ELAM I. FEEMSTER.
For the past twenty one years the name of Elam I. Feemster, more familiarly known as E. I. Feemster, has been closely
interwoven with the legal affairs of the city of Visalia and Tulare county, California. Born in Columbus, Mississippi,
February 14, 1873, he was taken to Kansas at an early age and his elementary education was acquired in the public
schools of that state. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia and graduated
from that institution with the class four years later. He then spent two years in the Kansas Normal College at
Fort Scott, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science. In 1902 he received the degree of Bachelor
of Laws from the law department of the University of Missouri, at Columbia, and the same year was admitted to the
bar in that state.
In 1903 Mr. Feemster came to California and located in Visalia. His first practice in Visalia was in connection
with the district attorney's office, which he entered for the purpose of familiarizing himself with practice under
the California law, Daniel McFadzean being then the district attorney for Tulare county. From 1906 to 1910 he was
associated with Elwood O. Larkins, under the firm name of Larkins & Feemster. Later he was a partner of W.
W. Middlecoff and in 1922 the firm of Feemster & Cleary was formed, with Leslie A. Cleary as the junior member.
In 1918 Mr. Feemster was made city attorney, which position he still holds, and in the fall of 1924 his partner
was appointed deputy district attorney for Tulare county, but neither of these appointments has interfered with
Since he became a resident of Visalia, more than twenty years ago, Mr. Feemster has taken a lively interest in
every movement for the advancement of the general welfare of the community. His most important work in this direction
was no doubt when, as a member of the Board of Freeholders, he drew a new charter for the city and presented it
to the legislature, where it was adopted without alteration, except a few minor changes which he made himself.
This charter became the organic law of the city in 1922. For several years Mr. Feemster was secretary of the Tulare
County Bar Association, in which he now holds the office of president. He has encouraged the lawyers of the county
to become members of the association and in numerous instances has aided young attorneys in various ways to become
established in practice.
Mr. Feemster is likewise deeply interested in agricultural matters, to which he has in recent years devoted a portion
of his time. In 1917 he purchased a tract of wild land northeast of Visalia, in the Ivanhoe district, and under
his direction this land has been brought to a fine state of cultivation. Here he has twenty acres of navel oranges,
thirty acres of grapes, ten acres of figs, and seven acres of shipping plums. His interest in this orchard induced
him to become a member of the Klink Citrus Association, an organization formed for cooperative marketing purposes
His knowledge of the law has been of great benefit to this association, in enabling it to adopt measures for marketing
the product of the district and still keep within the law.
Mr. Feemster drew the charter and wrote the by laws of the Farm Bureau Marketing Association, by means of which
the swine breeders of the county, through cooperative methods, have been able to obtain a better price for their
hogs. In this case, as in that of the Citrus Association, his thoughts were more upon the benefits to be derived
than upon the fees he would receive for his legal services.
On October 28, 1908, Mr. Feemster was married to Miss Laura Josephine Holder, a descendant of one of Tulare county's
pioneer families. Her father was for many years connected with the various county offices.
In politics Mr. Feemster is a democrat. In fraternal circles he is a familiar figure. He is a member of Visalia
Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M.; Visalia Lodge No. 1298, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks; and of the Order of
Sciots. He also belongs to the Visalia Kiwanis Club.
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
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