Posts Tagged ‘1846’

Hoisting the Flag in the Golden State

April 29, 2010

Read about the Bear Flag: Virtual Museum of San Francisco

[From The Californian of November 29th, 1846 — an early number of the American newspaper first published in California — we extract the following verses, written in commemoration of events which culminated in the acquisition of the Golden State.]
For “The Californian.”


Soft o’er the vale of Angeles
The gale of peace was wont to blow,
Till discord raised her direful horn
And filled the vale with sounds of woe.

The blood-stained earth, the warlike bands,
The trembling natives saw with dread;
Dejected labor left her toil,
And Summer’s blithe enjoyments fled.

But soon the avenging sword was sheathed,
And mercy’s voice by Stockton heard;
How pleasant were the days which saw
Security and peace restored.

Ah! think not yet your trials o’er;
From yonder mountain’s hollow side,
The fierce banditti issue forth
When darkness spreads her curtain wide.

With murderous arms and haggard eyes,
The social joys away they fright;
Sad expectation clouds the day,
And sleep forsakes the fearful night.

Now martial troops protect the robbed,
At distance prowl the ruffian band,
Oh, confidence! that dearer guard,
Why hast thou left this luckless land.

We droop and mourn o’er many a joy,
O’er some dear friend to dust consigned;
But every comfort is not fled:
Behold another friend we find.

Lo! Stockton comes to grace the plan,
And friendship claims the precious prize, —
He grants the claims, nor does his heart
The children of the vale despise.


The Golden Era – Jul 13, 1862

USS Levant (Image from


The New York Commercial gives the following extracts from a letter received here from an officer now on board the U.S. ship Levant, who was on board the U.S. frigate Savannah, Commodore Sloat, when that officer took formal possession of California. It affords the most particular account yet published of this conquest.

Commodore John Sloat (Image from wikimedia)

Off Mazatlan, Aug. 10, 1846.}

I wrote you from Monterey on the 6th of July, or shortly after, giving you a detailed account of the occurrences at that place. Fearing, however, that you may not have received it, I forward it to you by this opportunity, which will probably be the last communication you will receive from me, being now homeward bound.

On the 6th of July all was bustle in the cabin of the Savannah; some four or five men were busily employed writing letters, proclamations, &c., preparatory to taking possession of California. It was long after the witching hour of midnight ere I was enabled to catch a troubled repose, as all was to be prepared by six o’clock the following morning, which came as bright and beautiful as a July day of our own favored island. At 6 A.M. Capt. Mervine came on board to receive orders, and at 7 he left with a summons to the military commandant of Monterey to surrender the place forthwith to the arms of the United States, and also a similar summons to the military Governor for the surrender of all California.

At 9 A.M. of the 7th of July the expedition started from the Savannah, composed of the boats off the Savannah, Levant and Cyane, and landed without opposition at the m?le. The force was then marched up a short distance to the custom house, where a concourse of the inhabitants were assembled. Here the marines and men were halted, and the proclamation read to the multitude by Rodman M. Price, Esq., purser of the Cyane, in a loud and distinct manner, which was received with three hearty cheers by those present. The flag of the United States was then hoisted by acting Lieut. Edward Higgings, immediately after which a salute of 21 guns was fired by the Savannah and Cyane.

The custom house was then turned into a barrack for the United States forces, and every thing settled down quietly.

Communications were immediately dispatched to commander Montgomery, of the Portsmouth, at St. Francisco, at which place, and at Zanonia, the United States flag was hoisted on the morning of the 9th; and before ten days had elapsed, the whole of California, North of Monterey, was under the flag of the United States, much to the apparent satisfaction of the people, who hope it will last, knowing how much better they will be off under the Government of the United States.

On the 16 of July Captain Stockton arrived, too late, however, to participate directly in taking possession of California.

On the 29th Commodore Sloat gave up the command to Commodore Stockton, hoisted his flag on board the Levant, and sailed for the United States via Mazatlan and Panama, and we hope to reach the United States in all November.

Daily Sentinel And Gazette (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Oct 2, 1846

In the above book (Google book LINK,) you can read correspondence from Robert F. Stockton. Here is an excerpt:

Page 18

The New-Orleans Piscayune of the 25th Aug. says:

“From information received at Alvorado, it would appear that the Californians were not taken by the Squadron under Commodore Sloat. But that American citizens located in these Provinces, combined with the disaffected Mexicans, declared themselves independent of the Central Government, and raised the flag of the United States, and declared obedience to their country.”

This version does not appear to be identical with the rumor brought here from Havanna by the Rev. Cutter M’Leon, and next by a vessel from Kingston, Jamaica, whither it was conveyed by the  During, more than a month ago.

This version of the correspondence is confirmed by a Spanish letter to the U.S., written in the city of Mexico on the 8th Aug. It is given as news.

Daily Sentinel And Gazette (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Sep 10, 1846

Robert F. Stockton

Image from (Google book LINK):

More Colonial Homesteads and Their Stories
By Marion Harland
Publisher    G.P. Putnam’s sons, 1899


An American naval officer, grandson of Richard Stockton (q.v.). He was born at Princeton, N.J., studied for a time at Princeton, and in 1811 became a midshipman in the United States Navy. He joined Commodore Rodgers on the frigate President in 1812, was for a time an aide to the Secretary of the Navy, took part in the defense of Baltimore, and was promoted to be lieutenant in September, 1814.

In 1815 he distinguished himself in the Algerine War on board the Spitfire. He returned to the United States in command of the Erie in 1821, and in the fall of the same year sailed in the Alligator for the African coast, where he negotiated successfully for the land upon which the American Colonization Society founded Liberia (q.v.).

During the early part of the Mexican War he commanded the Pacific Squadron. To his energy, and that of General Fremont, with whom he cooperated, was largely due the success of the American operations on the coast. He captured Los Angeles and San Diego, fought several battles, organized a civil government for California, and installed Fremont as Governor, relinquishing the command to Shubrick in 1847.

He resigned from the navy in 1850, and was a United States Senator from New Jersey in 1851-53. Having resigned in 1853, he was for some time president of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Company.

Consult Life and Speeches of Robert Field Stockton (1856).

The above biography is from the following book:

The New International Encyclopæeia, Volume 18
Editors: Daniel Coit Gilman, Harry Thurston Peck, Frank Moore Colby
Publisher:    Dodd, Mead and company, 1909

Laboring Poetry

September 7, 2009

Poetry for Labor Day:

Image from Life Magazine

Song of the Factory Girl.


Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
So merry and glad and free!
The bloom on her cheeks, of health how it speaks,
Oh a happy creature is she!
She tends the loom, she watches the spindle,
And cheerfully toileth away —
Mid the din of wheels, how her bright eyes kindle,
And her bosom is ever gay!

Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
Who hath breathed our mountain air,
She toils for her home and the joys to come
To the loved ones gathered there!
She tends the loom, she watches the spindle,
And she fancies her mother near —
How glows her heart, and her bright eyes kindle
As she thinks of her sister dear.

Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
Who no titled lord doth own,
Who with treasures more rare, is more free from care,
Than a Queen upon her throne!
She tends the loom, she watches the spindle,
And she parts her glossy hair,
I know by her smile, as her bright eyes kindle,
That a cheerful spirit is there!

Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
Whose task is easy and light —
She toileth away till the evening gray,
And her sleep is sweet and light —
She tends the loom, she watches the spindle,
And, oh, she is honest and free —
I know by her laugh, as her bright eyes kindle,
That few are more happy than she!

Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
As she walks her spacious hall,
And trims the rose and the orange that blows,
In the window, scenting all.
She tends the loom and watches the spindle,
And she skips in the bracing air —
I know by her eyes, as their bright lights kindle,
That a queenly heart is there!

Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
Link not her name with the SLAVE’S;
She is brave and free, as the old elm tree
Which over her  homestead waves.
She tends the loom, she watches the spindle,
And scorns the laugh and the sneer,
I know by her lip, as her bright eyes kindle,
That a FREE-BORN spirit is here!

Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
Whose fabric doth clothe the world,
From the king and his peers to the jolly tars
With our flag o’er all seas unfurl’d,
From China’s gold seas, to the tainted breeze
Which sweeps the smokened rooms
Where “God save the Queen,” to cry are seen,
The slaves of the British looms.

Oh sing me the song of the Factory Girl!
The honest and fair and true —
Whose name has rung, whose deeds been sung,
O’er the land and waters blue.
She tends the loom, and watches the spindle,
And her words are cheerful and gay —
Oh, give me her smile, as her bright eyes kindle,
And she toils and sings away!

God bless our Yankee Factory Girls!
The girls of our mountain wild!
Like a merry hind, shall their song be heard,
Where’er sweet Labor has smiled.
From our forests green, where the axe hath been,
And the waters dance in the sun —
Through New England’s clime, to the thunder chime
Of the surging Oregon! —

[Asylum Gazette.]

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jun 2, 1846

Image from



Under a spreading chesnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black and long;
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat;
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sets among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like his Mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must thinks of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard rough hand he wipes
A tear from out his eyes.

Toiling — rejoicing — sorrowing —
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted — something done —
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught;
Thus at the flaming forge of Life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning Deed and Thought.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 21, 1847

A "Begrimed" Engineer

Image and Cobeen family history can be found HERE.


Ah! who ever thinks of the bold engineer,
As he stands by his throttle of steel,
And spurs on his steed to its maddened career,
In its thundering and ponderous reel,
Like a soldier begrimed in battle’s dark strife,
And brave to the cannon’s hot breath.
He, too, plunges on with his long train of life,
Unmindful of danger or death!
Through the daylight,
Into the night,
Dark, dark.
He knows no affright,
O’er ridges
And bridges,
Decayed or strong,
Like a mystic God he rushed along!
Who thinks of the bold engineer?

So true to his post like a statue he stands,
With his eyes fixed fast on afar;
Our own precious lives he holds in his hands,
Our wealth we give to his care;
For good must he be, the bold engineer,
As he dashes from village to town,
And brings us all safe, ‘midst a smile or a tear,
To the forms so dearly our own!
Onward he goes,
His whistle he blows —
Deep, deep,
Through hight-drifted snows;
With crossings
And tossings,
In heat and in rain,
O’er the glitterings track he pulls the long train!
All hail to the bold engineer.

I love the brave man, though accidents come,
With their heart-rending anguish and woe;
Still foremost he rides, to whatever doom,
Like the form on a vessel’s bold prow.
And as he sweeps on like the wind through the land,
Away from “sweet home” and its charm,
For the sake of the “loved ones” and wife, may Thy hand,
Oh God, protect him from harm!
On doth he ride,
No dangers betide,
Swift, swift!
With bridesgroom and bride —
The tallest,
The smallest,
The rich and the poor,
All follow his path, o’er river and moor —
Long life to the bold engineer!

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Mass.) Aug 13, 1870Image from /sitehistory.html

From the American Farmer


Of all pursuits by men invented,
The ploughman is the best contented,
His calling’s good, his profits high,
And on his labors all rely –Mechanics all by him are fed,
Of him the merchants seek their bread;
His hands give meat to every thing,
Up from the beggar to the king.The milk and honey, corn and wheat,
Are by his labors made complete.
Our clothes from him must first arise,
To deck the fop or dress the wise –We then by vote may justly state,
The ploughman ranks among the great;
More independent than them all,
That dwell upon this earthly ball.

All hail, ye farmers, young and old!
Push on your plough with courage bold;
Your wealth arises from your clod,
Your independence from your God.If then the plough supports the nation,
And men of rank in every station,
Let kings to farmers make a bow,
And every man procure a plough.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Aug 17, 1825Image from


Amid the flames he stood,
And the white smoke formed his wreath,
And the swelling waves of the fiery flood
Came surging from beneath.

The crackling timbers reeled,
And the brands came gleaming down,
Like the scattered wealth that the forest yields
When their autumn leaves are brown.

The tempest howled in wrath,
And the fire wheeled madly on, —
And the embers far on the wind’s wild path,
Through the murky night, had gone.

Yet there, in his pride, he stood,
With a steady hand and strong;
And his axe came down on the burning wood,
Till the heart of the old oak rung.

There was many an earnest eye
Through the rolling smoke that gazed,
While he stood with his dauntless soul & high,
Where the hottest fire-brands blazed.

And prayers were faltered forth
From the aged and the young,
For the safety of many a household hearth
On the strokes of his strong arm hung.

There was many a proud knight there,
With his mantle round him rolled,
That aloof, in the light of that sweeping fire,
Stood shivering in the cold.

And oft, from the fireman’s bands,
A summons for aid was heard;
But never the tips of their well-gloved hands
From their ermined cloaks were stirred.

And no white and fervent lip
For their welfare or safety prayed;
For no children’s weal and mother’s hope
In the strength of their arms was stayed.

Were I searching earth’s mingled throng
For shelter, my claim would be
A hand, like that FIREMAN’s, nerved & strong,
And a fearless heart for me.

Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) May 8, 1845Image from


From the Knickerbocker.

Song of Labor: The Miner.


The eastern sky is blushing red,
The distant hill-top glowing;
The brook is murmuring in its bed,
In idle frolics flowing;
‘Tis time the pickaxe and the spade
And iron “tom” were ringing;
And with ourselves, the mountain stream
A song of labor singing.

The mountain air is cool and fresh;
Unclouded skies been o’er us;
Broad placers, rich in hidden gold,
Lie temptingly before us
Then lightly ply the pick and spade
With sinews strong and lusty;
A golden “pile” is quickly made,
Wherever claims are “dusty.

“We ask no magic Midas’ wand,
Nor wizard-rod divining;
The pickaxe, spade and brawny hand
Are sorcerers in mining;
We toil for hard and yellow gold,
No bogus bank notes taking;
The bank, we trust, though growing old,
Will better pay by breaking.

There is no manlier life than ours,
A life amid the mountains,
Where from the hillsides, rich in gold,
Are willing sparkling fountains:
A mighty army of the hills,
Like some strong giant labors
To gather spoil by earnest toil,
And not by robbing neighbors!

When labor closes with the day,
To simple fare returning,
We gather in a merry group
Around the camp-fires burning;
The mountains sod our couch at night,
The stars shine bright above us;
We think of home, and fall asleep
To dream of those who love us.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) May 13, 1854

The Gambler’s Wife: By Dr. Reynell Coates

February 27, 2009
Dr. Reynell Coates

Dr. Reynell Coates

Select Poetry.


Dark is the night! How dark! No light! No fire!
Cold on the hearth, the last faint sparks expire;
Shivering she watches by the cradle side
For him who pledged her [love — last year a bride!]

Hark! ‘Tis his footstep! No! — ‘Tis past! — ‘Tis gone!”
Tick! — Tick! — “How wearily the time crawls on!
Why should he leave me thus? — He once was kind!
And I [believed] ‘twould last! — How mad! How blind!

“Rest thee, by babe! — Rest on! — ‘Tis hunger’s cry!
Sleep! for there is no food; the found is dry!
Famine and cold their wearying work have done!
My heart must break! — and thou!” — The clock strikes one.

“Hush! ’tis the dice-box! Yes, he’s there, he’s there!
For this! — for this, he leaves me to despair!
Leaves love! leaves truth! his wife! his child! for what?
The wanton’s smile — the villain — and the sot!

“Yet I’ll not curse him. No! ’tis all in vain!
‘Tis long to wait, but sure he’ll come again!
And I could starve and bless him but for you,
My child! — [his] child! O fiend!” The clock strikes two.

“Hark! How the sign-board creaks! The blast howls by!
Moan! moan! A dirge swells through the cloudy sky!
Ha! ’tis his knock! He Comes! — he comes once more! —-
‘Tis but the lattice flaps! The hope is o’er!

“Can he desert up thus? He knows I stay
Night after night in loneliness to pray
For his return — and yet he sees no tear!
No! no! It cannot be! He will be here!

“Nestle more closely, dear one, to my heart;
Thou’rt cold! Thou’rt freezing! But we will not part!
Husband! — I lie! — Father! — It is not he!
Oh, God. protect my child!” The clock strikes three!

They’re gone, they’re gone! The glimmering spark hath fled!
The wife and child are number’d with the dead.
On the cold hearth, outstretched in solemn rest,
The babe lay frozen on its mother’s breast;
The gambler came at last, but all was o’er —
Dread silence reigned around — the clock struck four!

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Dec 7, 1846

From the Patriot Order Sons of America website:

The Order of the Junior Sons of America was founded December 10, 1847 in Philadelphia, PA, by Dr. Reynell Coates (December 10, 1802 – April 27, 1886).  Dr. Coates was a surgeon, scientist, statesman, naturalist, teacher, poet, lecturer and essayist, and wished to found a fraternity for American boys to serve as a “High School of American Patriotism.”

The organization was open to American boys aged sixteen to twenty-one years of age. Upon turning twenty-one, their membership would be transferred to the United Sons of America, the parent organization of the Junior Sons. Dr. Coates was the organizer and chief promoter of the Junior Sons of America, wrote the constitution and by-laws, the ritual and ceremonies, and chose the Order’s songs which still remain in use.


Dr. Reynell Coates was the editor of “Leaflets of Memory,” of which two editions can be found on Google Books:

Leaflets of Memory, 1851

Leaflets of Memory, 1855

Included in Dr. Godman’s “Rambles of a Naturalist,”  is Dr. Coates’ essay, A Voyage to India.

Wabaunsee: Death of a Great War Chief

February 21, 2009

Chief Wabaunsee "Dawn of Day"

Chief Wabaunsee "Dawn of Day"

Correspondence of the Washington Union.

Death of the Great War Chief

Your readers, or many of the good people of the metropolis, at least, will recollect this venerable man. He was the principal war chief of the Pottawatomie nation, and was here on a visit with the delegation who came here from Council Bluffs last fall to see their great father the President of the United States.

Returning home in December, having reached Wheeling, they found that winter had set in in good earnest. All hope of getting to St. Louis by water was abandoned — the river was entirely frozen up. The party therefore took stage, being very anxious to get back to their nation, and recount to them the result of their long journey and important visit to their great father. The road was very icy; and passing along not far from Marietta, in Ohio, one of the stages turned over, and injured several of the Indian chiefs. Amongst the rest, Waw-bon-see received some serious injuries. Being old and infirm, he could not recover; but, with his characteristic firmness and intrepidity, this truly brave man held on, and continued his journey until he reached Booneville, in the State of Missouri, where he died. And thus the scene closes with this extraordinary son of the wilderness, whose life had been signalized for his many acts of daring and bravery. The very name of this “great brave” was conferred upon him in consequence of one of his daring deeds. It was this:

In one of their war expeditions, he and his little party found themselves most unexpectedly in close contact with a superior party of Sioux*, then their deadly enemies. A council was held by the Pottawatomie war party during the night, and it was unanimously decided that some decisive blow must be struck before the approaching morning should expose them to their enemies, who were superior to them in numbers. It was soon decided. This lion-hearted man, who is now the subject of these few lines, came forward, and with the brief but determined tone of a brave warrior, said he would undertake the execution of the plan. It was, that he should steal into the lodge of the unsuspecting Sioux at  the still hour of the night, and, single handed, he was to deal out fatal blows to the whole of them, well knowing that if he failed, or made a misstep, and aroused them out of their slumbers, he and all his comrades must perish. Thus nerved to the fearful and doubtful issue, this brave is seen creeping stealthily into the camp of the Sioux just as the dawn of day, when sleep is most profound. He is successful — every one of his enemies sink under the well-aimed blows of his unerring tomahawk; and thus did he secure to himself this proud name, which, for more that two-thirds of a century, has been a terro to his and other surrounding nations. Waw-bon-see signifies, in the Pottawatomie tongue, the “dawn of day.” It was just at that time that he destroyed the Sioux. Hence his name, which he ever afterwards was known by.

But Waw-bon-see, the great brave of the red men, is no more. He had seen his hundred winters; had been in many wars, both with the white and the red man, and was always foremost in battle. He was highly respected by his nation, not only for his courage, but for his just and wise counsels; he was alike distinguished both in the battle-field and in the cabinet, and his loss will be deeply deplored by his people.

It is to be regretted that he could not have reached his home and his nation once more, as he was returning after having enjoyed several personal and most agreeable and interesting interviews with the President of the United States, the honorable Secretary of War, and the honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with whom he and all the other chiefs were much pleased. But the good old man has been gathered to his fathers, and it is to be hoped that his spirit has gone to the fine hunting-grounds, which the red men believe to be in wait for all their brave and good warriors beyond the grave.                 E.

N.B.–The other chiefs had recovered from their slight injuries, and were, when last heard of, at Westport, in Jackson county, Missouri, and getting on very well towards their villages at Council Bluffs.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 23, 1846

*Wikipedia gives a different account of the Sioux incident.

As a young man, Nah-Ke-ses set out to avenge the death of a close friend. He used the cover of a misty morning to sneak into an Osage village where reportedly he single-handedly killed several fierce Osage warriors before they could sound an alarm. Nah-ke-ses was then named “Wabaunsee” or “Little Dawn.” Once when asked why, “Waabaansii” responded, “When I kill an enemy he turns pale [waabaanzo], resembling the first light of the day [waaban].”

Potawatomi Web has tons of information, including maps and pictures. Great site.

The Ledger-Sentinel has this  to say about where Wabaunsee’s village was located:

Waubonsee was the principal war chief of the local Potowatomi and lived at his permanent village near Aurora. In fact, in the Treaty of 1829, Waubonsee was granted five sections of land-3,200 acres-located “…on Fox River of the Illinois, where Shaytees Village now stands.”

It has been said for years that Waubonsee’s village was located at Oswego, but it now seems clear his permanent village was indeed located well north of Oswego in the Big Woods near Aurora. What has confused things was that old settlers reported to the Rev. E.W. Hicks, the county’s first historian, that Waubonsee had a “camping ground” near Oswego. It seems a natural jump from “camping ground” to village, but it’s too far a jump. The Potowatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa all broke up into small family groups each winter and each family group had a winter camp. Many of these winter family camps were on the Illinois River but some were also on the Fox. One of Waubonsee’s may have been at Oswego. The early settlers probably took for granted that everyone knew the Indians broke into family groups for the winter and so took no further pains to explain the significance of Waubonsee’s “camping ground.”

Newsfinder has “A Potawatomi Story.”

This story is really two stories that come from the Native American peoples of Wisconsin. The first story is a Potawatomi story of the origin of humans, and the second concerns the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Ottawa peoples.

You can read the story at the link.

The Kansas Collection has other information about the Potawatomi people, including “two great battles with the whites.”