THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL
2700 L. Street
Across from Sutter’s Fort
Dr. Torrance Phelps
September 11 through September 18, 1949
Sunday, September 11
Tuesday, September 13
Friday, September 16
Sunday, September 18
11:00 a. m. - Sermon by Dr. Lawrence A. Wilson
8:00 p. m. - Civic Night Program. Representatives of the religious and civic life of the city, county and state participating
6:30 p. m. - Homecoming Dinner
Addresses: Dr. Harry E. Tyler and Dr. Arthur B. Patten. At this dinner our former ministers who are now living will be honored: Dr. Arthur B. Patten, Rev. Harvey V. Miller, Dr. Harley H. Gill and Dr. Lawrence A. Wilson.
6:30 p. m. - Anniversary Dinner
Addresses: Dr. Ronald E. Bridges, Dr. Loyal Lincoln Wirt and short addresses from representatives of the state conference and visiting ministers. At this dinner the older members of the church will be honored.
11:00 a. m. - Sermon by Dr. Harley H. Gill
8:00 p. m. - Historical Pageant on Sutter’s Fort Lawn, directly across from church.
The compilation of an historical record necessarily must rely on previously printed material as well as on information supplied by persons who were on the scene when some of the events occurred.
Much information for this book was gathered from a history of the church written by A. C. Sweetser after the turn of the century, from memorial volumes written about Dr. Benton and Dr. Dwinell, from a manual of the church published in 1900, from newspaper files and from clerk’s records of church meetings.
In addition, the editor is grateful to many members of the church, too numerous to list here, for the willing help they provided.
It is impossible to set down in a record as brief as this all the events which took place during the one hundred years of the church. The main events were covered, however, and some of the more interesting sidelights were mentioned.
It is to be hoped that the editor of the history of the second hundred years of the Pioneer Church may find the book some help and interest.
History of the Pioneer Church of Sacramento, California
In 1849 the State of California had just emerged from Mexican rule and was preparing to take her place in the great sisterhood of states that comprised the American Republic. The discovery of gold in the previous year made California, in 1849, the El Dorado of a great host, who pushed their way across the plains, periled their lives on the desert, climbed the Sierras, or braved the dangers of the sea, that they might come into possession of the fabulous wealth, that had lain so long waiting for hand to gather it. The great majority were young men. They were men of courage and enterprise. The greater proportion of them came from different states of the union. It was well that it was so, for the new state needed such men to mold and fashion her forming institutions. Sacramento from the very beginning was a central point in the industrial and political life of the state. Nine tenths of all who sailed through the Golden Gate in 1849 made their way to this city. If as a nation, we find it wise and profitable to periodically remind ourselves of the birth of the republic, rehearsing the incidents that led to its inception, reading anew its declaration of principals, it is surely profitable to recall the early years of the church’s life and learn from them the lessons they are designed to teach. (From the Golden Jubilee sermon of Rev. J. B. Silcox, fourth pastor of the church.)
One hundred years ago, on September 16, 1849, in the schoolhouse on the northwest corner of I and Third Streets, a small group of men voted to form the First Church of Christ in Sacramento City (Congregational). On the following Sunday a confession of faith and covenant was presented and the following enrolled their names as members:
Rev. Joseph A. Benton, J. M. Mackenzie, H. Allen, William S. Baker, H. S. Benedict, Rev. T. A. Ish, W. P Ewing, Selah Lewis, Denis Buckley, J. S. Auger, Emmerson Moody, Forest Shepherd, George G. Webster, Albion C. Sweetser, O. S. Parker, B. F. Reed, (and later) F. L. Chapman,, Jesse Moore, W. C. Frisbie, H. Race, S. B. Birdsall, R. A. Wilson, H. S. Senter, J. S. Foster, James C. Zabriskie, W. C. Walters and Mrs. James Alexander. The latter was the first, and for nearly two years the only, woman member of the church.
The group included Congregationalists and Presbyterians. Mr. Ish was a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, having arrived in Sacramento only a few days before the organizational meeting. The preponderance was Congregational, however, accounting for the policy of the church.
Thus was begun the church which today is a staunch institution in the capital of California, with its place of worship across the street from Sutter’s Fort, the birthplace of the city. It is to one strong, devout man that the credit must go for the conception and the building of the church. Without him the Pioneer Memorial Church of Sacramento would not be celebrating its centennial.
Joseph Augustine Benton, a young graduate of Yale College and Yale Seminary, sailed on the ship Edward Everett on January 12, 1849 from Boston for the Golden Gate. He was the chaplain of the Boston and California Joint Stock Mining Company, a group of 150 men seeking fortune in the newly found gold fields. Benton was 31 years old when the company reached San Francisco on July 6, 1849. Although still a Congregational licentiate, Benton preached for a Presbyterian pastor in San Francisco on the morning of July 8 and for Rev. T. D. Hunt, a Congregationalist, in the evening.
The group arrived in Sacramento on the 14th and on the 22nd Benton preached in the grove at K and Third Streets, just before leaving with the company for the Mokelumne River area. The mining company, however, formally dissolved on August 4 and Benton returned to Sacramento.
Sacramento was a rough place in those days. Steep banks rose 20 feet and more from the river. To the east were three or four blocks of a makeshift city among the logs and stumps and under the trees. There were only a few wooden buildings. Cotton cloth tacked around willow trees served as houses and stores. One street had been opened through the timber to Sutter’s Fort two miles away. The city was the jumping off place for gold seekers who came by steamer from San Francisco on their way to what they hoped would be fertile fields. Prices were high, there were few women, and men seemed more intent on gaining wealth than in obtaining spiritual comfort.
That was the place in which Joseph Benton decided to stay and continue his work in the ministry. He wrote in his journal: “The citizens with a few exceptions are here without their families and not expecting to remain long; yet the place has grown rapidly in three weeks and is still growing. There are good men here; there is enterprise and I shall go on and act according to the wisdom I may possess, both natural and acquired. For this God be praised.”
But Benton was not the first of the men of God to arrive in Sacramento and begin his work. Benton himself reported that religious exercises were begun in June, 1849, by a practicing physician who also was a Methodist Episcopal preacher. His name was William Grove Deal. The exercises were continued by Deal and others - Benton among them - until the end of summer months without any respect to a denominational organization.
Rev. Flavel S. Mines, a Protestant Episcopal clergyman, arrived in San Francisco on July 4 and on September 23 preached in Sacramento. Grace Church (Protestant Episcopal) was organized about September 25, Rev. Richard F. Burnham, who arrived in Sacramento in late November or early December of that year, became rector of that parish.
On October 23, Rev. Isaac Owen arrived at Sacramento and took charge as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church where services had been begun in July. This church afterward was known as the Sixth Street Church.
As far as being the first church in the city of Sacramento, Benton said later: “It is probably fair to say that the Methodist instituted the first regular services and the Congregationalists had the first regular minister and the first regular church organization.”
After Benton made his decision to remain in Sacramento, early in August of 1849, he preached on the 12th in a mechanic’s shed. It may have been the same small blacksmith’s shop referred to by Dr. R. H. McDonald who had come across the country by pack mule and arrived here on July 18. Dr. McDonald later described how Benton preached at the shop at Fourth and J Streets before which stood a broken down wagon, the tongue and hounds of which were used as a pulpit. The story no doubt gave rise to the legend of Benton preaching his first sermon in California from a wagon.
On August 19 the Sunday school was organized in the schoolhouse with five scholars (all the white children in the city) taught by Professor Forest Shepherd, the school teacher of the city. Benton was confined by illness that day. On September 9 the first prayer meeting was held at the corner of I and Third Streets, attended by Christians of all denominations.
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With the organization of the First Church of Christ began the struggle to keep alive the flame which had been kindled. Despite the enthusiasm in forming the group, it was late in October of 1849 before the members could rally themselves to such a pitch of courage as to consider building a church structure. One of the reasons for hesitation was the fact that lumber cost $600 per thousand feet.
Even so, in November a lot was purchased on Third near M Street for $3,000. After $1,500 was paid on it and a committee appointed to raise money and erect a chapel, the rains came and halted further proceedings. The lot was exchanged for the money paid on it for one at the southwest corner of the alley on Sixth Street between J and I Streets. It was 40 by 80 feet.
No further progress was made during 1849. The year ended with twenty-seven members received by the church. Four withdrew and one died, leaving twenty-two to begin the year of 1850.
Mr. Benton became seriously ill early in the new year and left almost immediately for Monterey to stay with Rev. and Mrs. S. H. Willey and recover his health. He had preached on the sixth of January in a large canvas tent on M near Second Street to a large audience.
On January 8, 1850 the river overflowed its banks and the city became a vast sea all the way to Sutter’s Fort. All religious observances and most other activities had to be suspended until the water receded.
Benton returned to Sacramento on March 19 and on the 20th he preached for Mr. Owen in the Methodist Chapel which had been sent from the east. Later in the day Mr. Benton held council with four members of his church to lay plans for the continuance of Congregational worship. Benton told the group he would be glad to do the work he came to do if they would provide him with a place to preach and give him enough money to live on.
Arrangements were made for services to be held for several weeks in the store at 529 J Street. Later they were held on the south side of J Street between Sixth and Seventh and also in the Sons of Temperance Hall at 302 J Street. Seventeen more men joined the church in April.
In April a building committee was appointed. One of the members was David Hewes who had entered the mercantile business in Sacramento that month. Hewes helped solicit subscription for the church and with the money raised he went to San Francisco to purchase the hard wood frame of a church building which had been shipped from Australia. The fire on May 3, 1850 in San Francisco destroyed some of the frame and caused a delay in the erecting of the building in this city.
Meanwhile, on May 5 the First Ecclesiastical Society was organized to manage the temporal affairs of the church. Mr. Benton was the moderator and John Danforth the clerk. On May 12 W. C. Walters, J. L. Chapman, James Gallup, G. C. Cargill, Hardin Bigelow and W. A. Carpenter were elected trustees and on the 24th the society was incorporated according to the laws of the state.
In June a one and a half story parsonage, 12 by 19 feet, was erected on the rear of the church lot. On June 21 Benton wrote in his journal; “Moved into the parsonage with much joy.”
On August 26, 1850 work was commenced on the first church building and on September 4 the cornerstone was laid with appropriate exercises. The stone contained a box holding a description of the church history to date and the newspaper of the day.
The church was dedicated on October 6 with the Methodist pastor, Dr. Deal, assisting. The edifice was 30 by 60 feet, with a gallery for the choir and a tower. Its total cost, including the lot and the parsonage was about $8,000. Thus was born the infant Congregational church and thus was erected its first home.
Cholera struck Sacramento that fall and struck hard. As many as 50 died each day. Mr. Benton was kept busy with burials as well as helping attend to the sick.
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Near the end of 1850 rules and laws governing the church were passed and on January 6, 1851, at the annual meeting, permanent officers were elected. They were: W. C. Walters, treasurer; James C. Zabriskie, clerk; and James Gallup, J. W. Hinks, John McKee and Z. W. Davidson, deacons. Hinks soon resigned and Albion C. Sweetser was elected.
Later in January the church extended a unanimous call to Joseph Benton to become its first permanent pastor at a salary of $3,000 per year and the use of the parsonage. Up to that time the young preacher had been receiving the Sunday collections as his salary. Needless to say, the call was accepted and a council was called for March 5.
The ordination of Mr. Benton was the first such Protestant ceremony in California. The council included pastors from San Francisco, Marysville and Monterey. After an extended examination of the young pastor, which was satisfactory, the service included the reading of the Scripture and prayer by Rev. J. W. Hinds, a sermon by Rev. J. H. Warren, the ordaining prayer and charge to the pastor by Rev. Albert Williams, the charge to the church and ecclesiastical society by Rev. W. W. Brier, the right hand of fellowship by Rev. S. H. Willey and the benediction by Mr. Benton.
The Church of Christ was on its way. The attendance at the services apparently was satisfactory in those days. William E. Chamberlain, grandfather of Waldo Julian who is a member of the Pioneer Church in this Centennial year, noted in his diary for February 2, 1851: “Went to Mr. Benton’s church. Day very pleasant and the church well filled.” On April 6 the first communion service was held, at which time five more men and two more women joined the organization. There were 50 communicants at the service.
The year of 1852 was a hard one, both for Sacramento and the church. On March 17 the flood gate at the mouth of the slough gave way and the city was flooded again. Later, in the great fire of 1852, nearly all of the business part of the city was burned, east to Ninth Street and south to N Street. The church and parsonage were saved, however. On December 19 the levee broke and the city again was flooded for the entire winter. Benton’s journal for the last day of that year noted: “The year goes out buried in the sea and under a cloud for our poor city.”
In the following year, on February 6, five more persons joined the church at a communion service attended by about 60.
Two big milestones of the church were marked in 1853, the organization of the Ladies Aid Society on July 13 and the first home missionary meeting on September 11.
One of the first members of the Ladies Aid was Mrs. Lyman Stearns (Ellen Black) Gilman, the grandmother of Mrs. Malcolm Glenn. Despite her seven children Mrs. Gilman found time to help take care of the sick and to work for the church. Her prized pair of candle sticks, standing today on a mantle place in Judge and Mrs. Glenn’s home, were taken to the church on every social occasion in those early days.
On December 22, 1853, the church celebrated the landing of the Pilgrims. Mr. Benton addressed a crowded church and about 150 people attended a supper.
A heavy blow fell during the following year. On July 13, 1854, shortly after the church had been enlarged by 12 feet and newly papered and repaired, fire broke out in the city on K below Fourth Street and raged to Seventh and I Streets. The courthouse, church and parsonage were destroyed. The communion plate and the Sunday school library were lost.
The speed with which the church responded to this catastrophe indicates the place it held in the hearts and souls of its members. On July 26 they resolved to build a new edifice on the joint stock plan and to raise as much money as possible by the sale of pews.
The lot on the northeast corner of the alley opening between I and J on Sixth Street, almost directly across from the first building, was purchased. The cornerstone, costing $150 and donated by Judge A. P. Catlin, was laid September 21. Including the lot and a mortgage of $8,000, the total cost of the church was $30,000. It was dedicated by Mr. Benton on the last day of 1854.
The organ fund for the church was begun on January 28, 1855, when the choir gave its first concert under the direction of John McNeill. Later in the year the Ladies Aid held a festival for the benefit of the church fund and cleared $1,600.
Early in 1856 most of the Presbyterians withdrew from the church to organize the First Presbyterian Church. On October 7, 1857, the General Association of Congregational churches was organized in Sacramento. On April 14, 1858, the Ladies Aid raised $1,200 for the church fund by giving a fair.
Mr. Benton preached his tenth anniversary sermon on June 5, 1859, slightly in advance of the actual date because the following week he left for China and a trip around the world. He was granted a leave of absence by the church. He visited the Holy Land and returned by way of New York on December 7, 1860. During his 18 month absence the pulpit was filled by Rev. E. G. Beckwith.
During 1861 the pastor gave a series of lectures on the Holy Land and other places he visited on his tour. On December 9, 1861, the American River levee broke and the city was inundated, the water being the highest in the city’s history. On January 10, 1862, the river rose again and the water was higher than in December. It stood 14 inches deep on the church floor. Church services had to be suspended for most of those two months.
An interesting incident is noted just before Benton left Sacramento for other fields. In the month of June, 1862, some of the members of the society raised the question of the spiritual condition of the church, saying that many young men were not attending the meetings. Upon investigation by a committee consisting of the deacons, three of the trustees and Charles Crocker, the situation was found to be more the fault of the complaining members than the pastor.
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On December 14, 1862, Mr. Benton tendered his resignation after receiving a call from the Second Congregational Church (later Plymouth) of San Francisco. He was requested earnestly to rescind his action but, at his request, a council was convened on January 7, 1863, and it advised acceptance of the resignation. On January 15 the church also accepted the resignation but adopted strong resolutions stating that the decision of the council had been made contrary to the desire of the church.
Mr. Benton supplied the church without pay until February 22, preaching his farewell sermon that evening. Thus ended the first thirteen and a half year pastorate of our church.
When Benton left he gave the church a lot at the rear of the church and sold another lot adjacent on the north to the church society for $500, less than it had cost him. In 1858 he had given $500 toward paying the debt on the church property and early in 1862 he had relinquished $500 of his salary because services had been suspended during the flood of December, 1861, and January, 1862.
He had the pastorate of the Plymouth church from 1863 to 1869 and then became a professor at the Pacific Theological Seminary. He died in Oakland on April 8, 1892.
Mr. Benton is known also as the first editor of The Pacific, beginning in 1851, and as one of the founders of the College of California which later was merged into the state university.
November 30, 1850, was the first Thanksgiving Day observed in California and on that day, in Sacramento, Mr. Benton preached a sermon on “California As She Was, As She is and As She is To Be.” His ability as a prophet may be observed in the following quotation:
“A million people cannot fail to thrive by cultivating this virgin soil and in fifty years they will be here to make the demonstration; farm houses will dot thickly every valley, marshes will be redeemed from overflow and wastes will bloom in beauty and yield harvests of joy.
“The State will not fall behind the chieftiest (sic) in arts and manufacturing and in commerce; with hundreds of miles of navigable bays and rivers, with 700 miles of sea coast, with earth’s broadest ocean at her feet gemmed with a thousand sea isles and having the shore of a continent, California is to be the queen of the seas, and with the Golden Gate are to be the docks and depots of a steam and electro-magnetic marine, of which all the steam marine that now exists is but the minutest embryo.
“The iron horse that has drunk, the waters of the Mississippi will fly over mountain and plain and river, breathe defiance to yonder beetling cliffs and towering peaks of snow, as he dashes forward through the tunneled depts (sic) beneath and comes through our streets to slake his thirst at the Sacramento.”
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In March of 1863 the church extended a call to Rev. Isaac Edson Dwinell for one year at a salary of $3,000 and it was accepted. The offer was made by telegraph to Salem, Mass.
Dwinell began his work in Sacramento on the first Sunday in July. A year later the church asked him to become the permanent pastor. He accepted and was installed on July 10, 1864. The same year an organ was set up in the church, largely through the efforts of John McNeill, at a cost of $4,500.
After Dwinell had been in Sacramento a short while, he wrote in a letter to the east: “There are many elements in this city of about 20,000. There is indifference to public sentiment because public sentiment does not exist. Yet in any case of sickness or suffering no persons have warmer hearts then the apparently cool and indifferent Californians.”
In the fall of 1868 the church building was elevated 12 feet, presumably to avoid flood waters, at a cost of more than $8,000. The lecture room was finished, new pews installed and other improvements made, all at a cost of more than $5,000.
At the time of the raising of the church a second cornerstone was laid and it was that stone which first came to light when the edifice was torn down in 1923.
The esteem which the church and, indeed, the entire city of Sacramento, held for Mr. Dwinell was shown near the end of 1868. Having been offered the position as first professor or acting president of the California Theological Seminary Association, he tendered his resignation to the church on November 17.
The feeling of the Sacramento parishioners was so intense and the urging of other residents was so strong that the ecclesiastical council which convened on December 15 would not give consent to Dwinell to leave. He remained for another fifteen years.
Dr. J. A. Benton, already a trustee of the seminary association, filled the post which had been offered to Mr. Dwinell. Later the two were to be joined in their seminary work.
One of the big problems of the church, ever since its founding, was the constant shift in the population of the city. In June of 1871 a committee was appointed to revise the manual of the church. It reported that up to that time 347 members had been received into the church and that 109, nearly one-third, had been dismissed by letters. In addition, 28 died, leaving a total of 210.
In July of 1874 Mr. Dwinell was granted a three month leave of absence and that was extended for three more months on account of his health. During the period the pulpit was filled by Rev. Aaron Williams, the same pastor who had supplied the church for a period in 1867 when Dwinell had gone east on business for the theological seminary.
On May 17, 1883, Mr. Dwinell again submitted his resignation to the church, having received another call from the seminary, and this time it was accepted reluctantly. Thus ended the second pastorate of the church, the longest in the 100 year history.
In his farewell sermon, Mr. Dwinell pointed out that when he took over the church there were 83 members of the roll and that there now were 266 on the list. The clerk records of 40 years later show only 11 more on the roll than in 1883.
At the seminary Dr. Dwinell assumed the chair of homiletics, the art of preparing and preaching sermons. The position later was endowed permanently by three of Dr. Dwinell’s personal friends, Moses Hopkins, C. P. Huntington and Mrs. Charles Crocker, the latter two having been attendants during his ministry in Sacramento.
How much value to the church, to the city and to the state to have a man like Dr. Dwinell in the leading pulpit of the city may be seen in reviewing his civic efforts during his tenure.
When, in 1868, an effort was made in the legislature to repeal the Sabbath laws of the state, Dr. Dwinell spoke vigorously against the move and wrote strongly in The Pacific and in the daily press in the support of his opinion. The bill was defeated. The success of the movement fourteen years later was no fault of his.
Another topic which brought forth protest from the pastor was the attempt to arouse a spirit of discontent among some classes of citizens in 1878. In his discourse at that time, Dr. Dwinell pointed out the symptoms of the communistic spirit in California and other states. He showed why attempts were being made to array classes against each other, to override divine personal rights, to crush individuality, to belittle Christianity and to establish the unsound doctrine that the state is the only safe capitalist.
Other sermons written and delivered by Dr. Dwinell touched upon the conflict of capital and labor, upon the troubled period after the adoption of a new constitution by the state, and upon the Chinese immigration question. He also drew up a reform school bill for the legislature, spoke against speculation in bonanza mines in 1875, helped organize the Sacramento Protestant Orphan Asylum and aided in the formation of the Sacramento Literary Institute.
Dr. Dwinell died in Oakland on June 7, 1890, at the age of 70, a few days after handing diplomas to the graduates of the seminary.
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After Dr. Dwinell left, the church was supplied for a time by Rev. P. S. Knight and others. During that time a few changes were made in the interior of the church, notably the moving of the organ at a cost of $600.
On January 15, 1884, the church went to the Pacific Theological Seminary for a new pastor. The man selected was W. C. Merrill, a student under Dr. Benton. Mr. Merrill was ordained and installed on May 9. His salary was $2,000.
One of the things accomplished by Merrill during his six year pastorate was the organization of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor.
Mr. Merrill resigned on June 1, 1890, and on June 19 the church invited Rev. J. B. Silcox to become its pastor for one year. On May 3, 1891, Silcox accepted the offer to become the permanent pastor but a year later, having received a call from the Congregational Church of East Oakland, he resigned, effective August 31. He declined to withdraw his resignation although urged strongly to do so. He was to return later, however.
In August of 1892 Rev. J. B. Koehne was engaged to preach on trial during September and October for $400, but early in October the agreement was changed to a year’s contract. On May 4, 1893, the church asked him to be its permanent pastor and he accepted. The following April he resigned. At first his resignation was refused by the church but finally it was accepted.
The church called Rev. Henry N. Hoyt on September 7, 1894. He began his pastorate during November of that year and on January 29, 1895, he was installed formally by a council consisting of representatives of churches in Berkeley, Lincoln, Rocklin, Oakland, San Francisco, Stockton, Woodland and Vacaville.
During Mr. Hoyt’s tenure were organized a Civic Club and a Young Men’s League, both to promote interest in the church work.
On September 9, 1896, Mrs. Frances S. Benton, widow of the beloved first pastor of the church, presented a life size portrait of Dr. Benton to the church. The presentation was made by Albion C. Sweetser, the last surviving charter member of the church.
Mr. Hoyt resigned on December 29, 1897, to take effect on February 1, 1898, in order to accept a call from a church in the east. The departure of Mr. Hoyt and his wife was greatly regretted, both having been very popular with the members.
* * *
The church extended a second call to Rev. J. B. Silcox and it was accepted, service to commence in May of 1898. During the interim the church building underwent necessary repairs. Rev. Charles Van Norden supplied the pulpit free of charge for several months.
With Mr. Silcox again in the pulpit, the annual meeting of the church in January of 1899 was reminded that it was the Golden Jubilee year and plans were laid for an observance. Sparrow Smith was named chairman and G. W. Capen secretary of a committee to prepare the celebration.
The jubilee was held on September 22 and 23, beginning on Sunday morning. Two pastors, Mr. Warren and Mr. Willey, both of whom had officiated in the ordination and installation of Joseph Benton in 1851, were honored guests.
Mr. Silcox preached the jubilee sermon. He gave a remarkably complete history of the church, especially of the earlier days. In closing, he said:
“I have dwelt on the past of this church in order that we might get inspiration and aspiration to make a better future for it. The most fitting way to honor the pioneers of this church is to resolve that, on the foundations they so well have laid, we will build up a nobler structure to the glory of God and the service of man. This church is their legacy to us. What shall our bequest be to the coming generation?”
One of the important steps taken by the church before the close of the century was the change of its name. It had been known as the First Church of Christ of Sacramento City and also as the First Congregational Church of Christ. In accordance with a resolution offered at the annual meeting on January 22, 1899, and adopted on May 21, the church was incorporated on June 20 under the name of the First Congregational Church in the City of Sacramento. The first trustees were William Geary, S. E. Carrington, L. Tozer, C. T. Noyes, D. W. Carmichael, P. R. Watts and A. H. Hawley.
The second pastorate of Mr. Silcox ended in the spring of 1900 and in the fall of that year Rev. C. A. Dickinson, widely known as a pioneer in institutional church work, came to Sacramento in poor health, however, and was the pastor for only two years. He left in the fall of 1902 and died a few years later in Corona, Calif.
The church was without a pastor during the winter of 1902-3 but in the spring of 1903 Rev. J. A. Chamberlain of Newark, N. J., accepted a call. He likewise was obliged by failing health to retire from the active ministry and left in July of 1904.
Rev. Henry K. Booth became the pastor in November of 1904 and with his coming the church again began to talk of a new building. By 1905 the church was found to be sadly in need of renovation but the decision was made to make repairs rather than seek another place of worship. The interior was redecorated, new stained glass windows replaced the old ones, a new carpet was laid and other repairs made. The old organ was entirely remodeled and enlarged and then rededicated as the Crocker Memorial Organ in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Crocker whose heirs contributed the money for the work.
In 1904 occurred a memorable event as far as the distaff side of the church was concerned. Heretofore the Ladies Aid had been the sole auxiliary of the church. Now the Priscillas were organized and began their work. At that time there were 318 members on the rolls, about two thirds of whom were women.
By 1906 the attendance at church services was so good that the time honored system of pew rentals was stopped and a method of annual contributions was adopted to supplement the Sunday collections.
On April 18 and 19 of 1906 the city of San Francisco was leveled by the famous and disastrous earthquake. The catastrophe caused a great rush of people into other communities and many refugees headed for Sacramento. The church swung wide its doors. Cots were set up in the basement. Food was provided and clothing was furnished.
On October 20, 1907, Mr. Booth resigned to accept a call from the North Berkeley Congregational Church.
Rev. H. G. Temple was called from Seattle on December 11, 1907, and the church paid $400 for moving his furniture from Cleveland, Ohio. In January of 1910, however, after a year of troubled times for the church, Mr. Temple was released from the pastorate and was replaced in June by Rev. Arthur Bardwell Patten of Santa Rosa.
Meanwhile, in October of 1908, the mission property of the church at 23rd and K Streets was sold to the Seventh Day Adventists for $3,000.
On the church records for November 3, 1909, appears a special resolution which was adopted in honor of the ninetieth birthday anniversary of Deacon Albion C. Sweetser, the last remaining charter member of the church. There are some members today who remember the stories Mr. Sweetser used to tell of the early days of Sacramento and the church.
Mr. Patten was installed on December 8, 1910. In June the thought of the church had turned again toward the possibility of a new building when Mrs. F. W. (Cornelia E.) Fratt gave the church the lot at the northeast corner of Fifteenth and P Streets. It was valued at $15,000. Earlier in the year the Sixth Street property had been placed with two real estate firms to sell for $42,500.
The church had been without a regular pastor during most of 1910 and the road for Mr. Patten was rough. A report of the annual meeting of the church on January 10, 1912, shows only 221 members.
Moreover, it was a troubled period for the world in general. In 1913 and 1914 the church adopted resolutions for world peace to be sent to the United States Senate and to President Woodrow Wilson. On May 17, 1914, the church also adopted a resolution to support the movement for the prohibition of the liquor traffic.
By January of 1916 there were only 194 resident members of the church. In the Sunday School there were 137 members. One class of boys successfully defended its city Sunday school basketball league championship.
The report of the Young People’s Christian Endeavor Society in 1916 shows that a printing press, purchased for $400 just before Mr. Temple became pastor, had saved the church more than $1,000 in the cost of weekly bulletins and special programs. The press still is being used to print the bulletins. In those days the boys and girls of the Christian Endeavor group helped with the printing.
Mr. Patten’s letter of resignation was read to the church on December 10, 1916. It contained a reproach to the church for “not rallying more generally and not winning the public more largely.” The resignation was rejected at that time but it was resubmitted and accepted as of April 8, 1917. The scholarly Mr. Patten was well liked by the church but the need of an administrator to lift the church from a wartime slump was felt.
The church by 1917 seemed to have reached its lowest ebb. On April 29, the First Methodist Episcopal Church sent a communication to the Congregational body inviting it to worship with it because the latter had no pastor. The invitation suggested also that a delegation from each group meet to consider a basis of uniting, pending future developments.
The two churches at that time were within two blocks of each other. Both properties were up for sale because both were anxious to leave what had become an undesirable part of the city.
In response to the invitation the Congregational church voted to join the Methodists for the May 6th services but to continue to hold its own services later.
On June 13, 1917, Rev. Harvey Miller of Paradise, Calif., was invited to become the pastor of the church. The low financial status permitted an offer of only $100 per month but he accepted. His wife, Dr. Clara Miller, was an osteopath and set up a practice in the city.
The war took its toll. The church dropped to 163 active members in 1917. The Ladies Aid sent 14 Christmas boxes to the boys from the church who were in camp. In 1918 the church suspended services from October 20 to November 24 because of the influenza epidemic.
After the war the church struggled along with between 200 and 300 members. The organization apparently was held together by the hopes and dreams of a new church building in a new location and by the indomitable work of Mr. Miller. In November of 1921 the church thought of buying the lot at the northwest corner of 24th and L Streets but the deal did not go through.
In 1922, from May 23 to 28, the church held a “Days of ‘49” celebration to which the public was invited. Costumes were worn and one of Dr. Benton’s sermons was preached. On the 28th the Sunday school made a pilgrimage to the site of its founding at Third and I Streets. The daily press made much of the fete.
But the new building still seemed far away and on September 18, 1922, Mr. Miller resigned to accept a call from Alameda. In his letter he said: “Five years of study and experience in this church have convinced me that the only solution is a new location. I have been unable to accomplish this but I am sure God will send you a man who can.”
The events which were to transpire in the next few years made it appear as though Mr. Miller’s resignation had been a hard felt spur to the church. His words left no doubt but that action was necessary.
On January 10, 1923, an offer of $25,000 for the church property was refused and $35,000 was demanded. This price was agreed upon soon thereafter and it included everything except the organ, pews and most of the other interior items. At that time there were 277 members.
Another big step was taken on March 19 when the lot at 29th and J Streets was purchased for $6,300 and the church voted to build on it a structure to cost $60,000.
The last service in the building which had served the Congregationalists in Sacramento for 68 years was held on April 15, 1923. An historical service was held in the morning. Concerts by the Schubert and McNeill Clubs were presented in the afternoon. Vespers were held at 6 p.m. before the evening service.
The final sermon was preached by Rev. J. B. Silcox, the man who nearly a quarter of a century before had delivered the Golden Jubilee sermon. Present at the service was Ed Kripp, the purchaser of the property. He had been married by Mr. Silcox during his earlier pastorate. Also on hand were Mr. and Mrs. F. Kripp who had been married by Dr. Benton.
In May, just before the work of dismantling the building was begun to make room for the amusement center which was to take its place, a movement to save the old church was launched by Mayor Albert Elkus to preserve the pioneer building for posterity, but the necessary response was not forthcoming.
For many years the old church had provided the only auditorium in the city for public gatherings. The Saturday Club presented its concerts there for a long time.
The tearing down of the building caused some excitement when the cornerstone was reached and opened. To the disappointment of a curious throng, the items were found to be dated 1868. Research disclosed that it was the second cornerstone of the church, laid when the structure was raised and extensively remodeled fourteen years after its original building. The original 1854 cornerstone was found later and opened. Both the stones were incorporated into the present structure and the latest one added, of course, in 1926.
Since the previous September the church had been without a pastor and now it was without a place of worship of its own. The Sunday services, however, were held in the Tuesday Clubhouse and the business meetings of the organization were held in the Young Men’s Christian Association Building.
Full credit must be given to two men who helped to give the church the lift it needed during those months. Rev. Robert Porter had come from the east to become the temporary pastor. He was an eloquent, well liked man and the church on several occasions asked him to become its permanent pastor, each offer being refused for his own personal reasons. Mr. Silcox stepped into the pulpit for the third time, temporarily, and seemed to hold the congregation together with flawless oratory and apt leadership.
But in April of 1923 the church voted to call Rev. Harley Hayes Gill from Stockton, Calif. Mr. Gill already had been offered and had refused the superintendence of the Northern California Conference of Congregational Churches. He began his pastorate here on July 7.
The new pastor almost immediately began a series of advertisements in the daily newspapers, calling attention to the church services in the Tuesday Clubhouse. Attendance improved.
The church plunged anew into the task of preparing its new home. Plans were drawn, committees were formed, and the never ending search for the necessary funds went on.
More church members were needed and early in 1924 the first extensive membership drive in years was launched. The result was the attainment of a goal of 100 new members, an achievement which served to give a great spiritual uplift to the church as a whole.
On September 16, 1924, the Diamond Jubilee of the church was held in the Native Sons Hall at 11th and J Streets. A dinner was served to 150 persons. Talks were given and letters from former pastors of the church were read.
Since the sale of the old building plans had been made to erect the new church at 29th and J Streets. The architect’s drawing revealed, however, that the lot apparently was too small and the building would be cramped. Then the idea was conceived by R. C. Wilks that the church buy the property at the corner of 27th and L Streets, opposite Sutter’s Fort, and that the edifice be called Pioneer Memorial Congregational Church. This idea met with immediate favor and enthusiasm and the negotiations for the property were begun.
The two corner lots were purchased but it was some time before agreement could be made for the 50 foot portion of ground immediately next to the Tuesday Clubhouse. When the deal was finally made, the plans were redrawn for the building as it now stands.
The year 1926 opened auspiciously for the church. The reports of committees at the annual meeting on January 12 showed that great progress was being made. The reports were greeted by applause. There were 344 members at the time and the organization was in a solvent condition, $8,388 having come into the coffers during the previous year. The trustees went so far as to recommend the hiring of an assistant pastor.
Ground breaking ceremonies for the new building were held at five o’clock in the afternoon of March 30, 1926, and the cornerstone was laid on June 5. The stone was laid by Mr. Gill and former pastor Harvey Miller assisted in the ceremonies.
The building of the new church was the biggest event in the modern history of the organization. A tremendous financial responsibility had to be assumed because the total cost of the venture was about $135,000, including the property. A loan was made from the national church building society to go with a gift from the same source. Proceeds from the sale of the old building and from the sale of the lot at 29th and J Streets helped. Building fund campaigns brought forth some money but still a mortgage of $60,000 had to be taken.
The church was erected by the McGillivray Construction Company at cost plus $1 through the generosity of George C. Bassett, head of the company and a member of the church. Much credit for work done during the building was given to Dr. Eugene H. Pitts, chairman of the board of trustees.
The church was dedicated November 21, 1926, with ceremonies which lasted all day, beginning with a breakfast program. Guests were present from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Stockton and other cities in northern California. Communion was served at 11 o’clock and 77 new members, one for each year of the church’s history, were received.
The dedication service in the afternoon was featured by the formal presentation of the building by George Bassett and the construction company to Clarence H. Kromer, chairman of the building committee. He in turn presented it to Dr. Pitts who accepted it on behalf of the church. The sermon was preached by Mr. Gill and the dedicatory prayer was offered by Rev. W. J. Minchin, superintendent of the Northern California Conference. Open house was held after the services. Tea was served and the Delta Rho Girls acted as guides for visitors in showing off the building. A sacred concert was given in the evening.
Many gifts were presented to the new church. A chancel window was given by Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Witherbee and a pair on the main floor by Mrs. Lester Hinsdale. (Later, during Dr. Phelps’ pastorate, windows were given by Mrs. Lowell Sheldon and Mrs. Richard Monson and a large transept east window by A. B. Sholl. During this Centennial year the Quilting Club also plans to give a window.)
Part of the historic Crocker organ was used in the church but one full set of new pipes was given by Mrs. A. G. Folger and a set of organ chimes by Mrs. Mary E. Noyes who also gave the large lantern lighting fixtures. Flood lights for the tower were presented in memory of Rev. Henry N. Hoyt and his wife by their friends, many of whom had been members of Mrs. Hoyt’s Sunday school class.
Edward Wahl gave a cabinet safe, Mrs. Mary Ross a piano, the Ladies Aid the outside bulletin board, an illuminated cross by Mrs. Malcolm Glenn, the pulpit by Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Anderson, the communion table by Mr. and Mrs. Porterfield, the cornerstone slab by the workmen on the building, the labor on the window shades by the W. A. Rapp Co. and two sets of stage scenery by Mr. and Mrs. Archer C. Sullivan who had organized the Pilgrim Players, a drama group, in the church in 1924.
The large painting in the narthex of the church was done by the daughter of John E. Benton, brother of Dr. Benton, and was presented to the church by members of the Benton family.
The old walnut pews which had served so long in the old church could not be used. They were taken over by the Bethany Presbyterian Church of Oak Park.
Soon after the church was dedicated, the old historic bell was rehung (sic) in the tower and it rang out again for the first time on the first Sunday in 1927. The bell had been cast in Troy, N. Y., in 1854 and made the trip around the Horn in a windjammer to be hung in the belfry of the church on Sixth Street. It was donated by Richard F. Toomer, an early day Sacramento businessman. Not only did the bell call the congregation to Sunday worship but it served as the city’s fire alarm and also to summon the vigilante committees. A previous bell had been damaged in the great city fire of 1854.
The supports for the bell weakened in the old church and the ringing was abandoned several years before the church was torn down. Today, 95 years after it was cast, it still is pealing on Sundays.
The enthusiasm engendered by the building of the fine new Gothic structure as a place of worship carried the members along in renewed effort. In January of 1929 the church had a total of 501 members, the first time in history that figure was reached. It has never stopped growing since. In March of that year a director of religious education and young people’s work has hired, also for the first time as a full time, paid position.
Mr. Gill resigned as pastor late in 1929 to accept, as of January 1, 1930, the position of superintendent of the Northern California Congregational Conference. He left with regret but with the expressed feeling that he had accomplished his mission in Sacramento, that of getting the new church built.
Rev. Lawrence Wilson of San Diego assumed the pastorate in 1930 and the church continued to grow in membership year by year. Under Mr. Wilson the College of Life was organized with its own chapel service and study groups. Later it became the Pilgrim Fellowship. The Women’s League, composed of representatives of all the women’s organizations in the church, was formed during Mr. Wilson’s tenure.
The heavy debt of the church still remained, however. During the first ten years after the dedication of the church the indebtedness was reduced from $75,000 to $62,500 and no great, determined campaign had been waged.
In 1936, however, under pressure from the Bank of America and with incentive of a generous offer from the bank to write off a portion of the debt, an Emancipation Campaign was launched to raise $20,000. By means of $15,000 in subscriptions and a loan of $5,000 from the building society, the goal was reached within the year and the church was able to erase off a large part of its financial burden.
Mr. Wilson resigned in 1939 and on June 13 of that year Dr. Torrance Phelps arrived from the First Congregational Church in Pasadena. His reputation as a builder had preceded him. In Kalamazoo, Mich., Dr. Phelps had built a $250,000 church, free of debt. In Pasadena he gathered more than 600 new members.
In Sacramento, Dr. Phelps lost no time in making use of the fine new church building. New members began to arrive, church attendance soared, new clubs were formed and the colony system was introduced.
Five and a half years after Dr. Phelps arrived the final indebtedness was cleared. Since the Emancipation Campaign in 1936 the last $30,000 had been whittled steadily down to about $20,000 in 1944. Then, with the help of $12,000 from the legacy of Mrs. Cornelia Fratt and $8,000 in subscriptions, the mortgage was burned on October 8, 1944. The ceremony clearing off the debt was presided over by Mrs. H. A. Travis, David H. Gill and William L. Meuser.
In the spring of 1945 the 40 by 80 foot lot in the rear of the church across the alley and fronting on 27th Street was purchased by Thomas Richards. He gave the lot to the church and it is used for parking automobiles at present.
Since 1939 more than 1,300 new members have joined the church and about two thirds of them still are resident members. The achievement of Dr. Phelps in that work has won him a nationwide reputation. As a feature of the Centennial celebration a class of about 150 is joining the church.
Like Mr. Wilson before him in 1931, Dr. Phelps became chaplain of the California State Assembly. He served in 1945 and 1946 and again in 1949. His prayers to open the daily sessions of the lawmakers have won him nationwide newspaper attention for their unusual subjects, clarity and frankness.
The Sunday school enrollment leaped from about 125 to more than 400 under the membership work of the new pastor. In addition, the Cradle Roll, under Mrs. A. C. Sullivan, has increased to about 350, one of the largest in the west.
Now, with a membership of about 1,400 and with a budget of $25,000, the church is upon the threshold of its greatest era of progress and of service. Beginning with a part time secretary in 1939, the church now supports for its manifold activities an assistant pastor and minister of education, a minister of music, and a church secretary.
During World War II, when gasoline rationing was begun, the time of the Sunday school was changed to coincide with church time. Previously the Sunday school had met earlier in the morning and in years before had held its classes in the early afternoon. The change allowed parents and children to be in the building at the same time. Attendance in both places was excellent and the system has prevailed.
The growth of the Sacramento church, from its meager beginning in 1849 to the splendid institution it is in 1949, is evident not only in the tremendous increase in membership, its financial solvency, and its fine place of worship, but in the actual work which the individual parishioners perform. Literally scores of members are officers of the many committees and clubs which are integral units of the church, but all banded together for the great service.
In the early days the church was run by the deacons and trustees. The Ladies Aid was organized in 1853. The Priscillas formed in 1904 and on April 21, 1922, some of the younger Priscillas started the Mayflower Club. Meanwhile, more committees had been added, deaconesses took their place with the deacons and later other clubs were organized as the activities of the church widened in scope.
In addition to the trustees, deacons, deaconesses, the cabinet and the individual officers of the church, the committees include the nominating, ushers, music, religious education, evangelism, social services, world service, worship and fellowship, public affairs, and Boy Scouts.
The women’s clubs, in addition to those already named, include the Women’s League, the Quilting Club, the Pilgrim Club, Tri-S Club, Rose Standish Club, World Friendship Club, Presidents’ Club, North Sacramento Guild, Tahoe Guild and Hollywood Guild.
The friendship clubs, generally organized for social activities, are the Benton Club (men), Business and Professional Women, Colonial, Plymouth, Alden, Circle-Y and Young Married Couples.
The Pioneer Church was one of those which voted, in February of this year at a meeting of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches, to approve a basis of union with the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Both groups having approved the union, the first session of the United Church of Christ will be held in 1950.
In this connection it is interesting to recall that some of the early Congregational churches in New England were called Church of Christ. Also, the name of the pioneer church in Sacramento was the First Church of Christ.
This seeming reverting to the days of ’49 is not to be interpreted, however, as an indication that the Pioneer Church is looking backward. The valiant men who founded the city of Sacramento and our church will be honored and revered forever in the records of the church and in the spirit of its people. But the Pioneer Church must, and will, look forward always.
Church Staff & Officers
OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH FOR 1949:
STAFF – Torrance T. Phelps, D. D., Minister; Bernard Rice, Minister of Education and Assistant Pastor; Miss Josephine Fithian, Minister of Music; Mrs. Zue Geery Pease, organist; Mrs. Laura Mc Naught, Secretary; Thomas Crawford, Custodian.
TRUSTEES – Three years: Judge Malcolm C. Glenn, George I. Linn, Emmett Seawell.
Two years: Mrs. E. M. Huggins, Dr. Nicholas Ricciardi, H. A. Travis.
One year: Mrs. E. H. Wilmunder, K. S. Farley, J. D. O’Dell.
DEACONS – Three years: H. S. Morgan, Ed. Skeels, O. E. Newhall, H. G. Wright.
Two years: David G. Gill, R. L. Burge, Fred Smith, H. A. Shuder.
One year: C. H. Kromer, R. W. Lorenz, C. O. Porter, H. L. Waddell.
DEACONESSES – Three years: Mrs. Forrest Bailey, Mrs. Ed. Horton, Mrs. F. M. Bernard, Mrs. Harvey Humason.
Two years: Mrs. Harold Green, Mrs. Ward Jett, Mrs. J. E. Cain, Mrs. Katherine Thomas, Mrs. Vey Cramer.
One year: Mrs. R. S. Davies, Mrs. B. F. Driver, Mrs. M. P. Woodhouse, Mrs. E. G. Funke.
CABINET – C. L. Rudine, Mrs. Gladys Tilden, W. F. Browne, H. L. Fehr, George Anderson, Mrs. L. H. Reardan, members from the church at large; also the president and secretary of the board of trustees, the president and secretary of the board of deacons, the president and secretary of the board of deaconesses, clerk, financial secretary, historian, director of religious education, superintendent of the Sunday school, a representative from each of the permanent committees of the church and the presidents of all auxiliary organizations.
CLERK – Mrs. Frank Todd.
TREASURER – Wm. K. Evans.
AUDITOR – Theodore Rosequist.
NOMINATING COMMITTEE – Warren Bugbey, R. W. Lorenz, Mrs. H. A. Travis.
HISTORIAN – A. C. Sullivan.
FINANCIAL SECRETARY – W. E. Squires.
USHERS – R. M. Ewing, chairman.
MUSIC COMMITTEE – Mrs. K. M. Austinson, E. F. Dolder, Mrs. E. C. Kelton, Vernon Jackson, Mrs. E. H. Pitts, Mrs. H. M. Skidmore, Miss Marie Stebbins, Warren Bugbey.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION – Mrs. H. W. Baker, Mrs. Ida Rapp, Mrs. R. W. Lorenz, Paul Westerberg, Mrs. R. C. Anderson, Mrs. R. L. Weid, Mrs. L. D. Locey, Mrs. J. F. Briggs, M. W. Cragun, Mrs. H. E. Boerlin, Mrs. Carsten Grupe, C. R. Krieger.
EVANGELISM – O. L. Brown, John Dixon, Harold Wells, Mrs. Paul Wanner, Gordon Piper, Louis Heinrich, L. O. Kelly, H. M. Gramenz, Ben Sykes, Clark Lee, Wm. McKane, Mrs. Joseph Tuthill.
SOCIAL SERVICE – Ward Jett, Mrs. H. N. Dyke, Mrs. H. E. Shepherd, E. E. Zirkle, Mrs. Lucy Richards, Cameron McKillop, Ulrich Morley, Mrs. Frank Todd, Jack Dennison, Harry Collett, W. J. Kuhrt, H. A. Stockley.
WORLD SERVICE – H. G. Andrews, Tom Leeper, Mrs. J. A. Pearce, Mrs. Aubre Rothchild, Mrs. R. E. Reynolds, Franklin Ohanesian, Mrs. Susan Roberts, Peter Kludjian, David Lester, S. E. Peterson.
WORSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP – Miss Amanda Mutchier, Mrs. Lorain E. Alderdice, Mrs. J. H. Fishbeck, Frank Hodgson, B. F. Berkley, Mrs. John Traub, Mrs. DeVere Bacon, Mrs. Frank Donald, Mrs. Robert Pratt, Mrs. Geo. W. Hemminger, Mrs. Gordon Bunney, Mrs. A. E. Worsley, Mrs. W. W. Rapp, R. P. Du Page.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS – Harry Armstrong, W. H. Haines, C. W. Preston, Judge Rolfe Thompson, Dr. C. L. Bittner, F. G. Schapp, George Bassett, P. V. Burke, Tom H. Richards, Dr. R. E. Simpson, H. E. White, L. L. Madland, J. E. Carpenter, M. B. Scofield, G. F. Clark, A. S. Dudley, H. F. Melvin, R. W. Crowell, James G. Bryant.
COMMUNITY SERVICE – Gordon Fleury, T. H. Richards, III, H. M. Thompson, W. L. Kilgore, J. M. Bull, R. E. Loheit, R. E. Woodward, H. A. Goodling, H. T. King, Jr., Fred Gorman, R. A. Warren, R. P. Everett, L. I. Landau, A. W. Collins, J. W. Meyer, L. R. Yeates, Stanley Lovett, Jackson Faustman, James Jansen.
SCOUT COMMITTEE – O. L. Stubbs, A. C. Merten, Ulric Morley, R. L. Burge, Max King, Harlan Thompson.
SCOUTMASTER – Jason Plowe.
OFFICERS OF THE WOMEN’S CLUBS
LEAGUE – Pres., Mrs. Averil C. Andrews; vice-pres., Mrs. George Hancock; second vice-pres., Mrs. Wm. H. Colgrove; third vice-pres., Mrs. Richard S. Davies; Sec., Mrs. Ray C. Treasher; treas., Mrs. George A. Johnson; commissioner, Mrs. Grace Scott.
QUILTING CLUB – Pres., Mrs. Frank P. Brower.
LADIES AID – Pres., Mrs. Myra S. Warmoth; vice-pres., Mrs. M. C. Glenn; sec., Mrs. Bessie L. Taylor; treas., Mrs. Elizabeth A. Wright.
PRISCILLA CLUB – Pres., Mrs. O. E. Newhall; vice-pres., Mrs. H. N. Coulter; treas., Mrs. Walter Rennie, sec., Mrs. A. C. Sullivan.
MAYFLOWER CLUB – Pres., Mrs. Hugh Zenor; vice-pres., Mrs. F. M. Small; sec., Mrs. Charles Hickey; treas., Mrs. C. L. Rudine.
PILGRIM GUILD – Pres., Mrs. H. S. Morgan; first vice-pres., Mrs. Frank Barton; second vice-pres., Mrs. T. W. Kyddson; sec., Mrs. George Clark; treas., Mrs. H. C. Galloup.
TRI-S CLUB – Pres., Mrs. Paul Anderson; first vice-pres., Mrs. Frank Lang; second vice-pres., Mrs. James Cochran; sec., Mrs. J. A. Pearce; treas., Mrs. R. W. Lorenz.
ROSE STANDISH CLUB – Pres., Mrs. M. W. Cragun; vice-pres., Mrs. Charles Day; sec., Mrs. Tony Sperling; treas.; Mrs. Frank Norris.
WORLD FRIENDSHIP – Pres., Mrs. Katherine Thomas; rec. sec., Miss Henriette Huntington; cor. sec., Mrs. Hettie Lowman; treas., Mrs. Alice Greene.
PRESIDENTS’ CLUB – Pres., Mrs. A. A. Clarke; vice-pres., Mrs. Ray Treasher; sec.-treas., Mrs. John J. Redmond.
NORTH SACRAMENTO – Pres., Mrs. K. M. Austinsen.
TAHOE – Pres., Mrs. D. S. Anstess; vice-pres., Mrs. John K. Dixon; sec.-treas., Mrs. J. Brummer.
HOLLYWOOD – Pres., Mrs. Chas. O. Porter; vice-pres., Mrs. Edward Telford; sec.-treas., Mrs. E. I. Chandler.
FRUITRIDGE MANOR – Pres., Mrs. R. W. Rinehart; vice-pres., Mrs. Harvey Jennings; sec., Mrs. J. L. Swanson; treas., Mrs. L. F. Mayer.
* * *
OFFICERS FRIENDSHIP CLUBS
BENTON CLUB – Pres. H. L. Waddell; vice-pres., L. E. Parker; sec., Paul Westerberg; treas., Ward Jett. Directors, L. V. Anderson, H. L. Fehr, C. L. Rudine, H. S. Morgan, Ed. Horton.
BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL WOMEN – Pres., Miss Marguerite Laurick; vice-pres., Helene Hilfiker; sec-treas., Mrs. Esther Winger.
COLONIAL CLUB – Pres., O. L. Stubbs; vice-pres., Mrs. Ted Myrick; sec. vice-pres., Mrs. Paul Freye; treas., John Fishbeck; sec., Mrs. Aubre Rothchild.
PLYMOUTH CLUB – Pres., George Anderson; vice-pres., Robert Pollock; sec.-treas., Mrs. T. W. Kyddson.
ALDEN CLUB – Pres., Mrs. H. E. Carlson; vice-pres., Ed. Wilson; sec., Mrs. LeRoy Armstrong; treas., A. E. Collins; serg-at-arms, Robert Ewing.
SPEEDWELL CLUB – Pres., Mrs. Martin Woodhouse; first vice-pres., Mr. E. W. Abbott; second vice-pres., Mrs. F. E. Furrer; sec., Mrs. E. W. Abbott; Treasurer, Mr. F. E. Furrer.
CIRCLE-Y CLUB – Pres., D. H. Gill, Jr.; vice-pres., Betty Burke; sec.-treas., Patricia Abbott.
YOUNG MARRIED COUPLES – Pres., James Gramenz; vice-pres., Mrs. Marion Matlin; sec.-treas., Mrs. Harold Wilmunder.
COMMITTEES FOR CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
Pioneer Congregational Church – September 11 to 18, 1949
DAVID H. GILL, Chairman,
MISS HENRIETTA HUNTINGTON, Sec.
WARREN M. BUGBEY, Treasurer
TORRANCE T. PHELPS, Minister
MRS. ARTHUR CLARKE
HARRY L. FEHR
PAUL A. FREYE
JUDGE MALCOLM C. GLENN
MRS. EUGENE M. HUGGINS
MRS. ELIZABETH SWETZER
MRS. H. A. TRAVIS
LESTER V. ANDERSON
ARCHER C. SULLIVAN
MISS ANN PATRICK
MRS. MALCOLM C. GLENN
WALDO E. JULIAN
DAVID H. GILL
TORRANCE T. PHELPS
MISS JOSEPHINE FITHIAN
MRS. ZUE GEERY PEASE
PAUL A. FREYE
GEORGE I. LINN
H. G. ANDREWS
EDWARD F. DOLDER
WARREN M. BUGBEY
MRS. EUGENE HUGGINS
MRS. HAROLD DIXON
MRS. R. F. REYNOLDS
MRS. I. J. STROMNES
MRS. GEORGE W. HANCOCK, Chairman
MRS. EARL MOTTER
MRS. RAY C. TREASHER
MRS. ARTHUR CLARKE, Chairman
MRS. J. E. CARPENTER
MRS. H. C. GALLOUP
MRS. EUGENE H. PITTS
MRS. ARCHER C. SULLIVAN
MRS. WALTER RENNIE
MRS. FRANK TODD
MRS. TORRANCE PHELPS
THOMAS B. LEEPER, Chairman
W. FRANK BROWN
FRANK S. BRIGGS
MRS. C. B. BILLS
CLARENCE H. KROMER
MRS. SUSAN ROBERTS
MRS. LUCY RICHARDS
DR. H. A. SHUDER
H. M. SKIDMORE
MRS. G. L. STURDAVANT
MRS. HARVEY F. CLARKE
MRS. CLARENCE H. KROMER
MISS HAZEL BELL
MISS CLETA BELL
W. FRANK BROWNE
MRS. HARVEY CLARKE
MRS. JACK DENNISON
MRS. C. W. DETERDING, JR.
MRS. B. F. DRIVER
MRS. J. W. DUTTON
MRS. L. A. GREEN
MISS MARGARET MOORE, Chairman
MRS. GEORGE GROHMAN
MISS HENRIETTA HORTON
MRS. FLOYD G. SHAAP
MRS. EVA SILSBEE
MRS. H. M. SKIDMORE
W. E. SQUIRES
MRS. CHARLES THORP
MISS JESSIE WILLIAMS
MRS. CARRIE YOUNG
CIVIC NIGHT COMMITTEE
WILBUR H. HAINES, Chairman
GEORGE C. BASSETT
HERBERT E. WHITE
JUDGE MALCOLM C. GLENN
JUDGE ROLFE THOMPSON
DR. ROY E. SIMPSON
P. V. BURKE
TOM H. RICHARDS
DR. NICHOLAS RICCIARDI
F. E. BROLLIAR
DEVERE B. BACON
DR. W. L. BURDICK
EMMETT J. SEAWELL
DR. C. L. BITTNER
R. W. CROWELL
FLOYD G. SCHAAP
L. L. MADLAND
GEORGE F. CLARK
M. K. ANDERSON
MRS. HARVEY L. HUMASON, Chairman
MRS. H. W. DAWSON
MRS. PAUL FREYE
MRS. ILA JOHNSON
MRS. FRED KEATING
MRS. FRANK NORRIS
MRS. NELL ZAK
MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEES:
Mesdames Elmer Abbott, Ivan Akins, Georgia Allen, Roger Anderson, A. B. Armstead, Klaire Austinson, V. E. Boardman, Jos. F. Briggs, Lowell Burge, Roen Day, Harold Dixon, Kenneth Farley, George Gibson, Dale Gray, Harold Green, George Grohman, Arthur Hanley, A. E. Holt, E. P. Horton, Eugene M. Huggins, Arthur Johnson, Harry Kotecki, C. R. Krieger, Glenn Larson, Robert Lorenz, Ted Myrick, Frank Porter, Ida Rapp, Leslie Reardon, Susan Roberts, Walter E. Sellman, Orien L. Stubbs, Loy W. Taylor, Katherine Thomas, Walter Travis, Norman F. Weinheimer, Martin Woodhouse, and Miss Henrietta Huntington.
HOMECOMING DINNER COMMITTEE
Mrs. O. E. NEWHALL, Chairman:
Mesdames Susan Roberts, H. Coulter, Grace Scott, H. S. Morgan, P. L. Gowen, W. H. Colgrove, W. R. Towers, M. Woodhouse, R. W. Lorenz, J. A. Pearce, Frank Lang, Paul Kersey, Paul Anderson, Tony Sperling, Earle Hanel, L. H. Reardon, Charles Sigler, M. Cragun, George Johnson, Walter Travis, George Kromer, Hugh A. Travis, Maude Blackwell, F. Keating, A. C. Sullivan, Y. Minas, Charles O. Porter, Don Wiese, Nelson Elliott, E. T. Telford, August Fabian, Alice Green, A. Broughton, Myra Warmouth, and Miss Henrietta Huntington.
ANNIVERSARY DINNER COMMITTEE
MRS. KENNETH KORN, Chairman:
Mesdames Burton Baump, Orla Brown, Melvin F. Clyma, Richard Davies, Fred Dunow, John A. Fargo, Jerome Fletcher, George Gibson, David H. Gill, Cecil J. Graham, Lawrence C. Johnson, Paul Kersey, A. C. King, Frank Lang, Glenn Larson, Robert W. Lorenz, Robert S. McKesson, Franklin Ohanesian, Frank Porter, James A. Pearce, A. J. Johnson, Nathan Portman, P. G. Ritchie, James V. Watson, J. H. Wilson, H. Gilbert Wright, and Paul Anderson.
The serving of this dinner will be done by the following members of the Pilgrim Fellowship:
Kay Anstress, Dolores Ayres, Bruce Baker, Doris Baker, Wallace Baker, Marilyn Buchanan, Diane Cochran, Bob Colgrove, Virginia Cowan, Arlene De Lano, Theodore Diste, Gil Eidam, Jack Exter, Wayne Ford, Dorothy Gaffney, Velma Hall, Joan Harvey, Louis Hicks, May Hopkins, Alice Horton, Mary Horton, Barbara Huggins, Jean Huggins, Andy Kosieris, Barbara Lohmann, Charles Luethey, Gay McGauthy, Louise McGinness, Jeanne Merryweather, Bill Meuser, Velma Meuser, Ralph Mijares, Leah Ninas, Barbara Riley, Jack Riley, Shirley Robison, Laurie Wait, Ida Way, Walter Wight, Bruce Williams, Alan Wilmunder, and Joy Zumwalt.
PAGEANT September 18th, 1949, at 8:00 P.M.
Lawn of Sutter’s Fort Directly Across from Pioneer Congregational Church
CHAIRMAN OF PAGEANT:
Mrs. David H. Gill
Mrs. Edward F. Dolder
Mrs. David G. Foote
THE PIONEER CHOIR will assist in the Pageant, as well as the other Centennial services and the Roster is as follows: Miss Josephine Fithian, director: Mrs. Zue Geery Pease, organist.
Mesdames N. T. Austin, Florence Baker, James Cochran, Edward Dolder, Ione Lewis, H. S. Morgan, Arthur Morgan, Elmer Normington, Torrance Phelps. Misses Mary Horton, Jean Huggins, Virginia Huggins, Ellen Ford, Rose Avakian.
Mesdames Averil Andrews, Lester Blair, Charles Dimke, Marvin Fisher, Paul Hobbs, Kenneth Korn, Frederick Smith, Keith Thompson, Raymond Zimmerman. Misses Ruth Phelps and Elaine Wanner.
Messrs. Paul Hobbs, Willis Record, Harold Tresler, Harry Voth and Paul Wanner.
Messrs. Wallace Baker, Warren Bugbey, Edward F. Dolder, William Knosher, Elmer Normington, Fred Shadle, Norman Thorsteinson and Walter Wight.
Messrs. Lester Anderson, Paul Anderson, H. G. Andrews, Klaire M. Austinson, William Blackwell, L. K. Broecker, W. Frank Browne, Arthur Clarke, Julian F. Colby, Harry Collett, John Fishbeck, Paul Freye, David H. Gill, Jr., David H. Gill, Sr., Harley H. Gill, Paul Gordon, George Grohman, George W. Hancock, Harvey L. Humason, Kenneth Korn, Andy Kosieris, C. R. Krieger, Thomas B. Leeper, George I. Linn, O. E. Newhall, Leonard Parker, Torrance Phelps, Bernard Rice, Aubrey Rothschild, Lowell Sheldon, H. A. Shuder, Fred Smith, W. C. Spann, Archer C. Sullivan, H. A. Travis, H. L. Waddell, Alan Wilmunder, Lawrence A. Wilson, Norman Woodbury. Mesdames Paul Anderson, Klaire M. Austinson, William Blackwell, L. K. Broecker, John E. Buchanan, Julian F. Colby, Marvin W. Cragun, John Fishbeck, Paul Freye, Malcolm C. Glenn, L. T. Hagopian, George W. Hancock, August Heilbron, Harvey L. Humason, C. R. Krieger, Frank Lang, George I. Linn, O. E. Newhall, James A. Pearce, Bernard Rice, Aubrey Rothschild, Lowell Sheldon, Orien L. Stubbs, Archer C. Sullivan, Frank Todd, H. A. Travis and Lawrence A. Wilson. Misses Betty Dawson, Arlene DeLano, Dorothy Gaffney, Alice Hancock, Alice Horton, Mary Horton, Henrietta Huntington, Jeanne Merryweather, Ann Patrick, Barbara Riley and Marit Austinson, Carol E. Gill, Christe Anne Heilbron, Lauralee Korn, Jean McKesson, Kathleen McKesson and Neal Austinson, Eugene Buchanan, David Briggs, Richard Cragun, Robert Cragun, Bruce Dolder, Carl Dolder, David Dolder, Gordon Gill, Darrell Korn, William Lorenz, Robert Rothschild.
Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
© 2010 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.