Celebrating California: The 31st State

Image from the Museum of the City website

A Memorable Celebration.
[Excerpt]

Orator of the day, Hon. R.C. Rust, Superior Judge of Amador County:

“Forty-eight years ago to-day the Thirty-first State was added to our nation. Forty-eight years ago to-day the hopes, desires and ambitions of our pioneer fathers and mothers were in part realized, for on that day our beloved California was admitted to the Union, and without territorial childhood, without probation she appeared a new star in the firmament, with all the dignity, with all the privileges, and with all the responsibilities of a full fledged State.

“By that act on that day was fulfilled the prophecy of the pioneers of 1846 who raised the bear flag at old Sonoma of the freedom of California from Spanish rule, and was proven the wisdom of the act of Commodore Sloat in first raising on California’s soil the stars and stripes at Monterey.

“And to-day, we of the mother lode, from ‘Little Amador’ on the south and from Nevada and Placer on the north, with our friends from Sacramento, assemble beneath the shadow of the protecting folds of “old glory” and that other ensign of patriotism and bravery, the bear flag of California, to again sign the praises and honor the pioneer heroes of those days. To again recall to our minds their bravery and unselfish patriotism. To renew our solemn pledge to fulfill the duties of the sacred trust imposed upon us, and to again give evidence of our full appreciation of the blessings we enjoy as the recipients of their bounty.”

With the spell of the Past and all its sacred memories upon him, he paid loving homage to pioneers, dead and living, as follows:

“And in all we do to-day, my brothers, let us not be unmindful of the fact that we have, for the time, pitched our tent and staked our claim on sacred territory, hallowed by the memories of the pioneers of 1848 and 1849. They were

“The giants with hopes audacious, the giants of iron limb;
The giants who journeyed westward when the trails were new and dim;
The giants who felled the forests, made pathways o’er the snows,
And planted the vine and fig tree where the manzanita grows;
Who swept down the mountain gorges, and painted their endless night,
With their cabins rudely fashioned and their camp-fires ruddy light;
Who builded great towns and cities, who swung back the Golden Gate,
And hewed from a mighty ashlar the form of a sovereign State.”

Passing from the heroes to whom we are indebted for this “empire by the sea,” with its accomplished facts and possibilities, he paid a splendid tribute to the fighting commanders and forces on land and sea, in the war just closed. And commending all that is good and great to the love and emulation of his applauding hearers, he concluded:

“The emigrant trails are no more, but long shining rails of steel mark pathways that lead to the centers of trade. The pack train, the “prairie schooner” and the stage coach have given place to the railroad with its swiftly moving trains and luxurious Pullman coaches. On every hand we see peace, contentment, prosperity and progress. The past lives in history, the present is ours, the future what we will make it.

What a shame the Honorable R.C. Rust’s words have fallen on deaf ears:

“In your hands, oh children of the pioneer fathers and mothers of California, Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, rests the destiny of California. See to it that the mantel of our fathers falls on worthy shoulders. So mould your lives by their illustrious example that all the possibilities of the future may be realized, so that these two banners may float side by side for all time, the one the emblem of the grandest State in all our Union, the other the ensign of the greatest nation in all the world.”

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Sep 24, 1898

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