Press "Enter" to skip to content

DA History Series – Part IV: Doc Standley

Jeremiah “Doc” Standley was born August 20, 1845 in Andrew County, Missouri, the son of Harrison and Elizabeth Standley. When he was 8 years of age, the family moved from Missouri to settle in California.

Jeremiah married Sarah Chastity Clay in 1868.

The couple had three daughters: Minnie J., Nellie Frances, Jessie N. (Standley) Hildreth and a son William Harrison Standley.

The son, William Harrison Standley, became an admiral in the United States Navy, who served as Chief of Naval Operations from 1933 to 1937. He also served as the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1941 until 1943.

As a young man William Harrison Standley worked on the ranch of his father Harrison Standley, as well as in the family's hotel, the Ukiah House. The lifelong nickname of “Doc” was earned as a boy after he doctored a sick cow back to health. At 16 he leased a ranch and began raising cattle, later entering school in Ukiah to complete his education.

In 1864, at the age of 19, he was appointed a deputy sheriff in Mendocino County and held that position until 1866.

‘Doc’ Standley then served as a teacher in Ukiah for 5 years before once more being appointed deputy in 1872.

Doc Standley

In 1874, laid off from the department due to budget cuts, he leased a sheep ranch, but continued to volunteer his services as a deputy whenever needed.

Standley in 1882 was elected sheriff of Mendocino County and held that position for the next decade.

In 1892 Standley was defeated in his bid for re-election. Still, he continued to serve as a deputy sheriff, working at times as a special detective for Wells Fargo besides ranching.

In January 1896 Standley was wounded while attempting to capture a man who had robbed a stagecoach in the area.

A year later, fully recovered from his wounds, Doc Standley joined in the Klondike gold rush. He settled in Nome, Alaska and engaged in the mining and freighting business, as well as serving as a deputy sheriff. His wife soon joined him, and the couple remained in Alaska until 1902, when they returned home to Ukiah. They remained there for a year or so, before returning to Alaska, this time accompanied by their youngest daughter, Jessie.

In 1908 Standley fell on a staircase and injured his spine. The injury gradually paralyzed him and caused him to go blind.

Sarah and Jessie began the journey to take Doc Standley back home to California. They stopped for a few days of rest in Seattle, and then again in Portland.

On July 8, 1908, while in Portland, Doc Standley passed away. His body was returned home, and he was buried in Ukiah.

During his 30 years of public service Doc Standley became known as one of the great lawmen of the ‘Old West.’ When he died, the editor of the Ukiah Dispatch-Democrat stated that “Doc Standley was one of the best men this country has ever produced. 

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *