A History of E Clampus Vitus by

Ken Castro XSNGH


 

CLAMPER EPIC-in-PROSE 5/94

Submitted in keeping with request by Joe Allison, Mighty Clamp-bastard, on occasion of 13th annual meeting of PxP’s May 28, 1994 at Mariposa, California, for a very brief history of Clampers. (Signed: Kenneth M. Castro, PxP1 Clamplaquero GC)

A very brief history in three parts:

ECV -- Clampheritage
ECV Redivivus -- 1930 to present (updated by Frank Houdek)
PxP’s

I. ECV -- Clampheritage

 

The ancient and honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus in California was born of the gold rush in the Mother Lode, and later thrived in the silver mining camps of the Comstock Lode in Nevada. It was a fraternal society, in a world filled with hard-ship, separation and loneliness. It was a benevolent society, to help those in need. It was a secret society. It was an American institution, springing up within two years after the end of the Mexican colonial period in 1848, with little history of its own to record.

Gold was discovered in Alta California on March 9, 1842, by Francisco Lopez y Salgado at Placenta Canyon—placer gold— on Rancho San Francisco (formerly a rancho of San Fernando Mission), near Newhall, Los Angeles County. He was a vaquero (cowboy), educated at the University in Mexico City where he studied at Colegio de Mineria. Within a month he and his companions filed what is California1s first request for a gold mining claim. The placers were worked from 1843 to outbreak of war between the United States and Mexico in 1846.

(Platrix Chapter No. 2, whose members did historical research, erected a plaque to "Oak of the Golden Dream" on November 15, 1992, to mark the first authenticated discovery of gold in California.) Six years later, on January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill, Coloma, El Dorado County—ten days before the end of the Mexican colonial period. Marshall was an americano living in Alta California. Ensuing publicity of his discovery led to the great California gold rush.

And before that....

 

  • Year: 1845. Place: Virginia, west Appalachian Mountains (now West Virginia). Ephriam Bee received commission authorizing him to extend work and influence of the ancient and honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus. U.S. Commissioner Caleb Cushing returned from Orient in 1844--amid much public interest—opening diplomatic and trade relations with the still mysterious Kingdom of China. Ephriam Bee received his commission from the Emperor of China. It is said the Order dates from 4005 B.C.

    Bee was a practical joker, raconteur, teller of tall tales. He was a blacksmith and keeper of a tavern at Meat House Fork of Middle Island Creek, Doddridge County, near present town of West Union. Later he was elected to Virginia State Legislature. He lived to a "green old age," loved and respected by all who knew him. (See: West Virginia Review, August 1931, story by Boyd E. Stutler; B.R.S. Collection is at Department of Culture and History, Cultural Center, Capitol Complex, Charleston, W. Va. 25305. Also: State Journal, Parkersburg, W. Va. 1896; reprinted in Herald, 2/19/1931, West Union, W. Va.)

  •  

    Early Lodges East of Mississippi River

     

  • The Order spread from west Virginia into surrounding states both north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and around the Horn:

    1847 Pennsylvania. .... E Clampsis Vitus instituted in village of Bedford (from Book of reminiscences by Judge Wm.H.Hall, Harrisburg, PA, 1890). Calithumpians—Clamper Art Woodward, late historical curator of Los Angeles Natural History Museum, discovered their connection with ECV.

    1849 Illinois. Private Rules of the Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, Division 110, Metropolis City, Illinois, 1849." (Document preserved in Henry E. Hunting-ton Library, San Marino, California. Includes member roster which indicates several members previously joined in Georgia, Alabama, Missouri.)

    1852 Georgia. San Joaquin Republican, Stockton, CA, 3/2/1853 reprint from Inquirer, Columbus, GA, of letter dated 12/31/1852 to Messrs. Hall & Patten, signed I. T. Robinson, Secy., Columbus Lodge No. 1 E.C.V., sending $25 to aid in rebuilding orphan Asylum (recently burned down). Letter 1/1/1853 from H. T. Hall Patten:

    "We are not aware of the objects and purposes of your society but if a ‘tree be known by its fruit’ they must be of a high order, and worthy the respect and confidence of the community." (Gold was discovered in Georgia in 1829; many miners moved to California in 1849.)

    By 1849 the western end of the overland ECV trail had reached Pike County, Missouri.

  • They Came by Land....

     

  • Joe Zumwalt currently is credited as founder of ECV in California. Stories vary. "The Vituscan," July 1969~ub-lished by Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus No. 1) says:

    "It is now known that Joseph left Joliet, Illinois, in March 1849, with a family of eight in a covered wagon. They Arrived in California on September 5, and in Sacramento on Oct. 23, 1849." Another version: Joe Zumwalt came on horseback from Missouri across the plains and mountains to the California gold diggin’s with his partner and damper Brother W. C. Wright (some say C. W. Wright). In Pike County, Missouri, each pur-chased a copy of the Order’s initiation ritual at Bowling Green Journal printing office. The pair of gold seekers reached Hangtown (now Placerville) in 1850. Unsuccessful there, both in finding gold and in starting an ECV lodge, Joe moved to Mokelumne Hill. Mokelumne Hill Lodge No. 1001 held its first meeting in September 1851.

  • But... was Zumwalt the founder of ECY in California,

    Or did he find ECV already in California ??

    They Came by Sea

     

  • About one year after Ephriam Bee commenced carrying out his commission to extend the work and. influence of the Order of E Clampus Vitus, two of his young apostles sailed for California -- the Apostolic Succession—and changed the course of world history: Benjamin Park Kooser and James H. Carson.

    Kooser hailed from Pennsylvania, a few miles from Bee’s home, and Carson was but a short distance away, across the Appalachian ridge. The two men were in the "Pioneer Company of California," Co. F, 3rd Reg., U. S. Artillery, the first unit of the U. S. Army ever ordered to California. Their ship, the U.S.S. Lexington, sailed from Governor’s Island, New York Harbor in July 1846, around the Horn, and anchored at Monterey, Alta California, in January 1847. The roll call on landing was answered by 117 men. (The entire roll call is listed in The Pioneer, San Jose, CA, 1/19/1878.)

    Kooser, after receiving his army discharge, reportedly worked on "the first newspaper in California’1 (Sam Brannan’s Morning Star (?)). In 1852 and 1853 he was editor of San Joaquin Republican, Stockton, CA—it is almost entirely due to his reporting the activities of Clampers that we have knowledge today of ECV lodges in 1852 and 1853; several reports are listed below. He was publicly credited by his fellow printers as author in 1848 of the letter which resulted in the great California gold rush. The following article, signed The Printer’s Guild, was published in The Pioneer, San Jose,

    April 27, 1878, shortly after Koosers death:

    It seems to be not generally known that it was a letter from Mr. Kooser, then a discharged soldier of the army in California, to a newspaper published, we think, in Illinois, that caused the great rush of gold hunters from the Eastern States, and indeed the whole civilized world, to California. We well remember the letter was vouched for by the editor as being from a reliable and responsible party, a printer well known to him, and that every word could be depended on as strictly true, and it was only after many years acquaintance with Mr. Kooser that we found out he was the person who indicted the famous epistle. On the strength of the endorsement above the New York Herald copied the letter entire, with formidable displayed headings and strong comments, and published it to the world as the great discovery of the age, and then commended such an upheaval of society, breaking up of family relation and kindred ties, followed by the greatest hegira ever witnessed since the Crusades—even if that event was a comparison—for every race and nation seemed moved by a common impulse, and such a cosmopolitan population as was gathered in San Francisco in the years 1849 and 1850 was truly wonderful to behold. We think therefore that we do but justice to the dead to call attention to the fact, so that the memory of Mr. Benjamin P. Kooser may be kept green to the coming generations of Californians, and that a niche may be preserved in the Temple of Fame for his share in making a history for our Golden State."

    James H. Carson was from Middletown, Frederick County, Virginia, across the Appalachian ridge east of Ephriam Bee. Carson signed many of his writings in the San Joaquin Republi-can "Uncle Ephriam." At the time of his death in April 1853, age early 30’s, he was member-elect of the Legislature then in session at Benecia, elected by the miners of Calaveras County, where he had lived most of his mining days.

  • Early Western Lodges

     

  • The ancient and honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus soon became the force that literally ran the mining camps. The damper mining populace was in the majority, and could effect-ively boycott anyone who refused to join. Credo: "Clampers only patronize Brother Clampers." Bar tenders, store keepers, blacksmiths, lawyers soon saw the economics of joining. Word circulated rapidly among drummers—the first act a non-damper salesman performed when he arrived in town was to petition for immediate admission into the confraternity. Clampers were also voters—politicians were their next target. Membership in ECV became a prerequisite for every office seeker from county sheriff to U.S. senator. Courts of justice were affected.

    "Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque, sed prime viduaribus." Accidents in mines and other mishaps frequently left children fatherless. (The Ninth Annual Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction to State Legislature in 1859 reported there were 2167 children in Calaveras County, 1227 were native born, 882 were under 4 years of age, there were 64 orphans.) clampers performed many and varied philanthropic deeds, usually unheralded.

    Clampers needed a source of revenue to support their charitable acts, since they functioned without dues, and proceeds from initiates were immediately converted into liquid assets for the pleasure of those assembled. Most popular means of fund raising was hosting a grand ball, a method particularly compatible with Clamper philosophy—raising needed cash and having a rip-roaring time while doing it. Anyone who was anyone was compelled to attend for fear of social or economic boycott.

    The lodge fulfilled its fraternal niche in the 35 years between 1850 and 1885. It is said the lodges boasted more than 50,000 members from every walk of life and endeavor. Miners began drifting away as assay reports predicted dwindling profits and new claims were not discovered. With the coming of civilization to mining camps, and organization of a formal society, the Order began its long slide toward obscurity— the end of a historical drinking society.

  •  

    The following dates refer to activity of lodges reported in publications,

    and not necessarily to year of organization:

     

    1850 Stockton Stockton Journal, 1850.

    San Joaquin Republican, Stockton, 5/14/1852

    and weekly for several weeks thereafter: announces meetings at Lodge Room at Angelo House; SNG, Joseph Miles. (Several notices contained a symbol: a bare foot, two crossed scythe blades, three "7"’s and the letters "ECV." (Two letters from Murphys signed "Cincinnatus" were published in San Joaquin Republican 1853-54 expressing strong sentiments against acts of a legislator.)

    San Joaquin Republican, 5/19/1852

    "E Clampus Vitus.A special meeting of this benevolent institution will be held at Angelo House this evening. A large attendance is particularly requested."

    San Joaquin Republican, 7/7/1852

    ECV donation of $100 to Carson Valley Road fund—the road which came into use in 1849, significantly more direct than the Carson Pass Route for immigrants heading to the Southern Mines.

    San Joaquin Republican, 3/30/1853

    re ECV. ... while some of its mysteries are of the most ludicrous character the obligations are solemn and the purpose, in the greatest degree, beneficent. There is a lodge at every principal settlement in California, Stockton being the grand center and focus of the societies. Nearly every member of the Legislature has been initiated and many of the most influential of our public officers." 

    San Joaquin Republican, 3/30/1854

    "We are informed that a bogus branch of the ancient and honorable Order’ of ECV has been established at a ranch in the country. The NGH of this lodge has received no dispensation from the Grand Lodge in this city, and we understand that an injunction has been issued by the Order to restrain the clandestine encampment. It is truly strange that persons can be found in this county to practice so serious a fraud on the people."

    San Joaquin Republican 2/19/1856

    "This venerable institution is still in a prosperous condition in this city. We learn that quite a number of prominent and influential citizens have recently been initiated into its mysteries."

    1851 Mokelumne Hill

    In Mokelumne River canyon in Sierra Nevada foothills of Calaveras County. First meeting of Mokelumne Hill Lodge No. 1001, September 1851; NGH, Joe Zumwalt.

    Tuolumne Courier, Columbia, 1/9/1858

    Reports Mokelumne Hill lodge "in session."

    Ghost Town.

    The E Clampus Vitus, it was a universal order, with an imaginary Grand Lodge and Grand Treasury at Mokelumne Hill; but each town had its special lodge

    Ghost Town, 1941, by G. Ezra Dane (co-founder of ECV Redivivus and first NGH); reprint 1948, p. 242.

    1852 San Francisco

    San Joaquin Republican, 9/22/1852

    "The members of the Branch Lodge No. 25 of the ancient and honorable Order of ‘ECV’ at San Francisco have donated $100 to the Firemen’s Charitable Fund."

    Daily Union, Sacramento, 9/28/1852

    refers to "newly created secret society of E Clampus Vitus" at San Francisco.

    San Joaquin Republican, 2/6/1856

    "The ECVs in San Francisco, we learn from the Sun, will celebrate the 22d inst. by a procession, oration, and ball. Hon. Geo. Penn Johnson has been selected to deliver the oration, which will undoubtedly be satisfactory."

    1852 Siskiyou County

    "History of Siskiyou County,": refers to ECV pranks there 12/1852.

    1852 Sonora

    Sonora Journal, 12/1852

    refers to ECV.

    San Joaquin Republican, 2/2/1853

    "A branch lodge of the ancient and honorable order of S Clampus Vitus has been established at Sonora."

    Ghost Town. "Over at Sonora there was an S Clampus Vitus lodge too. The G.S. Lodge of E Clampus Vitus that was, to begin with, and they could boast it over the Gobblers (Gobblers’ Lodge No. 107,368, Columbia) that they had a regular lodge hall: the one and original Hall of Comparative Ovations The first Grand Noble Humbug there was a young lawyer by the name of Otis Greenwood. During the fifties he was one of the most prominent lawyers in the county. So after S Clampus Vitus had been functioning at Sonora for a while, he called a special meeting. That’s how the Sonora lodge seceded from the Ancient and Honorable Order of the S Clampus Vitus and started the new one they called The Royal Order of G.S., Mighty and Terrible. G.S., according to Greenwood, that stood for George’s Sons, because at that time California was practically overrun with Englishmen, who were supposed to be illegitimate sons of King George IV..." --Ghost Town, by G. Ezra Dane, reprint 1948, p. 243.

    1853 Australia (?)

    A letter written by James H. Carson, from Carson’s Creek, Calaveras County, dated March 13, 1853, and published in San Joaquin Republican shortly afterwards, says: "The Australia gold fever has carried off over 500 gold miners from this county, during the last six weeks and still they go. They have committed an outrage on us poor devils who remain, by taking off our elephant with them. As they are going to exhibit the animal in dominions of Queen Vic, some of them, no doubt, will make a pile. I hope big lumps and plenty of whisky may be found wherever they go."

    1853 Benecia (then State Capitol of California)

    San Joaquin Republican1 3/19/1853

    Reports Senate discussion 3/17/1853. Senator Antonio de La Guerra from Santa Barbara introduced the following resolution: "Resolved: That the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus have the privilege of using the Senate Hall, when not otherwise in use, for their regular meetings." (The Asst. Secy. of the Senate, S. Love, reported "Indefinitely postponed, 17 of March, 1853.")

    Solano County Herald, Benecia, 11/24/1855

    Meeting notice for Haidee Lodge No. 89, in their hall on First Street, Benecia.

    1853 Columbia

    Columbia Gazette, 8/5/1853

    "E Clampus Vitus. We understand that a lodge of this ancient and honorable order has been instituted in the town."

    Ghost Town: refers to Gobbler’s Lodge No. 107,368. Ibid, p. 243.

     1853 Mariposa

    San Joaquin Republican, 4/4/1853

    "There are at present four societies here (Mariposa), all I believe in a flourishing condition to-wit: free masons, odd fellows, and an order yclept, the E.C.V.’s—Pembroke Pinckney."

    1853 Murphys

    San Joaquin Republican, 2/16/1853

    "A society called the ECV at Murphys, donated the sum of $150 to a poor lady, to enable her to establish a school at that place. This liberal act cannot be too highly commended."

    Official Records of Calaveras County, Book of Deeds, 2/24/1853

    Boundary marker for the lot being deeded refers to ECV. Saloon located "on the north side and west end of Main Street." Further research placed site of ECV. Saloon on Lot 4, Block 11, Murphys.

    San Joaquin Republican, 3/16/1853

    reprints article from Calaveras Chronicle of Mokelumne Hill describing ECV celebration 3/4/1853 (U.S. presidential inauguration)

    1853 Shasta Shasta Courier, 2/8/1856.

    Lodge owned its hall.

    1855 Downieville

    Mountain Messenger: refers to ECV in Downieville in 1859.

    Mountain Messenger, 6/20/1891

    announces regular meetings of LaBroke Lodge No. 107,303 "every Tuesday evening at their Temple in Downieville." Officers: NGH, T. L. Ford, GHP, W.J.Holmes, GRS, F.R.Wehe.

    1855 Placerville

    Established 11/28/1855; first NGH—D. N. Newell. A formal invitation to Washington Ball, to be held at Orleans Hotel, Placerville, 2/22/1856 by ECV. "Floor managers: F. Chamberlain, W. L. Marple, A. Hunter, A. S. Dorsey, F. H. Harmon, I. Davidson, D. Johns, A. Seligman, J. N. Anderson, E. B. Carson. Reception Committee: D. K. Newell, F. F. Barns, J. N. Grantham. During the day, there will be a procession of the Knights of the Order, and an oration by Bro., the Hon. Geo. Pen Johnston of San Francisco."

    San Joaquin Republican, 2/24/1856

    "We learn that Rev.E. Hurlburt and wife gratefully acknowledge donation of $20 from the Placerville Lodge of this venerable order."

    1855 Weaverville

    Lodge meeting in upper story hall of Golden Gate Saloon (Cameron Building).

    1856 Coloma; El Dorado; Georgetown

    1856 Knight's Ferry

    San Joaquin Republican, 3/19/1856

    "A lodge of the ancient and honorable order of F Clampus Vitus has been established at Knight’s Ferry, and is in a flourishing condition. "

    1856 Red Bluff The Beacon, 7/11/1860

    Lodge had its own building in 1859.

    1856 Yreka

    Published a Clamper paper called "Royal Platrix"

    1857 Sierra City

    A Golden Highway:Lodge was organized in 1857, with Samuel Hartley was first NGH. Adam Lee Moore was last NGH of Balaam Lodge No. 170,304 of Sierra City.--A Golden Highway, by G. B. Glascock, pp. 176-77.

    Mountain Messenger, 6/20/1891

    meeting announcement for Balaam Lodge No. 107,304 "meeting every Saturday night at their Hall, Main Street, Sierra City."

    1858 British Columbia

    Ghost Towns of British Columbia: Fort Douglas1 during 1858 Fraser River gold rush.—Ghost Towns of British Columbia, by Bruce Ramsey, 1963.

    1850s Camptonville

    Mountain Messenger, 6/20/1891

    meeting announcement for King Soloman Lodge No. 107,307 "every Monday evening at their Hall at Camptonville."

    1850s Springfield

    The Saga of Old Tuolumne, by Edna Bryan Buckbee, p. 283.

    1850s Timbuctoo; Ophir

    1860 Carson City, Nevada

    The Beacon, Red Bluff, 5/7/1860

    1861 lone

    History of Amador County, published by Thompson & West, 1861: "The E-Clampsus Vitus flourished in 1861-62, especially in lone."

    1863 Susanville

    Changed name to Loafer's Society in 1873.

    1863 Woodland

    1869 Howland Flat

    1875 Winnemucca, Nevada

    Carson City Daily Appeal, 7/1/1875: refers to Thumpers of Winnemucca.

    1878 Modoc County -- Cedarville Clampers

    1885 Plumas-Sierra County Border:

    Gibsonville--Frank Schoomaker, NGH7 12/24/1885

    Rabbit Creek (now LaPorte)--John A.Davis, NGH, 12/24/1885

    St. Louis -- W. H. Haskett, NGH, 12/24/1885

    Spanish Flat -- Jas. Crawford, NGH, 12/24/1885

    1880's Lake City, Fort Bidwell, Alturas

    "The Clamper: 8/1984: "By the 1880’s there were ECV Lodges in Cedarville, Lake City, Fort Bidwell and Alturas.. ."—Tim I. Purdy, Historian1 Neversweats Chapter 1863.

    1880’s Comanche Camp, Freeze Out, Hell’s Delight, Morristown, Nelson Point, Portwine, Saw Pit Flat, Stewart Flat, Yankee Jim’s

    1908 Nevada City

    Petaluma, Auburn

    1911 Marysville

    1913 Colusa, Williams

    1915 Oroville

    1916 Chico

    1917 Quincy

    (The previous info was gathered beginning in the 1960’s by three dampers: Dr. Al Shumate (SNGH 1963-65); Hobart "1k" Lovett (first Grand Council Archivist); and myself (Grand Council Clamplaquero).)

    "The Quincy Plumas National Bulletin of April 5, 1917, used half of the front page describing a Clamper parade. The other half of the paper was devoted to the U. S. Senate’s voting for war against Germany! Most likely World War I was a factor in the fading of ECV. By the end of the 1920’s the Order was just a memory." Al Shumate, "The Mysterious History of E Clampus Vitus," 6/23/1991.

      

    II. E.C.V. REDIVIVUS -- 1930 to Present

    1930 Idea for reviving ECV conceived by Carl I. Wheat (12/5/1892-6/23/1966), Leon 0. Whitsell, and G.Ezra Dane.

    "Ezra and I, while driving down the long grade to the river, north of Columbia, determined after much weighty cogitation that the ancient and honorable Order should be revivified. We had been spending a few days together in that region and every mountain, bar and flat shrieked with the memories of long forgotten Clampers, and we then and there declared ourselves for a revival. After our return to Yerba Buena we enlisted the interest of that lusty brother Leon Obstreperous Whitsell, and shortly thereafter we three formally proclaimed the resuscitation of the Order. That the deed was appropriate is now apparent." --Carl I. Wheat.

    Lest we forget their names;

    1931 Organizational meeting, held at Clift House, Yerba Buena (San Francisco), attended by a group of fanatical 49’ers:

    George D. Lyman, Frederick Clift, Francis P. Farquhar, Douglas S. Watson, Edwin Grabhorn, Leon 0. Whitsell, Carl I. Wheat, G. Ezra Dane.

    Colonel Wheat, as prime moving spirit, mounted the hogshead and expounded the purpose of the gathering -- to raise from the mead the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus." (from archives of Eric A. Falconer, XNGH, Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus No.1.)

    4/1932 Charter Meeting, Clift Hotel. The Great Charter, forty feet long, signed by Adam Lee Moore (5/15/1847 - 1946). Charter members and their respective offices—every member should be an officer and all offices of equal indignity:

    Clampatron, St. Vitus; Clampatriarch, Adam Lee Moore; Noble Grand Humbug, Carl Ignatius Wheat; Clamps Petrix, Francis P. Farquhar; Clamps Vitrix, Edgar B. Jessup; Clamps Matrix, Ernest A. Wiltsee; Royal Platrix, Leon 0. Whitsell; Grand Surgeon, George D. Lyman; Grand Farmer, Thomas Norris; D. F. Doorkeeper, Douglas S. Watson; Grand Captain, James D. Stewart; Royal Grand Musician & Guardian of the Hewgag, Edwin Grabhorn; Bald Knight, Charles P. Cutten; Grand Iscutis, Jesse M. Whited; Noble Grand Chiseler, Lee L. Stopple; Noble Grand Steward, Frederick C. Clift; Noble Grand Hangman, William T. McSorley; Grand Royal Historian, Henry R. Wagner; Royal Crier, Phil T. Hanna; Grand Noble Recorder, G. Ezra Dane; Grand Honorary Humbugs, William Bull Meek, John McSorley, and George N. Napoleon. (--from The Enigmatical Book of Vitus.)

    It was determined to hold an annual dinner meeting at the Hall of Comparative Ovations to honor the anniversary of discovery of gold by James Wilson Marshall, and an annual Pilgrimage to the Diggings.

    5/1932 First Pilgrimage, to the Northern Diggings, to Camptonville, and to Downieville where the mystic sign was given, the cryptic "satisfactory" was shouted and the ancient symbols (the Sword of Mercy tempered with Justice, and the Blunderbusket) were discovered and carried off in triumph.

    1/1933 First annual dinner, at the Red Room of the Bohemian Club, San Francisco. A throng of Poor Blind Candidates was inducted. The second Pilgrimage was to the Southern Diggings: Mokelumne Hill, Volcano, Pine Grove (and Helvetia), San Andreas, Angels Camp, Murphys, Columbia.

    1934 Second annual dinner, at Yerba Buena. A delegation from the Cow Counties joined in the induction of PBC’s. Carl I. Wheat became first Noble Grand Humbug of Platrix Chapter No. 2. Then a new Hall of Comparative Ovations opened its doors in the Pueblo of Los Angeles, for Platrixes in Exile.

    Platrix Chapter No. 2 was the first chapter in ECV to dedicate a plaque: San Gabriel Canyon Gold Discovery, Los Angeles County, 9/15/1934.

    The Order spread; new chapters started. Initially, Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus No. 1 covered the entire territory. Then its domain was divided with Platrix Chapter No. 2, with further subdivisions by both chapters and by the chapters formed from them, etc.

    The present situation is as follows. ("Year" may refer to year of approval by the Grand Council for a chapter, or beginning of probation, or date of charter meeting.)

     

    Updated by Frank Houdek SNGH 2000

    Year

    Chapter

    Territorial domain (counties)

    Plaques reported to Clamplaquero as of 12/31/1999

    1932

    Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus Ch. No. 1 San Francisco San Mateo,Marin,Sonoma Mendocino CA 57

    1934

    Platrix Ch. No. 2 Los Angeles,Orange CA 64

    1934

    Lord Sholto Douglas Ch. No. 3

    (re-activated 1971)

    Placer CA 11

    1934

    Quivira Ch. No. 4 now extinct (Santa Fe, N. Mex.)  

    1936

    New Helvetia Ch.No. 5, (re-instated 1967) Sacramento, Part of Yolo (CA) 18

    1936

    President Walker Ch. No. 6 now extinct (San Diego) (CA)  

    1936

    Captain Jack Ch. No.7 now extinct

     

    (Al Turas) (CA)

     

     

    1936

    Las Plumas del Oro Ch. No. 8

    (1954)

     

    Part of Plumas, (CA) 21

     

    1936

    The Floating or Whang Chapter 8

       

    1936

    (William Bull Meek Ch. No. 10)

    (consolidated 1962 with WMS Ch. 8591)

     

    (Nevada,Yuba,Sutter) (CA) (57)

     

    1938

    James W. Marshall Ch. No. 49

     

    Amador, south El Dorado (CA) 34

     

    1941

    Maj. William Downie Ch. No. 1849

    (re-established)

    Sierra (CA) 6

     

    1941

    North San Juan Diggins Ch. No. 13 now extinct  

    1941

    Skunk's Misery Chapter

    (A Carl I. Wheat Ch.)

    now extinct  

    1945

    Little Hatchet Chapter aka Cherry Tree Ch.

    (Carl I. Wheat Ch.)

    (Washington, D.C.)

    now extinct

     

    1948

    Matuca Chapter 1849

    (aka Amatuca, Bret Harte)

    (inactive 1968-73)

    Mariposa-Tuolumne- Calaveras

     

    61

    1956

    Snowshoe Thompson Ch. No. 1827 Alpine, western part Nevada State 35

    1958

    James D. Savage Ch. 1852 Fresno, Kings 35

    1958

    Estanislao Chapter 58 Stanislaus, Merced 18

    1958

    (William Morris Stewart Ch. No. 8591

    (Consolidated 1962 with WBM Ch. No. 10)

     

    (Nevada, Yuba, Sutter) (57)

     

    1962

    Wm.Bull Meek-Wm.Morris Stewart Ch. No. 10

    (consolidation)

    (Nevada, Yuba, Sutter) (57)

    1962

    John P. Squibob Ch. No. 1853 San Diego, Imperial 58

    1962

    Monterey Viejo Ch. No. 1846 Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz 32

    1962

    Peter Liebeck Ch. No. 1866 Kern Kern 10

    1962

    Trinitarianus Ch. No. 62 Trinity, Tehama, Shasta  34

     

    1963

    Argonaut Chapter (Capitulus Argonaut arum) dissolved

     

     

    1963

    Julia C. Bulette Ch. No. 1864 western Nevada State

    (Virginia City, Dayton,Silver City, Gold Hill)

    49

    1963

    Sam Brannan Ch. No. 1004 (dissolved 1969 re-activated 1973) Napa, Glenn, Colusa,; Lake, part of Yolo 47

     

    1963

    Chief Truckee Ch. No. 3691  Nevada Co. 35

    1965

    Bodie Ch. No. 64 Mono  26

    1966

    Pair-O-Dice Ch. No. 7-11 Butte  8

    1968

    Billy Holcomb Ch. No. 1069  San Bernardino, Riverside 65

    1971

    Tuleburgh Ch. No. 69  San Joaquin 12

    1972

    Slim Princess Ch. 395 Inyo 22

    1973

    Frank C. Reilly Ch. No. 5978 Plumas, part 2

    1974

    Mountain Charlie Ch. No. 1850 Santa Clara 57

    1974

    Doctor Samuel Gregg George Ch. No. 1855 Tulare 14

    1976

    Humbug Ch. No.73 Siskiyou 25

    1976

    Growlersburg Ch. No.86 El Dorado, north  13

    1976

    Joaquin Murieta Ch. No.13 Alameda, Contra Costa  33

    1979

    Eureka Ch. No.101 Humboldt, Del Norte 12

    1979

    Grub Gulch Ch. 41-49 Madera 7

    1981

    Lucinda Jane Saunders Elko Co., Nevada State 5

    1984

    Neversweats Ch. No.1863 Lassen, Modoc 5

    1988

    Matt Warner Ch. 1900 (formed 1979, outpost) State of Utah 13

    1990

    Lost Dutchman Ch. 5917 State of Arizona, New Mexico added 1999 30

    1991

    De la Guerra y Pacheco Ch. No. 1.5 Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Channel Islands and Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) 7

    1997

    Branciforte Ch 1797 Santa Cruz County, Ca 1

    2000

    Al Packer Ch. 100 State of Colorado 4

    2000

    Queho Ch. 1919 Las Vegas Nevada 4
      Grand Council California

    Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Hawaii

    1970- Wall of Comparative Clamperdom Ovations by William Gordon Huff

      6

     

     

     

    79

     

    The plaques above were dedicated before December 31, 1992. The year 2000 marks 66 years since 1934 when the first ECV plaque was dedicated by Platrix Chapter No. 2.

    Miscellaneous Notes

    1. BY-LAWS

    Traditional and historic damper by-laws--an organization with an absolute minimum of organization.

    1. All members are officers.

    2. All offices are of equal indignity.

    3. Etc., etc.

    Revised By-Laws were adopted 6/1/1957, and later amended.

    2. MOTTO

    Credo quia absurdurn

    Also: Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque, see prime viduaribus

    3. SYMBOL

    Braying Jackass. Designed by Clamper Holling C. Holling in 1941 (he signed "H" on one of the rocks), originally for the letterhead of Platrix Chapter No. 2. The Grand Council adopted it as the official symbol of ECV.

    4. COAT-of-ARMS

    Designed by Don Luis Percival, Platrix Chapter No. 2, who presented it to Sid Platford. The original painting is at the Huntington Library, collection of Sid Platford (SNGH 1965-67). The Arms of ECV. has been copyrighted by Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus No. 1.

    5. STAFF OF RELIEF

    Used at the opening of all Grand Council convocations. When not in use in its official capacity the Staff is on display at the Old Timer's Museum, Murphys "unofficial capitol of Clamperdom." The Staff of Relief was made by Clamper Lou Osborne and presented to Archie D. Stevenot (SNGH 1961-63). It was passed on in 1963 to Dr. Al Shumate, incoming SNGH, who gave it to the Grand Council.

    6. ECV RITUAL

    Printed by Lawton Kennedy in 1959.

    7. MAP OF TERRITORIAL DOMAINS

    Original map drawn up by George Washington (SNGH 1973-5).

    8. PRESIDENTS AND SNGHs since 1940,

    When Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus No. 1 commenced action to form a corporation:

    Lee L Stopple President Leon 0.

    5/18/1940 - 11/9/1945

    Whitsell President

    11/9/1945 - 2/27/1954

    Carl I. Wheat President

    2/27/1954 - 8/20/1955

    Edgar B. Jessup President

     (Sublime Noble Grand Humbug) SNGH

    8/20/1955 - May 1957

    May 1957 - May 1961

    Archie D. Stevenot SNGH

    1961 - 1963

    Albert Shumate SNGH

    1963 - 1965

    Sid Platford SNGH

    1965 - 1967

    Charles L. Camp SNGH

    1967 - 1969

    John E. Porter SNGH

    1969 - 1971

    Hal Goodyear SNGH

    1971 - 1973

    George Washington SNGH

    1973 - 1975

    Max M. Johnson SNGH

    1975 - 1977

    Bill Byars SNGH

    1977 - 1979

    Earl F. Schmidt SNGH

    1979 - 1980

    Carl Briggs SNGH

    1980 - 1981

    Alan Wilson SNGH

    1981 - 1982

    Duff Chapman SNGH

    1982 - 1983

    Richard B. Hoegh SNGH

    1983 - 1984

    Robert Tobey SNGH

    1984 - 1985

    Dail Turney SNGH

    1985 - 1986

    Ron Cox SNGH

    1986 - 1987

    Sid Blumner SNGH

    1987 - 1988

    Al Menshew SNGH

    1988 - 1989

    Cappy Cook SNGH

    1989 - 1990

    C. W. Jones SNGH

    1990 - 1991

    Bill Dore SNGH

    1991 - 1992

    Verne Cole SNGH

    1992 - 1993

    Ron Zaitz SNGH

    1993 - 1994

    H.O "Buck" Jones SNGH

    1994 - 1995

    Rod Stock SNGH

    1995 - 1996

    Geno Fambrini SNGH

    1996 - 1997

    Loren Wilson SNGH

    1997 - 1998

    Rick Hilgers SNGH

    1998 - 1999

    Harrison Barton SNGH

    1999 - 2000

    Frank Houdek SNGH

    2000 - 2001

    John Magnuson SNGH

    2001 - 2002

    Tom Barry SNGH

    2002 - 2003

    Wes Beavers SNGH

    2003 - 2004

    Sonny Marshall SNGH

    2004 - 2005

    Dave Holmes SNGH 2005 - 2006

    Tom Tompkins SNGH

    2006 - 2007

    Gene Brown SNGH 2007 - 2008
    Dan Stark SNGH 2008 - 2009
    Tom Crawford SNGH 2009 - 2010
    Glen Thornhill SNGH 2010 - 2011

    Other 2000 - 2001 Officers:

    John Magnuson, Nameless

    Tom Barry, SNGR

    9. CORPORATION -- in perpetuity

    A Chapter of ECV in Marysville, California, was incorporated 11/9/1915. The Grand Council took over the 1915 charter, to expire in 1965, with Corporation headquarters at the home address of the California Historical Society,

    2090 Jackson Street, San Francisco. On 5/30/1964 the Corporation voted for perpetual existence, recorded 9/1/1964. Corporation status was suspended 4/3/1972 by the Franchise Tax Board, based upon obligations not met which had been put into effect by new laws passed in 1969, notification of which did not reach the directorate of ECV. Until 8/1972. Corporation status was fully re-established with the Franchise Tax Board and the Secretary of State, effective 12/20/1972. Legal corporate address was changed in 1977 from the California Historical Society address in San Francisco to the Center of Western Historical Studies, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California.

    10. DEPOSITORY OF E.C.V. MATERIAL

    The California Historical Society San Francisco, in 1959 was made the official depository (later changed to University of the Pacific, Stockton). The new office of Clamparchivist was created in 1965, and Hobart M. ("1k") Lovett was appointed the first Grand Council Archivist, included in the list of Clampatriots, ax officio. A project to record information on all plaques installed by the various Chapters with the California Division of Beaches and Parks (now called Department of Parks and Recreation) was begun sometime before 1963 by Archie D. Stevenot (SNGH 196l-6~. I was appointed to head this project in 1968 (am still at it, enjoying it very much), and later I was given the title "Clamplaquero" by Sid Platford, "el Cid," (SNGH 1965-67).

    11. WALL OF COMPARATIVE OVATIONS

    The long-time dream of William Gordon Huff (1903 - 2/3/1994), appointed Honorary Clampatriarch in 1969, of a monument to all Clamperdom became a reality with the Wall of Comparative Ovations. Erected in Murphys, "unofficial capitol of Clamperdom," on the exterior wall of The Old Timer's Museum. The first ten plaques were affixed on April 7, 1970. There were seventy-nine plaques by December 31, 1992. Bill did all the work in designing, making, and installing the plaques.

    12. OFFICIAL NEWSPAPERS

    "Mariposa Gazette: was the first official newspaper of ECV Redivivus in the 1930's. "The Clamper," Vol. I, No. 1 -- January 1961.

    13. T.R.A.S.H.

    Transierra Roisterous Alliance of Senior Humbugs Purpose: To promote and foster the cultural heritage of the historical West. Conducts annual history oriented tours; reprints early day historical publications. Incorporated in 1977 as a Nevada Non-profit Cooperative Corporation. First annual trip was in the summer of 1975; first plaque dedicated in 1979. Composed exclusively of past and present NGH1s. Idea conceived by Carl Briggs (SNGH 1980-81), and Dail Turney and Marshall Fey, both XNGH"s of Julia C. Bulette Chapter 1864. T.R.A.S.H. was instrumental in getting the Federal Government to support the total Emigrant Trail marking program, to include both the California Emigrant Trail and the Pony Express Trail within the National Historic Trails System.

    14. PxP's

    Full name: The Immutable Order of the Past Clamproctors of the Grand Council of the Venerable Clampatriarchs of E Clampus Vitus. PxP for short. First meeting, May 1982. See below, Part III, for further developments.

    15. EMPEROR NORTON BRIGADE

    Five flatland Chapters meet every January in memory of Emperor Norton, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico--Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus No. 1, Joaquin Murrieta Chapter 13, Sam Brannan Chapter 1004, Monterey Viejo Chapter 1846, Mountain Charlie Ch. 1850.

    16. J.U.N.K.

    Julia's Unequivocal Nevada Clampouts An annual visit to Nevada ghost towns and mining camps. Group composed exclusively of xPBC’s.

    17. ORDER OF THE ICHTHYOSAUR

    Dedication at Ichthyosaur Park, Nevada (near Berlin)8/20/1966 of a cathedral-like structure covering fossil remains of giant marine reptiles uncovered near the 7200-foot elevation by paleontologist Dr. Charles L. Camp (SNGH 1967-69). (A plaque by William Gordon Huff was dedicated to Dr. Camp at the Park in 1961.) Those who attended the dedication became members of "Revived Order of the Ichthyosaur -- 103 signed. The roster was printed in "Pony Express."

    18. SERVICE TO THE NATION

    With Clampers as witnesses, Chief Fuller, G.H., hereditary chief of the Mi-Wuks, at the Cherokee Reservation near Tuolumne, California, on May 29, 1937, officially revoked the grant of Nova Albion made in 1576 by the Greate Hi-oh to Francis Drake. (This was soon after discovery of the Plate of Brasse.) This officially ended any claim by England to California. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was notified of the revocation. Yerba Buena Redivivus Capitulus No. I sponsored the plaque dedication.

     19. ECV SALOON 1853 Site

    The site of the ECV Saloon of 1853 in Murphys on Lot 47 Block 11 (it is officially recorded in Book A of Deeds, Calaveras County, p. 134) was marked with a plaque by William Gordon Huff 5/29/1965. The monument housing the plaque was constructed with rocks from all Chapters then in existence, each rock with a historic background, which was mapped and recorded.

    20. ECV TIME CAPSULE

    A time capsule was buried in 1976 at the Archie D. Stevenot Memorial Bridge, State Highway 49, over the Stanislaus River between Tuolumne and Calaveras County, on the Calaveras side. It contains material from each Chapter then in existence--proclamations, announcements, etc. The niche is 2' x 2' x 4', concrete-encased. The copper time capsule was prepared by Hal Goodyear SNGH 1971-73) from material "that will withstand time and weather" for one hundred years. (Archie D. Stevenot) 9/25/1882 - 8/1/1968, SNGH 1961-63.)

    21. 'UNOFFICIAL CAPITOL OF CLAMPERDOM

    The Grand Council in 1967 declared Murphys "unofficial capitol of Clamperdom." All Grand Council convocations were held in Murphys 1957 (possibly earlier), 1959, and 1961 - 1993. The 1994 meeting will be at Mariposa, California.

    III. PxP's

    (Elmer Tuschhoff was appointed Proctor in 1974 to fill a vacant seat. Elmer and Tom Hagelstein were elected Proctors in 1975, for a six-year term.)"Tom and I both finished our term on the Grand Council last year. During the winter months we have talked about how much we enjoyed being Proctors and how much we will miss the fellowship, fun and ribald humor of that annual conclave. Then we had an idea--why not get together for a meeting of our own. While the Grand Council is slaving... making their earth quaking decisions and solving the complex problems of ECV, we could be having breakfast. We could relax in quiet solitude and reflect on the magnificent accomplishments achieved when WE were on the Council." --Elmer Tuschhoff (co-founder).

    When PxP organized in 1982, Carl Briggs (SNGH 1980-81) wrote:

    "I always thought there is nothing more forgotten nothing lower on earth than an ex-Proctor. Boy, am I glad to know there is life after Clampretirement from the Grand Council." First meeting met in May 1982, presided over by Elmer Tuschhoff, Top PP. Meeting held at Murphys Hotel, Murphys. (Best meetings were those held at the residence of Pat and Earl Schmidt, Murphys, 1987-1993 -- will never be forgotten. We met in Mariposa in 1994,95) and in Antioch in 1996.

     

    Charter Members: -- all Members are past Proctors, Grand Council

    Louis Beaupre, Virginia City, Nevada

    Paul Bailey, Clarement, California

    Ray Carlisle, Auburn

    Kenneth Castro, Murphys

    Hal Goodyear, Weaverville

    Tom Hagelstein, Bakersfield

    William Gordon Huff, Honorary, Alamo

    Mac Kinton, Pasadena

    Earl Schmidt, Palo Alto and Murphys

    Dr. Al Shumate, San Francisco

    Elmer Tuschhoff, Fresno

     

    By-Laws, adopted May 1984, written by Al Shumate and Hal Goodyear

    Officers: Mighty Clambastard -- Tom Hagelstein

    Lowly Clambastard -- Ken Castro

    Keeper of the Stuff-- Hal Goodyear

    Charter Class of '84 -- Max Johnson and Carroll Pepperdine

    Initiation -- first ceremony devised and performed by Ken Castro, Tom Hagelstein, Earl Schmidt

    Insignia and Accouterments:

    The Official Past Proctors Badge of Leather Designed by Alan Wilson

    The Bejeweled Manzanita Gavel Made by Ken Castro. Encrusted with seven precious polished stones, embellished with a brass plate reading "Top PP - ECV."

     

    The Black Bottle of Inca Pisco

    Pisco adopted at first meeting as PxP historic drink. In the ancient Quechua language of the Incas, Pisco meant, "flying bird." (Vicuna, Chile, was principal center for distilling Pisco. Chile's biggest gold mine is not far away. Miners from this area were first foreigners to arrive in the newly-discovered California gold fields.) A 90 proof elixir a little goes a long ways.

    The "Big Tom". Gravy Bowl

    The "licked clean again" gravy bowl with Tom Hagelstein's Special Recipe stirred up by him.

    Official Bulletin: PxP Hewgag. Vol. 1, No. 1, December 1984. Editor: Elmer Tuschhoff.

    What say the Brethern?

     


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