R.R. Veale

R.R. Veale
R.R. Veale
1895 - 1935
Veale's 40 years of service as sheriff helped make him the best known peace officer on the Pacific Coast. He was born in 1864 in Petaluma, Sonoma County, California.
Veale entered the political realm early, being selected as the local committeeman for the Republican Party.

Husbandry was his familial occupation. He worked for his father on a farm near Brentwood and then farmed for a time on the Los Medanos ranch near Antioch. Returning to Brentwood, he farmed some 4,000 acres with his brother. It was around this time that he was elected Sheriff, defeating the incumbent and three other contenders.

Veale never found it necessary to kill a man in the discharge of his duty, although he captured many at the point of a gun. He felt that it was his duty not to kill a criminal, but to arrest him and then let the law take its course.

The distinction of appointing the first female deputy, his daughter Leila, belongs to this sheriff. She often went out of state with other deputies on extraditions and served under him in the County as well.

Sheriff Veale was proud of the growth in Contra Costa County and incorporated representative figures into his own letterhead, which listed a comparison between the years 1902 and 1913.
  • In 1902 the population was 18,000 and in 1913 it was 45,000.
  • In 1902 there were 25 miles of power lines versus 500 miles of lines in 1913.
  • Bank deposits in 1902 totaled $500,000 and $5,000,000 in 1913.

Veale's fraternal affiliations were many, including the Masons, Shrine, Eastern Star, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Moose, Elks, Native Sons, Rebekahs, Pythian Sisters, Neighbors of Woodcraft, Eagles, Woodmen of the World, Sheriff's Association of California and the Contra Costa Chamber of Commerce. (Veale was quite active in local affairs and beyond!)