Hon. R.F. Del Valle was born in Los Angeles, December 15, 1854, one of the oldest and most distinguished Spanish families in this section, his parents being Ygnacio and Ysabel (Vareta) Del Valle [sic; s/b Varela]. The father was one of the best known and most highly esteemed gentlemen of Southern California, of lofty character and unblemished reputation. He died in 1880, at the age of seventy-two years.
Young Del Valle passed his childhood and youth between the city home of his parents and their home at the "Camulos" Ranch owned by them. This ranch has become famous in story as the scene of Helen Hunt Jackson’s "Ramona."
He received the best education locally attainable, and graduated after a fall course in Santa Clara College, at San José, in 1873. He then studied law in San Francisco and was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court in 1877. His energy and ability were soon recognized and he became an acknowledged leader in the party of his choice, the Democratic, at the age of twenty-five.
In 1879 he was elected a member of the Assembly from his native county. The next year he was elected Presidential elector on the Hancock ticket, and re-elected to the Assembly.
He served with such credit and honor to himself, such acceptance to the party at large, and such satisfaction to his constituency, that in 1882 he was unanimously nominated as State Senator from this county and elected by a large majority. He was chosen as president pro tem of the Senate in 1883, and was a candidate for Congress from the Sixth District of this State in 1884.
His official services are owing to his fealty to party interests and a sense of duty to his country rather than to personal ambition. What he may feel of that infirmity of noble minds is impenetrably hidden under a natural modesty that is as striking as it is attractive. Among our many distinguished fellow-citizens there is no one whose character and ability have endeared him to a wider circle of friends, no one who is more warmly esteemed or more cordially respected by those who know him intimately and well or enjoy the privilege of this acquaintance.
His latest public service was as chairman of the State Democratic Convention in this city in May, 1888, and that was so ably performed that it attracted general commendation. From the opening to the close of the convention he filled the difficult position with a skill, adroitness and tact that shewed him to be a leader of men. His keenness of perception and knowledge of parliamentary forms and rules, together with his genial appearance, his quick and graceful movements, his firm suavity, with gavel in hand, alike ready to accord proper recognition to a member or rap the discordant assembly to order, the clearness of his decisions and the emphasis and force of his remarks, whether directed to the maintenance of order or the dispatch of business, elicited the most favorable comments and were worthy of all praise as models of courtesy and firmness.
Both the marked deterioration in political methods, the absence of elevated aspiration and broad statesmanship, have rudely dissipated whatever charm public life may have once held for Mr. Del Valle, and he very decidedly prefers the practice of his profession and the quiet pursuits of private life.
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