Bio-Pen Pictures

            Hon. John Reynolds, one of the superior judges of Santa Clara County, has been a member of the Bar of California for the past thirty-five years, and a resident of San Jose since 1871.  He was born in Bedford, Westchester County, New York, on February 20, 1825, and received his education at the Union Academy, of that town, conducted by his brother, Alexander G. Reynolds.  Hon. W. H. Robertson, afterwards county judge of that county, and, later, member of Congress and collector of the port of New York, received his education with him at the same school, each going from it at about the same time to study his chosen profession.  He studied law at Sing Sing, New York, in the office of his brother, S. F. Reynolds, afterwards judge of the Fourth District Court of San Francisco.  Admitted to the Bar by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, he commenced the practice of law in his brother’s office, and there continued for one year.  Coming to California in the fall of 1853, he was admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of California in that year, opening an office in San Francisco, where he continued until the fall of 1871.  He then removed to San Jose, engaging in the practice in Santa Clara County, where he has since continued.  He was a member of the first Republican State Convention, in 1856, chairman of the Republican County Committee in San Francisco during the presidential election of 1864, in which campaign he devoted his time exclusively, for seven weeks preceding the second election of Mr. Lincoln, to his duties as chairman of the County Committee; has always been interested in political matters, although never an active politician.  He was married in 1855 to Miss Emily Marshall, of Sing Sing, New York.

            Judge Reynolds was lately elected one of the fifteen freeholders to frame a new charter for the city of San Jose.  This position he resigned to accept the judgeship of the Superior Court, to which he has lately been appointed, succeeding in that position the late Hon. David Belden.  At the establishment of the Free Public Library, he was appointed one of its trustees, and continued to hold that office until assuming the duties of superior judge.  He was elected a member of the Assembly in 1880, and was a member of that body during the memorable session of the Legislature of 1881.  On account of certain combinations with which he did not sympathize, and which resulted in the defeat of the Apportionment Bill, he was not placed at the head of the Judiciary Committee; but it is well known that no constitutional question arose in the committee, or the House, that he was not consulted, and in but one instance was his opinion disregarded, and in that case his vote is found recorded in accordance with a subsequent decision of the United States Circuit Court.  Judge Reynolds’ practice as an attorney at the Bar of Santa Clara County has been in some of the most important suits instituted within this jurisdiction.  Actions involving titles to lands have been his specialty, and in these his careful practice and thorough research have been often commented on.  The most important and complicated partition suit ever had in this county, and, perhaps, on the coast, was begun and managed by him to the end, with no error in the slightest detail.  This was the partition of the Las Animas Rancho, covering the city of Gilroy and many thousand acres of outside lands, and in which there were several very hotly contested controversies, involving about one-eighth of the whole rancho, and which occupied the court weeks in trying.  There were about two thousand parties to the record in this action, which was pending for several years.  The careful, methodical, painstaking character of Judge Reynolds, together with his learning and knowledge of the law, acquired by nearly forty years’ study and practice, eminently fitted him to receive the appointment to the Bench, which he now holds. 

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. 88-89

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight