James W. Shanklin (1879-81)

Photo of James W. Shanklin

James W. Shanklin was born on August 5, 1824 in Ontario County, New York. The first years of his life were spent on the family farm, and like his predecessor William Minis, his opportunities for education were limited.

In 1849 the Gold Rush brought Shanklin to California, where he finally settled in Oakland.

In 1864, Shanklin served in his first public office when Abraham Lincoln appointed him Receiver of the United States Land Office in San Francisco. Upon the expiration of that term, Shanklin was appointed Register of the Land Office.

With regard to occupation, Shanklin apparently moved through several professions over the years. For instance, the 1871-72 Alameda County Directory noted his profession as land agent. In 1875-76, he is listed as an attorney at law, and in 1878-79 he became a land agent once again. During the 1890's, Shanklin listed himself simply as a capitalist.

In 1879, Shanklin was elected Surveyor General of California, and took office on January 5, 1880, at the age of 56.

A matter in which he was deeply interested following his term as Surveyor General was the claim of the State of California against the Federal Government for assistance furnished during the Civil War. Shanklin was one of the commissioners appointed by the Legislature to place California's claims before Congress and urge settlement of the situation.

Shanklin died in Oakland on February 28, 1902, at the age of 88.

Annual Reports

Informational Exhibit

Surveyors General

The following include a short biography, photo of, and the annual reports from each Surveyor General, documenting some of the activities and observations of the Surveyors General, and record the early geographical development of the new state.