Bio-Pen Pictures

            Hon. Joseph A. Moultrie was born in Franklin, Missouri, in 1827.  He received his early education there and in Madison County.  After reading law for a time in the office of W. V. M. Bay he enlisted in the United States Army, to serve during the Mexican War.  His regiment was the First Missouri Cavalry, better known as the famous “Doniphan’s Regiment.”  His company was mustered in at Fort Leavenworth, with John D. Stephenson as captain.  The regiment was attached to the “Army of the West,” Ben. S. W. Kearney commanding.  The command left Fort Leavenworth June 27, 1846, and marched across the plains to Santa Fe.  The operations of Doniphan’s Regiment make one of the most interesting and thrilling chapters in the history of the Mexican War.  After the occupation of what is now known as New Mexico, two companies of the regiment, Mr. Moultrie’s company being one of them, were detailed to go out, under the guidance of Col. Joe Walker, the famous Indian fighter, to treat with the Navajo Indians.  Mr. Moultrie participated in all the battles and skirmishes in which his regiment was engaged, including the battle of Sacramento, near Chihuahua.  He was one of the fourteen men who volunteered for the perilous duty of carrying dispatches to Gen. Wool, at Buena Vista.  The distance was about five hundred miles, through a rough country, infested with hostile Mexicans.  The perils and hardships which this expedition encountered and overcame would fill a book. 

            The enterprise, though looked upon as a forlorn hope, was successful.  Mr. Moultrie was mustered out of service, with his company, at New Orleans, in the latter part of June, 1847.  He returned to Missouri, where he remained two years, and again started for the Pacific Coast.  He arrived at Santa Fe in 1849, where he stayed until January, 1850.  With two companions, he continued his journey to California.   At San Diego they separated, and Mr. Moultrie, securing a mule, rode to San Jose, which he reached in June of the same year, the journey from Santa Fe occupying six months.  He went to the mines, but was unsuccessful and returned to San Jose in 1852.  He secured five hundred acres of land near Menlo Park, which he farmed for one year, and then accepted an appointment as deputy sheriff of Santa Clara County.  While occupying this position he resumed the study of law under the instruction of Judge Archer.  Later, he entered the law office of W. T. Wallace, and when the latter was elected attorney-general in 1855, Mr. Moultrie became his deputy, serving in that capacity for two years.  He was elected district attorney for Santa Clara County, which office he held two years.  In 1861 Mr. Moultrie took an active part in the organization of Mono County, and was appointed its first county judge.  At the election two years later he was elected to the same position for a term of four years.  He resigned before the expiration of his term, and again went to the mines, and was again unsuccessful.  He then resumed his law practice in San Jose, which he has continued ever since.  Judge Moultrie has conducted some of the most important cases, both civil and criminal, which have been tried at this Bar, but has devoted most of his attention to cases involving the title to real estate.  He is a popular and respected citizen, as well as a prominent member of the Bar. He is a Democrat in politics, and was chosen a delegate to the National Convention that nominated Samuel J. Tilden as President of the United States.

 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. p. 90

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight