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[From the Alta California, Sept. 11, 1860.]
On yesterday the Society of California Pioneers celebrated the Tenth Anniversary of the organization of their Association with more than usual zest and enthusiasm. At 12 M., the members assembled at the Pioneer Rooms, where they were joined shortly thereafter by their invited guests. Here they donned their regalia, the earlier Pioneers wearing red, and the '49 members white satin scarfs, with appropriate decorations.
Aɩ a quarter to one o'clock, the military escort having arrived, the procession formed under the direction of W. R. Wheaton, Esq., acting as Marshal of the day, in the following order.
First-American Brass Band.
Second-Pioneer California Guard, Lieutenant Frank Wheeler, commanding. Third-National Guard, Captain Pollock.
Fourth-Carriage containing John C. Fremont and Gen. Mariano G. Vallejo. Fifth-Carriage containing Edmund Randolph, Orator, E. R. Campbell, Poet, and Rev. Albert Williams, Chaplain of the Day.
Sixth-Pioneers of an earlier date than 1849, preceded by the Officers of the
Seventh-Pioneers of 1849.
The procession passed through Kearny to Clay, through Clay to Montgomery, through Montgomery to the New Music Hall, corner of Bush, where the Pioneers passed in review before the military, and received the marching salute.
PROCEEDINGS AT MUSIC HALL.
On entering the spacious edifice, the galleries were seen crowded with ladies, and a large portion of the main floor with male spectators. The officers marched upon the rostrum with their invited guests. In the center was seated Philip A. Roach, President of the Society; on his right Col. John C. Fremont, and on his left Gen. Vallejo occupied chairs, and on one or the other side of them the Orator, Poet, Chaplain, and on the extreme right of the stage the Band. Immediately in front of the rostrum and on the right of the main aisle, the elder, and on the left, the later Pioneers were seated. The scene at this moment was an imposing and impressive one--imposing from the martial appearance of the citizen soldiery, together with the glittering regalia of the
Pioneers and the brilliant character of the audience; and thrillingly impressive from the peculiar circumstances of the occasion, and the presence of so many actors in the earlier events which gave to California her name and future fame.
After an inspiriting air by the band, the Chaplain came forward and offered an exceedingly eloquent and appropriate prayer. The President then presented Edmund Randolph, the Orator of the Day, who was greeted, on his appearance, with tumultuous applause. Before entering upon the main theme of his discourse, the orator paid a glowing and deeply affecting tribute to the memory of Pioneers now numbered with the dead, spoke of the manner of their demise, and of the fact that the bones of many of them had been disturbed by the onward and restless spirit of progress; that their remains now lie in places unknown, and unmarked with even the simple cross or headboard which friendly hands did first place above their graves.
The orator then proceeded to give a minute and elaborate history of California, from its earliest discovery, and tracing it down to the present. A vast amount of information, of an invaluable character, was embodied in this production, which must be regarded as the most complete and authentic history of California extant. The orator spoke for three hours, and at the conclusion of his masterly address, was overwhelmed with the plaudits of the admiring audience. His allusions to Col. Fremont and Generals Sutter and Vallejo, also elicited tremendous applause.
The Band then played again, after which E. R. Campbell, Esq., delivered in a clear and impressive manner, a Poem composed by him for the occasion, and which was received with flattering demonstrations of approval.
More music followed; the Chaplain pronounced the benediction, and the audience dispersed. The military escorted the Pioneers to their Rooms, the procession, on its return, passing through California to Sansome, to Clay, through Montgomery to Washington, and up Washington to the Hall.
The streets all along the route were crowded with side-walk gazers, and the open windows and balconies filled with representatives of the fair sex. The procession having disbanded, the military were invited into the hall to partake of refreshments. Subsequently, the members also disposed of a substantial collation, and retired to prepare for the
This took place in New Music Hall, and although high anticipations of a magnificent festival had been entertained by both Pioneers and their lady guests, we venture to say that the affair far surpassed their expectations. The music, dances, supper, and above all, the admirable manner in which the most minute arrangements were carried out, called forth rapturous encomiums from all present. This superb social entertainment was a fitting finale to the intellectual feast of the day. And so ends the Tenth Anniversary of an Association honorable in itself, and justly entitled to the respect and sympathy of all who appreciate the enterprise, privations and perseverance, of those who bear the proud name of California Pioneers.
From the importunities of the active Present which surrounds us, we turn for a brief space to the Past. To-day we give ourselves up to memory.
And first, our thoughts are due to those who are not here assembled with us; whom we meet not on street nor highway, and welcome not again at the door of our dwellings; upon whom shines no more the sun which now gladdens the hills, the plains, the waters of California: to the Pioneers who are dead. To them, as the laurel to the soldier who falls in the battle for that with his blood he has paid the price of victory, you will award the honor of this triumph, marked by the marvellous creations which have sprung from your common enterprises. To them, you will consecrate a success which has surpassed the boldest of the imaginations which led you forth, both them and you, to a life of adventures. Your companions died that California might exist. Fear not that you will honor them overmuch. But how died they, and where do they reposethe dead of the Pioneers of California?
Old men amongst you will recall the rugged trapper; his frame was strong; his soul courageous; his knowledge was of the Indian's trail and haunts of game; his wealth and his defence, a rifle and a horse; his bed the earth; his home the mountains. He was slain by the treacherous savage. His scalp adorned the wigwam of a chief. The wolf and the vulture in the desert feasted on the body of this Pioneer. A companion, wounded, unarmed and famishing, wanders out through some rocky cañon and lives to recount this tale-lives, more fortunate in his declining years, to measure, perhaps, his lands by the
league and to number his cattle by the thousand. And the sea too, has claimed tribute; the remorseless waves, amid the terrors of shipwreck, too often in these latter days have closed over the manly form of the noble Pioneer. The monsters of the deep have parted amongst them the flesh of our friends, and their dissevered members are floating, suspended now in the vast abysses of the ocean, or roll upon distant strands-playthings tossed by the currents in their wanderings. And here in San Francisco, exacting commerce has disturbed the last resting place of the Pioneers. Ten years and-a-half ago, pinched by the severities of a most inclement winter, under the leaky tent which gave no shelter, they sickened and died-and then women and children were Pioneers too-by scores and by hundreds they sickened and died. With friendly hands, which under such disastrous circumstances could minister no relief, you yet did bury them piously in a secluded spot upon the hill-side or in the valley, and planting a rude cross or board to mark the grave, did hope, perhaps, in a more prosperous day, to replace it with a token in enduring stone. But the hill and the valley alike, disappear hourly from our sight. The City marches with tremendous strides. Extending streets and lengthening rows encroach upon the simple burial ground not wisely chosen. The dead give place to the living. And now the builder with his mortar and his bricks, and the din of his trowel, erects a mansion or store-house for the new citizen, upon the same spot where the Pioneer was laid and his sorrowing friend dreamed of erecting a tombstone. Meanwhile, by virtue of a municipal order, hirelings have dug up and carted away all that remained of the Pioneers, and have deposited them in some common receptacle, where now they are lying an undistinguishable heap of human bones.
Pursuing still this sad review, you well remember how with the eagertide along and up the course of rivers, and over many a stony ascent, you were swept into the heart of the difficult regions of the gold mines; how you there encountered an equal stream pouring in from the East, and in a summer all the bars, and flats, and gulches, throughout the length and breadth of that vast tract of hills, were flooded with human life. Into