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Simeon Ide

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SCRAPS of CALIFORNIA HISTORY Never Before Published.  A Biographical Sketch of the LIFE OF WILLIAM B. IDE: With a Minute and Interesting Account of One of the Largest Emigrating Companies (3000 Miles Over Land), From the East to the Pacific Coast.  And What is Claimed as the Most Authentic and Reliable Account of “The Virtual Conquest of California, in June, 1846, by the Bear Flag Party,” as Given by its Leader, the Late Hon. WILLIAM BROWN IDE. (hereafter “A Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide”).  

            This lengthy titled volume was personally published and printed in 1880 by Simeon Ide. Simeon Ide was the older brother of William Brown Ide, one of the primary members of the Bear Flag Revolt which took place in Mexican Alta California during June and July 1846.  Simeon was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts on September 28, 1794 and died on June 22, 1889 (age 94 years) at Roxbury, Massachusetts.  Apparently, Simeon worked in the printing trade his entire life until about 1885. 

            Simeon says that the book,  A Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide,  arose from a request of the surviving children of William B. Ide for a memorial of their father.  While in the two year process of preparing what was first anticipated to be a small publication of possibly 50 pages, Simeon first came upon the so-called Wambough letter of William B. Ide.  Simeon believed the Wambough letter was written in the winter of 1846/47 and states that it had been found among the personal effects of James M. Ide, the then, recently deceased, eldest son of William B. Ide.It likely had been in James M. Ide’s possession since after his father’s untimely death on December 19, 1852As a result of the location of this never before known material, the Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide was substantially increased in size and a determination was made to publish it as a book.  When it was published in 1880, Simeon was 85 or 86 years of age.  While covering the Bear Flag Revolt, including a report from W. M. Boggs about the events, the book also covers many other matters and events in the life of William B. Ide. 

            The book is number 45 of the Zamarano list of 80 most significant works relating to California history.  It is the premier source of information from William B. Ide related to the circumstances and events related to the Bear Flag Revolt.  Since William B. Ide died so close to the time of the Bear Flag Revolt, a mere six years after, and if Simeon is correct the Wambough letter was written in 1846 or 1847, the statements are from a time when the events were relatively fresh in his mind.  So many of the statements of the witnesses to these events were not set down until many years after the events, in the 1870s or 1880s or later that the mere passage of time impacts the accuracy of what is stated.  Here, we have information from one unquestionably involved with the events and dating from near the time of them.  This does not mean that William B. Ide did not make mistakes and it does not mean that he has not given his own personal view of the circumstances.  He has on both counts.  But even with these failings, we still have a roughly contemporaneous view from one of the main actors in the Bear Flag Revolt.  From a vantage of well over a 150 years past the events, the Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide is a gift.


Sources: Publishers Preface and Introduction by Benjamin Franklin Gilbert to The Rio Grande Press, Inc. facsimile publication of A Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide (1967 Glorieta, NM); an article accessed 8/17/2007 at http://www.dsloan.com/Auctions/A12/45WebA12.htm

Photograph of William B. Ide from the book William B. Ide, the President of California by George Kirov. 

            A separate link to each chapter of A Biographical Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide is provided to minimize the time for loading of the material which runs to a total of approximately 120 pages.



Simeon Ide

(Click on each Chapter to link to the contents of the chapter)


CHAPTER I. -Page 9
            A Chronological Sketch of William B. Ide’s Ancestry.

CHAPTER II. -Page 18
            Some few incidents of his sojourn in th States of Vermont, Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.

            Mrs. Healy’s account of their journey from Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Decota, Idaho, Utah, and Nevaada, (as now organized), to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

CHAPTER IV. -Page 37
            Their tedious ascent over the Nevada Mountain – descent into the American River Valley, and encampment near Fort Sutter.

CHAPTER V. -Page 51
            Who made the “Bear flag: by W. M. BOGGS, Esq. – Some account of the party who took up arms in defence and protection of the early pioneers

CHAPTER VI. -Page 61
            The “Bear Flag Government” organized. – Some account of Proceedings under it. – The raid upon Gen. Castro’s camp. – Narrow escape of Fremont’s party

            Formal, if not legal transfer and change of Government, – Mr. Ide’s tour under Fremont, down the Pacific Coast. – His contract for a passage home

            California, – before its virtual Conquest by the “Bear Flag Party”, in June, 1846. – Editorial Remarks, Introductory to William B. Ide’s History of that Party

CHAPTER IX. -Page 100
            Mr. Ide’s explanation of the situation of affairs, on his arrival there in 1845

CHAPTER X. -Page 111
            First uprising of the Emigrants. –Capt. Fremont’s plan “Neutral Conquest.” – Interview with the Captain and comments thereon

CHAPTER XI. -Page 120
            The Party largely re-enforced by new recruits – their mistaken notions explained. – What happened on their arrival at Sonoma. – Mr. Ide made Commander-in-chief “by Acclamation”, and takes the Fort, “instanter”. – His incipient movements under the “Independent Bear Flag Government”

CHAPTER XII. -Page 130
            How the Bear Flag was made. – The Commander’s Address to his men – his reasons for issuing a Proclamation – its Text entire. – Notice of its publication addressed to Commodore STOCKTON, as a U. S. commanding Officer, then daily expected on that coast

            Articles of Agreement and Treaty Stipulations arranged. – Symptoms of discontent among the men of the Garrison – a change of Commander talked of.  The Letter to Commodore STOCKTON forwarded. – Capt. J. Montgomery, of the U. S. Ship Portsmouth, sends the Commander a friendly Letter by Lieut. Missroon

CHAPTER XIV. -Page 157
            The Lieutenant interviews the Garrison, and finds it still distrustful. – The commander a little despondent. – The men approve the Proclamation, and all are jubilant. – An attempt to draw a fight. – Castro’s second Proclamation – two young men inhumanly murdered by his men. – The first and only fight with the enemy

CHAPTER XV. -Page 175
            Capt. Fremont’s first visit – is a bit censorious – changes front and becomes a trifle laudatorious – his whereabouts from the 11th to the 25th of June. – The general aspect of their affairs seriously considered by the Commander. – Narrow escape of Fremont and his party. – The murders of Fowler and Cowey escape due punishment, through Fremont’s interference

CHAPTER XVI. -Page 191
            Capt. Fremont again in the field. – The Commander’s orders disobeyed. – The Bear Flag Government “in quiet possession of all California”. – The U. S. Officer’s plan – the Bear Flag Government to be made over to them. – The “General Assembly and Council” convene on the 5th of July – vote to wipe out previous doings of the Bear Flag Government, and raise the U. S. Flag, under Capt. Fremont’s command

            Editorial Remarks. – “The Conquest of California”, under the Bear Flag Government, an assured fact. – Mr. IDE’s business habits and Public Employment.

            Extracts from his Circular to Californians, – and from several of his private Letters. – A few words, (in ‘conclusion’), to the Friends and Relatives of this subject of this “Biographical Sketch.” – The Inscription.


Updated January 27, 2008


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