Bear Flag Museum, Textural Materials
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF WILLIAM B. IDE
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, 1852. As 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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I. -Page 9
CHAPTER II. -Page 18
CHAPTER III. -Page 28
CHAPTER IV. -Page 37
CHAPTER V. -Page 51
CHAPTER VI. -Page 61
CHAPTER VII. -Page 72
CHAPTER VIII. -Page 88
CHAPTER IX. -Page 100
CHAPTER X. -Page 111
CHAPTER XI. -Page 120
CHAPTER XII. -Page 130
CHAPTER XIII. -Page 143
CHAPTER XIV. -Page 157
CHAPTER XV. -Page 175
CHAPTER XVI. -Page 191
CHAPTER XVII. -Page 206
CHAPTER XVIII. -Page 217
Updated January 27, 2008
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