His duties fell somewhere between sheriff and police in the vanished antiquated public office, constable of the San Luis Obispo Township.
Manuel Herrera held the office 21 years and in many elections ran unopposed.
He placed a Telegram-Tribune advertisement supporting his re-election campaign in June of 1954 explaining the role of the office.
Constable was the law enforcement arm of the now discontinued Justice Court. Duties included serving legal paperwork like attachments, summonses and sales of personal and real property to satisfy judgments.
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His ad explained that the constable was not responsible for pursuit of criminals; that duty was in the capable hands of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
An article from Aug. 14, 1942, offered further biographical details.
Both the article and advertisement say Herrera’s goals were to carry out the duties of the office as efficiently, courteously and economically as possible.
The San Luis Obispo native joined community-minded causes including the Good Will Hose Co. 2 of the San Luis Obispo volunteer fire department in 1901. He served till it was disbanded.
He also volunteered and served two years in Co. M, of the U.S. Infantry in World War I and was first commander of San Luis Obispo American Legion post No. 66.
For more than two decades he was a pressman for the Morning Tribune, working under editor Benjamin Brooks.
A niece, Juanita, also worked at the Tribune Printing Co.
The Heritage Inn building was formerly the Herrera family home before it was moved from 1360 Monterey St. to the present location.
Manuel was still constable when he passed away at the age of 76, on Feb. 26, 1960, after a two-week illness.
A front-page obituary the following day said Herrera’s accurate memory of San Luis Obispo’s colorful past was a point of community pride.
In the 1950s the newspaper published several photos from his collection of the late-1800s print shop.
If anyone still has copies of these photos, or pre-1960s Telegram, Obispian or Tribune newspaper office images, I would love to see them.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.