The Valley of Heart's Delight


MRS. CATHERINE F. BRATTAN

FIRST WOMAN PROBATION OFFICER IN CALIFORNIA


HISTORY OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY 516
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