the lives and futures of
young people are concerned. Numbered among San Jose's public-spirited
women whose interests are ever on the side of the community's welfare
is Mrs. Catherine F. Brattan, who has been connected with the probation
work of Santa Clara County since its inception.
Catherine F. O'Donnell, as she was known in maidenhood, was born in
Northern Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas and Margaret (McCarton)
O'Donnell. She was educated in the public schools of her native state
and Ovid Academy, N.Y. Coming to California in about 1886, she entered
the Sacramento Business College, where she was graduated, after which
she continued with the institution as a teacher and then served as a
court reporter. In Sacramento she became the wife of G. J. Brattan, a
native of England. During the year of 1895, Mrs. Brattan did much
volunteer social service work and particularly in the line of
children's welfare work. This brought her into prominence, so that when
the probation commission for the county was named by the judge of the
Superior Court she was appointed a member. In 1910 she was appointed
probation officer and since then has served continuously. She is
probably the first woman probation officer in California and has served
under six judges. It is a difficult matter to estimate the amount of
good she has accomplished along these lines; her love for the work and
the interest she takes in the welfare of the children who come under
her supervision has borne good fruit and her influence and efforts for
the betterment of mankind places her to the front as a county official.
Since her appointment no less than 5000 children and 300 adults have
passed through the court and all the children have been made better by
having known her for she takes great joy in the work of helping the
unfortunate catch a vision of the higher plane of living.
Mr. and Mrs. Brattan are the parents of one son, Joseph G., a graduate
of St. Joseph's high school; he also attended Stanford for a time,
Santa Clara College and the University of California agricultural school at Davis, and is now a rancher and packer in Chico.
Mrs. Brattan is well fitted by training and temperament for this
important post, and has been the means of accomplishing untold good.
While deeply interested in her work, she is public spirited in all that
concerns the upbuilding of the community and ever ready to lend a
helping hand. She is a regular communicant of St
. Joseph's Church.
Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 516
SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHIES
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight