One Hundred Years of
Freemasonry in California
Leon O. Whitsell
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ALBERT GALLATIN TOOMES
Albert Gallatin Toomes, a native of Missouri and founder of the Town of Tehama, came to California from New Mexico with the Workman-Rowland Party in 1841. Within a short time he entered into a building and carpentering partnership with another pioneer, of 1841, Robert H. Thomes of the Bidwell-Bartleson Company. This partnership, which appears in the records of both San Francisco and Monterey, lasted till well into 1848 or later, after which Messrs. Toomes and Thomes went in for ranching.
In 1844, Toomes became a Mexican citizen, married a native Californian woman named Maria Isabel Lorenzana, and was granted the five-league Rancho de los Molinos in what is now Tehama County. His friend Thomes, from whom he seems to have been inseparable, received a five-league neighboring grant, called Los Saucos, the same year.
Toomes visited his ranch twice, in 1845 and 1847, to stock it with cattle, but did not settle permanently upon it till 1849. Here, unaffected by the gold rush and its attendant excitement, he lived the quiet life of landed gentleman. He was fond of hunting and fishing and, from time to time, wrote long letters to his good friend Josiah Belden of San Jose, inviting him to forget the business world and come up and enjoy the fields and streams of Tehama County. At the time of his death at the age of fifty-six in 1873, Toomes was not only one of the wealthiest, but also one of the most respected citizens in the county.
The same as with one or two brothers in his community, there is some question as to where Toomes was made a Mason. His name first appears in California Masonic records as the charter Junior Warden of Molino Lodge No. 150, of Tehama. In this, he has much in common with William G. Chard, charter Treasurer of the same Lodge. Both may have been long-time sojourners prior to the organization of Molino Lodge, or both may have received their degrees during the year that the Lodge was under dispensation. But there the similarity ended. Though he was never Master of his Lodge, Toomes filled an office of some kind, ranging up to Senior Warden, practically every year from the time the Lodge was organized till his death. He was its Treasurer at the time of his death.
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JOHN MARION MURPHY
John Marion Murphy, after whom the incredibly rich mining camp of Murphys, in Calaveras County, was named, was a son of Martin Murphy, Sr., of the Murphy-Townsend-Stevens Party of 1844 and a son-in-law of James Frazier Reed of the Donner Party, of 1846. He was born near Frampton, Quebec, about 1824. Supposedly a staunch Irish Catholic, but there is still some question as to the extent of his devoutness.
Along with his people, who acquired huge acreages of land in Santa Clara County, Murphy was a man of considerable means and first Treasurer of the county. He afterward held the offices of Sheriff and County Recorder, as well as City Councilman of San Jose. In the spring of 1848, he and his brother Daniel caught the gold fever in its most virulent form and were among the first Santa Clara County citizens to reach the diggings. In July of that year, they discovered on Angel's Creek the diggings that have since been variously referred to as Murphy's Diggings, Murphy's Camp, and just Murphys. Many stories, some of them pretty far-fetched, have been told of the fabulous fortune they took out of this place. Among other things, it was said that they put Indians to work for them and brought out whole pack-mule loads of gold.
In 1858, Murphy joined San Jose Lodge No. 10 and remained a member of it till 1867, when he withdrew. In his later years, business reverses and injudicious investments left him in uncomfortably straitened circumstances, which apparently continued till his death in 1892, at the age of sixty-eight.
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The third of the “big three” of the Donner Party was William McCutchen, born in Nashville, Tennessee, about 1816. He and his family joined the great overland migration of 1846 to California and were identified not only with the Reeds and Donners who crossed the Salt Desert, but also with the Gordons and others who took the longer way around by Fort Hall.
McCutchen has been described as a huge man with a powerful voice and stubborn disposition. If he had anything to say, he said it. There was no mistaking where he stood on any subject. When his party was struggling through the deserts of Nevada, just before reaching the Sierra Nevada, he and another man pushed on to Sutter's Fort in search of relief. He was taken sick there, but just as soon as he had recovered sufficiently to be up and about, he returned to the mountains, fighting his way through gigantic snowdrifts with relief for his stranded party. He was accompanied on this trip by his good friend James Frazier Reed.
As it was, McCutchen lost his daughter Harriet, but his wife survived.
On reaching the valleys of California, McCutchen settled in San Jose, where, in after years, he had other children, one of whom became a prominent San Francisco attorney. His first wife died in 1857, and he remarried in 1860. In 1853 he served as Sheriff of Santa Clara County, but toward the end of his days devoted his energies to hotel keeping and farming. He died April 17, 1905, aged 79.
McCutchen's Masonic career was only a fragment. He received his entered apprentice degree in San Jose Lodge No. 10, in 1854, and appears in the records as a Fellowcraft the following year. And there he stayed till he was dropped from the roll in 1861. Why he went no further is unknown. Perhaps being a Southerner, he became involved in some of the heated pre-Civil War controversies that were about that time splitting lodges and churches wide open.
At any rate, he was the last of the “big three” of the Donner Party to sever his connection with San Jose Lodge, and unlike Reed and Eddy, it is certain that he had no home Lodge to which he could return.
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Archetypical of these pioneers was John Bidwell who organized the Bidwell-Bartleson Company, first American immigrant outfit to reach California.
Born in Ripley, Chautauqua County, New York, August 5, 1819, Bidwell began to move westward in leisurely stages at the age of ten, when he accompanied his parents first to Pennsylvania, and from there to Ohio. At the age of seventeen, he walked three hundred miles across Ohio through slush and snow from Darke to Ashtabula County to attend Kingsville Academy. He was appointed principal of this academy only a year later, and might have continued so indefinitely had it not been for his desire to see the West. By June, 1839, after a brief sojourn in Iowa, he was teaching school not far from Weston, in Platte County, Missouri. Here he accumulated a little money and filed claim to a piece of land, intending to settle upon it. But, on returning from a business trip to St. Louis, in the summer of 1840, he found that a squatter had jumped his claim, and there was little he could do about it. Among other things, the law of Missouri specifically stated that a man must be twenty-one years of age to claim land, and he was only twenty. As a matter of expediency, Bidwell continued to teach school, but made up his mind to move elsewhere as soon as practicable. That fall, not long after his experience with the squatter, he happened to hear Louis Robidoux, a Santa Fe trapper who had just returned from the far West with some wonderful tales of a place called California, a land of perpetual spring. He questioned Robidoux closely on California, particularly asking if it had any “fever and ague”, the scourge of the Missourians. He was told that there had been only one case of it in the whole history of the department and its victim aroused so much curiosity that people came from eighteen miles around to watch him shake. That “clinched the deal” for Bidwell who soon set about organizing a “great westward Emigration Society” to start for California the following spring.
The organization of this company was just too easy. Within a short time five hundred people had signed up to join it, and Sapling Grove, a short distance from Westport, in what is now Kansas, was named the place of rendezvous. Then the Weston merchants, unable to go themselves and hardly appreciating the prospective loss of patronage, started a counter movement. Aided by newspapers of their own adjacent counties, they diligently dug up everything they could find against California, real or imaginary. The five hundred signers melted away. When spring came, John Bidwell was the only man in Weston ready to start for Sapling Grove.
At the last moment, however, Bidwell, who had a wagon but no oxen to pull it, was joined by a young Illinoisan named George Henshaw. Henshaw owned a fine saddle horse, which Bidwell talked him into trading for a yoke of oxen and a “sorry looking one-eyed mule.” With that, they were off to Sapling Grove, where, after a few days, they organized a company of sixty-nine men, women and children, and elected John Bartleson, of Jackson County, their captain.
Not a soul in their outfit had any clear idea of how to get to California. Bidwell said they knew that it lay west of them and that was the total extent of their knowledge. But, fortunately, just before starting, they were joined by an Idaho bound party of Roman Catholic missionaries, under Pierre Jean DeSmet, S.J., and guided by the celebrated mountain man, Thomas Fitzpatrick. This gave them the added security of greater numbers plus the experiences of the Celtic Moses who guided them halfway to their promised land.
On Bear River, not far from the present Alexander, Idaho, the party divided. More than half of those who had gathered at Sapling Grove, not caring to risk the unknown deserts of Utah and Nevada, went on by way of Fort Hall, to Oregon, traveling much of the distance in company with the missionaries. As a result, according to Bancroft, the Bidwell-Bartleson Company had only 34 members when it swung down Bear River toward the Great Salt Lake, 32 men, l woman, and a baby in arms. How they ever got to California is one of the mysteries of the overland migration.
From just a little north of where the Bear flows into Salt Lake, they cut across the deserts toward Nevada. They were plainly lost, with no chance of hiring a guide at Fort Hall, yet they kept going. At one of two miles an hour, they traversed vast waterless stretches that even today are disquieting to motorists on well-traveled highways. Sheer doggedness brought them somehow to the headwaters of Mary's River, now called the Humboldt, which they followed to its sink in the vicinity of the present Lovelock. From there, they veered southwest to the uplands of the West Walker River country, where they voted on whether they should push on through the Sierra Nevada or try to retrace their steps to the Oregon Trail. They voted to go ahead by a majority of one vote.
Again they were lost, worse than ever. They had long since abandoned their wagons on the desert and loaded their belongings onto the backs of their animals. They had eaten the last of their oxen and had started in on their horses and mules. Now and then they lost one of their faithful animals on some precipitous slope when it could least be spared. Worse, freezing nights and a blanket of snow on surrounding peaks made their experience nightmarish. Time and again, they got into blind canyons and had to double back on their trail. Still, they pushed upward till, at last, they camped 8500 feet above sea level.
At length, they came upon a tiny stream running westward. They knew they had reached the summit, but had no idea they were on the headwaters of the Stanislaus River and in California.
Before they escaped their mountainous prison, however, they were in the direst straits. Their descent was even more perilous than their ascent; the mountains were rougher and steeper on the wet side of the range. No game could be seen anywhere, and starvation was staring them in the face. A couple of their party had ridden ahead, hoping to obtain relief at the ranch of a Dr. John Marsh at the foot of Mt. Diablo, and had not been heard from since. On the morning before they got out of the mountains, Bidwell wrote in his diary that he had breakfasted on “the lights of a coyote.”
Finally, a short way below the present Knight's Ferry, they came out upon the broad San Joaquin Valley. As they looked over its scattered groves and tree-lined watercourses, they thought it was the most beautiful thing they had every seen. Game was plentiful, and they stopped in the shade of the oaks to refresh themselves.
A few days later, on November 4, they reached Marsh's Ranch. Here, the party broke up, some of its members going up to Sutter's Fort at New Helvetia, some to San Jose, and several on a general tour of the country. Bidwell was one of those going to Sutter's Fort. He immediately found employment there, for Sutter, needing a man of his caliber, sent him to Bodega as caretaker of the Fort Ross property, recently purchased from the Russians. Later he was placed in charge of other Sutter holdings, particularly Hock Farm on Feather River. He surveyed Sutter lands, handled Sutter correspondence, kept Sutter books, wrote a large part of the New Helvetia Diary, and, in time, knew more about Sutter affairs than Sutter himself.
By 1844, Bidwell was speaking Spanish like a native and, following the custom of other foreigners in the country, was naturalized a Mexican citizen in order to become a land baron the same as his employer. From Governor Manuel Micheltorena he received the four-league Rancho Ulpinos in Solano County in 1844 and the two-league Rancho Colus in Colusa County in 1845---some 26,000 acres. So it was no accident that he stood by the governor when the native Californians revolted against him. It is also said that he was none too enthusiastic at first over plans of American settlers to seize the country in 1846, though he was later identified as secretary of the Bear Flag Party, to say nothing of having charge of the Bear Flag prisoners sent to Sutter's Fort.
When war broke out between the United States and Mexico, Bidwell went south to San Luis Rey as a captain in Fremont's California Battalion, and later served as major under Stockton. On cessation of hostilities, however, he promptly returned to his duties at Sutter's Fort, which he continued till the gold discovery of 1848, when he, the same as everybody else, was overwhelmed with the desire to scratch for yellow metal in the beds of icy mountain streams. As a result, he was one of the first miners on Feather River, where Bidwell's Bar is named after him because he discovered gold there July 4, 1848.
Though Bidwell was easily a land baron with his ranchos Colus and Ulpinos, it was not till the late forties that he finally decided to settle down as a rancher on his own. Then he bought the five-league (22,190 acres) Rancho Chico, granted to William Dickey and Edward Augustus Farwell in 1844. With that, Colus and Ulpinos were things of the past but, under his ownership, Chico brought international fame to Butte County. Here he established his home, amassed much wealth, and became the state's greatest agriculturist.
In 1849, when the people of California got ready to organize a state government for themselves, Bidwell was chosen to represent his district in the Constitutional Convention at Monterey, but for some reason did not serve. Later, however, from December, 1849, to May, 1850, he represented the Sacramento District in the Senate of the First California Legislature. He was one of the Commissioners sent by Governor Burnett to Washington in 1850 with California's petition for statehood. Thereafter, he retained a lively, if not always successful, interest in politics.
In 1860, as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, he was one of the whole Pacific Coast Delegation to stand for the Union. Back home the following year, he sought nomination for governor on the Union Democratic ticket, but perhaps through his unwillingness to make a “deal” with the politicians, did not get it. By 1863, Bidwell, putting the welfare of his country above partisan politics, had drifted from the Democratic fold and was vice president of the Union Party. About this time, Governor Leland Stanford commissioned him Brigadier General of the Fifth Brigade California Militia. Thenceforward, to the end of his life, practically everybody who knew him referred to him as General Bidwell.
In 1864, Bidwell again went East to a national political convention, this time to Baltimore as a delegate to the Union Party which worked hard for the reelection of Lincoln. He next served two years in Congress, from 1865 to 1867, but for some reason declined a second term. 1875 found him in a new role, running for governor on the non-partisan Anti-Monopoly ticket and in 1890 he changed his party affiliation for the fourth and last time when he came out as the Prohibition Party's candidate for the same office. Two years later, he was the first Prohibitionist candidate for President of the United States.
With the passing years, Bidwell's energies overflowed into the field of higher education and a host of other things. He was appointed a regent of the University of California in 1880, and from 1889 to 1896 served as Trustee of the Chico State Normal School, now Chico State College. His understanding of the economic problems of the day was amazing. Almost two years before the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, and three years before Frank Norris was born, he foresaw the railroad octopus that for decades held California in the ruthless grasp of its financial tentacles. Moreover, he understood and vigorously opposed all other sorts of trusts and monopolies that sought to loot state and national resources. In recognizing the need for transportational safety and regulation, he was far ahead of his time. He had formulated ideas on the subject long before Congress ever dreamed of an Interstate Commerce Commission. As candidate for president in 1892, he included in his platform reciprocity plank that present-day tariff experts might do well to study. Though he was nationally regarded as a man of great wealth, his views on income tax are still anathema to the mildest conservative. Also liberal were his views on female suffrage; he did not feel that any country where only half of the population could vote was a true democracy. Indeed, he was so in favor of equal rights for women that today he would unquestionably champion the cause of equal pay for equal work.
Yet, with all these activities, he still found time to be a scientific agriculturist. No matter what else he did, his love for the soil was the warp and woof of his life fabric. His experiments in diversified farming attracted to Rancho Chico distinguished visitors from all over the world. He introduced any number of new plants, trees and shrubs into California and strove to improve the varieties of those already here. A partial list of the things grown and raised on Rancho Chico includes fruits, grapes, grains, alfalfa, cattle, hogs, sheep, horses, chickens, turkeys, and bees. He had his own flour mill to convert his grain into flour, and a cannery and packing house to handle his fruits. To these he added a winery and a vinegar works and butcher shop. He employed an average of a hundred and fifty men the year around, and during harvest season from 700 to 800. His Rancho Chico was indeed the wonder of the state.
But that was not all. He was civic-minded in the most admirable sense of the term. In between farming activities, he selected a beautiful townsite, and laid out the town of Chico, which seemed to have been growing for sometime previously by itself. He donated the plaza and the sites for the city hall, five churches of different denominations, the State Normal School, and the United States Forestry Station.
He provided for the town's growth by making sure its streets were wide and beautiful, lining them with trees from his own nurseries. Thus he won for himself the title of “father of Chico.” Then, over and above his beneficences to the town, he spent large sums of money on building and improving public roads, something that benefited everybody in the county and took a large load off the small taxpayer.
Peculiarly, however, Bidwell was a little slow in entering fraternal activities, particularly Masonry. But he had good reason for it. He was not yet of legal age when he left Missouri in 1841, so he could join no Lodge there. Nor could he present a petition for degrees in California for a full eight years after his arrival here because the first Lodge in this state did not open its doors till 1849, and it was many miles from his home. The several that came between it and the organization of Grand Lodge the following spring were also far removed and of uncertain existence. But, finally he presented his petition to San Jose Lodge No. 10, January 4, 1851, and on February 13 was initiated an Entered Apprentice. He was passed and raised sometime later under what, to quote him, must have been hazy conditions. In a letter dated August 11, 1897, he wrote: “You ask me to send the name of the Lodge where I took the degrees. In the winter of 1850-51 a friend persuaded me to take the first degree in San Jose – the name I do not remember. A few years later, at Hamilton, which was then county seat of Butte County, the two following degrees. There was no lodge there---no lodge room---but the man who acted as master had authority, as I understood, to confer such degrees. Think his name was Morse or Moss. It might have been Butte Lodge. The exact years I do not recall.”
The Master Bidwell referred to was Brother Nelson D. Morse, Past Grant Master of Illinois, and the Lodge was Pacific Lodge, a “traveling lodge” from Long's Bar on Feather River, a short distance north of the present Oroville.
Pacific Lodge, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, was one of those ephemeral gold rush organizations that had no legal standing in California. It was unwittingly established several months after organization of the Grand Lodge of California, and soon passed out of existence.
Bidwell affiliated with Butte Lodge No. 36 at Bidwell's Bar in 1855, and with Chico Lodge No. 111, in 1857. He filled several offices in Chico Lodge, including those of Master, Secretary and Treasurer. He was twice Master, in 1862 and 1864, and Treasurer for many years.
In 1888, after thirty-seven years in the Craft, Bidwell ceased all Masonic activities, though he at the time owned the building in which Chico Lodge met. There is some question around Chico as to why he did this, with several old-timers offering widely different explanations. The most plausible explanation seems to be that of Brother John Rodney Gleason, who was bookkeeper, cashier, and confidential secretary at Rancho Chico from 1890 to 1898, and who was in a position to discuss the matter with the two people most concerned. According to him, Mrs. Bidwell, whom Bidwell married in 1868, was unalterably opposed to secret societies. She resented her husband's unwillingness to tell her what happened in Lodge meetings and, harping on it for twenty years, finally made things so uncomfortable for him that he gave up the Lodge in order to have peace and harmony in his own household.
Bidwell died April 4, 1900. Today, as people study his life, they see a man who was eminently just and honest in dealing with his fellow creatures, particularly with the Indians of Rancho Chico. He looked after them like a father for years, even to the point of providing them with church facilities in form of a small chapel, located on the ranch not far from his house. His youthful courage in coming to California in the first place, his services to his country, his many public benefactions, and his untiring efforts to make his home state a better place in which to live are known wherever Western American history is studied. He has well earned the title of Prince of pioneers.
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GEORGE CONCEPCION YOUNT
To George Yount, who came to California in 1831 as a trapper with William Wolfskill, goes credit of being the father of Masonry in the Napa Valley.
Born at Dowden Creek, North Carolina, May 4, 1794, Yount migrated as a boy with his parents to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. At the age of eighteen he enlisted for service in the War of 1812, campaigning in the mounted rifle company of Captain Maurice Young. Then he participated in the Indian wars up to 1818, when he took up the more peaceful pursuit of cattle raising in Howard County, Missouri. Here, he soon owned a well-stocked farm, accumulated a sizeable fortune, and married Miss Eliza Cambridge Wilds—apparently against her father's wishes.
But Yount's life as a well-to-do-country squire was too good to last. His savings were stolen by a neighbor to whom he had entrusted them for safe keeping, and two or three hard years on the farm forced him to sell his herds in order to pay his debts. Turning what could be salvaged from the wreckage over to his wife, he struck out in 1826 to make a second fortune. This time he took to the Santa Fe Trail with the teams of Hickman and Lamb, a pioneer trading firm of Franklin, Missouri.
Though he little realized it at the time, Yount was never to see any of his family again for seventeen years. At Santa Fe he became a wandering trapper. His wife, believing him dead, remarried. It was not till eleven years after his arrival in California that his two daughters, Frances and Elizabeth, heard he was alive and came out here in 1843 to live with him. Frances, born in 1821, was the wife of Bartlett Vines of the Chiles-Walker Party. Elizabeth, born in 1826, about the time her father left home, was married, widowed, and married again here in California. But their brother Robert Yount, born in 1819, apparently never saw his father again. He appears to have died in the East in 1846.
For several years after his arrival in California, Yount hunted otter in the coastal waters, especially in the San Francisco Bay area. Also, he occupied himself with odd jobs at Benicia, Sonoma, and San Rafael. Recognizing his frontier ingenuity and all-around ability with tools, the priest in charge of the San Rafael and Sonoma missions hired him to make necessary repairs on the mission buildings. And it was along about this time that he made the first shingles in California. One early account shows him, with a helper named Brown, making shingles for General Vallejo's house by the crudest methods. They felled their own trees, cut them into blocks about eighteen inches long, split the blocks, and shaved off about a thousand shingles a day.
By 1835 Yount, having made up his mind to stay in California, was baptized a Catholic at Mission San Rafael, and got his middle name, Concepcion. In 1836 he received the two-league grant of Rancho Caymus in Napa Valley. Here, he built the first log house in California and, till the coming of Sutter to New Helvetia in 1839, was the only white settler between Suisun Bay and Oregon City. His nearest neighbor was at Sonoma, across the hills about twelve miles to the southwest on an air line. He was on the friendliest terms with the various Indian tribes of the valley and for five years was “almost entirely out of touch with the world.”
Then, in 1841, the Bidwell-Bartleson Company filtered through the Sierra Nevada. And with it came several Missourians who must have known Yount years before. On of them, Joseph Ballinger Chiles, visited the Napa country and was so impressed with its beauty that he, too, decided to settle there. He returned East with several members of his party the following year, intending to come back to California in 1843 with his family and more settlers. He was also carrying some startling news for the Yount family—and a commission to bring them with him on his return to Napa.
Owing to the Enoch Arden circumstances of the case, Mrs. Yount chose to remain in Missouri, but there was nothing to stop her daughters from making the trip. When Chiles struck out across the Plains in the spring of '43, they were off on the greatest adventure of their lives.
By the time the Chiles Party got to California, Yount had added another league of land, Rancho La Jota, to his holdings, which made him owner of practically twenty square miles of the most beautiful scenery in the state. His herds grazed in every direction. Fields of wheat covered hundreds of acres. He soon has his own sawmill, flour mill, and virtually everything else he needed to live in a manner he had never dreamed of back in Missouri. But he was none too soon. In another three years California would be filling up with Americans—many of them settling in the Napa country—and the day of the huge, several-league land grants would be gone forever.
Save for a few unpleasant relations with squatters in after years, Yount happily lived out the rest of his time in this baronial domain, loved by both Indian and white. His friendliness and hospitality were proverbial. No one in distress appealed to him in vain. Early in 1847, on receiving news of the snowbound Donner Party's plight in the high Sierra Nevada, he generously subscribed a large sum of money and donated six hundred pounds of meat and four hundred pounds of flour toward their relief. And when the remnants of that ill-fated organization were rescued, he took in James Frazier Reed's whole family and kept them in his home till they had completely recovered from their harrowing experience. It is small wonder that Reed named his last born son Willianoski Yount Reed. The Willianoski indicated the line of Polish nobility in Reed's ancestry. The Yount was for the man who had so open-heartedly helped him and his family in their hour of darkness.
In time, a town sprang up on Yount's Rancho Caymus, and was named Yountville in his honor. Among other benefactions he bequeathed it a church “to be used by all denominations.” This has caused a bit of speculation in some quarters regarding his supposed Catholicism. But the answer seems to lie in the fact that George Yount was more interested in Christianity itself than in any denominational interpretation of it. Today a Methodist in a Presbyterian community, with no Methodist Church, might attend or affiliate with the Presbyterian Church because that is the best at hand. When Yount was baptized a Catholic, he may have done so with the same thought in mind. The Catholic Church at San Rafael was the best—and only one—at hand in those days. But, if he ever completely accepted the religious designation of a Catholic, he must have done so with the dictionary sense of the word---”universal”---in mind. For he most assuredly was not a sectarian. When he died, a Protestant Episcopal minister officiated at his funeral service.
George C. Yount was made a Mason in Benicia Lodge No. 5, in 1850. In January, 1851, he helped to organize Yount Lodge No. 12, of Napa, named after himself. He was its first Treasurer, holding the office till the end of 1854. In 1855, he was an organizer of Caymus Lodge No. 93, of Yountville, much closer to his home.
It was named after his Rancho Caymus on which the town of Yountville was situated.
Yount was Caymus Lodge's first Junior Warden and thereafter held office of some sort every year till his death. In 1856, he was not only Junior Warden of his home Lodge, but also Grand Bible Bearer of the Grand Lodge of California, an honor he held continuously till 1865. 1858 and 1857 found him as Senior Warden of Caymus, and in '59 he stepped up to the Master's chair. Thenceforward till the end of '64, the annual returns show him as Treasurer.
When George Concepcion Yount died October 5, 1865, California lost one of her greatest pioneers. His name, synonymous with the love of one's fellow man, symbolized the finest ideals of Masonry.
It may be noted in passing that Yount's Caymus Lodge moved from Yountville to St. Helena, a little farther up the valley, in the summer of 1865—about two months before his death. And in September, 1867, it changed its name from Caymus No. 93 to St. Helena of the same number. But Yount Lodge No. 12, of Napa, now eighth oldest in the state, still carries the name of the man whose record is imperishable in the annals of California Masonry.
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Bartlett Vines, a pioneer settler of the Napa Valley, came overland to California with the Chiles-Walker Party of 1854—along with Brothers William Baldridge and Samuel J. Hensley. He seems to have been one of those quiet, unostentatious sort of fellows, content to abide with his fig and vine. Not much is known of him aside from the fact that he was son-in-law of Brother George C. Yount, whose daughter Frances he married in Missouri before coming to California. He simply lived out his life on his Napa Valley ranch and let the rest of the world go by.
As a Mason, he first appeared in the returns of Young Lodge No. 12, as Junior Warden in 1851. In '52 he was Tiler, and Senior Deacon in ‘54. In the latter year his name disappeared from the returns with no mention of withdrawal, and it does not appear again till he withdrew from Caymus Lodge No. 93, farther up the valley, in '56.
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JONATHAN TRUMBULL (JUAN JOSE) WARNER
Jonathan Trumbull Warner, six-foot-three in his moccasins, was a Connecticut Yankee turned trapper and California ranchero. Born in the Nutmeg State in 1807, he migrated as a young man by way of Missouri to New Mexico. In 1830 he was clerk for the firm of Smith, Jackson & Sublette, composed of the immortal Jedediah Smith, David E. Jackson, and William Sublette of Rocky Mountains fur-hunting fame. In 1831, after Smith was killed by Indians on the Cimarron and the firm broke up, Warner came to California as a trapper with Jackson. The records for the next couple of years show him following that occupation “in the California valleys,” but by 1834 he had settled in Los Angeles, where the Ayuntamiento gave him a “certificate of long residence” in 1836.
Always on the side of law and order, Warner was active in Los Angeles affairs from the day of his settling there. He was one of the local vigilantes in 1836 and appears to have had more than a passing interest in the “political wars” of 1838. In 1839, he returned to the United States by way of Mexico for a two years' visit, during which he everywhere glowingly described California's resources and possibilities.
In 1844, after living fourteen years in Mexico territory, Warner was naturalized a Mexican citizen and was thenceforth known as Juan Jose Warner—or “Juan Largo,” meaning Long John—because of his great height. In the same year the Mexican government granted to him the six-league Rancho Agua Caliente in San Diego County. This property, later known only as Warner's Ranch, figured prominently in the conquest of California. Kearny's Regiment camped there in 1846, and the Mormon Battalion in 1847. In '53 surveying parties for a Pacific railroad looked it over carefully in quest of a suitable route to the Coast. The Butterfield Overland Mail Company established a stage station on it in '58. Indeed, its great cottonwoods and perpetually green meadows must have been a powerful attraction to every desert-weary traveler passing that way.
In 1846, Warner had acquired another huge tract of land, the four-league Rancho Camajal y Palomar. The local histories have little to say about it, however, and it is doubtful if it was later confirmed by the United States.
During the conquest, Warner, like Abel Stearns of Los Angeles, was in the peculiar position of being a Mexican citizen and an American intelligence agent. He acted his role so well that many Americans wished to have him arrested for being pro-Mexican. But during the Civil War his position was much clearer to both friend and foe. He had absolutely no use for the Confederacy and did not hesitate so say so (sic) anywhere. One account has him as a deputy provost marshal and, like many a contemporary, referred to as “Colonel,” an unofficial but popular title.
Warner's Los Angeles home stood till the late eighties on the east side of what is now North Main Street, between Fifth and Sixth Streets—about where the old Burbank Theatre stood. While living there he took an active part in the town's affairs. Bancroft mentions his holding the offices of federal assessor and notary public and doing a good deal of writing on early Los Angeles historical subjects for the local newspapers. He was considered one of the best authorities on the early trappers' explorations of California, and in 1876 was one of those chosen to write a centennial history of Los Angeles.
There is no record of Warner's ever having a large family, as did many other early Americans who settled in that area. In the late 1830's, he married Miss Anita Gale, daughter of William Alden Gale, a Boston trader who first came to this coast on the ship Albatross in 1810. She died in 1859, apparently survived only by her husband and one son.
As a Mason, Warner's whole record depends on one signature. On December 27, 1854, he signed the Tiler's Register of San Diego Lodge No. 35, as a visitor. And though he is mentioned in Arthur Ellis' Historical Review of Los Angeles Lodge No. 42, there is nothing to indicate that he ever affiliated with any Lodge in this state. More than likely, he belonged to a Lodge somewhere in Missouri or New Mexico and was content to pass his days in California as a sojourner.
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BENJAMIN DAVIS WILSON
Known as Don Benito to his native Californian friends, Benjamin D. Wilson was a Tennessean who had spent eight years as a trapper and trader in New Mexico before coming to California with the Workman-Rowland Party of 1841. To know him was to like him. Bancroft described him as “an influential and respected citizen.” Robert Glass Cleland pointed him out as “a man of brave and adventurous spirit, who dealt justly and walked uprightly throughout the entire course of his romantic and richly varied life. B. D. Wilson might well be selected as an example of the most admirable type of manhood bred on the western border in the period immediately preceding the Mexican War.” And what both the native Californian and American public thought of him was even more complimentary. As early as 1846 he was “juez for the district ranchos” --judge of the plains. During the conquest of California, he served as a lieutenant in the California Battalion and, after the war, had the honor of being the first County Clerk of Los Angeles County and second Mayor of the City of Los Angeles. In '52 he was Indian Agent for that area. Four years later he entered state politics, representing the Los Angeles-San Bernardino-San Diego District in the State Senate in '56 and '57. He again served in the State Senate from 1869 to 1872, this time representing Los Angeles County.
Wilson had been in California only a year-and-a-half when he purchased one-and-a-half leagues—about 6,600 acres---of Rancho Jurupa from Abel Stearns' old friend, Juan Bandini, in what is now Riverside County. Here he became a prosperous ranchero and in 1844 married Ramona Yorba, daughter of his nearest neighbor Bernardo Yorba, by whom he had several children. The public records, however, show Wilson disposing of his Jurupa holdings or at least a large part of them, in 1848, and at various times acquiring large holdings elsewhere. Bancroft mentions him as claimant for a one-league Rancho San Jose de Buenos Aires, which had been granted to Maximo Alanis in 1843.
Wilson's Masonic career embraced only two Lodges, Los Angeles No. 42 and Pentalpha No. 202. His name first appeared in Los Angeles Lodge's returns as an Entered Apprentice in 1854. There was evidently something in this Lodge that displeased him or caused him to lose interest, for he was suspended for non-payment of dues in 1862. Eight years drifted by with no further mention of his name in Los Angeles' returns. Then, in 1870 he restored himself and forthwith affiliated with Pentalpha Lodge of which he remained a member till his death March 11, 1878, at the age of sixty-seven.
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William workman, born in England about 1800, was a leader of the Workman-Roland Party, the second American immigrant outfit to arrive in California. His early history is somewhat obscure save for the fact that he was for some years a trader in Taos, New Mexico. He was married to a native woman and already had a family before leaving New Mexico, and he applied for Mexican citizenship soon after arriving in California. According to Bancroft his standing was somewhat compromised in the eyes of the Mexican government for his supposed connection with the Texas revolution. Nevertheless, he apparently cleared himself, for, in 1842, he and his overland traveling partner John R. Rowland (sic) were granted the 45,000-acre Rancho la Puente, a few miles east of Los Angeles. For many years thereafter he was one of Los Angeles County's most important citizens.
Workman eventually took the northern half of Rancho la Puente, and Rowland the southern half. But where Rowland was content to live quietly as a ranchero with his family, Workman expanded his holdings and took on other interests. The passing years found him as claimant for San Gabriel Mission lands and Rancho Cajon de los Negros as well as for his own Rancho Puente.
In 1845, one of Workman's daughters married Francis P. F. Temple, a Massachusetts trader who came to California by sea in 1841. Workman and his new son-in-law got along famously. Temple, possessed of much energy and business acumen bought some Los Angeles business property called the Temple Block, in the middle sixties. Here he and his father-in-law engaged in banking, managed their properties, and became generally well known as builders of Los Angeles.
But, in 1875, something happened in far-off San Francisco that started a train of unfortunate events which neither Workman nor Temple could stop. The northern metropolis' Bank of California failed after a long session of wild speculation in silver mining stocks of the Comstock Lode. By '76 a financial panic had swept the state, carrying Temple and Workman's bank with it and wiping out all the resources and fortunes of its owners, except Workman's small seventy-five-acre homestead. It was more than Workman could stand. A victim of circumstances, over which he had no control, and caught in a “net of mortgages and foreclosures,” he committed suicide. Temple somehow stuck it out and must have salvaged some of his one-time fortune before death overtook him at his Rancho la Merced in 1880.
Workman's record as a Mason was far less spectacular than his career as a banker and city builder. His name first appeared in the returns of Los Angeles Lodge No. 42 in 1859 and stayed there only till he withdrew with nineteen other members in 1862. In '65 he affiliated with Lexington Lodge No. 104, but withdrew in '72. It is said that he was made a Mason in England, but there seems to be little documentary evidence of his belonging to any Lodge other than Los Angeles No. 42 and Lexington No. 104.
Workman’s son, William H., belonged to No. 42 for years.
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FRANCIS PLINY FISK TEMPLE
Francis P. F. Temple was known to native Californians as “Templito.” which means “little Temple.” According to Bancroft, he came here on the ship Tasso in 1841 at the age of twenty, and for a while engaged in trade at Los Angeles with his older brother John who had settled there sometime previously. On September 7, 1845, he married a daughter of William Workman and, as before stated, entered business with his father-in-law. One account has him owning a fine stock ranch many miles north of Los Angeles at San Emigdio, near Fort Tejon, in what is now Kern County. From 1868 to 1872, he was a member of the banking firm of Hellman, Temple and Company, and from '72 to '76 of Temple and Workman.
According to all accounts, Temple was a well liked man. He lived in true California style, generous and hospitable. His public spiritedness was a byword, and he might well be classed as one of Los Angeles' greatest boosters. He died in 1880, leaving his wife and several children to share his estate.
As a Mason, Temple's name first appeared in the returns of Lexington Lodge No. 104, of El Monte, in 1865. The following year he started through the chairs as Junior Warden and, in '68 and '69 served as Worshipful Master. He apparently never cared to move into town, or to affiliate with either of the big Lodges, Los Angeles or Pentalpha. Perhaps he felt more at home in Lexington, for he remained a member of it till the end of his life.
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There seems to be some question as to where Isaac Williams was born. One account says Pennsylvania in 1799, while another, seemingly as authentic, says New York in the same year. Both, however, agree that he came to California as a trapper with Ewing Young in 1832. And both state that he lived several years in New Mexico before coming here.
Williams' first occupation in California was that of a hunter, but 1836 found him as a trader in Los Angeles, where he was admitted to residence by the Ayuntamiento. Thenceforward, he was one of the town's most respected citizens. As a matter of fact, he was a member of the local vigilance committee which rid the community of its lawless element.
To his fellow Angelenos, who had some difficulty in pronouncing his surname, Williams was known as Don Julian (in Spanish, Don Hoo-lee-ahn´). And as time went on, he himself used the name, frequently signing it Julian Williams.
In 1839, Williams became a Mexican citizen. Then he married a native California woman, Maria de Jesus Lugo, daughter of Antonio Maria Lugo of the 44,000-acre Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, commonly called Rancho Chino. Through her, Williams became owner of half of the ranch in 1841 and, in 1843, he received a 13,000-acre addition to it from the Mexican government. He stocked his 35,000 acres with thousands of cattle and sheep, a large number of fine horses, and lived like a prince. It is said that he collected $30,000 for just one consignment of hides and tallow sent East from his holdings.
Everybody was welcome to Williams' large, comfortable house on Rancho Chino, where he dispensed hospitality with a lavish hand to friend and stranger alike. His generosity toward ragged, travel-worn immigrants who had been fighting a losing battle with the deserts to the east surpassed ordinary imagination. He gave them food, clothing, shelter, or anything else they needed, to say nothing of repairing their wagons. If he did not have the supplies they wished at the ranch, he sent messengers all the way to Los Angeles for them. On other occasions, he advanced thousands of dollars to virtual strangers to set themselves up in business. His compassion for the poor was proverbial. Indeed, as one writer put it, “His reputation for charitable work extended all over Southern California.”
In 1846, during the Mexican War, Williams' ranch house was the scene of a hotly fought battle when a small force of Americans was surrounded there by a company of mounted native Californians. The Americans fought till their ammunition gave out, then surrendered. There is no record of a high amount of bloodshed, but it appears that considerable damage was done to Williams' property, for which he presented a bill of $133,000 to the United States government. He failed to collect, however.
Twelve years later, Williams' house again took on historical importance as a station on the old Butterfield Stage route. By then Williams' interest in Rancho Chino had ceased. His wife died in 1842, and he followed her September 12, 1856, leaving two married daughters as the heirs to his estate. Today the town of Chino and many small farms occupy the almost fifty-eight square miles that he once called his homeplace.
Arthur M. Ellis, in his history of Los Angeles Lodge No. 42, classifies Williams as a Mason.
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WILLIAM BROWN IDE
Though William B. Ide, father of James M. Ide of Vesper Lodge No. 84, has been referred to as a Mason, there is no positive proof, so far as California Masonic records are concerned, that he was one. In fact, the closest thing to evidence that he had any connection with the Craft is a remark in Edwin Sherman's Fifty Years of Masonry in California (Volume I, page 240). And there is good reason to believe Sherman was well enough acquainted with Ide to know what he was writing about.
Ide, born in Massachusetts in 1786, came of Puritan ancestry. He worked as a carpenter in New England till 1833, when he moved out to Ohio and added farming and school teaching to his record. In 1845, he came to California as a leader of the Grigsby-Ide Party, accompanied by his wife, four sons, and a daughter. He and his family passed their first winter in California in a log cabin on R. H. Thomes' Rancho de los Saucos, in what is now Tehama County. In 1846, he was elected President of the Bear Flag Party and, according to some early writers, fancied himself no less than a field marshal leading a great campaign. In fact he considered himself the conqueror of California. He much resented Fremont's taking command and consolidating the California forces after war actually broke out with Mexico, feeling it was “a grievous wrong to himself.” Nevertheless, he served awhile as a private in the California Battalion, but soon returned to Sonoma, and from there moved on up to Tehama County, where he bought Josiah Belden's Rancho Barranca Colorada in 1847.
Despite some of his peculiar opinions of his own importance, there is no questioning Ide's industry and public spirit. Throughout 1851 and 1852, before the part of Tehama County in which he lived was cut from Colusa County, he held practically every office Colusa could offer, including that of County Judge. His seat of government was at Monroeville on Monroe's Ranch (now in Glenn County), first county seat of Colusa. He died there in December, 1852. Thirty-four years later Bancroft's History of California recorded, “He retained to the end his fondness for long reports and political theorizing, but with all this eccentricity he was a most worthy and honest man, and had somewhat remarkable tact and executive ability in several directions.”
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Moses Schallenberger, who joined San Jose Lodge No. 10 in 1855, was one of the youngest heroes of the overland migration to California. His parents, Jacob and Barbara Schallenberger, who came to this country from Zurich, Switzerland, were early settlers in Stark County, Ohio, and he himself had been migrating westward almost since the day he could remember anything.
Born in Canton, Ohio, November 9, 1826, Schallenberger, or Mose as everybody called him, was orphaned at the age of six and went to live with a sister named Louise who had recently married Dr. John Townsend, a Quaker physician from Pennsylvania. Townsend, who took him in as his own son, was a restless sort of fellow, not given to staying in one place for long. By 1842, in quest of a milder climate for Mrs. Townsend's health, they started overland for California, traveling with a trapper named Elisha Stevens and a huge family group headed by an Irishman named Martin Murphy, Sr. Their party was called the Murphy-Townsend-Stevens party but many people called it the Murphy Party because there were so many Murphys in it.
Schallenberger and young John M. Murphy, who was in about the same age bracket, had the time of their lives. When camped at the Sink of the Humboldt in Nevada, they gave the name “Truckee” to an Indian who told the party that they could get across the Sierra Nevada by following a certain river to its source. There are two accounts of how they happened to give the Indian this name. One says it was because of the redskin's peculiar shuffling gait; the other has it that he smilingly answered, “Truckee” whatever that meant, when the emigrants asked a favor of him. In either case, however, Schallenberger and Murphy appear as the ones who first thought of the word. Then the rest of the party immortalized it by giving it to the river to which the Indian had directed them.
Not far from where the town of Truckee now stands, the party separated for the first time, several men and women going ahead on horseback by way of Lake Tahoe to Sutter's Fort. The wagons, however, pushed up the small stream, now called Donner Creek, to a beautiful lake which the party called Truckee's Lake, but which subsequently became Donner Lake. Here, at the east end of the lake, a second separation took place. It was late in the season and impossible to get all of the heavily loaded vehicles over the summit before snow blocked the pass. Consequently, it was necessary to leave several of them at the lake, among them those belonging to Dr. Townsend, which were loaded with valuable merchandise that he and Schallenberger intended to sell to the native Californians. Schallenberger, followed by Joseph Foster and Allen Montgomery, immediately volunteered to stay behind and guard them till somebody came in for them in the spring.
As soon as the rest of the party had gone on their way, Mose and his companions went about erecting a log cabin with literally all the comforts of home. The floors were covered with blankets and feather mattresses taken from the wagons. Here, after slaughtering a couple of half-starved cows that had been left with them for a food supply, which they intended to augment with game, they settled down for a comfortable winter.
They had hardly completed their cabin when it began to snow. None of the trio thought much about it, however. They were sure it would stop in a day or two, and then they would all go hunting. But it snowed for days and did not stop till the ground was covered with a blanket three feet deep. When Mose and his companions finally got out to do a little shooting, they found that the game which had been so plentiful only a short time before, had entirely disappeared from the mountains. It was a serious situation, and Foster and Montgomery thought it time for them to get out of the mountains. They accordingly fashioned some crude snowshoes of wagon bows, and dried some beef for food; then, on the first good day, they started over the summit for Sutter's Fort, each carrying his rifle, a blanket, and a pound or two of dried beef.
Sick at his stomach and seized with cramps that left him writhing in the snow several times the first afternoon out, Schallenberger was compelled to quit at the end of the first days travel. The next morning, Foster and Montgomery reluctantly permitted him to return to the cabin while they went on to the fort. He got back to the cabin at dusk, so tired he could not lift his foot over the nine-inch door sill without use of his arms. He just had to fall in upon the mattress-covered floor, where he slept, completely exhausted till morning.
This cabin was Mose's home till the spring of 1845. He passed his eighteenth birthday anniversary in it alone.
On recovering a measure of his strength, Mose took stock of the situation. He had only a small amount of meat left from the two cows, which he knew would not last him throughout the winter. He tried hunting several times, but without success. Then, one evening when things looked their worst, his eye happened to fall upon some traps, belonging to Stevens, which lay on top of some of the things from the wagons stored in the cabin. They gave him an idea that if he could not hunt, maybe he could trap. So he set a line of traps and thereafter averaged better than a fox every two days till he left the mountains, with an occasional coyote thrown in for good measure.
Once his food supply was assured, Mose, wishing to occupy his time in the most profitable manner, set about educating himself with books from Dr. Townsend's library, which was stored in one of the wagons. Owing to his nomadic wanderings, his schooling had been pretty well limited to a short term or two in a log schoolhouse in Indiana. He would now read everything available, particularly Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son and the works of Byron.
Thus Mose Schallenberger, a fuzzy-faced youth, adapted himself to his environment and safely passed a perilous winter on practically the same spot where, two years later, a whole emigrant party lost almost half of its members through cold and starvation. The very cabin in which he was so warm and cozy would later be occupied by the Breen family of the ill-fated Donner Party.
In the spring of 1845, Dennis Martin, one of the Murphy in-laws, came into the mountains for Schallenberger, at the request of Mrs. Townsend who wondered if he was still alive. A little later, other members of the party came in for the wagons and supplies; but Indians, following the receding snows, got there first. What they did not steal, they destroyed.
Mose worked at various jobs for a while after reaching California and even tried his hand at a little mining after the discovery of gold. But in the early fifties, after Dr. Townsend's death, he settled permanently on a ranch about four miles north of San Jose. In 1854, at the San Francisco home of Thomas Selby, the smelting king, he married Miss Fanny Everitt of Alabama, the Right Reverend William Ingram Kip officiating. The following year he joined San Jose Lodge No. 10, remaining a member of it till his death, January 30, 1909.
Aside from passing the winter of 1844-1845 alone at Donner Lake, Schallenberger will always be remembered for something of an entirely different nature. Back in 1832 he was left an orphan, and Dr. Townsend took him in as his own son. In 1850, Dr. Townsend' two-year old son, John Henry Moses Townsend, was left an orphan, and Moses Schallenberger took him in and looked after him, sent him to college in Cambridge, England, and carefully cared for his estate till he reached the age of majority.
The cycle was complete.
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DR. JOHN TOWNSEND
John Townsend, an organizer of the Murphy-Townsend-Stevens Party of 1844 which brought the first wagons through the Sierra Nevada, was first Junior Warden of San Jose Lodge No. 10, and the first graduate American M.D. to settle in California. Born of English Quaker parents in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, he had been migrating westward in easy stages ever since shortly after his graduation from Lexington Medical College. By 1842, when he first decided to migrate to California, he was living on a farm on Little Platte River in Buchanan County, Missouri, and had already practiced medicine in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri.
While practicing in Stark County, Ohio, in 1832, he married Elizabeth Louise Schallenberger whose Swiss-German parents were among the early settlers of that part of Ohio. And when her parents died the same year, he took into his household her six-year old brother, Moses Schallenberger, as previously noted.
Townsend originally planned to leave for California in the spring of 1843, presumably with the Chiles-Walker Party. But the unexpected death of a man named Potts, who seems to have been a partner in the expedition, forced him to postpone the trip for a year. It was not till the spring of 1844 that he and his wife and brother-in-law and several other members of their household moved up the Missouri River to Nishnabotna, where they met a larger outfit bound for Oregon.
As Nishnabotna, they combined forces with the only other party bound for California, a sizeable group led by an Irish immigrant named Martin Murphy, Sr. It consisted mainly of Murphy's many children, grandchildren, and in-laws. And their organization as a whole appears to have been effected by Elisha Stevens, a trapper who, according to some accounts, happened to have been present and took the notion that he would like to go to California, too. It was probably through Stevens that they were able to obtain a second trapper, the eighty-two-year-old Caleb Greenwood, for their pilot.
The party crossed the Missouri River at Trader's Point, not far from the present Omaha, and followed the north bank of the Platte across the plains to Fort Laramie. At Fort Hall, Idaho, the Murphy-Townsend-Stevens outfit, consisting of eleven wagons and some forty persons, left the Oregon group and swung southwest toward the Humboldt River, which they followed to its sink. Their journey to this point had been a bit too leisurely; October had arrived and they were still confronted with the problem of getting through the Sierra Nevada when they should have been resting in California.
But, thanks to an Indian who the members of the party dubbed “Truckee,” they learned of a pass through the mountains. Their progress, however, owing to difficult terrain, was extremely slow. At what we now call Donner Lake, they were compelled to leave several wagons behind in order to get out of the mountains before winter overtook them. Three guards were left with the wagons, one of them Townsend's brother-in-law Schallenberger.
The wagons that went ahead got down to the headwaters of the Yuba River before snow blocked their way. But by then the party was well divided—some at Truckee's Lake, now called Donner Lake, some on the Yuba, and some, who had gone ahead from near the present Truckee, had reached Sutter's Fort.
Dr. Townsend, who arrived at the fort in time to join Sutter's forces in the Micheltorena campaign, did a good deal of rambling about the state in his first year here, his name appearing in the records of several counties. By 1846, however, he settled in San Francisco, where he invested heavily in real estate and took an active part in politics. He served both as Alcalde and school trustee in 1848, and on the town council in 1849. He was the city's first resident physician. According to all accounts, he was well liked by his fellow citizens who named Townsend Street after him.
The doctor went to the mines a short time after the discovery of gold at Coloma, but was apparently unimpressed by what he saw. He felt that the best way to get rich in California was to buy and sell town lots. And he advised all of his friends to do this very thing, telling them that enough people were coming to California to take every town lot offered for sale. It was with this idea in mind that he and a man named Corneille de Boom laid out a town that they called South San Francisco, in the Hunter's Point area.
Townsend had migrated to California, in the first place, for the health of his wife who had been suffering from some sort of respiratory ailment. The overland journey had worked wonders for her. But, eventually, her old trouble reasserted itself, and the doctor, casting about for a “warmer and drier air,” decided to move to a farm near San Jose.
It was while living here in the summer of 1850 that Townsend helped to organize San Jose Lodge No. 10. His local Masonic career, however, was quite short. That fall, when cholera began to sweep the state, he, like many others of our brethren who belonged to the medical fraternity, worked hard to stem it. For him it was a losing fight. On December 8, he himself died of the disease he had fought so valiantly, and his wife succumbed to the same disease a few hours later.
There is nothing in the records of San Jose Lodge to show where Dr. Townsend was made a Mason; only two or three demit certificates of its charter members are available. Yet the brethren will always remember him for his pioneering spirit and Masonic virtues, highlighted by kind deeds and public services. He helped to bring the first wagons through the Sierra Nevada. He helped to explore and open up the Truckee River Route through those mountains, the most direct and practicable overland route into California. He pointed out the way for the thousands of pioneers and gold seekers and for the railroad that came after them. Indeed, twenty-five years before the golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, John Townsend stood near what is now Truckee and predicted that a railroad would one day be built through that canyon. He was the first man to have a clear vision of California's great urban future; he was the first California booster who really knew what he was talking about.
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MAJOR SAMUEL J. HENSLEY
Samuel J. Hensley, who came overland to California with the Chiles-Walker Party of 1843, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and as a small boy emigrated to Platte County, Missouri. He was one of the small group of horsemen who separated from the main body of the Chiles-Walker outfit at Fort Hall and came into this state by way of southeastern Oregon. His life was short, but filled with more action and good deeds than that of many a man who lived to be twice his age.
On reaching Sutter's Fort, Hensley, the same as Bidwell before him, went to work for Sutter, serving in various capacities and handling much of his employer's general business over a period of years. He even went South as commissary in Sutter's army during the Micheltorena campaign, and thereby gained much first-hand knowledge of the country. In 1844, he took a leaf from Sutter's book by becoming a Mexican citizen and obtaining a land grant, the six-league Rancho Aguas de Nieves in what is now Butte County. But it is doubtful if he ever cared for the native Californians or their government, for he was one of the prominent fomenters of the Bear Flag Revolt. And his Mexican citizenship ended the moment war broke out between the United States and Mexico. Promptly joining Fremont's California Battalion, he distinguished himself in a manner that soon won him the rank of major. Later, at the close of the war, he went back to Washington, D.C., as a witness at Fremont's court martial and did not return to California till late in 1848, well after the discovery of gold.
Hensley's reaction to the gold excitement was hardly what one might at first expect. He was, by nature, an organizer and builder. He went to the mines, concluded they were no place for a man of his talents, and decided to devote his energies to something else. Accordingly, he and Major Pierson B. Reading, an old traveling companion of 1843 and comrade of the Mexican War, opened a combination store and banking house in Sacramento, under the name of Hensley, Reading & Company. With them were James King of William and Jacob R. Snyder, who later went down to San Francisco to open a banking house of their own.
After a most profitable existence, Hensley, Reading & Company dissolved in 1850, the year that Major Reading went to Washington, D.C., to settle his accounts as United States Army Paymaster. Hensley then turned his attention to real estate and water transportation, the latter already showing signs of chaos from cutthroat competition. In 1854, he helped to organize the $2,500,000 California Steam Navigation Company, which for years practically controlled all the traffic on San Francisco Bay and the streams leading into it. He served as its president for several years, when poor health forced him to retire. But health or no health, he could not bring himself to retiring completely from civic and business activities. For years thereafter, he continued to appear as the director of this insurance company or trustee of that school.
In 1851, Hensley married Mary Helen Crosby, daughter of Elisha O. Crosby of San Jose, and went himself to make his home in the Garden City.
The people of San Jose thought the world of Hensley; he was always doing something to make somebody happy. As a member of the San Jose Fire Department, he gave his fellow members a treat they never forgot. In September, 1858, he ordered one of the California Steam Navigation Company's floating palaces to Alviso, picked up the whole fire department, and took them to San Francisco to witness the celebration commemorating the laying of the Atlantic cable, paying all expenses himself. But the true extent of his generosity was not discovered till after his death, when his probate proceedings revealed five sheets of legal cap filled on both sides with worthless I.O.U.'s given to him over a long period of years. They ranged from twenty dollars to thousands, and some were from men in high position. He simply could not say “No” to anybody who came to him for help. And it was well known that he eased the last days of old friends who were down on their uppers, among them the old trapper from New Mexico, Peg-leg Smith, who died in San Francisco.
Hensley was made a Mason in San Jose Lodge No. 10. Brother William Henry Eddy, veteran of the Donner Party, presented his petition for degrees July 19, 1851. He was entered August 23, 1851; passed November 8, 1851; and raised February 21, 1852. Late in 1855, he joined California Chapter No. 5, R.A.M., of San Francisco, but when Howard Chapter No. 14 was organized in San Jose in 1856 he was one of its charter members—the only one who had received all of chapter degrees in California.
Brother Hensley died on his ranch at Warm Springs, California, fourteen miles north of San Jose, January 7, 1866. While tuberculosis may have been cited as the cause of his death, it would not be far amiss to say, literally, he worked himself to death, helping his friends and building up his state and home community.
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WILLIAM RILEY BASSHAM
William Riley Bassham, alternately referred to as Kentuckian and Tennessean in various historical records, came overland to California with the Grigsby-Ide Party of 1845. He appears to have been a man of more than ordinary ability. In 1849, when only twenty-eight years old, he was elected to the First California Legislature, serving as first Senator from the San Jose District. Previous to that, in 1846, he clerked for Henry Dalton at Los Angeles and later, from 1847 to 1849, for both William Leidesdorff and Mellus & Howard of San Francisco, where he acquired considerable real estate. He also had some sort of partnership with Josiah Belden at San Jose after that.
In 1851, Bassham joined San Jose Lodge No. 10, and was active in its affairs for some years. The records show him serving as Senior Deacon in 1854. By 1859, however, he seems to have lost interest and ceased all Masonic activities. The records do not disclose what brought this about, but there is reason to believe he was suffering from business reverses and declining health about that time, and he died shortly thereafter.
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Henry Fowler migrated overland to Oregon in 1843 with his father and brother, William Fowler, Sr., and William Fowler, Jr. In 1844, all three came down to California with the Kelsey Party.
After working here and there about the country at carpentering and other employment, Henry applied for Mexican citizenship in 1845, and he and his father eventually settled on a ranch near Calistoga, in Napa County. William, Jr., seems to have passed from the picture along about the time of the Bear Flag Revolt, in which Henry was a participant.
Despite his Bear Flag activities, Henry was undoubtedly a quiet, level-headed sort of fellow with the single desire to earn his daily bread honestly and live peaceably among his trees and vines. He was probably born a Roman Catholic, for his father was one, but in later years he evinced an unmistakeable inclination to his own thinking in all matters spiritual. In 1883, he joined Yount Lodge No. 12, at Napa, and remained a member of it till his death in 1905.
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WILLIAM M. HARGRAVE
William Hargrave, a hunter, was another pioneer Californian who came to California by way of Oregon. Not much is known of his westward migration beyond the fact that he first went to Oregon, then moved down to this state with the Kelsey Party in 1844. Like others of his following, he was extremely active in the Bear Flag Revolt and, during the war with Mexico in 1846 and 1847, he served as lieutenant in Company C of Fremont's California Battalion in the southern part of the state.
Hargrave was an early settler in Napa County, where his name appears from time to time in various records, but he seems to have enjoyed none of the publicity given to many of his contemporaries. He joined Yount Lodge No. 12, in 1853, and when Caymus Lodge (now St. Helena No. 93) came into existence, in 1855, he was one of its charter members. He withdrew from Caymus Lodge in 1870, five years after the death of its chief founder, his old friend George Yount, and there seems to be no mention of him in California Masonic circles thereafter.
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James Hudspeth, a pioneer of 1843, took a somewhat circuitous route in coming to California. A native of Alabama, he first crossed the plains to Oregon in 1842, and the following year moved down to this state with a party led by Lansford W. Hastings. He appears to have done considerable wandering about the country at first, taking any kind of employment he could get from hunter to lumberman. He eventually went in for some military service as 2nd lieutenant in Captain John Gantt's company during the Micheltorena war. But, like most Americans who had anything to do with this none to internecine campaign, he was probably more amused than impressed.
In the spring of 1846, Hudspeth and Hastings went back to the Fort Bridger region to enter upon what today would be called a bit of chamber of commerce work. Their job was to meet the great American migration to Oregon at that place and divert as much of it as possible to California. How well they succeeded might be attested by the painful story of the Donner party.
By the fall of 1846, Hudspeth was back in California, this time ready for some serious military duty as Lieutenant of Company F of Fremont's California Battalion, serving till the end of the war with Mexico. The years following the war were restless ones for him. Again, his name appeared in records of San Francisco, Napa and various communities in the Bay region. He was a landowner at Sonoma and Benicia, working with Jasper O'Farrell as a surveyor at the latter place. During the gold rush, he tried his hand at mining, but before long returned to a farm at Sonoma, which district he represented in the State Legislature from 1852 to 1854, first as an Assemblyman, then as a Senator. At the conclusion of his legislative service, he returned to his farm in Sonoma County, where he and his wife quietly lived out the rest of their days.
Hudspeth's Masonic record is easy to follow. He joined Temple Lodge of Sonoma in 1851. In 1854, when much of his time was taken up with public service, the returns listed him as withdrawn. But by 1859 he was back in the Craft as a member of LaFayette Lodge. He died a member of it in 1894.
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Born in Tennessee in 1811, William Baldridge migrated to Missouri in 1820. He was a millwright by trade, and was perhaps talked into coming to California by Joseph B. Chiles, leader of the Chiles-Walker Party, who wished to set up a sawmill here. At any rate, he came overland with the Chiles-Walker outfit in 1843, but the mill, which Chiles was transporting in one of his wagons, was lost when the wagon had to be abandoned on the east side of the Sierra Nevada in the neighborhood of Walker Pass.
In 1845, after obtaining bits of employment at his trade here and there about the state, Baldridge settled on a ranch at Napa, working on a partnership basis of some sort with Chiles. In 1846, he was actively involved in the Bear Flag Revolt, and later, during the war with Mexico, served as Lieutenant of Company C of the California Battalion, under Fremont. After the war he resumed his trade for several years, but, in 1852, settled on his ranch at Oakville, where he lived out his days.
So far as can be determined, there was never anything noticeably spectacular about Baldridge's life. He simply came into California with the third American immigrant company to reach this state, worked a while at his trade, and then settled down with his trees and vines in peace and comfort, never marrying.
As a Mason, Baldridge first appears in the records of Yount Lodge No. 12, in 1853. He was Junior Warden of this Lodge the following year. In 1855, he helped to organize Caymus Lodge (now St. Helena Lodge No. 93) at St. Helena, and was its charter Secretary. He remained a member of this Lodge till his death in 1903—fifty years a Mason and one of the most respected members of his community.
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WILLIAM GEORGE CHARD
William G. Chard, a native of Columbia County, New York, came to California with some New Mexican trappers in 1832. He appears to have been an ingenious jack-of-all-trades, willing to work at anything whereby he could earn an honest dollar. His name appears in the records of several communities throughout the state from 1832 to 1875. From 1832 to 1836 he lived at Los Angeles, where he owned a vineyard. By 1837, he had moved up the coast to Santa Barbara. Here he became a Mexican citizen and gave his age as twenty-seven. But with all its natural beauty and gem-like setting, Santa Barbara did not appeal to him, for before the year was out his name appeared on the books of Thomas O. Larkin's store at Monterey. 1840 found him associating with the turbulent Santa Cruz lumberman, Ike Graham. Then he quieted down a bit, at Monterey, operating a store and sailor's boarding house with which Josiah Belden was in a manner connected. In fact, he and Belden appear to have gotten along quite well. Both of them obtained neighboring land grants in Tehama County in 1844—Belden, the Barranca Colorada at Red Bluff; and Chard, the Las Flores on Elder Creek.
Though Chard took some cattle north to stock his ranch in 1845, and built a cabin on it, later he returned to Santa Clara County, where, in 1846, he made the first attempt to work New Almaden's quicksilver on a commercial scale. The story of his fashioning crude quicksilver retorts of gun barrels is one of the interesting items of California mining history. And his later attempt to build a quicksilver furnace of adobe bricks begot many a laugh from high-schooled mining engineers who had never done six cents worth of primitive experimenting in their lives. But, successful or not, no one can take from William George Chard the credit for constructing the first quicksilver retort and furnace within the borders of the present United States. He did the best he could with the materials he had at hand and pointed the way for development of a mine that has since produced many millions of dollars.
In 1847, Chard left Santa Clara County forever, moving to his Rancho las Flores, where he made his permanent home.
There seems to be no available record of where Chard was made a Mason, but in 1861, on the organization of Molino Lodge No. 150 at Tehama, he was its charter Treasurer. It is doubtful if he was a sojourner from the time he arrived in California. More than likely he joined Molino Lodge sometime during the year it was under dispensation, May 30, 1861, to May 15, 1862. In any event, he was suspended for non-payment of dues in 1874, and the annual reports of his Lodge to the Grand Lodge thereafter make no mention of a restoration.
* * *
JAMES M. IDE
James M. Ide, who came to California with his parents in the Grigsby-Ide Party of 1845, could to some extent be classified as an historical nonentity, for so little is known of him or any of the other children of the Ide family. Bancroft's History of California barely takes notice of him, saying, “The oldest son, James M., lived long in Colusa and Tehama counties, then went to Utah, where he died in '78.” Masonic records, however, show that he joined Vesper Lodge No. 84, at Red Bluff, in 1856 and withdrew from it in 1861.
No reason has been advanced for Ide's withdrawal, but there is a clue. Bancroft cites Josiah Belden and William Baldridge as saying that Ide's father, William B. Ide, was a Mormon, and the fact that the Ides moved to Utah in '78 lends a certain credence to their statements. It is also fairly well established that the feeling between Masonry and Mormonism in this state at that time was not overly cordial.
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CAPTAIN THOMAS FALLON
Thomas Fallon, who first raised the American Flag in San Jose, migrated as a small boy from Ireland to London, Upper Canada (now Ontario), where he grew up and learned the saddle maker's trade. Along about his eighteenth year, he came to the United States in quest of adventure, and is said to have fought under Sam Houston in the Texas War of Independence. In 1843, he somehow accompanied one of Fremont's exploring expeditions to California, though he was in no way officially connected with it. A short time later, he opened a saddlery in Santa Cruz, where he married Carmelita Lodge, the half-Irish, half-Spanish daughter of Michael Lodge and Martina Castro, and through her came into possession of much land in Santa Cruz County.
When war broke out between the United States and Mexico in 1846, he recruited a little company of Americans whom he led across the Santa Cruz Mountains to take San Jose.
On July 13, he raised the Stars and Stripes over the San Jose juzgado and declared the town forever an American possession. With that, he left a James Stokes in charge of things and hurried off to campaign with Fremont's forces in the southern part of the state.
In 1855, Fallon moved his family and saddle business from Santa Cruz to San Jose. Here, his shrewd business sense and judicious investments made him a wealthy man. He became mayor of the city in 1859 and later held one or two other political positions of less importance.
As a Mason, Fallon was a member of San Jose Lodge No. 10, joining it in 1858 and remaining a member of it till his death in 1885, at the age of sixty-seven. He was also a member of Howard Chapter No. 14, R.A.M., and the Knights Templar.
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WILLIAM HENRY EDDY
William Henry Eddy was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1817. Aside from being the son of a Nathan Eddy, not much is known of his early life. It is certain, however, that he was one of thousands of young men who migrated westward long before Horace Greeley ever gave public utterance to the idea. By 1845, he was working as a wheelwright in Belleville, Illinois. In 1846, he came the rest of the way across the continent with the ill-fated Donner Party which was trapped by twenty-feet-deep snowdrifts in the Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846-1847. In fact, with James Frazier Reed and William McCutchen, he has often been referred to as one of the “big three” of the Donner Party.
The hardships and privations of the whole party were bad enough, but Eddy's were especially harrowing, for his wife and two children perished of cold and starvation. He himself endured almost more than several ordinary men could bear when he led the “Forlorn Hope,” a little group of ten men and five women, in a desperate attempt to escape from their snowy prison and obtain relief for the rest of the party. It took them thirty-two days—from December 16 to January 17—of the hardest kind of struggle to get out, with all of the men except Eddy and a William Foster dying on the way. They left bloody footprints in the snow, as their shoes wore out. Their clothes were torn to shreds, their bodies almost frozen. It is said that as they approached Johnson's Ranch, near the present Wheatland, they presented so pitiful a sight that even benighted Indians wept on beholding them.
But for Eddy, they would never have made it. He was a hero of the highest order by any standard of measurement. He remarried in later years and tried to pick up the broken strands of his life, but with unhappy results. The toll taken of him in the mountains had been too high. Within a few years he was suffering from what old-time doctors called “paralytic rheumatism,” but what might today be diagnosed as angina pectoris. On December 24, 1859, while journeying through the north Bay Region, he died at Petaluma and was buried there. Eighteen years later, in 1877, his body was exhumed and brought to Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose for re-interment.
Thus, William Henry Eddy was first of the Donner Party's “big three” to pass from the face of this earth.
As a Mason, Eddy was one of the fifteen brethren at San Jose who, on July 11, 1850, signed the petition to Grand Lodge for dispensation to open a Lodge of Master Masons in that city. Also, his name later appears in the records of San Jose Lodge No. 10 as a charter member. This shows conclusively that he was a Mason before coming to San Jose, but up to date there is no telling positively where he was made one.
So far as San Jose Lodge is concerned, Eddy's membership ended under somewhat melancholy circumstances. Apparently, as his health worsened, his fortunes waned correspondingly. In 1857, he was suspended for non-payment of dues and one cannot help wondering if he was in a position to pay them. It is one of those moot points which California Masonic historians have yet to settle.
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JAMES FRAZIER REED
Brother James Frazier Reed, a member of Springfield Lodge No. 4, of Springfield, Illinois, who came of Polish nobility that had married into the Clan Frazier of Scotland, was born at Armagh, in the North of Ireland, November 14, 1800. He was only a small boy when his father died and his mother brought him to this country. As soon as he was able to do anything for himself, he went to work as clerk for an uncle who owned a store in Virginia. About 1831, he migrated from there to Illinois, wishing to try his luck in the lead mines in the neighborhood of the present Galena, but soon moved down to Springfield, in Sangamon County. He became one of Springfield's leading citizens, engaged in merchandising, railroad building, and furniture manufacturing, to say nothing of being a veteran of the Black Hawk War and owner of a beautiful farm on which he kept blooded stock. He was also founder of the town of Jamestown, which grew around his furniture factory on the Sangamon River a short distance east of Springfield, and was named after him by the employees of his factory. After he left Illinois in 1846, this town changed its name to Houlet. Today it is called Riverton.
Like many other Illinoisans of his day, Reed was intensely interested in reports of Fremont's exploration in California, and by the winter of 1845 had decided to migrate thither. He was joined in this venture by two neighboring farmers, George and Jacob Donner, who gave their name to the emigrant party in which he traveled.
Reed and the Donners, and their families, got away from Springfield April 15, 1846 and leisurely made their way across Illinois and Missouri to Independence, where their wagons joined those of a larger caravan scheduled to leave for California the 11th of May.
Their trip across the plains and through the Rockies was comparatively uneventful till they reached the Little Sandy River in southwestern Wyoming. There, they and several groups that had joined them en route, left the main overland trail to try a short cut, called Hastings' Cutoff, across the Salt Desert. By the time they learned that Lansford Hastings, the man after whom it was named, was as ignorant of it and its dangers as they were, it was too late to turn back. They lost a full month cutting their way through a maze of brushy, boulder-filled canyons in the Wasatch Mountains. Then, instead of its being only a short drive of a day and a night across the Salt Desert, it stretched into days and nights. It was more than seventy-five miles, instead of thirty or forty, as they had been led to believe. Reed's thirst-maddened oxen stampeded at night and were lost in the desert. All of his wagons but one had to be abandoned. And cherished heirlooms were thrown away and left behind to lighten the load of that one.
Even after the party struck the headwaters of the Humboldt in Nevada, things continued to go from bad to worse. On October 5, at Gravelly Ford, not far from the present Beowawe, Reed had to kill a desert-maddened teamster, John Snyder, in self-defense. For this, he was banished from the party without arms and with little food. Had it not been for his thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Virginia, who slipped out of camp at night and took his rifle to him, he most certainly would have perished. It was a calamitous situation, but he made the most of it. Picking up a companion, named Walter Herron, from one of the wagons that had gone ahead, he bravely pushed through the Sierra Nevada to Sutter's Fort to obtain relief for the rest of the party.
By the time the Donner Party reached the mountains, however, the last semblance of organization was gone. Hardships and misfortunes had reduced it to little more than a strung-out, woebegone, demoralized number of human beings. Those thirty days lost in the Wasatch had been their undoing more than the disasters in the desert. Death, which had already visited them several times on the trail, trapped them with winter snows six thousand feet above sea level. Before they could be rescued, months later, almost half of their eighty-odd members were dead of cold and starvation. Their flimsy cabins and tents thrown up for shelter would be buried under snowdrifts twenty-feet deep and most of the survivors would be reduced to cannibalism.
Still, their sufferings were matched with some of the greatest heroism in the annals of the West. Reed, Eddy, and McCutchen broke through to Sutter's Fort and the California settlements and came back with relief, battling the elements every foot of the way. From Brother Charles F. McGlashan we learn that Masonry had an interesting part in this rescue work. In the first relief party, headed by a Captain Reasin P. Tucker, was a Mason named Aquilla Glover. It was Glover's duty to get Mrs. Reed and her children ready to leave the mountains. Noticing that she had four children and that two of them were too small to make the journey, he told her that she would have to leave the smaller ones behind for a later relief party. Already worried half to death by the inhuman punishment of her husband, and not knowing whether he was dead or alive, the thought of abandoning two of her children was more than she could bear. But for one thing she might have gone insane. In her extremity she remembered that her husband was a Master Mason. So, like a drowning person grasping at a straw, she seized Glover by his coat collar and asked him if he was one. He replied that he was. “Then will you, on your word as a Master Mason, come back for these children if I leave them here?” she asked. Glover, knowing full well the dangers of such a venture, looked her in the eye a moment and replied, “I will.”
Fortunately for Glover, Reed himself was already well into the mountains with another relief party, and within a few days relieved him of his obligation.
By March, 1847, the last survivor of the Donner tragedy was out of the mountains and Reed and his family were enjoying the unlimited hospitality of Brother George C. Yount of Napa who took them in till they could completely recover from their horrible experience.
In 1848, Reed established his home in San Jose, where he soon acquired much land and took a position on the Ayuntamiento (town council, under Hispanic law, till the city's incorporation under American law, in 1850). He was easily one of the town's most influential citizens. As a lobbyist at the Constitutional Convention at Monterey in 1849, he probably worked harder than any other man to make San Jose the first capital of the State of California. Then, San Jose became the capital, and he was one of the nineteen public-spirited citizens who dug deep into their own pockets for the money to buy a statehouse. And he did not even get thanks for it. If anything, after the capital was removed from San Jose, through no fault of his, many people envious of his position, reviled him for his public spirit. He was able to take it, however. His memory is still green, but the most vociferous of his detractors have long since been forgotten.
On July 11, 1850, fifteen Master Masons residing in San Jose petitioned the Grand Lodge of California for dispensation to open a Lodge in the capital. Reed was one of them. Yet, when San Jose Lodge U.D., received its charter four months later, he was not listed as a charter member, though a page was set aside for his name in the Lodge's dues book. He did, however, become first Treasurer of Howard Chapter No. 14 when it was organized in 1856. And Major Edwin Sherman, in his Fifty Years of Masonry in California, lists him as the first Royal Arch Mason to come to this state.
But, within a few years, Reed practically ceased active Masonic work in San Jose, despite the fact that his name occasionally occurred in the minutes of San Jose Lodge and Howard Chapter. Sherman, quoting letters from the Secretaries of Springfield Lodge No. 4, and Springfield Chapter No. 4, of Springfield, Illinois, says that Reed remained a member of those Bodies till the end of his life.
Reed joined Springfield Lodge in 1839 and was a great friend of Stephen Douglas of Lincoln debate fame who belonged to the same Lodge. When he got ready to come to California, in 1846, he had his Masonic credentials put in order by no less a person than the Grand Master of Illinois himself. For this he is sometimes, though erroneously, credited with being the first authentic Mason to come overland to California.
Back in 1834, when Reed married Mrs. Margaret Keyes Backenstoe, she was a widow with a baby girl named Virginia. He adopted that baby as his own daughter and saw that she shared his estate equally with his own children. After he got out of the mountains, in 1847, he took in little Mary Donner whose parents, Jacob and Elizabeth Donner, had perished in the snow, and brought her up as his own daughter.
After Mrs. Reed's death in 1861, Reed, about whose head the storm clouds of life had so often gathered, withdrew from many of his earlier activities and was content to live out the remainder of his days quietly at his San Jose home, where he died July 24, 1874
Today several streets in San Jose perpetuate not only his name, but also those of his wife and daughters and the Keyes family into which he married.
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JOHN WILLSON LAIRD
John Willson Laird, affectionately known to friends and acquaintances as “Uncle Johnny Laird,” was born in Pennsylvania in 1806. As a youth, he engaged in flatboating on the Kanawha and Ohio rivers, but on reaching manhood gave up that occupation to migrate westward by way of Illinois to Missouri.
In 1846, Laird and his family came overland to California with the Pyle-Whiteman Party, which had been organized by his father-in-law, Edward Gant Pyle, and William Whiteman, of St. Joseph, Missouri. On arriving at Sutter's Fort in September of that year and learning that war existed between the United States and Mexico, he immediately enlisted in Fremont's Battalion for service in the southern part of the state, serving in Company B under Captain Henry L. Ford. He was mustered out of service at Los Angeles, an invalid, early the following spring and left to get back to Sutter's Fort as best he could. It took him well over six months to make the journey because of his weakened condition. He went to work for Sutter and, in his line of duties, is said to have been at Coloma that January day in 1848 when gold was discovered there. He was, accordingly, one of the dissenting minority who rejected Marshall's claim of discovery, and asserted that a ten-year-old boy, named Peter Wimmer, was first to find the yellow metal.
Along with thousands of others, Laird succumbed to the lure of the gold rush, but soon turned to other pursuits. Later in 1848, he kept a store at Angel's Camp with Henry Angel, after whom the place was named, but the next four or five years were somewhat nomadic ones for him. In 1849, he operated Laird's Ferry on the Mokelumne at Staples' Ranch. Then came Corral Hollow, Columbia, Sonora, La Grange, and finally, settlement on his ranch at the confluence of the Tuolumne and the San Joaquin rivers, a few miles west of Modesto, where(sic) died in May, 1878.
According to old Modesto newspaper files, Laird “was one of the Commissioners that first organized and started into motion the machinery of the (Stanislaus) County Government.
All through his years in California he had been a most active Mason, but owing to unavailability of the old-time records, it is impossible at this late day to tell where he was made one. In 1853, his name appears as a charter member of Columbia Lodge No. 28. Then, in 1857, as he moved farther down toward the valley, he affiliated with La Grange Lodge No. 99. And after settling on his ranch west of Modesto, he became a charter member of Modesto Lodge No. 206, serving as its first Treasurer.
* * *
Pierre Sainsevain, like William McCutchen of the Donner Party, was a “fragmentary member” of San Jose Lodge No. 10. Generally known as “Pedro” Sainsevain, in accordance with the Hispanic variant of his baptismal name, he was a man of varied talents who came to California from Bordeaux, France, supposedly in search of his uncle Louis Vignes who had settled in Los Angeles. Within a few years he was recognized all over the state as a vintner, viticulturist, builder, lawmaker, capitalist, and linguist of more than ordinary ability.
In 1844, Sainsevain erected a flour mill on the banks of the Guadalupe, in San Jose, and is said to have erected the first sawmill in what is now San Bernardino County. In 1849, he and a fellow Frenchman named Zepheryn Rochon built a two-story forty-by-sixty adobe on the east side of the Plaza in San Jose, intending it for a hotel. It became California's first statehouse instead. In the same year, Sainsevain served as one of San Jose's seven delegates to the Constitutional Convention at Monterey. Moreover, he was probably as interested in making San Jose first capital of the state as his friends, Reed, Eddy, McCutchen, and Belden. And, like them and the other public spirited citizens who helped to provide a statehouse, he lost a good deal of money.
When news of the gold discovery reached San Jose early in 1848, Sainsevain was by no means inclined to stay home while his fellow citizens rushed off to the Sierra Nevada foothills to pick up fabulous fortunes. In due time he turned up in the Tuolumne River diggin's, where Don Pedro Bar was named after him. But, judging from his subsequent actions, he could not have stayed there long. He either knew when he had enough gold, or he was quick to see that he could make more money at other things.
From 1855 to the turn of the century, Sainsevain moved about the state a good deal, first to Los Angeles, then to San Francisco, and finally, back to San Jose. His wife, Paula Sunol, of San Jose, whom he married in 1845, died in 1883, leaving him a lonesome old man despite his children and grandchildren. About 1901, he returned to France for the rest of his days, dying there in 1904 at the age of eighty-six.
Sainsevain became an entered apprentice in San Jose Lodge No. 10 in 1851. But, unlike his uncle and brother, Messrs. Louis Vignes and Louis Sainsevain of Los Angeles, he did not receive the remainder of his degrees. Where the two Louis', and later a Michel Sainsevain, were long active members of Los Angeles Lodge No. 42, Pierre was eventually stricken from the roll of San Jose Lodge for going no farther than entered apprentice.
It would be interesting to know why Sainsevain did not take his Fellowcraft and Master Mason degrees. It surely could not have been because of any linguistic hurdles.
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GRANVILLE PERRY SWIFT
Granville P. Swift was one of those active, adventurous early-day Californians whose lives were colored with more than a touch of storybook romance.
Born in Kentucky, Swift migrated to Oregon in 1843 and accompanied the Kelsey Party from there to California in 1844. Bancroft described him as “a fine looking man, over 6 ft. in height, a crack shot...of undoubted bravery, a bitter hater of the Mexicans.” He participated in three California military campaigns--the Micheltorena War of 1844-5, the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846, and the ensuring Mexican War. In the last, he was Captain of Company C of the California Battalion.
In 1847, after the war with Mexico, Swift settled at the confluence of Stony and Hambright creeks in the part of Colusa county that subsequently became Glenn County. He became extremely wealthy during the gold rush by working a large number of Indians in his Feather River Diggings. By 1849, he and his partner, Franklin Sears, had bought all the cattle and the brand of the Larkin Grant, a large tract of Colusa land belonging to John S. Williams, which John Bidwell had obtained in 1844 for the children of Thomas O. Larkin, American Consul at Monterey. Swift engaged in cattle raising here till 1854, when he acquired a large ranch near Sonoma and moved thither for the same purpose. The stone mansion that he erected on his Sonoma ranch in 1858 cost almost $300,000 and is still standing.
Swift was no man to put all his eggs into one basket, however. The records of 1868 show him as a fruit grower, and a little later as interested in quicksilver mining, which at that time was one of California's most important industries. It was while riding along on an inspection tour of his quicksilver holdings near Monticello, Napa County, that he was accidentally killed April 21, 1875. His mule, apparently losing its footing, caused him to be thrown down a steep embankment.
For years after his death, Swift was remembered by old-timers in the Sonoma-Napa-Colusa country for his peculiar habit of burying money on his properties. This habit was easily understandable in the gold rush days when there were few or no banks, but in later years there was no good reason for it. It is said that several of these “deposits” were found after he had forgotten them, and, on one occasion, one of his employees got away with some $24,000.
Swift joined Temple Lodge No. 14, at Sonoma, in 1860 and withdrew in 1870, five years before his death. So far as known, his reasons for withdrawing have never been revealed. Maybe, as with other exceptionally wealthy men of his day, he devoted so much time to the business of gathering money and property that he had nothing left for the fraternal and spiritual side of life.
* * *
CHARLES R. BENNETT
Though James W. Marshall has been accepted for years by most Californians as the discoverer of gold at Coloma, there are several small schools of historians who do not agree with the majority. One of these holds out for Charles R. Bennett who came to California with Fremont in 1845.
According to its findings, nothing is known of Bennett's earlier life other than that he had recently completed a “hitch” with the First Dragoons at Fort Leavenworth, and was a jack-of-all-trades—pioneer, soldier, miner, builder, navigator, hostler. It was in the last capacity that he came here with Fremont, taking care of his outfit's pack mules.
One day, while watering his animals on the American River in what is now El Dorado County, Bennett saw some yellow metal in the water, which, from his earlier experiences in the gold mines of Georgia, he recognized as gold. Saying nothing about it to anybody else, he took some of it to Fremont's tent as soon as convenient and asked him if he knew what it was. Fremont carefully examined it, then called in the medical man of his company who tested it with acid. It was gold but Fremont, realizing they were on foreign soil, observed that they were here for other purposes than hunting for gold, and suggested that they forget the incident. In course of the quickly transpiring events of the next year or two, including the Mexican War, that is exactly what they did.
On leaving Fremont, Bennett went to Oregon, settling at Salem. Then, as if by determination of fortune, he was at Sutter's mill the day that gold was discovered there. And, according to his supporters, it was he, not Marshall, who discovered it. He was walking along the mill race toward the discharge point when he again saw the familiar yellow metal in the water. He stopped, fished out a piece of it, rubbed it between his forefinger and thumb, and handed it to Marshall, saying, “I'm sure this is gold.” The rest of the story is history except for the details of how Marshall so completely turned the affair to his own credit.
Bennett, trying his luck at mining, had good enough fortune, so he thought, to keep him the rest of his life. He accordingly returned to Salem, Oregon, where he built the first hotel in that city. But perhaps straight hotel keeping was a little too tame for him, for before long he became Captain of the Salem Company Oregon Mounted Rifles. And, while leading this company in the Yakima War, he was killed at Walla Walla in 1855.
Bennett's body was brought back to Salem, where it was interred with high Masonic honors. He was the first candidate to receive the degrees of Masonry in Salem Lodge No. 4, A.F. & A.M., of Oregon. Today his headstone, erected almost a century ago, still bears not only the Square and Compass and open Bible, but also the words, “Discoverer of Gold in California.”
* * *
Samuel Kelsey was another Bear Flag Revolt participant who entered the Masonic Fraternity. His family name is found all through the records of Sonoma, Napa, and Lake counties, but peculiarly there is not much material available on his early life. There is reason to believe he was one of the Bidwell-Bartleson group of 1841 that went on to Oregon from Bear River, while his brothers Andrew and Benjamin, came to California. And when his brothers returned to California in 1844, after a year's visit in Oregon, he accompanied them in what has since been referred to as the Kelsey Party.
Most of the Kelseys established their homes at first in the Napa Valley, where old-timers long recalled the large leaven of backwoods truculence in their natures. Andrew became one of the first settlers of Lake County, where his behavior toward the Indians was hardly commendable. Benjamin was too restless to stay long in any one place, and consequently moved about the state a good deal, even making a trip to Texas. But Samuel seems to have favored the Sonoma area, where he apparently lived for sometime.
Samuel, joining Temple Lodge No. 14, at Sonoma, in 1853, seems to have been the only member of the Kelsey clan to become a member of the Craft. But it is doubtful if he ever put his heart into it, thought he did serve as Tiler of his Lodge in 1854. In 1858, he was suspended for non-payment of dues. But he later restored himself and helped to organize Visalia Lodge No. 128, from which he withdrew about 1859.
* * *
Jasper O'Farrell was one of few non-seafaring pioneers who came to California by sea. He was a civil engineer by profession, born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1822, and educated in his own country. In 1841, he joined a surveying expedition working along the Chilean coast in the vicinity of Valparaiso. The following year found him on board a United States surveying vessel, arriving at Yerba Buena October 20.
Here, from 1844 to 1846, O'Farrell was employed as surveyor by the Mexican government, receiving as part payment for his services a large grant of land in San Rafael County. He later traded this land for the Jonive Grant, in Sonoma County, where he built his beautiful home called “Annally,” and where he entertained his countless friends and lived in true California style with his wife, a former Miss McChristian, whom he married in 1845.
Perhaps he lived a little too well for his income, for in after years his daughter used to tell how he was frequently hard pressed for funds because so many people took advantage of his generosity.
In 1839, a Swiss named Jean Jacques Vioget surveyed San Francisco for the first time and laid off its streets with charming indifference to its topography. Consequently, it was not long after the American conquest that the need for a corrective survey manifested itself. This was done in 1847 by O'Farrell, and for many years was spoken of as the “O'Farrell swing” because it was necessary to swing most of the streets, and thereby the city itself, several degrees from their original alignment. In connection with this, he also surveyed water lots and made provision for a much larger town.
Also, when Colonel Richard B. Mason took over the military governorship of California in 1847, one of his first acts was to appoint O'Farrell one of the three official surveyors for the United States, the other two being William B. Ide and Jacob R. Snyder. The colonel hoped that this trip could straighten out and keep ahead of the flood of boundary disputes that would soon inundate his office. O'Farrell and Ide were assigned to the territory north of San Francisco Bay, which must have suited O'Farrell fine because of his home at Sonoma.
O'Farrell's pay for surveying the city was pitifully small. Like other California cities of the time, San Francisco had nowhere near enough money to pay him what his services were worth, and could not sell enough town lots to get it. O'Farrell could have put the town into an awkward position if he had chosen to “grab” the land, but he was not that kind of person. As one early writer put it, “Had Jasper O'Farrell been a man of grasping or avaricious disposition, he might easily have been one of the wealthiest men in the State, but he died possessed of no more than a moderate competence.”
In the summer of 1848, O'Farrell and four of his Sonoma associates went to the Yuba River diggings to try their luck at gold mining. Between them, they took out $75,000 in three months.
In time, O'Farrell increased his land holdings well beyond his two grants on which he lived in Sonoma County, and made many other large investments. He was claimant for the Canada de Capay Rancho, in Yolo County, in 1852. But here, again, he failed to amass the fortune normally expected of a man of his talents and ability. It was undoubtedly this period that his daughter had in mind when she referred to his being occasionally hard pressed for funds because of his generosity “to his friends and to his 'church'.”
O'Farrell died suddenly of an unsuspected heart ailment, November 6, 1875. His daughter said he died of a broken heart from the collapse of a mining project that he thought would bring permanent ease to himself and family.
As a Mason, however, O'Farrell's record was not so distinguished as one might expect. He joined Temple Lodge No. 14, in 1851, but took little or no official part in its functions, and ten years later, ceased all Masonic activity.
* * *
PIERSON BARTON READING
As with William B. Ide, the only indication that Pierson B. Reading was a Mason is to be found in Sherman's Fifty Years of Masonry in California (Volume I, page 450). Here, Sherman makes the categorical statement: “Reading Lodge (Reading Lodge No. 245, at Redding) is named after the late Bro. Pearson(sic) B. Reading, who was proprietor of Reading's Ranch in the Upper Sacramento Valley, and a partner in the firm of Hensley, Reading & Co., merchants, who erected the first wooden building on the northeast corner of I and Front streets, Sacramento, in 1849. The lodge is located at Redding, named for the late Bro. P. B. Redding, publisher and proprietor of the Democratic State Journal, published in the early fifties, and who afterward became Secretary of State when the late Bro. Leland Stanford was Governor of California in 1861-62. He was afterward at the head of the Land Department in the Central and Southern Pacific Railroad Company.”
Brother Sherman was quite explicit in his identification of Messrs. Reading and Redding, and, if right, left no room for arguments as to whether Reading was another of California's many non-affiliated Masons of his day.
Reading, a native of New Jersey, came to California with the Chiles-Walker Party of 1843, and, the same as Hensley, soon went to work for Sutter. In December of the following year, through his friend Sutter, he was granted the six-league Rancho San Buenaventura in which is now Shasta County, the northernmost Mexican land grant in California. On its 26,000 acres the towns of Redding and Cottonwood came into existence.
Reading was active in the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846, and subsequently served with distinction as Paymaster in the California Battalion, winning the rank of major. Some years later, when in Washington, D.C., settling his accounts as army paymaster, he was complimented by the Auditor General for having kept the neatest and most accurate accounts of the entire war.
Immediately after the gold discovery at Coloma in January, 1848, Reading went thither and, noting that the soil and formation there were similar to those of his ranch, concluded there must be gold on his ranch. He accordingly returned to his ranch to investigate. The following March he made the first gold discovery in Shasta County on Clear Creek, at a place later called Reading's Bar in his honor. By July, he had found gold on Trinity River, and subsequently located diggings back on Clear Creek at Reading's Springs, now the Town of Shasta.
Though Reading realized a fortune of $80,000 in six weeks from his mining operations, he abandoned them when other miners objected to his using Indians as laborers. It apparently made little difference to him, anyway, for he had all the gold he needed for the purpose he had in mind. It was just after this that he went to Washington to settle his paymaster accounts, and while he was in the East he dropped down to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he used $60,000 to pay off a long standing and almost forgotten debt incurred when a business firm of which he as a member went bankrupt during the hard times of the late 1830's.
In 1852, Reading was appointed Indian Agent for his part of the country, and discharged his duties for years without a cent of pay. And though it was a job that enabled him to become intimate with any number of politically influential people, he showed no inclination toward politics. He at no time sought an office, though he was put up for election to no less an important position than the governorship of California in 1851. He refused to campaign, and even then was beaten only when the votes that would have decided the issue in his favor were “accidentally” burned. It was only after Reading had thrice refused nominations for offices that would have turned almost any man's head that people were really convinced he was not interested in politics. He turned down the nomination for governor in 1855 and 1861, and could not be bothered with the nomination for United States Senator. Like Bidwell, he more than likely would not kow-tow to the politicians and did not desire anything with a string on it.
In 1855, Reading went to Washington again, this time to see about confirmation of the title of his ranch. While there, he met and married Miss Fannie Wallace Washington, who came West with him to help him preside over his Rancho San Buenaventura, where he died May 29, 1868.
* * *
Robert Semple, printer and dentist, probably packed more important action into his few short years in California than any other man in the state's history. And a better liked man never came over the Overland Trail. He was a good yarn spinner himself, and his stature of six-feet-eight-inches made him a good subject of yarn spinners. His friends used to josh him about being able to wade the Straits of Carquinez in absolute safety. Again, they insisted he was so tall that when he rode a horse he had to wear his spurs on the calves of his legs instead of on his heels. All of which he took with the best of humor, and likewise “dished it out.”
A Kentuckian by birth, Semple came here with the Hastings Party of 1844. In June, 1846, he participated in the Bear Flag Revolt at Sonoma, and then moved on to Monterey, where he served with Fauntleroy's Dragoons. On August 15 of the same year, while still in Monterey, he and the Reverend Walter Colton published California's first newspaper, The Californian.
This last venture required a good deal of ingenuity. In absence of newsprint, Semple and his partner used cigar wrappers about the size of foolscap. The Spanish type font accompanying an antique hand press, which they found in an old building, had no “w's.” So they improvised their own “w's” by setting two “v's” together without spacing. For rules and leads, they used strips of tin, cut into proper shape with a jackknife. And thus, by overcoming one difficulty or another, they founded a successful journal that moved to San Francisco the following year and eventually merged with Sam Brannan's California Star.
Semple was also a real estate promoter. In 1847, he and Thomas O. Larkin acquired from General M. G. Vallejo a large tract of land on the Strait of Carquinez, where he hoped to develop the metropolis of the West. The City of Benicia, which hardly came up to his expectations, was the result. Though he used every trick in the business to interest people in his city on the strait, San Francisco was just too much for him. At best, Benicia was capital of the state for a very short time—February, 1853, to February, 1854.
More profitable than his city promotion on the strait was Semple's ferry service at the same place during the gold rush days. With thousands of Argonauts from the region between Contra Costa and Monterey counties trying to get their wagons across the strait, he had more business than he could handle. One gold seeker, Dr. Benjamin Cory of San Jose, wrote that he had to wait eleven days at Martinez for his turn on Dr. Semple's ferry. And his boat must have been a wonder to behold. Before the gold rush was over, hundreds of yarns were current on it, same as on his height. One of them had it that the boat had two engines which drove the side wheels at different speeds. The ferryman had to run first one engine, then the other, to keep the boat from going in circles. It was too much for the American sense of humor. Before the lanky Charon could zigzag his little craft all the way across the channel, the impatient Argonauts, strung out along the banks, were hilarious.
The proceeds of this ferry, under the terms of the Benicia land grant, were devoted to the establishment and maintenance of public schools in Benicia.
When the Constitutional Convention convened at Monterey in the fall of 1849, for the purpose of organizing a state government, Semple was present as president of the Convention and a delegate from the Sonoma district, which then included Benicia. But beyond that, he appears to have taken little interest in politics and public life. Not long thereafter he moved to Colusa County, settling on the Colus Grant that John Bidwell had obtained in 1844. He was accidentally killed there in 1854 at the age of forty-eight, when he suffered a bad fall from his horse.
Semple was a widower when he came to California. In 1847, he married Miss Frances Cooper, a daughter of Stephen Cooper, by whom he had a daughter whom he named Mary Benicia. After his death, his widow married a man named Van Winkle.
Semple's whole California Masonic career was bound up in Benicia Lodge No. 5, of which he was a charter Treasurer.
In summing up Semple's life, Bancroft observed, “Dr. S., was a good natured, popular, and honorable man, of much intelligence and natural ingenuity, of some education, a good speaker—indeed, there were few things he could not do fairly well, though noted for obstinate faith in his way of doing things as always the best.”
* * *
Josiah Belden was a Connecticut Yankee, born in Upper Middletown (now Cromwell) May 4, 1815. He was left an orphan before he was fifteen years old and, at sixteen, voluntarily bound himself out to learn the jeweler's trade. At the end of his apprenticeship he went south and worked a while at his trade in New Orleans and Yazoe City, and tried his hand at cotton buying in Vicksburg. From there he moved northward, turning up in St. Louis, Missouri, early in the spring of 1841, on the lookout for a good business opportunity. Within a few days, however, he and three chance acquaintances named Chandler, Brolasky, and Shotwell had bought a wagon and plenty of emigrant supplies and were on their way to Sapling Grove to join John Bidwell's Westward Emigration Society, which was getting ready to leave for California. Save for Shotwell, who was accidentally killed while drawing a loaded rifle, muzzle foremost, from their wagon, they all came through safely to their destination.
When the company disbanded at Marsh's ranch in what is now Contra Costa County, Belden pushed on by way of San Jose and Santa Cruz to Monterey, where he got a job clerking in Thomas O. Larkin's store. In February, 1842, he opened a branch store for Larkin in Santa Cruz. He was here the following October, when Commodore T. A. C. Jones, mistakenly thinking war had broken out between this country and Mexico, sailed into the bay, raised the American flag over the Monterey Custom House, and took California in the name of the United States. The Commodore appointed him American Custodian of Santa Cruz. But a few days later, when the Commodore discovered his mistake, he promptly ordered the American flag lowered, and Belden, resumed his private status.
In 1844, Belden became a Mexican citizen and was granted the four-league Rancho Barranca Colorada (Red Bluff), in what is now Tehama County. He was not cut out for ranching, however, and three years later sold this property to William B. Ide.
From 1845 to 1847, he occupied himself with various pursuits—clerking for Captain John Paty, collecting for William Health Davis, buying town lots in San Francisco. In 1848, he entered partnership with the San Francisco traders, Mellus & Howard, and opened a general merchandising establishment in San Jose under the name of J. Belden & Co.
This store, which had a safe, was also a “house of deposit,” which to some extent served as a bank. It was a most profitable venture, yet Belden sold out in 1851 and entered the real estate and financial field. Thereafter, till he went East in 1885, he was classified in the Great Register of California as a “capitalist.”
When California organized its state government in the fall of 1849, and designated San Jose as the first capital, Belden was one of San Jose's nineteen public spirited citizens who came forth and put up their own money to supply a statehouse. Later, in April, 1850, after San Jose's incorporation, he was elected the city's first mayor. This gave rise to a laconic remark that indicated the dryness of his Yankee wit. Back in 1841, on his first entrance to the city, the local authorities, suspecting him and his companions of being revolution-fomenting troublemakers, tossed them all into the calaboose. So, someone who remembered this event asked him how it felt to be the mayor of the city whose comandante had jailed him the first time he saw it. “I think it is a satisfactory arrangement,” he replied.
Belden served as mayor from 1850 to 1851, and as a city councilman from 1851 to 1852. By then his private affairs were taking so much of his time that, save for going East as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1876, he permanently withdrew from active politics.
In 1849, Belden married Miss Sarah Margaret Jones, daughter of a San Jose boarding house proprietor named Zacariah Jones, who came to California in 1846. She bore him two sons and four daughters, all of whom grew to maturity and received excellent educations in the best Eastern colleges. There is a story in the family that no less a person than Andrew Carnegie sought the hand of one of the daughters, but she, to her father's disappointment, preferred to marry a newspaper man.
Though he maintained his beautiful eleven acre homestead in San Jose, Belden had his business offices on Montgomery Street in San Francisco. From the latter, he guided the destinies of what might now be called a financial empire. His inventories were international in scope and listed all sorts of investments—mining, real estate, stocks and bonds, building. But, eventually, Eastern interests began to overshadow everything else. In 1885, he sold his San Jose home and moved to New York City where, the following year, he became a director of the Erie Railroad. He died there, a millionaire, April 23, 1892.
As a Mason, Belden was a life member of San Jose Lodge No. 10, joining it in 1854, and serving as its Treasurer from 1857 to 1859, inclusive.
* * *
Peter Lassen occupies an unique position not only in California Masonic history, but also in the history of the state in general. Because he was a Mason and one of the party that brought the first Masonic Charter to California, unthinking brethren have for years referred to that charter as the “Lassen Charter.” They sincerely believe it was he who obtained and brought it here. Yet he had little to do with it besides being the first Warden of the Lodge that it brought into existence---Western Star No. 98 (now No. 2). This charter was obtained and carried here by the Reverend Saschel Woods, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister and member of Wakanda Lodge No. 52, of Carrollton, Missouri. Woods was the first Master of Western Star Lodge and was the legal custodian of its charter from the day it was issued.
A. M. Fairfield's History of Lassen County says that when the people of that area got ready to establish their county government in 1864, they sent a representative to the State Legislature with instructions to have the county named Roop after Isaac Roop, its most outstanding pioneer and first settler in Honey Lake Valley. But, for some reason, the man did not like Roop, and when he got to Sacramento he told the legislators that the Honey Lake people wished their county named after Peter Lassen. It is significant, according to Fairfield, that the man never went back to face the people he had so wilfully(sic) misrepresented.
Thus was Peter Lassen's name doubly immortalized. So far as known, he never claimed credit for the charter, and the county was named after him five years after he was dead and gone.
Lassen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, October 31, 1800. As a youth of seventeen, he entered the employ of his uncle, Christian Nielsen of Kalunborg, to learn the blacksmith's trade. He stayed with his uncle for six years, then moved to Copenhagen, where he worked for several blacksmithing firms before opening a shop of his own in 1827. As a business venture, his own shop was a failure, and by October, 1830, he was on his way to the United States.
After working a few months at his trade in Boston, Lassen migrated to St. Louis, Missouri, and from there worked his way up the Missouri River to Keytesville in Chariton County. In 1839, he joined an immigrant party bound for Oregon City. July, 1840, found him and several of his overland traveling companions on board the American vessel Lausanne, bound for California. Among them was William Wiggins, later identified with the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine litigation.
On July 16, Lassen and Wiggins landed at Bodega, port of the Russians, where they obtained horses several days later and started for Sutter's Fort. But Lassen, like many other immigrants, had to see something of the country before settling down. Accordingly, he soon went from Sutter's to San Francisco, and from there to San Jose, where he passed the winter of 1840-1841 working at his trade. The spring of 1841 found him on the Zayante in the Santa Cruz Mountains, not far from Santa Cruz, building California's first sawmill, which was later operated by Isaac Graham.
There is some question as to whether he built this mill for himself, intending to sell it, or whether he built it for Graham. In any event, he received as some sort of payment from Graham a hundred mules which he drove up to Sutter's Fort in the fall of 1842, supposedly with the intention of driving them back to the United States. He evidently changed his plans, however, for in November, 1843, he was living by himself on Cosumnes River. By 1844, it was certain he had no desire to return East. He became a Mexican citizen and was granted the five-league Rancho Bosquejo on Deer Creek, in what is now Tehama County.
When the Micheltorena trouble came to a head in 1845, Lassen, along with Bidwell, Hensley, Merritt, and Marsh, joined Sutter's forces, which backed up the governor. But as soon as the “war” ended, he returned to Rancho Bosquejo, where he got along famously with the Indians who called him Uncle Peter and helped him to build his adobe ranch house. A little later he and a couple of friends entered the grindstone business, quarrying their stone along Stony Creek and peddling their products to settlers down the Sacramento River.
In the spring of 1846, Fremont stayed a while at Lassen's and seemed to take quite a liking to the Dane, “whose history was only less romantic than Sutter's and who was a man of practical sense and courage.” Whether Lassen thought as much of Fremont is a matter of conjecture, but it is certain that he admired Fremont's father-in-law, Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. He gave the little settlement that he established on Deer Creek the ambitious name of Benton City.
What part Lassen played in the Bear Flag affair and the Mexican War is obscure. The only writer who gives him positive part in the war cites no sources. Bancroft simply says he was “probably one of the Bears.”
In June, 1847, however, after the war was over, Lassen went overland to Missouri with Commodore Stockton's party, which arrived at St. Joseph the following November.
There is not much indicated how Lassen passed the winter of 1847-1848 in Missouri. But when he started back for California in the spring of 1848, he was leading an immigrant train of twelve wagons, whose owners planned to settle on his grant on Deer Creek. And with them rode the Reverend Saschel Woods, carrying the charter of Western Star Lodge No. 98, to be opened at Benton City under jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Missouri.
They came into California by an impracticable and far out of the way route that has since been dubbed the Lassen Route, and their guide came close to losing the whole outfit in the mountains.
During the gold excitement of 1849-1850, the population of Lassen's Benton City dwindled to almost nothing, and Western Star Lodge, following the Argonauts, moved to Shasta, some fifty miles to the northwest on an airline. In 1850, Lassen entered into a couple of unprofitable deals that just about ruined him financially. First, he sold half of his ranch to a San Franciscan who paid him nothing for it; then he bought a steamboat that came to grief. The only way he could settle his debts was to sell the other half of his ranch. With that, he looked eastward toward Indian Valley, where he and a man named Burton built a log cabin and opened a trading post in 1851. By 1855, he was still deeper in the mountains, prospecting for gold in the Honey Lake region of what is now Lassen County, where Isaac Roop had built a cabin as early as 1854.
Before long, other settlers came into the Honey Lake country, especially after word got out that Lassen had found gold there. Then came the organization of government, building of roads, settling of boundary disputes, and all the other problems that got with the establishment of a pioneer settlement. In addition to this, Honey Lake lay east of the Sierra Nevada and its citizens were not sure whether they were in California or Utah (the state of Nevada had not yet been organized). It was a problem unto itself, and its citizens seriously considered establishing a state of their own called Nataqua, some 200 miles long and 150 miles wide. But the most vexatious problem of all was that of defense against the Indians. Time and again, Piute and Pit River braves slipped into Honey Lake Valley and its environs, stealing live stock, destroying property, murdering travelers, and making life miserable for the settlers generally. This went on for almost twenty years and save for an occasional bit of aid from some small detachment of soldiers, the Honey Lakers did their best to exact an eye for eye with the redskins and defend themselves as best they could.
Peter Lassen, as one of the first settlers in the Honey lake country, was naturally interested in the solution of these problems and actively participated in all movements for the public weal. He was especially competent in dealing with the Indians despite their known dislike for the whites. He trusted them implicitly and was known everywhere as a personal friend of Chief Winnemucca of the Piutes. He even gave them powder and bullets for their firearms so they could hunt. Yet in this friendship lay the peculiar circumstances of his death.
For years he had ridden through Indian country, across mountain and desert, unharmed. Early one morning in April, 1859, when he and a couple of men, named Clapper and Wyatt, were prospecting for a silver mine in the Black Rock country of Western Nevada, they were awakened by a rifle shot from some nearby rocks. Clapper was shot through the head where he lay. Wyatt shouted to Lassen to run for his life. But Lassen stood upright by his bed for a moment, trying to determine where the first shot came from, and a second one ended his earthly career. Meanwhile Wyatt, a heavy man of some sixty years, ran for their horses and somehow securing a mount from the badly frightened animals, started for Honey Lake.
Almost everybody blamed Indians for the shooting, but there were a few who suspected whites who thought Lassen was carrying a map showing the location of a rich silver mine in the Black Rock. The fact that his possessions had not been stolen lent a certain credence to this theory. It may have been Indians and it may have been whites, who, knowing of Lassen's friendship for the Indians, thought they could throw the blame onto the Indians. In either event, it is a question that will never be answered.
The citizens of Honey Lake went out to the desert and recovered the body of “Uncle Pete,” as everybody called Lassen, and brought it back to Honey Lake for interment. Today, two beautiful monuments, both bearing the Square and Compass, mark his last resting place beneath a huge California yellow pine.
Though Lassen was charter Junior Warden of Western Star Lodge No. 2, there is no record of his attending a meeting any time after 1852. As a matter of fact, he could not attend one. Honey Lake did not get its first Lodge till 1861, two years after his death. Yet for the third time his name was immortalized. From the day that the Lodge finally got its charter in May, 1862, it has been known as Lassen Lodge No. 149.
* * *
DR. RICHARD BEVERLY COLE
Born in Virginia and partly educated in Kentucky, Richard B. Cole, M.D., practiced three years in Philadelphia before coming to California in 1852 on the Steamship Cherokee. He had had much experience in the East, and told some astounding yarns, such as seeing 3,000 cases of cholera at one time and or performing three Caesarian sections, a wonderful thing for those days. In fact it might be said that his oratorical ability and disposition to tell whoppers fitted him right into Western life. He was Democratic in politics, serving as state chairman of the party. He was also Commander of the Knights Templars and, in 1895, President of the American Medical Association. It is said that he could “beg with the skill and grade of a medieval friar” when soliciting donations for the University of California Medical School. He was popular with his students and considered by all to be a good teacher and executive.
Many of his students remembered him as a “medium-sized, frank-faced gentleman, wearing a tobacco-stained mustache, puncturing his lectures with skillful expectoration into a distantly placed cuspidor.” His language was, as often as not, somewhat sizzling, and, at times, he found difficulty in understanding that any of the seraphic female nurses of the day could take offense because of it.
That Cole was made of tough stuff, there could be no mistake. Shortly after his arrival in California, a loaded pistol dropping from his pocket was discharged, and the bullet passed through his stomach and lodged in his back close to the 12th rib. Though he vomitted(sic) over a quart of blood at the time, and was thought to be a dead one by his doctors, he was out of bed in six weeks. It is said that he was saved only by his stomach's being empty at the time he was shot.
He was also the cause of the terrible controversy arising out of the death of James King of Williams. He was one of the doctors called when King was shot, King himself asking for him. He protested vainly against introduction of a sponge into King's wound and leaving it there for several days, but the other doctors in attendance, Hammon, Bertody, Toland, and Gray ignored and elbowed him out of the way. Then, when King died, he publicly, and in no uncertain terms, accused his colleagues of malpractice. A fearsome row ensued, with the newspapers making the most of it.
Cole's skill as a surgeon was a household word; so was his fearlessness in stating his political and moral opinions. In 1858 he had the whole state in an uproar over one of his unflattering statements of feminine chasity(sic), made in a state society report. It seemed to have no effect on his mixing oratory with medicine, however. Perhaps, as chairman of the Committee on Obstetrics and Diseases of Women, he had had ample opportunity to form ideas on the subject.
Owing to overwork and poor health, he betook himself to Europe in 1864 for a rest. It is doubtful, however, that he rested much, for soon a long string of most interesting letters began to arrive in California for publication in the Medical Press. He was made a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in London, to say nothing of working like a Trojan to win European recognition of the University of California Medical School.
Cole's mind also turned toward things mechanical, taking time from his multiplicity of duties to devise an operating table that was considered the “quintessence of practicability.”
Cole's death came from apoplexy January 15, 1901, while he “was still useful,” for he was at that time Coroner of San Francisco and member of the State Board of Health.
Cole was a member of Occidental Lodge No. 22, of San Francisco, and at one time served as Senior Deacon.
* * *
JOHN T. WARNER
John T. Warner, better known as Juan Jose Warner, was an early settler in Southern California. He was a Mason when he came here, but we have been unable to determine the Lodge of which he was a member. The records of San Diego Lodge No. 35 for December 27, 1854, show him as a visitor to that Lodge.
His story is recorded in the chapter “There is a Wayfaring Man.”
* * *
Charles Bennett came to California as a muleteer with Fremont in 1845. While watering his stock at their camp on the American River, in what is now El Dorado County, he picked up a small nugget which he recognized as gold. He showed it to Fremont who paid little attention to the incident. Bennett afterward moved to Oregon but, in company with Stephen Staat and James W. Marshall, returned to California and was employed by Sutter to assist Marshall in the construction of the mill at Coloma.
Bennett was present at Coloma when Marshall picked up the piece of gold which precipitated the Gold Rush. Staat said that Bennett picked up the original piece of gold before Marshall saw it.
As soon as Sutter recognized the extent of the discovery at his mill, he sent Bennett to Monterey in an effort to induce Governor Mason “to lease to him the land surrounding the mill with mineral privileges.” This Mason refused to do, feeling that the land was still held under Mexican law and that he, as Governor, had no legal authority to lease it.
After mining for sometime on the Lode, Bennett returned to Oregon with a large quantity of gold and built the first hotel in Salem, located where the Masonic Temple is today.
Bennett was killed at Walla Walla in an engagement against the Indians. He was buried with Masonic honors, being the first candidate of Salem Lodge No. 4, A.F and A.M. Bennett's tombstone at Salem bears the following inscription “Captain Charles Bennett was discoverer of gold in California.”
* * *
Aquilla Glover came across the plains from Missouri by ox-team with his family in 1846, and spent part of the fall and winter of 1846-47 at Sutter's Fort, where he met James F. Reed. Reed recognized him as a Mason and requested that Glover go with the relief party and assist in bringing out the Reed family from the snows of Donner Lake. Glover is reported by Sherman as saying, “Brother Reed, I will go with the first relief party and I pledge you on my honor and word as a Master Mason that I will rescue your family even at the risk of my life and do just the same for them as I would for my own.” He was true to his word and did his utmost to accomplish the rescue of the entire Reed family; but he could not bring them all out of the mountains and snow. He did succeed in rescuing the wife of Reed and two of her four children. The other two were brought out by Reed himself.
Glover moved to San Francisco in the spring of 1847, living there with his family in a tent. He was a Methodist and helped organize the first Methodist Church in San Francisco. He went to the mines and died at Coloma, November 18, 1849.
Sherman says that Glover probably belonged to a Masonic Lodge near Warsaw, Benton County, Missouri, and that his Masonic regalia was burned in a house on the Gish Road, one mile north of San Jose, in 1854 or 1855.
* * *
JOSEPH WARREN REVERE
Joseph Warren Revere, a native of Massachusetts, came to California in 1846 as Lieutenant on the U. S. Cyane. He was also the grandson of two great American Masons, Paul Revere and Joseph Warren, each of whom had served a term as Grand Master of Massachusetts.
At Sonoma, he was given the honor of raising the American Flag, and remained in command of the army in the Northern District of California for several months.
When it was learned that the Walla Walla Chief, Yellow Serpent, threatened an invasion of California to take vengeance on the whites for killing of his son, Revere was sent to Fort Sutter to repel the invasion. Revere met and talked the matter over with the Chief, and a satisfactory settlement was soon reached.
The California expedition of Yellow Serpent had a most unexpected result in that his group of Indians carried back to Oregon the virus of smallpox which, it is said, was primarily the cause of the tragic massacre at the Whitman mission at Walla Walla.
Revere was raised to the rank of Brigadier General. He was also a claimant for the Marin County Rancho.
He was a member of St. John's Lodge, of Boston, Massachusetts.
* * *
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN DRAKE SLOAT
Rear Admiral John Drake Sloat of the United States Navy was born in 1781 at Sloatburg, New York, and died on Staten Island, New York, in 1867.
He received his Masonic degrees in St. Nicholas Lodge No. 3, New York, in 1800.
During the War of 1812, Sloat served on the Frigate United States when it captured the British Frigate Macedonian, for which he was honored by Congress. He also saw active service against West Indian pirates from 1818 to 1823.
As Commander of the United States war vessels in the Pacific, he had the distinction of raising the American Flag at Monterey, July 7, 1846, and taking possession of California
Commodore Sloat, while anchored with his fleet in Mazatlan in 1846, observed that the English Admiral Seymour showed an unusual curiosity in the activities of the American Fleet. On receiving information that hostilities had begun between Mexico and the United States, by a clever ruse he evaded the vigilance of the British Admiral and entered Monterey Bay ahead of the British Fleet, on the 7th of July, and took possession of California in the name of the United States.
Sloat's position was one of great responsibility. He discharged the duty of taking possession of a territory peopled by friendly natives, who had no quarrel with the United States, and so conducted his activities as to command the admiration and respect of all.
Shortly thereafter, on account of his health, Sloat surrendered his command to Commodore Stockton and returned East.
A monument at the Presidio of Monterey was dedicated to his memory by the Grand Lodge of California July 14, 1910.
* * *
RODMAN M. PRICE
Joseph Henry Jackson, of the San Francisco Chronicle, in his introductory notes to a Rodman M. Price letter to Thomas O. Larkin in 1848, published recently by the Book Club of California, throws some new light on the California career of Price and is, in part, as follows:
“Rodman M. Price was born in New Jersey in 1816. He was educated at Lawrenceville and Princeton in that State.
“He came to California in 1846 as Purser on the U.S. Cyane, under Commodore Sloat. According to his own statement he had confidential instructions from President Polk and Secretary of Navy Bancroft. The precise nature of these he never divulged, saying that when Sloat, fearful of exceeding his authority, hesitated about taking Monterey, it was he who persuaded the irresolute Commodore to make a positive stand.
“As Price told the story, he routed Sloat out of bed and talked to him in his cabin until long after midnight, by which hour his superior officer, tired pacing up and down in his nightgown, finally exclaimed, 'Mr. Price, you have convinced me. I will hesitate no longer!'
“The next morning, July 7th, Sloat sent his purser ashore at Monterey with an escort of sailors and marines, and at 10:20 Rodman Price read the proclamation announcing that henceforward California would be a portion of the United States. Ten minutes later the American Flag was raised before the Customhouse to a chorus of 'Cheers afloat and ashore' and a salute of 21-guns from the Savannah and the Cyane.
“Price was made Alcalde, thus becoming the first American to exercise the judicial function in California under the occupation. Later he carried dispatches to President Polk, who asked him to draw up a report on California. Price was sent back to California as Special Naval Agent.”
In 1849, at the age of thirty, Price served as a member of the San Francisco Ayuntamiento (town council). He was also elected a delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Monterey from the San Francisco district. From this, he apparently developed a yen for politics, but his California political ambitions were cut short by his defeat for Congress at the 1849 election.
In 1850, however, he returned to his native state, New Jersey, and lost no time in entering the political arena. He served in Congress from 1851 to 1853 and was elected Governor from 1854 to 1857. In 1861 he was a delegate to the Peace Congress.
Price was at all times a staunch friend of public education and was instrumental in the establishment of a state normal school in New Jersey and also was very much interested in the development of a state military school in that state.
The early beginnings of the Masonic life of Price are clothed in uncertainty. It is not known where he became a Mason, though on December 13, 1853, he affiliated with Union Lodge No. 11 of Orange, New Jersey. Levi Stowel, while trying to organize California Lodge, wrote of holding a preliminary meeting in Price's house. Sherman says that Price's name appears as a member of a committee soliciting subscriptions to a joint stock company for the purpose of erecting in San Francisco a building to be occupied as a Masonic Lodge room. This notice, on August 23, 1849, was the first Masonic notice printed in California.
* * *
When William Downie was mining on the lower Yuba, in 1849, he observed that the higher up the river he searched, the larger the nuggets became. So, taking several “Kanacks” with him, he proposed to travel over the mountains to the upper reaches of the Yuba River. He traveled for several days over the deer trails but found “nothing likely.” Bears scared his mules and the “Kanacks.” On the third week the men decided to turn back and so informed Downie. He then said, “In the morning we will all go to the top of that mountain overlooking the river and, if we see nothing good, we will all turn back.” It was so agreed. The next morning from the top of the ridge they saw a great gravel bed in the river which they decided to investigate. It turned out to be so rich that each man was given his daily share of gold out of a tin can, thereby giving the place the name of “Tin Cup Bar.” It was just above the present town of Downieville.
Sherman characterizes Downie as “Brother.”
* * *
JAMES McHALL JONES
James McHall Jones was born in Georgetown, Kentucky, December 31, 1823. He studied law in Louisiana and was admitted to the bar on December 14, 1843, two weeks before he became twenty years old. After practicing law for a short time, he became ill and, to regain his health, went to Europe where he studied French, Italian and Spanish, becoming fluent in all three.
Having occasion to go by boat to Rome in very bad weather, Jones told the Captain he was sick and desired his meals served in his cabin. The Captain refused to grant this service. Jones soon discovered a Russia Count dining in his cabin. Jones accosted the Captain and inquired how this person could receive cabin service while ill and he, Jones, was denied that service when equally ill. The Captain justified the discrimination by saying the Russian was a Count. Jones and the Captain had a violent quarrel and Jones notified the Captain that if the Russian was a Count that “I am a Kentuckian.” The Italian Captain, supposing that to be some title of nobility, soon consented to Jones receiving the same service as the Count.
On his return to Louisiana Jones became a member of St. James Lodge No. 47, of Baton Rouge. He demitted in 1849, just before he started for California, and there is no record showing that he ever affiliated with any Lodge in California.
Shortly after arriving in San Francisco, in July, 1849, he sought election as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, wisely choosing to represent the San Joaquin district which embraced the southern Mother Lode region. He made a hurried campaign, traveling over the mountains by muleback and, though he had been in this state only a short time, he was elected.
At the time Jones took his seat in the convention, he was only twenty-five years old and the youngest delegate present. He was probably the best educated, too.
In the debates he took an important but not a prominent part. He frequently complained of exhaustion and was a sick man most of the time. The principal subjects upon which he spoke before the convention were property rights of married women, the judiciary system, banks, and the boundary question, all of which required much study and placed much strain on his health.
Jones contended for the separate property rights of married women as secured to them under the Civil Law as against their common-law status, and judicial structure as it exists in California today is, to a large extent, the result of his labors.
Following the close of the Constitutional Convention, Jones' health seemed to improve, and he soon devoted himself to an intensive practice of law. He soon became counsel for the Barron-Forbes Company in the litigation involving ownership of the famous new Almaden Quicksilver Mine near San Jose. Later, he was offered the position of United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, but declined.
On December 26, 1850, while not quite twenty-seven years of age, Jones was commissioned “Judge of the United States District Court of the Southern District of California.” He was a judge who never presided. The only orders Jones signed as United States Judge were for court adjournment by the clerk “on order of the Judge,” and the approval of the bond of the U. S. Marshal for the Southern district of California.
But Jones' days were numbered. He was slowly dying of tuberculosis, finally succumbing December 14, 1851.
He left an estate of approximately $100,000, acquired during his practice of a little more than one year. Had he been privileged to live, he would probably have become one of the most influential and distinguished citizens of California.
* * *
JOSEPH GOLDSBOROUGH BRUFF
Joseph Goldsborough Bruff was born in Washingrton, D.C., in 1804.
In 1848, while a draftsman in the Bureau of Topographical Engineers, in Washington, he made duplicate drawings of Fremont's reports and maps for Congress.
When President Polk announced that gold in great quantities had been discovered on the South Fork of the American River in California, Bruff cast aside his triangle and T-square and organized “The Washington City and California Gold Mining Association,” which crossed the continent by way of South Pass to California. This company adopted elaborate rules and regulations, not only covering their overland trip, but also governing their mining and other operations in California and the gold fields.
On arriving in California, Bruff's company disintegrated and Bruff, who took sick in the mountains, was forced to live in his tent until he had sufficiently recovered to travel into the interior.
He then made his way to Peter Lassen's ranch on Deer Creek, where he met Lassen and Saschel Woods and laid out Benton City for Lassen.
While at Lassen's ranch, Bruff drew a sketch of the ranch, the only picture or sketch extant of this historic spot where Western Star Lodge No. 2 held its first meeting under its Missouri Charter. The sketch shows Lassen's store and adobe, with three other adobes and a horse corral.
Bruff kept a most exhaustive diary of his trip to and from California, including all of his experiences while here. It was a masterpiece of minute detail, recording not only tedious day by day accounts of miles traveled, state of the weather and description of interesting scenes along the trail, but also observations, philosophical discussions, and tales and stories picked up on the trip. It was entitled “Gold Rush” and consisted of two volumes of text and illustrations made by himself.
Bruff failed in his efforts to make his fortune in the gold fields of California but, as he explained it after he arrived home in Washington, D.C., in July, 1851, he had “seen the elephant” and emphatically realized the meaning of the ancient myth---traveling in search of the Golden Fleece.
Bruff was a charter member of Federal Lodge No. 1 in Washington, and was an enthusiastic member of the Craft. His interest in Masons and Masonry was prodigious. In fact, the diary of his western travels shows a Square and Compass before the name of every Mason he met en route.
He died at his home in the East April 14, 1889.
* * *
WILLIAM H. RUSSELL
William H. Russell, who had served a term in the Kentucky Legislature and was a warm friend of Henry Clay, became a member of Lexington Lodge No. 149, A.F. & A.M., of Missouri.
He left Independence, Missouri, for the Far West with the first emigrant party of 1846. The Masons of that town tendered the western emigrants an old-time going-away party replete with good things to eat, a long procession and still longer speeches. Russell was chosen by his party to respond to the remarks of the Master of the local Lodge, which he did to the satisfaction of all present.
At Fort Laramie, Russell, Edwin Bryant (author of What I Saw in California), and seven others of the party traded their wagons and oxen for mules and pushed on ahead of the others for California.
Russell served in the California War of 1846-47 as Ordnance Officer with the rank of Major in the California Battalion. He was one of the commissioners at the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga and was active in behalf of Fremont during the controversy with Kearny. In March, 1847, he was sent East with dispatches, his chief mission being to secure Fremont's appointment as Governor of California. He was a principal witness for Fremont at that officer's court martial in Washington in the spring of 1848. In 1849, he returned to California and practiced law at San Jose, Sacramento, and San Francisco.
Russell was appointed U. S. Colonel at Trinidad de Cuba, and died in Kentucky.
* * *
WILLIAM TELL COLEMAN
William Tell Coleman was born in Kentucky in 1824. After the discovery of gold, he started overland for California, arriving in 1850. He came here intending to embark in mercantile pursuits and, soon after reaching San Francisco, opened a store which placed him along the leading merchants of the city. Through his genius for making friends, his friendship and cooperation were eagerly sought by those who recognized his ability and worth.
The years 1851 and 1856 were important ones in Coleman's civic career---ones in which the people of San Francisco looked to him for leadership. When great civic emergencies arise within any community, men equal to the situation seem to come forth as if by magic to lead and direct the moral forces of that community.
During the summer of 1849, San Francisco was terrorized by a gang of rowdies called “Hounds,” recruited from the dregs of the New York Volunteers. This lawless element was suppressed for a while, but before long it formed an unholy alliance with a more vicious element, the infamous “Sydney Ducks” from the Australian penal colonies. A reign of terror, never before experienced on the Pacific Coast, gripped the city. A series of disastrous fires destroyed millions of dollars of property. No officer of the law turned a hand. Criminals, emboldened by success, ran rampant, and the lives of decent citizens were not safe on the streets night or day. But, at last, in 1851, the decent people of the city could stand it no longer and instinctively looked for a leader. That leader was Coleman. He possessed that courage and fortitude so essential in an emergency. Under his direction and cool judgment the Vigilance Committee was formed of the most influential and respectable citizens of the community.
This committee put teeth into the law. It arrested men guilty of major crimes against society, gave them fair trials, hanged some, and banished others from the city. Within a short time law and order was restored, and the regularly elected city officials were able to function unhampered by criminals; and Coleman went back to his business career.
But the criminals were only subdued, not eradicated. Trouble broke out again in a few years. In 1856, following the assassination of that fearless journalist and champion of good government, James King of William, the law-loving people of San Francisco revived the Vigilance Committee to take over the reigns of government and temporarily assume the functions of helpless or “unwilling” public officials. Coleman, unanimously chosen president, soon perfected a military organization more powerful than the committee of 1851. Eight thousand active committeemen were enrolled at the Vigilance headquarters, “Fort Gunny Bags,” a fortified building on the south side of Sacramento Street, between Front and Davis. Each member pledged “his word, his honor, his life and fortune, if need be, for the protection of life and property of the citizens of the community.”
Crooks were arrested right and left. As before, they were given a fair trial with counsel and witnesses of their own choosing. The procedure was that of a properly functioning court.
The committee's work was thorough, for its members refused to be intimidated or in any way diverted from their purpose. After several hangings, the backbone of San Francisco's lawlessness was again broken and the committee disbanded. For a second time the indomitable, spectacular Coleman leadership and organizing genius had restored good government to the city. It was his conduct in these two major emergencies that moved early day newspapers to characterize him as “one of the most heroic figures in California history.”
Following the successful efforts of the 1856 Committee of Vigilance, Coleman returned to his business affairs, one of which was a clipper ship enterprise. And he soon found it necessary to move to New York City to direct the destinies of this concern.
In 1863, New York City was the scene of the disastrous Draft Riots. Great mobs raced through the city, attacking draft board headquarters, assaulting officials, setting fire to buildings, and pursuing and killing Negroes. One negro was tied to a tree and roasted alive.
The city and county authorities seemed powerless to stem this tide of lawlessness. Business was paralyzed.
Governor Horatio Seymour found that the militia was apparently unable to cope with the situation. But he knew William T. Coleman was in town, and he was acquainted with Coleman's Vigilance Committee record in California. So he instinctively turned to the one man who could bring order out of the chaos which gripped the city.
And Coleman again did the impossible. He organized, not only the lay members of the community, but the clergy as well. Within an incredibly short time the duly constituted city authorities were able to function.
Once more Coleman's courage endeared him to the people of a great city and marked him as a man “standing above his fellow men like Saul above his brethren.”
By 1877, Coleman had returned to San Francisco, his permanent home, where the Chinese question was at a fever heat. Hoodlums were committing all sorts of depredations in the Chinese quarter. It soon became evident that unless drastic action were taken, the lawless element would overrun the city. So, for the third time, the good citizens of San Francisco turned to “The Lion of the Vigilantes” for leadership, and almost overnight thousands came forth in answer to his call.
Conditions were now much different from those of 1856. This time, the United States Military authorities and the Governor of the state offered aid and assistance. Coleman, profiting by his hectic experience in the suppression of the Draft Riots, ordered enough hickory pick handles to equip a vast army of determined citizens. Each man was armed with a hickory club and side arms and constituted a special policeman.
The trouble makers were also organized. Entrenching themselves on high ground, they awaited the coming of the committee, led by Coleman. Coleman ordered his companies of club-armed “police” to charge the rioters and drive them back into the hills. It was a short battle, lasting about two hours. With coolness and courage, inspired by their leader, the police charged the entrenchment, and another lawless movement was broken for all time.
Coleman became one of the wealthy men of the state, but in later years lost the greater portion of his fortune in investments made in the Death Valley region.
He was made a Mason in Holland Lodge No. 8, New York City, in 1863, and was Past Grand Commander of California Commandery(sic) No. 1, San Francisco.
* * *
DR. F. WALTON TODD
Dr. F. Walton Todd, after whom Todd's Valley in Placer County was named, was a cousin of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. He was the first settler and planted the first apple orchard in that part of the state.
When Todd's orchard reached the bearing stage, he reaped a harvest in a unique way. As the miners passed through the valley, hungry for any kind of fruit, he allowed them to eat their fill from his trees, especially in the spring before the fruit was ripe. The result was that the miners suffered violent cramps and other alimentary distress that necessitated his professional services, for which he assessed fees that fully reimbursed him for the fruit so ravenously consumed.
We have no record that Todd ever affiliated with the Blue Lodge in this state, but he was a Mason and satisfied Stockton Chapter No. 28, R.A.M., to that effect, for he signed its by-laws and was recorded as a member in good standing March 29, 1887.
* * *
W. T. C. ELLIOTT
W. T. C. Elliott, popularly known as “Rough Elliott,” lived in Honey Lake Valley and, being a Mason, took more than an ordinary interest, not only in all things Masonic, but in all other affairs. Financially, he would have been better off if he had attended to his farm and not so much to other matters. As previous described, it was he who apprehended the murderer of Brother William Snelling and helped to wipe out the notorious Thorrington gang.
The record does not say where he was made a Mason.
* * *
Will Rogers---Humorist Extraordinary. When Will died, the world broke into tears! He had taught men to laugh. He truly “lived in a house by the side of the road” and was a friend of man.
Cowboy, entertainer, ambassador of good will, he, who had twirled a rope into fame, came up the hard way; but all he had passed through left no stain on his soul or hatred in his heart.
The inscription at the base of his statue at Claremore, Oklahoma, quotes him saying, “I never saw a man I didn't like.”
Will was made a Mason in Claremore Lodge No. 53, in Oklahoma, and never changed his Lodge affiliation.
His column, “Will Rogers Says,” was a daily must with most of the American reading public through the medium of some six hundred newspapers.
Will was proud of his Cherokee blood. The State of Oklahoma is represented in the American Hall of Fame at Washington, D.C., by two men with Indian blood in their veins---Will Rogers, the Cherokee, who taught men to laugh; and Sequoia, the Cherokee, who taught an illiterate nation to read.
* * *
GENERAL MARK W. CLARK
Born May 1, 1896, at Madison Barracks, New York, General Mark W. Clark graduated from West Point in 1917.
He was made a Mason in Mystic Tie Lodge No. 398, of Indianapolis, Indiana.
General Clark was assigned to the daring secret mission of laying the ground work for the successful invasion of North Africa in World War II. He secretly visited North Africa in a submarine and conferred with representatives of General Giraud and other sympathetic to the Allied cause at a time when the area was under Vichy domination and filled with Axis officials and agents. His conferences, surveys and reports formed the basis on which the invasion plans were developed, and his mission has been aptly described as a “Modern Message to Garcia.” His mission will certainly endure as one of the epics of the war.
He was one of the Army's youngest high officers, just forty-six years old at the time of his famous mission.
At the time this volume went to press, he was Commander of the Sixth Army here in California, and had recently received the highest French military decoration, the Legion of Honor, for his North African exploit.
As General Charles E. Mast, the French officer with whom Clark conferred in Algiers, made the presentation in a ceremony at the San Francisco Presidio, he said: “It was the first time in history that a General came ahead of his army.” Clark, with characteristic magnanimity, replied, “The decoration rightly belongs to the men of the 5th and 15th Army Group.”
He delivered an inspiring address at the Masonic Get-Together Banquet in the Palace Hotel, October 13, 1947.
* * *
Cadet Taylor was one of Pomona's foremost citizens, and the most versatile. He was a veteran legislator, politician, newspaper man, prospector, printer, postmaster, citrus grower, and national guardsman.
Born in a log cabin near Magnolia, Illinois, in 1848, he graduated from the Illinois State Normal University, at Bloomington. He attempted to break into the Civil War as a drummer boy in the Union Army, but was turned down on account of his youth. Later, however, he entered a different branch of government service, becoming clerk and principal executive officer under the public printer in the government printing office at Washington, D.C. Here, he became well acquainted with Presidents Arthur and Cleveland and had personal charge of the printing of messages and other confidential matter of both.
After coming to California, Taylor served four years in the State Senate. He was a Fifty-Year Mason in 1932, and a life member of St. John's Lodge No. 25, of Omaha, Nebraska.
* * *
CYRUS E. HULL
Cyrus E. Hull, one hundred and five years of age, and eighty-three years a Mason, was perhaps the oldest member of the Craft in the world at the time of his death at his home in Los Angeles, April 11, 1936.
Born in New Lebanon, New York, October 28, 1830, he was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Hampton Lodge of Springfield, Massachusetts, March 23, 1853. On moving farther west, he became a charter member of East St. Louis Lodge No. 504, of East St. Louis, Illinois, remaining a member of it for the rest of his life. At the conclusion of his 80th year as a Mason, an 80 Year Emblem was presented to him by his Lodge.
Hull was a railroad man, and had been connected with the first railroad built in Massachusetts. He was also a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. One of his fondest recollections was that of hearing the Great Emancipator's debates with Douglas.
* * *
GENERAL EDWARD CANBY
The Masonic Review of Cincinnati, under date of May, 1873, said, “General Edward Canby killed in the Modoc War in Modoc County, California, was a Mason and he was buried with the honors of the Order.”
According to Past Master E. C. Bonner of Alturas Lodge No. 248, “Canby was a Mason, a member of a Lodge in the East. His body was escorted under the auspices of the Craft to the Masonic Temple at Yreka and afterwards conveyed East.”
The Modoc War, which took place in 1872-73, was fought in the lava beds of northern California. The opposing forces were Captain Jack, the Modoc Chief, with fifty-two warriors, and General Canby with several hundred pioneer and regular army men and officers. The lava beds were peculiarly adapted to the Indians' way of fighting, and they were able to defend their rugged position for six months.
As many American soldiers were killed in this campaign as were killed in all the battles of the Spanish American War put together. But only two Indians lost their lives, and they were boys who, becoming too curious about an unexploded shell which fell in the beds, tried to cut it open with an ax. It exploded, killing both.
General Canby, anxious to end the troubles with the Modocs, consented to hold a peace talk with Captain Jack and some of his Braves. Jack and his men, at the peace conference, fired on Canby and the commissioners killing all but one. Following this treachery, the Indians were quickly subdued and Captain Jack, the leader, was captured and hanged.
* * *
John Gordon came to San Francisco from New London, Connecticut. He had served as Master of Union Lodge No. 31, A.F. & A.M., of that city in 1858; but the records show that he was stricken from the roll for non-payment of dues on December 19, 1878.
Gordon was reputedly the illegitimate son of Napoleon Bonaparte and, in a photograph taken of him in 1871, he bears a striking resemblance to his alleged parent. One account has it that he was begotten by the Emperor of a female housekeeper at St. Helena. Another says his mother was a French noblewoman who the British allowed to visit the Emperor. In any event, it seems agreed that he was born at St. Helena and was taken to Edinburg, Scotland, by Mrs. William Gordon. Here, he was adopted by Mrs. Gordon and her husband and learned the watchmaker's trade under his foster father.
When Gordon was of age, he married and moved to New London, Connecticut, where he established himself in the jewelry and watchmaking business. Later, on coming to San Francisco, he associated himself with a jeweler named J. W. Tucker and was bequeathed the business when Tucker died.
In time, Gordon moved to a smaller establishment at 231 Kearny Street, where he stayed until his death. He had the reputation of being the best watchmaker in the city, and combined an inventive genius with the personal habits and traits of his imperial father. He invented the first practical foghorn, a watch, and a device which effected the use of petroleum instead of coal in vessels. His watch movement had what was known as the “Gordon works.”
When Gordon died in San Francisco, in 1885, his funeral was attended by prominent members of the local French colony, who revealed for the first time that he was a Bonaparte.
* * *
MAJOR GENERAL JAMES H. CARLETON
Major General James H. Carleton played a leading part in the Americanization of the Southwest and in the holding of Arizona and New Mexico for the Union in the War among the states.
Carleton was a native of Maine and was commissioned Second Lieutenant, First Dragoons, October 18, 1839. He was assigned to frontier duty and, in 1845, was promoted to First Lieutenant; commissioned Captain in February 1847, and breveted Major in the same month.
In 1854, when stationed at Taos, he engaged in a successful campaign against the Apaches. Brother Kit Carson was his principal scout and guide.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was stationed in California. He immediately organized a regiment of volunteers known as the First Californians, and he was made its Colonel.
Carleton was very active in taking proper steps to put down any attempts on the part of Southern sympathizers to further the slavery movement. His correspondence during the early days of the war clearly shows his great loyalty to the Government at Washington.
When ordered to the relief of New Mexico, Carleton marched his “California Column” through the Imperial Valley and into the heart of Arizona and New Mexico by way of Fort Yuma. This has been considered one of the highlights of the Civil War in the West.
Captain John C. Cremony, of San Diego Lodge, was sent in advance to scout out the most feasible route to follow, and to discover and properly mark the sources of water sufficient for the column and its horses.
The march was successfully made to Yuma where a large body of Southern sympathizers on their way East from California to join the Confederate Army were apprehended and imprisoned. The column then moved swiftly forward and captured Tucson.
With respect to the epic march through the great desert region in the driest season of the year, in his report to the department, Carleton says, in part:
“The march of the 'Column from California' in the summer months across the great desert in the driest season that has been known for thirty years, is a military achievement creditable to the soldiers of the American Army; but success was gained only by the high physical and moral energies of that peculiar class of officers and men who composed the 'California Column.' With any other troops I am sure I should have failed.”
Carleton was breveted a Major General for gallant and meritorious service in 1863.
He was made a Mason in Montezuma Lodge of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in April, 1856.
* * *
ALONZO F. BROWN
Alonzo F. Brown died in South Pasadena, California, May 22, 1937, at the age of one hundred years and nine months. He had been four times Past Master of Laurel Lodge No. 13, of Roseburg, Oregon.
* * *
HARRY E. WADSWORTH
Harry E. Wadsworth, born near Springfield, Illinois, April 6, 1865, went to Lander, Wyoming, in 1885, and entered the newspaper business. Later he became engaged in the mercantile and banking business, and for several years was clerk to a Senate Committee under Senator Francis E. Warren.
In 1903, Wadsworth was appointed United States Indian Agent at the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Lander. In 1012, he transferred to the Superintendency of the United States Indian Training School near Salem, Oregon, and after that became Superintendent of seventeen Indian Reservations in Southern California. He retired from his Indian services, because of his age, in 1930.
Wadsworth was probably one of the best informed men in the west on Indian affairs. His sympathetic attitude toward the Redmen enabled him to assist them in the many land disputes and controversies which came before him for decision and disposal during his many years of service as Special Indian Agent.
He was a member of Wyoming Lodge No. 2, at Lander, Wyoming.
* * *
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), a member of Polar Star Lodge No. 79, St. Louis, Missouri, acted as Junior Deacon of Bear Mountain Lodge No. 76, at Angel's Camp, February 8, 1865.
While Mark was living with Will Gillis at Jackass Hill, the same year, he attended several Masonic functions at Sonora, but there is no evidence that he attended a tiled(sic) Lodge meeting there.
It was also about this time that Mark heard a man named Coons, of Angels(sic) Camp, tell about an early day frog jumping contest. Mark eventually fashioned this story into his The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which immediately established his reputation as a humorist among Eastern readers.
Twain was unaware that a newspaper at Sonora had carried a similar frog story ten years earlier, and that is was probably the source of the yarn told by Coons. It covered a frog jumping contest at Tuttletown, which was really nothing new. For, as Twain eventually learned, the ancient Greeks had a frog story strikingly similar to his own story, but with characters bearing other names, of course. All of which goes to prove there is nothing new under the sun.
* * *
R. L. HATHORN
R. L. Hathorn, a native of Maine, had a long and successful career as a San Francisco attorney. He was a resident of that city for sixty-seven years and, in his early days, was prominent in local politics, particularly as a founder of the Lincoln-Roosevelt League which supported Theodore Roosevelt in his first campaign for the presidency.
As a graduate of the University of California, Class of 1892, Hathorn was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity and a founder of Skull and Keys, an honor society. It was he who originated the famous “Pig Dinner,” which is held every year in honor of the celebrated novelist, Frank Norris, who once belonged to Phi Gamma Delta.
Hathorn belonged to Meridian Lodge No. 125, of Pittsfield, Maine, and was prominent as a Knights Templar in California.
* * *
MAJOR JOE FOSS
Major Joe Foss, the United States Marine corps flying ace who downed twenty-six or more Japanese airplanes in the South Pacific during World War II, was stationed at the Goleta Base in the spring of 1949.
Foss is a member of Minnehaha Lodge No. 5, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and was president of the Los Angeles Scottish Rite Class in which he received his Thirty-second Degree. He was last listed as a member of all Scottish Rite Bodies in the Valley of Santa Barbara.
* * *
JAMES FRAZIER REED
James Frazier Reed, a leader of the Donner Party of 1846, was a member of Springfield Lodge No. 4, of Springfield, Illinois, and never affiliated with a California Blue Lodge, although he became a member of Howard Chapter No. 14, R.A.M., of San Jose.
A more detailed sketch of him may be found in the Chapter entitled “There is a Wayfaring Man.”
* * *
JOHN CAMDEN CHEUVRONT, JR.
John Camden Cheuvront, Jr., was born in West Virginia, in 1896, a descendant of the Camdens, one of the first families of Virginia. He spent eighteen months in France during the First World War, serving in the Aviation Corps with Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt and Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, in the 94th and 95th Aero Squadrons. He has pictures of Roosevelt, snapped as he lay beside his plane after his fatal crash in France, and also of his grave. These pictures were taken from a German soldier.
Cheuvront came to California soon after leaving military service. He is a member of Washington Lodge No. 265, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
* * *
PERRY WINSLOW WEIDNER
Perry Winslow Weidner was born in Dayton, Ohio, on October 8, 1871. According to the Bulletin of the Los Angeles Consistory for September, 1932, he received his scholastic education in the public schools of Dayton and at Ohio State and Miami universities. He was for a short period clerk to the mayor of Dayton, then superintendent of the Money Order Division of the Dayton Post Office, and from there went to the Quartermaster's Department of the National Military Home.
In 1899, Weidner removed to Los Angeles and entered the banking business, becoming Vice-President of the Central Bank, which later merged with the Security National Bank.
He next became President of the Park Bank and when this organization consolidated with the California Savings Bank, he became Vice-President of the Los Angeles Title Insurance Company, and for a time was with the First National Bank.
He was also manager of the Mair Eastate and, for several years, served as German Consul, resigning in 1914.
During World War I, he organized the Southern District of California for the war saving campaign and was Assistant State Director.
In 1917, he entered the Quartermaster Corps of the United States Army and served in the Finance Division with the rank of Captain. At the time of his death he held a commission as Colonel in the organized reserves of the United States Army.
Soon after his return from war service, he became President of the United States National Bank.
Throughout his exceedingly busy financial life he was at all times wedded to those twin activities for which he will long and affectionately be remembered—Masonry and the American Public Schools.
Public education lost a strong, steadfast friend in the passing of Perry Weidner. To him, our public school system was the supreme achievement of democracy in America and wherever and whenever the public school system was in jeopardy, or under attack by its enemies, there you would find Perry in the front ranks asking no quarter and giving none.
He was made a Mason in Mystic Lodge No. 405, at Dayton, Ohio, in 1895, and later became its master. He never affiliated with any California Blue Lodge but remained a lifelong member of his home Lodge in Dayton.
He was also a member of all the concordant orders of Masonry. He helped organized Melrose Chapter No. 140, R.A.M., of Los Angeles, and was its Treasurer from the beginning. He was one of the organizers and first Commander of Golden West Commandery of Los Angeles; he was Grand Commander of California Knights Templar in 1915, and was elected Grand Master of the Grand Encampment in June, 1931.
He was a Thirty-third degree Scottish Rite Mason and was elected an active member of the Supreme Council. For years, he served as Secretary-General, then Grand Orator and, at the time of his death, was Grand Minister of State.
He held honorary and active membership in Masonic and civic organizations all over the world.
* * *
GLENN SCOBEY “POP” WARNER
Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner was born in Springville, New York, April 5, 1871, and graduated from Cornell University in 1894. He was heavyweight boxing champion of Cornell in 1893, a member of its track team, and captain of its football team in 1894. And since that time, he has devoted his energies to coaching the football teams of no less than eight great educational institutions—Cornell, University of Georgia, Iowa State College, Carlisle Indian School, University of Pittsburgh, Stanford University, Temple University, and San Jose State College.
Warner, who received the fifty year button on March 8, 1949, is a member of Springfield Lodge No. 351, Springfield, New York, and an honorary life member of Rotary International
* * *
WILLIAM BACON PETTUS
William Bacon Pettus, educator, lecturer, college professor, authority on Chinese languages, history and arts, has been a member of honor societies in America and abroad, and, since 1930, President of California College in China.
He was appointed Grand Chaplain pro tem by Grand Master William B. Ogden in 1940. At that Annual Communication of Grand Lodge, Pettus presented to Grand Lodge a copy of the Bible, published entirely in the Chinese language, requesting that it be presented each year to the Lodge which had rendered the most outstanding service to Masonic charity—the accepted definition of the word “charity” being in the sense of universal benevolence and universal brotherhood.
This Bible has since been presented to the following Lodges:
1941, Fidelity No. 120 of San Francisco; 1942, Pearl Harbor No. 598 of Honolulu; 1943, Fortitude U.D. of Chungking; 1944, Union No. 58 of Sacramento; 1945; No award; 1946, Trona No. 684 of Trona; 1947, Confidence No. 203 of Castroville; 1948, No award; 1949, No award.
* * *
BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT SWEPSTON ABERNATHY
Brigadier General Robert Swepston Abernathy, President of the National Sojourners in 1939, had a long, distinguished military career.
He was at one time stationed at Fort Alcatraz, in San Francisco Bay, and served with distinction in the Philippines in 1898. In 1903, he served at Fort McDowell and the San Francisco Presidio. In 1907, he was Commanding Officer at Fort Mason. In 1918, he commanded the Third Artillery Brigade of the A.E.F., in France. His next assignment was at Fort Monroe, and after that the Hawaiian Islands.
Abernathy is a member of Summerton Lodge No. 105, Summerton, North Carolina.
* * *
CAPTAIN JOHN COFFEE HAYS
Captain John Coffee Hays, afterward carrying the title of Colonel, was born in Tennessee in 1817 and moved to Texas when twenty-one years old. He commanded the Texas Rangers at the famous battle at Painted Rock.
He moved to San Francisco and, at the first county election, he was pitted as a candidate for the office of sheriff against Colonel J. J. Bryant who was a man of fortune, being the proprietor of the most extensive and best conducted hotel in San Francisco, known as the Bryant House. This hostelry was a place of resort for politicians who enjoyed his generous hospitality.
Bryant decided to spare no expense to win the coveted political prize. Hays carried on a spirited and spectacular campaign. In the midst of great political meetings, in his interest, held on the plaza, he would appear mounted upon a spirited black charger and would exhibit some of the finest horsemanship ever witnessed in San Francisco.
On the strength of this, Hays was elected by a large majority and was re-elected at the next election.
In the course of the discharge of his official duties as sheriff, he became somewhat involved with the Vigilance Committee of 1851.
Hays affiliated with Alamo Lodge No.44, in San Antonio, Texas, July 1, 1848, and demitted January 4, 1853. We are unable to trace his Masonic connections from that time.
* * *
FREDERICK MADISON SMITH
Frederick Madison Smith was president of the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 1915 to the date of his death on March 20,1946. He was the grandson of Joseph Smith, the organizer of the Mormon Church.
He led a very active and constructive life, not only in Missouri where the headquarters of his organization is located, but throughout the many states where his communicants are living. He often visited California, and took more than a passing interest in the history of the state and its people. His biography as contained in Who's Who in America, is too long for full recital herein, but a brief summary will illustrate his many interests.
Smith attended the University of Iowa, and received the degrees from the following colleges:
Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Divinity from Graceland College; Master of Arts, University of Kansas; Ph.D., Clark University.
He was editor of Lamoni Chronicles and the Journal of History, belonged to numerous historical societies and clubs throughout Missouri, and was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and Society of Colonial Wars.
He was raised a Master Mason in Carbondale Lodge No. 82, A.F. & A.M., and soon affiliated with Orient Lodge No. 546, of Kansas City, serving as its Master in 1934. He was Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Missouri in 1929-1930, and Grand Chaplain in 1940 and for the years 1942 to 1945.
He belonged to the several concordant degrees of Masonry. Smith was Illustrious Potentate of Ararat Temple, Kansas City, in 1941.
* * *
GENERAL HENRY H. (HAP) ARNOLD
We can present here, at the most, only a few highlights of the extraordinary career of our distinguished Brother, General Henry H. Arnold, World War II Commander of the United States Army Air Forces. His life story is measured by historic milestones in the growth of air power over a period of forty years. He rose from a pupil of the Wright Brothers, in 1909, to boss of the greatest air force the world has ever seen. During this time, he was a participant in the turning points of air power.
Born June 25, 1886, at Gladwyne, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Arnold boasted a genealogy that stemmed to John Arnold, who emigrated from England in 1740; and his line of descent is through a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
In June of 1907, he graduated from West Point and was commissioned Second Lieutenant, Infantry, June 14, 1907.
He married Eleanor A. Pool and has four children: Lois E., Henry Harley, Jr., William Bruce, and David L. Arnold.
From the year 1907 to 1946, when he retired as one of the four permanent Generals of the Army, he experienced many unusual assignments and was awarded no less than forty decorations. He also held eleven honorary degrees and memberships in many organizations.
Some highlights of his extraordinary career are as follows:
Pioneer aviator: learned to fly in 1911 ( Sims Station, Dayton, Ohio). Personal instructor, Mr. Orville Wright, co-inventor, with Wilbur Wright, of world's first heavier-than-air aircraft to achieve sustained flight;
Established altitude record in a Burgess-Wright airplane on June 1, 1912, when he flew to a height of 6,540 feet (College Park, Maryland);
Carried first air mail in the United States when, in September, 1911, he flew mail from Nassau Boulevard Airdrome, Long Island, to Hempstead, Long Island, a distance of five miles;
Received first Mackay Trophy ever to be awarded, on October 9, 1912, for a reconnaissance flight from Signal Corps Aviation School, College Park, Maryland, over a triangular course to Washington Barracks, D.C., Ft. Myer, Virginia, and return to College Park, a distance of thirty miles;
First military aviator to make use of radio to report aerial observation of Field Artillery fire (latter part of 1912, while on duty at Ft. Riley, Kansas);
In 1918, when United States inaugurated the world's first regularly scheduled air mail service, General Arnold was in direct charge of this activity as part of his duties as Assistant Director of Military Aeronautics;
Originated and activated first Army Aerial Forest Fire Patrol; patrol conducted over Washington, California and Oregon, 1919-1922;
Awarded Mackay Trophy for second time, in 1934, for leadership of flight of ten B-10 Martin Bombers from Washington, D.C., to Juneau, Alaska, and return. Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross in November, 1936, for this flight;
Assumed command of 1st Wing, GHQ, AF., March 2, 1935, with rank of brigadier general;
Appointed Assistant Chief of Air Corps, December 28, 1935;
Commanded U.S. Army Air Forces, September 22, 1938, February 9, 1946; (Note: Arnold's title from 1938 to March, 1942 “Chief of Air Corps;” from March, 1942-1946, “Commanding General, Army Air Forces.”
During this time, he developed the world's most powerful Air Force. When World War I began, the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, as it was then designated, had 1,152 men and 55 obsolete airplanes; in World War II the U.S. Army Air Forces reached a peak of 2,400,000 men and nearly 83,000 airplanes. This World War II Air Force is credited by many ranking enemy commanders, and by many ranking militarists of our own country, with having been the major factor in bringing about end of hostilities with Germany and Japan.)
During this period, General Arnold attended the following outstanding conferences:
August, 1941, Atlantic Charter Conference, “Four Freedoms” Conference;
May, 1942, member of an important military mission, including General Somervell, CG, Services of Supply, USA., and Rear Admiral John H. Towers, Chief of Bureau of Aeronautics, flew to London to hold conference with high ranking British officials, including Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal, regarding vital strategy for the critical months ahead;
January, 1943: Casablanca, Morocco; May, 1943: Washington, D.C. (Roosevelt-Churchill); November, 1943: Cairo; December, 1943: Teheran; September, 1944: Quebec; July, 1945: Potsdam-Berlin;
Made a 35,000-mile tour of inspection in North Africa, Middle East, India and China, early in 1943;
Also, in 1942, September 29-October 2, he commanded a flight from Brisbane, Australia, to Bolling Field, D.C.,-- a total elapsed time, 77 hours, 14 minutes, and received Distinguished Service Medal, October, 1942, for this flight;
Received Air Medal in March, 1943 “for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flights in furtherance of the development and expansion of the Army Air Forces;”
Was appointed one of the four Generals of the Army on December 21, 1944—the first airman ever to receive this rank;
Served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a member of the combined Chiefs of Staff during World War II;
Was appointed permanent General of the Army (Public Law 333, March 23,1946).
Brother Arnold was a resident of Sonoma County, California, and a member of Union Lodge No. 7 Junction City, Kansas; was coroneted at a Thirty-third Degree Scottish Rite, and was a member of the Sojourners. He addressed the Masonic Get-Together Banquet in the Palace Hotel, October 13, 1947.
He passed away at his home in the “Valley of the Moon,” January, 1950.
* * *
Rudyard Kipling visited San Francisco in 1889 and, while here, gathered material for a series of articles which were subsequently published in the Civil and Military Gazette and the Allahabad Pioneer, both in India. In anticipation of the criticism which he felt sure would be directed against him, he prefaced his commentary with the following:
“Protect me from the wrath of an outraged community if these letters be ever read by American eyes.”
In paying his respects to the city by the Golden Gate he characterized it as “a mad city-- inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people,” but he mellowed somewhat when he became enamored of the fair sex for he adds “whose women are of remarkable beauty.”
Kipling was amazed by the size of the diamonds worn by the clerks of the Palace Hotel; and his amazement knew no bounds when he wrote about “spittoons” which he encountered, not only in the barrooms, but in the halls, on staircases, and in each bedroom, and “in chambers even more sacred than these.” With respect to the San Francisco reporters, who continued to harass him for observations on newspaper writers of India, he broadly insinuated that in India these ubiquitous individuals would be given short shrift. The San Francisco reporters interested, but annoyed him no end.
He was fascinated by the cable cars which were entirely new to him and he says, “They take no count of rise or fall and turn corners at right angles and for aught I know may run up the side of houses.”
After listening to conversations on the street and in hotels and places of amusement he gave vent to the following rather hastily considered opinion, “They delude themselves into the belief that they speak English. The American has no language, his is dialect, slang, provincialism, accent and so forth.”
Our eating habits came in for caustic criticism from this all-observing young writer, who was just then at the very beginning of a long and productive literary life. He says, “The American does not drink at meals as a sensible man should. He has no meals. He stuffs for ten minutes thrice a day.” “Treating,” on the western coast, was a subject for his critical comment, and he sums up this popular pastime in these sententious words. “It is more than an institution; it is a religion.”
“When it came to that delectable drink called “Button Punch,” which Kipling imbided(sic) in San Francisco, he waxed eloquent in the following description: “T'will take ten minutes to brew but the result is the highest and noblest product of the ages...No man knows what is in it...I have a theory it is compounded of the shavings of cherub's wings, the glory of a tropical dawn, the red clouds of sunset and fragments of lost epics by dead masters.
Thus we see San Francisco, its people and their ways through the eyes of a young, impressionable Englishman of twenty-four years.
He had lived for a brief period in India, and for a briefer period in our midst; and he felt called upon to give the reading public his all-too-hasty impressions of Western America.
We can readily forgive him when we consider his youth. He was at that period of life when young men are prone to consider their opinions as the very last word on any subject, but who, later in life when reason gains the ascendency and experience has taught her lessons, so often review with chagrin the impetuous impressions of their younger days.
Kipling became a Mason in Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, of Lahore, India, in 1886, under special dispensation, before attaining his majority., At the age of twenty-two, he joined Independence with Philanthropy Lodge No. 291, at Allahabad. Later, he came a member, by invitation of Motherland Lodge No. 3861, in London.
* * *
HUA-CHUEN “H.C.” MEI
Hua-Chuen “H.C.” Mei is one of our most distinguished and beloved sojourners. His father was a pioneer merchant of San Francisco and for many years president of the Chinese “Six Companies.”
“H.C.” was born in San Francisco in 1888 and attended the public schools in San Francisco and New York. He graduated from Columbia University in 1911, receiving the degree of B.S., and was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1913, he received his L.L.B. at Columbia Law School and the following year took a post graduate course in the New York University Law School. From 1912 to 1915 he was a free lance reporter for the New York Times, Herald and Tribune. He served in different capacities with Chinese societies and organizations in America and China.
Mei was raised a master Mason in Senim Lodge, Massachusetts Constitution, and is at present a life member of Amity Lodge No. 106, at Shanghai. From 1933-1935, he was District Deputy Grand Master of the Philippines; from 1935-1939, District Grand Master for China; from 1945-1946, Special Representative of the Grand Master of the Philippines in China. He sponsored the organization of the Grand Lodge, F.&A.M., of China, from 1947-1949, and was chairman of the Committee on Policy and General Purposes of the Grand Lodge of China, in 1949.
During the late World War Mei was captured in the Philippines by the Japanese but they failed to recognize him as the one man they most desired—the chief of the Masonic movement in China. They well remembered the anti-Japanese speeches he made in American between 1938-1940.
At times, it seemed certain that the Japanese spies would be able to identify him. But his disguise, a long beard, sufficiently changed his appareance (sic) to avoid certain detection, though one Japanese spy who had known him as a Rotarian had a grave suspicion that he had seen Mei before, but he was unable to remember just where. Mei finally escaped from the Japanese and made his way into the American lines. The Japanese destroyed all of his personal belongings, including his trunkful of documents.
Brother Mei now lives with his family in Berkeley, California.
* * *
DAVID WARK GRIFFITH
David Wark Griffith is hailed as the “father of the film art” and the “King of Directors.”
In twenty-three years of production, he produced and directed over 450 films. “The Birth of a Nation” was his greatest. In fact, it unquestionably was the world's greatest picture. It brought in a box office total of almost $50,000,000 and probably netted Griffith $1,000,000.
In 1916 Griffith brought forth “Intolerance,” which brought down upon his hapless head the venom and spleen of critics in all sections of the country.
At that time, religious and political fanatics were determined to cripple, and, if possible, to kill the “creative freedom” embodied by this pioneer in an industry calculated to make people think. Almost alone, Griffith began to combat, on a nation wide scale, legislation against the new motion picture industry. It was to him a holy crusade to vouchsafe to the public the kind and character of creative entertainment they were demanding.
So dynamic and convincing was Griffith during this “round the circle” campaign that he succeeded in warding off the immediate efforts to throttle this embryonic industry.
His last great picture was the spectacular “America,” which was a great production but, for several reasons, not a financial success. About 1924, Griffith gave up independent production and affiliated with Paramount.
Though born in Kentucky, Griffith passed most of his active life in California, dying in Hollywood, July 23, 1949, at the age of seventy-three. When he died, a giant passed from the earth. As a Mason, he was a member of St. Cecile Lodge No. 568, of New York City.
* * *
ROBERT WILKINSON BOLLEN
Robert Wilkinson Bollen came west from Missouri, where he had been a member of Kenner Lodge No. 187. He affiliated with Carson Lodge No. 154 (now No. 1), in 1862. In 1867 he demitted to Douglas Lodge No. 12 and became its first Master.
In 1874 and 1875 he served as Grand Master of Nevada. In 1888, he demitted to Elsinore Lodge U.D. of Elsinore, California, and remained on its rolls until 1905. He died at Santa Monica, California.
* * *
POWHATAN E. EDMONSON
Powhatan E. Edmonson was the first Master under Dispensation and Charter of Eden Lodge No. 133, at San Leandro, in 1857. Later, he moved to Idaho and affiliated with Idaho Lodge No. 35, in Idaho City, and, in 1867, at the establishment of the Grand Lodge in that jurisdiction, was elected first Grand Secretary.
* * *
Benjamin Titus, a member of Naval Lodge No. 87, at Vallejo, California, demitted to Arizona and became Grand Master of that Grand Jurisdiction in 1885.
* * *
W. A. VAN BOKKELEN
W. A. Van Bokkelen, in 1859, was a member of Mount Moriah Lodge No. 44, in San Francisco. He withdrew in 1864 and moved to Nevada where he affiliated with Esmeralda Lodge No. 170 in 1865. He served as Grand Secretary of the Nevada Grand Lodge from 1867 to 1870 and became Nevada's Grand master in 1872.
* * *
Louis Cohn was made a Mason in St. Louis Lodge No. 86 and withdrew in 1866. He became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Utah in 1874.
* * *
Jacob Mayer was raised in La Parfaite Union Lodge No. 17, of San Francisco, in 1853.
He withdrew in 1854 and helped organize Lebanon Lodge No. 49 of San Francisco, serving as its first Senior Warden and, in 1855 and 56, as its Master.
He afterwards demitted, moved to the State of Oregon, and in 1867 affiliated with Willamette Lodge No. 2. He served that Grand Jurisdiction from 1881 to 1884 as Grand Treasurer and, in 1888, as Grand Master.
He died December 31, 1908.
* * *
MICHAEL A. MURPHY
Michael A. Murphy received his first and second degree in Clinton Lodge No. 119 of Igo, Shasta County, California, and was raised in Esmeralda Lodge No. 170, Nevada Territory, in June, 1864, at the age of twenty-six.
His schooling was only that of backwoods Illinois, but he had ambition and energy that impelled him to self-education. In Nevada, he became County Assessor, District Attorney, and Attorney General, and District Judge. In Masonry, he went from a pro tem. appointment as Tiler through the chairs to the Grand Mastership, holding the latter office in 1885.
* * *
ANSEL MELEN BRAGG
Ansel Melen Bragg was a charter member of Confidence Lodge No. 203 of Castroville in 1869 and continued in the Master's chair through 1870-71.
We next find him a member and Past Master of Nicolaus Lodge No. 129 of Wheatland but he withdrew in 1876. He moved to Arizona and, in 1882, became the first Grand Master of that Grand Jurisdiction.
He returned to California in 1884, affiliated with Los Angeles Lodge No. 42, and continued a member until his death, January 24, 1909, at the age of seventy-nine.
* * *
GEORGE W. HOPKINS
George W. Hopkins was a member of Minnesota Lodge No. 67, at Minnesota, Sierra County, California in 1855.
He withdrew in 1857 and affiliated with Forest Lodge No. 66 of Alleghany and appeared on the Roster for that year as Junior Warden. He was Master of that Lodge in 1858. In 1863 he withdrew and affiliated with Carson Lodge No. 154 (now No. 1), of Carson City, Nevada, and served as Marshal that year. He withdrew in 1864 and became a charter member and Master of Escurial Lodge No. 171, of Virginia city.
Hopkins became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Nevada for the years 1868 and 1869, but in 1882, we find him back in California as a member of Oakland Lodge No. 188.
* * *
DAYTON A. REED
Dayton A. Reed, a Past Master of Lexington Lodge No. 104, at El Monte, demitted to Arizona, became Grand Master of that Jurisdiction in 1893, and died in office.
* * *
JOHN A. SCOTT
John A. Scott, Past Master of Mission Lodge No. 169, of San Francisco, withdrew in 1874, removed to Salt Lake City, Utah, and affiliated with Argenta Lodge No. 3 of that city, became its Master and, in 1877, served as Grand Master of that Grand Jurisdiction. He served as Grand Treasurer for twenty-two years.
* * *
EDWARD A. STEVENSON
Edward A. Stevenson came to California in 1849 and attended school in Grass Valley. Later, he served as Alcalde and then Deputy Sheriff of El Dorado County. In 1853-54-55, he was a member of the California Legislature. In 1856, he was appointed Indian Agent for Northern California, Southern and Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho. In 1860, he was a member of the Legislature, and was speaker pro tem. in 1863. In 1885, he was appointed Governor of Idaho by President Cleveland and served four years.
Stevenson was initiated an Entered Apprentice in 1857 in Vesper Lodge No. 84, of Red Bluff, California. Upon moving to Idaho he was passed and raised in Pioneer Lodge No. 12 and served as Grand Master in 1876-77-78 and 1887.
* * *
THOMAS MILBURNE REED
The Grand Lodge Roster for the year 1856 not only shows Thomas M. Reed as a Past Master of Georgetown Lodge No. 25, but also Master of Acacia Lodge No. 92, at Coloma, the same year. There being no record of his withdrawal from Georgetown, where he had served as Master in 1855, he must have held dual membership. There is nothing to verify the statement of Sherman that Reed withdrew from Georgetown Lodge before he became a member of Acacia Lodge No. 92, and the Grand Lodge records show he represented both No. 25 and No. 92 at the 1856 Communication of Grand Lodge.
Reed moved to Idaho, then a part of Washington Territory, and was elected a member and speaker of the Territorial Legislature in 1862-63. In 1864, he was elected a member of the Legislature of Idaho Territory. In 1865, having been admitted to the practice of the law he removed to Olympia, the capital of Washington Territory, where he was Chief Clerk in the United States Surveyor General's office for seven years. In 1876, he was elected to the Council (Senate) of the Territorial Legislature of Washington, and in 1877 chosen president of that body. In 1878, he was appointed Territorial Auditor and continued in that office under the state for many years. In 1857, he had served as Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge of California.
Reed assisted in the organization of the Grand Lodge of Washington, December 8, 1858. He was elected Grand Secretary for four years. Then he was elected Grand Master, which office he held three years. In 1865, he was reelected Grand Secretary, which office he held until his death October 7, 1905, a record of forty-three years as Grand Secretary and forty-seven years as Grand Lodge officer of the Grand Lodge of Washington.
* * *
Berryman Jennings' career is to be found in the records and history of five states—Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, California and Oregon. He was born in Kentucky in 1807, moved to Illinois, and in 1930 in Iowa, became the first school teacher in the first schoolhouse north of the Missouri, and between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.
Jennings was raised in Des Moines Lodge No. 1, Burlington, Iowa, in 1845, and demitted to become a member of Multnomah Lodge of Oregon City, Oregon when he moved West. He first settled in Oregon City, but, for a short period, lived in California.
Jennings installed the officers of Multnomah Lodge No. 84 on September 11, 1848—the first installation in the first Lodge on the Pacific Coast.
He became Senior Warden of New Jersey Lodge U.D. at Sacramento, December 4, 1849.
In April, 1850, he was a member of the convention that organized the Grand Lodge of California, and was elected the first Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of California. But he resigned on returning to Oregon shortly thereafter.
He affiliated with Multnomah Lodge No. 84 (now No. 1), and remained a member until his death. Also, he helped establish Willamette Lodge No. 2 and was a member of the convention called to form the Grand Lodge of Oregon. He became Oregon's first Grand Master, serving two years.
In Sacramento, California, New Jersey Lodge was named after Jennings, being called at first Berryman Lodge No. 4, and later renamed Jennings Lodge No. 4.
There was a most unfortunate circumstance in connection with a sum of money Jennings loaned to some of the members of Jennings Lodge, which they used for charity purposes, and which eventually led to charges and countercharges not justified by all the facts of the entire transaction.
When Jennings attempted to collect on the note given him for the amount, the money had been spent, and those who borrowed it greatly desired to forget the incident.
The action of the Jennings' members whose names were on the note given Jennings for money, which in good faith he loaned them, was not in keeping with the high precepts and principles which should govern members of the Fraternity in dealing with one another.
He came to their rescue in the hour of their necessity, and instead of heaping harsh condemnation upon his head, Jennings should have been given unusual honor as one who exemplified the true Masonic virtues of charity and brotherly love in a time of great need.
* * *
GEORGE H. COE
George H. Coe was the charter Master of Oro Fino Lodge No. 137, at Oro Fino, Siskiyou County, California, in 1859.
He moved to Idaho, affiliated with Idaho Lodge No. 35, and became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Idaho in 1867.
* * *
JONAS W. BROWN
In 1855, Jonas W. Brown, County Clerk of Siskiyou County, was the first Senior Deacon, of Howard Lodge No. 96 of Yreka, California. In 1861, he was its Master.
Brown moved to Idaho and became a member of Idaho Lodge No. 35, at Idaho City. In 1884, he affiliated with Boise No. 2 and remained a member until his death in 1916 at the age of ninety-one. He was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Idaho from October 8, 1869, to October 6, 1870, and again from October 6, 1871, to December 12, 1872. He served as Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Idaho from 1883 to 1885 and from 1894 to 1895.
Curtis F. Pike, in his The Beginnings of Freemasonry in Idaho, says that “Brown became the most outstanding Mason in Idaho and remained so for more than a third of a century.”
He had been Senior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of California.
* * *
ALEXANDER GIBSON OLIVER
Alexander Gibson Oliver affiliated with Clay Lodge No. 101 in 1868 and, after serving as Junior Deacon, Junior and Senior Warden in 1868-69, 1870-71-72, he was elected and reelected Master in 1873-74.
Demitting therefrom, he assisted in organizing, and was appointed Master of, Tyre Lodge No. 238 at Gold Run (now extinct), and was twice reelected.
Oliver moved to Arizona where he helped organize the Grand Lodge of that Grand Jurisdiction, and became Grand Master in 1891.
* * *
Thomas Amos was a member of North Star No. 91 at Fort Jones and demitted to Evening Star No. 186 at Etna Mills. He moved to Washington where he became Grand Master of that jurisdiction in 1891.
* * *
DAVID EWING BAILY
David Ewing Baily was the first Master of Silver Gate U.D., in 1889, and Silver Gate Lodge No. 296, in 1890.
He was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Nevada in 1884.
* * *
ADOLPH LEIGH FITZGERALD
Adolph Leigh Fitzgerald was a member of Santa Rosa Lodge No. 57, at Santa Rosa, California. He affiliated with Nevada Masonry and, in 1887, became Grand Master of Masons in that state.
* * *
ALEXANDER H. MOREHEAD
Alexander H. Morehead was a charter member of Grafton Lodge No. 141, in which he received his Degrees while it was under dispensation. After serving as Secretary, in 1861, and Senior Warden, in 1862-63, he withdrew, in 1865, and affiliated with the Lodge at Canyon City, Oregon (Canyon City No. 34). He later withdrew from that Lodge and affiliated with Silver City Lodge No. 8, at Silver City, New Mexico, August 12, 1897, and became its Master, and later Grand Master of the New Mexico Jurisdiction.
* * *
CHAUNCEY N. NOTEWARE
Chauncey N. Noteware was a member of Diamond Lodge No. 29, of Diamond Springs. Noteware demitted to Acacia No. 92 at Coloma. He then moved to Nevada and served as Grand Secretary of that Grand Jurisdiction from 1887 to 1910.
* * *
WILLIAM HENRY HOWARD
William Henry Howard was a member of California Lodge No. 1 until 1854, when he withdrew and became Master of San Jose Lodge No. 10 the same year. He is classified as a Past Master in the roster for that year.
In 1848 and 1849, Howard was Grand Secretary of the previously mentioned Louisiana Grand Lodge, Ancient York Masons, which had invaded the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana.
Howard was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California for the years 1854, 1855 and 1856. He withdrew from No. 10 in 1863 to become first Master of Virginia Lodge No. 162, at Virginia City, Nevada, then under California Jurisdiction.
He passed away in Virginia City, September 13, 1865, five days before the opening of the second Annual Communication of the Nevada Grand Lodge.
* * *
NELSON D. MORSE
Nelson D. Morse in 1847 was Grand Master of the Grand Jurisdiction of Illinois.
In October, 1849, the Grand Lodge of Illinois issued a dispensation for Pacific Lodge to be located at Long's Bar, not far from Oroville, with Past Grand Master Nelson D. Morse as Master. This Lodge was short lived. In 1854, Morse returned to Illinois.
* * *
JAMES RICE, JR.
James Rice, Jr., Grand Master of Kentucky, in 1852, came to California and affiliated with Occidental Lodge No. 22 and became its first Master.
* * *
ALEXANDER H. PUTNEY
Alexander H. Putney, a hatter by trade, was born in Massachusetts February 6, 1804. When he moved to Portland, Maine, in 1828, he was already a Master Mason, and he accordingly affiliated with Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 17, of Portland. He was Grand Master of Maine in 1847 and 1848 and served his Lodge as Treasurer for five years.
On his arrival in California, in 1849, Putney settled in Murphys, where he affiliated with Ophir Lodge No. 33 as a charter member in 1853, becoming its first Master.
As Justice of the Peace of the Murphys precinct, he was first to judge the contest over the Carson Hill mining property, between the Finnegar group and the Morgan interests.
Putney was also the telegraph operator of Murphys for some time, and in 1859, after the fire, he built the Putney's Opera House.
He died in California in September, 1861 at the age of fifty-seven years.
* * *
DR. JOHN R. CRANDALL
In 1848 Dr. John R. Crandall before coming to California was Deputy Grand Master of Masons in the State of Illinois. In 1849 he received a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Illinois to open a Lodge in any state or territory where no Grand Lodge existed. Under this authority he opened a Lodge in Marysville, California in the spring of 1850 under the name of Lavely. Lavely Lodge continued to work until the organization of the Grand Lodge of California. It ceased its labors under the Illinois dispensation, applied to the California Grand Lodge, and received a charter under the name and number of Marysville No. 9.
Crandall afterwards affiliated with Eureka Lodge No. 16, at Auburn, and served in Grand Lodge, in 1853, as Senior Grand Warden.
* * *
Lucien Herman was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana in 1848-49. He came to California and affiliated with La Parfaite Union Lodge No. 17, of San Francisco, in 1852, and withdrew therefrom in 1856.
* * *
FRANCIS E. WHITE
Francis E. White who, on January 19, 1941, celebrated his 97th birthday, was born in Yorkshire, England, January 20, 1848, and died in Los Angeles, June 11, 1945.
For many years, White was Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. He received the 33rd Degree Honorary on December 4, 1909, from the Supreme Council 33rd Degree, A.& A. S.R., Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A.
* * *
JAMES WILLIAM FOLEY
James William Foley, poet, philosopher and newspaper writer of national reputation, was a member of Bismarck Lodge No. 5 of Bismarck, North Dakota, and became Grand Master of that state.
He affiliated with Corona Lodge No. 324, of Pasadena, on December 14, 1919, of which he was a member until his death.
He was also an honorary member of the Kiwanis Club, of Pasadena, which each year had followed the custom of holding a “Foley Day” program, with the poet as speaker.
* * *
LEANDER W. FRARY
Leander W. Frary, a dentist, was born in Moravia, New York.
(Missing words) Ohio. Subsequently he moved to Montana, where he became a charter member and first Master of Montana Lodge No. 2, and in 1867, the second Grand Master of Montana.
Frary came to California and became the first Master of Corona Lodge No. 324 in 1895.
He died in Pasadena, October 24, 1911.
* * *
SAMUEL W. CHUBBUCK
Samuel W. Chubbuck, a member and Master of Silver Star Lodge No. 165, of Nevada Territory, served the Nevada Grand Lodge as Grand Secretary from 1873 to 1877.
He had been elected and served as Lieutenant-Governor of Nevada.
In 1892, he was living in Oakland, California, where he was a member of Oakland Lodge No. 188, and agent for the Wells Fargo Express Company.
* * *
Augustine Haas was born in Baden, Germany, August 26, 1832. He crossed the plains to California in 1851. He received the degrees in Owen Lodge No. 108, at Scott's Bar, Siskiyou County, California, in 1856, and served as Junior Warden in 1859. When the first Grand Lodge of Idaho met, he was Senior Warden of Boise Lodge No. 37 and was chosen the first Senior Grand Warden, though he had never at that time been Master of a Lodge. Later, he became Master of Boise Lodge No. 2. He died in Boise on January 3, 1896.
* * *
HENRY L. WALDO
Henry L. Waldo, a lawyer in Amador County, was elected District Attorney and continued the practice of law until 1873, when he moved to San Fe, New Mexico
As a young man he was made a Mason in Amador Lodge No. 65, at Jackson, California. Later, on removal to New Mexico, he affiliated with Montezuma Lodge No. 1, in Santa Fe.
In 1876, President Grant appointed Waldo Chief Justice of the Territory of New Mexico, which office he resigned in two years. In 1879, he became Attorney General of the Territory, holding that office, too, only two years.
When the Santa Fe Railroad came into the Territory, he became head of its legal department, which position he filled until his death.
* * *
SAMUEL BEACH AXTELL
Samuel Beach Axtell, born in Ohio in 1819, came to California in 1851 and settled in Amador County, where he was soon elected District Attorney, which office he held for three terms.
He became a member of Amador Lodge No. 65, at Jackson.
In 1860, he moved to San Francisco, where he practiced his profession.
He was elected to the Fortieth and Forty-first Congress.
In 1874, President Grant appointed him Governor of the Territory of Utah. The next year, he was transferred to New Mexico, and inaugurated Governor in 1875.
He took an interest in education and soon learned that certain ecclesiastical interests, through the grafting politicians, had dissipated the school funds. He found that the church had prevented the enactment of legislation to establish popular education in the Territory.
Axtell made an heroic fight to establish an adequate system of public schools in that Territory, but was checkmated by a church-controlled legislation. Congress finally took a hand and annulled legislation passed over Axtell's veto, surrendering all education in the Territory to the church.
In 1878, Governor Axtell was superseded by General Lew Wallace as Governor of New Mexico. He left the Territory and opened an office in Cleveland, Ohio, where he engaged in the practice of law.
In 1877, while Chief Executive of the Territory, he called the first Grand Lodge, A.F. & A.M., of New Mexico, to order.
In 1882, Axtell returned to New Mexico with an appointment of Chief Justice of the Territory. He was warned by desperate characters in Colfax County that, if he attempted to hold court, his life would be in danger. He promptly opened court on the day appointed, ordered the sheriff to disarm all persons in the court room and the business of the court proceeded as scheduled.
As a Judge, and a man, Axtell will always be remembered by the good people of New Mexico with respect and affection.
* * *
LOUIS G. CAMPBELL
Louis G. Campbell, in 1902, was elected to a four-year term in the Colorado State Senate. He subsequently moved to Nevada and, in November, 1908, was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Humboldt Lodge No. 27, at Lovelock. From it, he demitted to Winnemucca Lodge No. 19, in 1915, and served as Grand Master of Nevada in 1920.
Coming to California, in later years, Campbell was appointed Deputy Attorney General and retired from that important post July 1, 1947, after serving nineteen years. He is now practicing law in Los Angeles.
* * *
JOHN PAUL JONES DAVISON
John Paul Jones Davison, named for the daring Captain John Paul Jones of American Navy Revolutionary War fame, was born November 9, 1787, in Norwich, Connecticut.
He served, in 1822, as a Volunteer Captain in the Mexican Navy against Spain in the War of Mexican Independence. He also served in the war between the United States and Mexico in 1846-47-48.
Following his discharge, he remained in California, working in the mines and in the Mare Island Navy Yard. His last work there was in repairing the famous ship Kearsarge, which sank the Confederate Privateer Alabama during the Civil War.
He moved to Georgetown, California, where he had formerly resided.
He was six-feet and four-inches tall, and straight as an arrow.
He was never sick a day in his life, and the only thing which ever affected him was a thunderbolt which struck within a few feet of him during a storm in the mountains, which temporarily paralyzed his legs below the knees.
He was raised a Master Mason on November 10, 1810, when twenty-three years old, in St. John's Lodge, F.&.A.M., at Boston, Massachusetts.
He had demitted and affiliated with other Lodges, then became a member of Georgetown Lodge No. 25, at Georgetown, in 1852.
At the time of his death, June 5, 1885, he had lived ninety-eight years, six months and twenty-eight days, and had been a Master Mason seventy-five years and seven months. He had been a Past Master for forty-years and High Priest of his Royal Arch Chapter for forty-one years.
* * *
Daniel McDonald was born at Lochaber, Nova Scotia, on January 1, 1838, and lived there for thirty years.
He became a Mason in Nova Scotia, in 1865, and affiliated with San Benito Lodge No. 211, at Hollister, on November 2, 1895. He remained a member of San Benito Lodge and rest of his life, and was, until shortly before his death, a regular attendant of its sessions.
On October 6, 1939, Grand Master Leon O. Whitsell convened a Special Session of Grand Lodge at Hollister and presented McDonald with a Seventy-five year Emblem. The Grand Lodge of Novia(sic) Scotia also sent a Seventy-five Year Medal to him.
He died May 21, 1940, at the ripe old age of one-hundred-and-two years, four months and twenty-one days.
* * *
ANDREW JACKSON HENDRICKSON
Andrew Jackson Hendrickson was born in Ohio in 1847 and, as a lad of six, moved with his family to a farm near Center Point, Iowa.
On November 14, 1869, he was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Vienna Lodge No. 142, of Center Point.
Several years later he contracted a severe case of whooping cough and was advised by his physician to seek another climate for, in all probabilities, he had not over one year to live. He therefore moved to Northern California in 1886, visited relatives in San Bernardino County, and finally settled in the embryonic town of Redlands.
Hendrickson had the distinction of becoming the first member of Redlands Lodge No. 300, in 1890, after its organization. On November 13, 1944, Deputy Grand Master Lawrence C. Kelley presented Hendrickson a seventy-five years emblem at a Special Communication of Redlands Lodge No. 300, in the presence of several hundred members of Redlands Lodge and visitors.
He passed away in September, 1947, having been a Mason for seventy-eight years.
* * *
WILLIAM JOHN BURWELL
William John Burwell, a master barber, was born in Wabash, Ontario, Canada, on January 10, 1851, and spent his early life in that vicinity. He was initiated in St. Thomas Lodge No. 44, Province of Ontario, on August 7, 1873, passed October 9, 1873, and raised by that Lodge on November 13, 1873. Later he moved to California with his family and settled in San Diego, where he plied his trade for more than 50 years – till his retirement at the age of 87.
Burwell affiliated with San Diego Lodge No. 35, July 14, 1894, and became one of the most faithful members in its history. It is believed that his record of attendance at meetings and funerals cannot be equaled by any other member.
On September 6, 1935, at the age of 84 years, he passed a very creditable third degree proficiency examination and was given his certificate, one of his most cherished possessions.
On November 12, 1948, on the occasion of the official reception of the Grand Master by San Diego County Lodges, Burwell was especially honored by the presentation of his Seventy-five Year Emblem. He was escorted by the Master of his Lodge, Maurice B. Ross, who served as Marshal for the occasion, to the East, where the Most Worshipful Edward H. Siems, Grand Master of Masons in California, paid tribute to his 75 years of service to his beloved Fraternity and, with impressive ceremonies, presented to him the beautiful emblem containing the numerals 75 superimposed on the Square and Compass. Past Grand Master Claude H. Morrison, also a member of San Diego Lodge, served as Chaplain.
Nearly 500 Masons were present for the reception and presentation ceremonies.
Burwell passed away April 2, 1950.
* * *
PHILIP ANDREW GUNSOLUS
Philip Andrew Gunsolus was born on November 17, 1849, in Hastings, near the shore of Lake Ontario, in Ontario, Canada. He attended school in Hastings and later in Brockway Center (now Yale) in St. Clair County, Michigan, where his parents moved in 1871.
In 1870, young Philip attended business college in East Saginaw, Michigan, and after graduation worked for a lumber company in different capacities until 1876.
On March 18, 1875, he was raised a Master Mason in Brockway Lodge No. 316, Brockway Center, Michigan.
In 1876 he moved to Knox County, Illinois, and undertook farming for a while but soon left agriculture and worked as a salesman in a general store.
In 1883, with two of his friends he left for California and arrived in Colton, California on March 20, 1883. He immediately settled in Riverside where he has lived ever since.
At first he was employed as a bookkeeper for the Riverside Land and Irrigation Company. When that company was purchased by the Citizens Water Company, now the Riverside Water Company, his employment terminated and for the following two years he was engaged as a clerk in the dry goods store of Emil Rosenthal and Company. Rosenthal was the first candidate raised in Evergreen Lodge No. 259 at Riverside.
Brother Gunsolus was later employed by Wilbur and Reynolds; then later by George N. Reynolds and Company. For several years he was employed as a bookkeeper for the Pioneer Lumber Company and also for a time was employed by McBean and Company.
During the latter part of the 19th Century he served as Horticulture Inspector for Riverside County and also as custodian of the County Court House.
He then decided to enter politics and in 1907 was elected the first City Treasurer under the new charter, which office he held for two terms. In 1916 he was representative of S. C. Evans, Jr., in the liquidation for the First National Bank of Riverside in connection with their extensive holdings at East Newport, and during that time he also ran a grocery store at that location.
In 1924 he became the first curator of the Riverside Museum. He was then seventy-five years old, when many men are compelled to retire, but he held this office for over twenty years, or until he had reached the ripe old age of ninety-five years.
He was then retired and pensioned under the new City of Riverside Pension Program.
However, he continued without salary for several months and complained at that time that it is all right for people who don't want to work to retire, but “I wouldn't know what to do with myself, and besides, they haven't anyone to take my place.”
Brother Gunsolus affiliated with Evergreen Lodge from Yates City, Illinois, on September 30, 1887.
In the Royal Arch Masons he was Exalted February 4, 1880, in Eureka Chapter No. 98, Yates City, Illinois, and affiliated with Riverside Chapter No. 67 September 24, 1886 and became High Priest in 1905. He received the Order of the Red Cross in Riverside Commandery No. 28 on March 31, 1891, was Knighted on May 26, 1891, and became Commander in 1910. For many years recently he has been Prelate Emeritus of the Riverside Commandery.
Brother Gunsolus is also Past Illustrious Master of the Valley Council, Royal and Select masters of San Bernardino.
On March 7, 1930, he was presented with a fifty year button by Grand Master C. M. Wollenberg.
On the evening of March 31, 1950, Past Grand Master Leon O. Whitsell presented Brother Gunsolus with a seventy-five year button, in Evergreen Lodge.
* * *
WILLIAM JARDINE CLAYTON
William Jardine Clayton, born in Tasmania, on November 24, 1835, came to California in 1849. He was initiated in Caymus Lodge No. 93, June 30, 1858, and demitted to Yount Lodge No. 12, of Napa, later affiliating with Clear Lake Lodge No. 183, at Lower Lake, yet he received a seventy-five year button eleven months ahead of the 75th anniversary of his petitioning for the degrees of Masonry.
He died July 6, 1932.
* * *
John W. Smith was born December 25, 1841, and passed away at the Veteran's Home at Yountville, June 11, 1948, at the ripe old age of one hundred-and-six years and six months.
He was a member of Santa Cruz Lodge No. 38, of Santa Cruz. Smith's biography is in Santa Cruz Lodge No. 38.
* * *
Philip A. Gunsolus was made a Mason March 18, 1875, in Brockway Lodge No. 316, Brockway Center, Michigan, and affiliated with Gate City Lodge No. 4487 of Illinois. On September 30, 1887, he affiliated with Evergreen Lodge No. 259, of Riverside, California.
Gunsolus was born November 17, 1849, and was raised a Master Mason March 18, 1875. He was one hundred years of age on November 17, 1949, and on March 31, 1950, received his seventy-five year button.
* * *
Dr. Seminite Julius Von Hersch was 104 years of age when he received his Fifty-year Button on January 8th, 1941, in Oakland Lodge No. 188.
George C. Pardee, former Governor of California and Senior Past Master of No. 188, was scheduled to make the presentation, but illness rendered it impossible for him to be present; so Past Grand Master Robert B. Gaylord did it for him.
When he appeared in the Lodge to receive his Fifty-year Emblem, he was able to walk without assistance. After the presentation, at the request of the Lodge, he took his seat at the piano and, despite his impaired hearing and age, was able to render some of Wagner's compositions.
At the age of one-hundred-and-five he was killed when struck by an automobile at a crossing in Oakland. His full biography is to be found under Oakland Lodge No. 188.
* * *
Arthur W. Aiden, who now resides in Santa Barbara, probably holds the record of Masons in California who received his degrees prior to becoming twenty-one years of age.
During the first World War, Aiden was made a Mason, at the age of eighteen by special dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. He had enlisted in the English Army and, before he left for the front, Caledonian St. John Royal Arch Lodge No. 195 at Campsie Glen, about ten miles from Glasgow, conferred upon him the three degrees of Masonry. He has a life membership in his Scottish Lodge and has never affiliated in California.
* * *
Clark Shaw, Past Master of Long Beach Lodge No. 327, has been Inspector of the 97th Masonic District since July, 1911, and is the oldest California Inspector in point of service in California, and probably in the entire United States.
* * *
THOMAS STARR KING
Oriental No. 144. Grand Orator 1862-63.
Thomas Starr King, a Unitarian Minister and popular lecturer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, December 6, 1824.
On advice of his physician he came to California for his health in 1859 and was soon recognized as the greatest preacher on the Pacific Coast. By 1863, he had erected a large church in San Francisco and had a flourishing congregation to which he would have devoted all his attention had he not been in constant demand as a speaker all over the northern part of the state.
When the Union cause was at its lowest ebb in this state, and friends of the North feared that the Southern cause would prevail, King sensed the danger and took a tremendous load upon his own shoulders. He began a series of lectures to bolster the Union cause and put courage and determination into the very soul of all defenders of the Northern cause. As he traveled all over California and Oregon, his eloquence and logic did more than all other forces combined to defeat the plans and conspiracies of Southern sympathizers. He was the greatest master of words on the entire West Coast.
King was also the strong man behind the Sanitary Commission in California. His efforts to raise money for relief of the suffering soldiers on both sides of the War were tireless and unceasing. In the face of obstacles which would have discouraged and defeated the efforts of less enthusiastic workers, King never faltered until he had materially assisted in raising a fund of $1,235,000, which was close to one-fourth of the sum contributed by the whole nation.
His superhuman efforts in the cause of humanity, however, so weakened his already frail health that he fell an easy victim of diphtheria and died March 4, 1864.
At the time of his death, King was a member of Oriental Lodge No. 144, of San Francisco, and was Grand Orator of California. Today, his memory is perpetuated as one of California's two representatives in the National Hall of Fame at Washington, D.C. Also, a giant tree in the Mariposa Grove and a dome in the Yosemite Valley are named after him.
* * *
Transcribed 6-17 Marilyn R. Pankey.
Source: “One Hundred Years of Freemasonry in California Vol. 1” by Leon O. Whitsell, Pages 14-70, 190-258. Publ. by The Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons of California, 1950.