MILITARY AND AFTER-WAR ORGANIZATIONS
At the present time Yuba County has nothing in the way of militia organizations save those maintained by the ex-service men of the World War. In the early part of the year 1923, there was a movement instituted by Capt. Seth Millington, Jr., captain of the National Guard company in Colusa, and head of the American Legion in California, to establish a company of the National Guard in Marysville. There were high prospects for the creation of the command, when word came one day that the matter must be indefinitely deferred because of a lack of State funds caused by a policy of retrenchment adopted by Gov. Friend W. Richardson, who was endeavoring to make good on his campaign promise to reduce the cost of State government. In the spring of 1924 a commission was given for the formation of a National Guard company in Yuba City.
From their earliest days, however, Marysville and Yuba County have possessed the military spirit. For twenty years prior to 1880, there were only two brief intervals during which there was not a martial organization of some kind. During the Civil War, two large and well-drilled companies were maintained in the city. These not only were of value at home as a safeguard against disorder, but also furnished from their ranks a great many disciplined soldiers to fight for the old flag in the field. A pioneer recalls that during the Civil War the mountains of Yuba County provided a military company. It was at the Oregon House that this command always rallied. They were called the Yuba Mountaineers. Browns Valley, Camptonville and Bullard’s Bar also had military organizations about this time. These were known as the Hooker Guards, the Bullard’s Guards, and the Yuba Light Infantry. These four companies are more fully described in the following chapter, in connection with the discussion of the towns named.
In 1851, Brig.-Gen. S. M. Miles was in command of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, California Militia, with his headquarters at Marysville; C. S. Kasson was his assistant adjutant-general. On September 9, 1851, by General Order No. 2, Samuel B. Mulford was appointed judge advocate on the staff of the brigadier-general, with rank of major of infantry. E. W. Roberts was, by the same order, appointed assistant surgeon, with the rank of captain of infantry.
Below is given a brief account of the various military organizations that have existed in the county.
THE YUBA GUARDS
This company was organized on June 9, 1855, with a membership of sixty-five young men, the elite of the city of Marysville. They officers were: M. D. Dobbins, captain; John F. Snow, first lieutenant; L. W. Taylor and W. H. Wickersham, second lieutenants; J. H. Cowan, brevet lieutenant; W. C. Burnett, first sergeant; Thomas Seaward, second sergeant; L. W. Shelden, third sergeant; D. B. Wolf, fourth sergeant; D. J. Wilkins, fifth sergeant; William B. Latham, Jr., secretary; and J. W. Moore, treasurer.
During it’s existence of several years, this company received $520 appropriation from the board of supervisors for armory, rent, etc.
This company was organized with about forty men, on October 31, 1859, and continued in a flourishing condition until the close of the Civil War. The company at times numbered as high as eighty men, but was constantly being reduced by numbers going to the front. The first officers were: M. D. Dobbins, captain; Theodore D. Coult, first lieutenant; and Emil Sutter, second lieutenant. The captains who succeeded Dobbins were Hiram W. Theal, Henry DeMott and B. Eilerman.
MARYSVILLE UNION GUARDS
This was another prosperous company, organized on August 15, 1861. The strength of the command was about sixty men, but his quota was hard to maintain on account of the great number who enlisted and went to the front. The first officers were: L. Hubbard, captain; A. Woods, first lieutenant; Henry Parsons, second lieutenant; L. B. Ayer, first sergeant; and John Bacon, second sergeant. The captains who succeeded L. Hubbard were C. G. Hubbard W. P. Winkley, and Charles Bacon.
The company was mustered out on January 16, 1867. In 1863 it had been organized as an artillery company.
This was a French Zouave company, organized in 1863. It had a strength of fifty or sixty men, and was commanded by Dr. Lasvigne. It was in existence about one year.
MARYSVILLE LIGHT ARTILLERY
When the Union Guards disbanded, some of the members went to work on the formation of a new company. This resulted in the organization of an artillery company on August 4, 1867. The company had a strength of 116 men, and had two six-pound and two twelve-pound guns. The officers were: A. W. Torrey, captain; Jim B. Leman, first lieutenant; George Ayers, second lieutenant; M. Dixhammer, third lieutenant. No change was made in its officers during the two years it was in existence. The company was mustered out in December, 1869.
Then followed the Sherman Guards, Company H, 4th Regiment, 4th Brigade, N. G. C., organized January 23, 1872. The first officers were: J. M. Newhard, captain; J. A. Hall, first lieutenant; T. C. Morris, second lieutenant; J. M. Taylor, first sergeant; E. W. Sawtelle, second sergeant; H. F. Beckman, third sergeant, and R. Sweeney, fourth sergeant. The company had a strength of about sixty men. The same captain was retained until they disbanded, on February 20, 1875.
Between that time and the late eighties, military fervor was at low ebb in Marysville, the only martial organizations being those formed among young men of school age, who had a Zouave company, and later a command they called the Marysville Guards. At the head of the latter was Godfrey L. Carden, son of the pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Carden is now holding a high position in the ordnance department of the United States Navy, and is one of Uncle Sam’s ordnance experts. He has written a work bearing on matters connected with his department.
This writer of this history, who was a member of Captain Carden’s company in Marysville, recalls the manner in which the whole command was routed one evening while a mutiny was on. The first sergeant of the company conceived the idea that he wanted the captaincy, which Captain Carden was loath to give up. A meeting was called to settle definitely which of the two the majority preferred. The first sergeant had done some preliminary electioneering and thought he had the place cinched. When the company “fell in” and was regularly turned over, Captain Carden explained that he wished all who desired to retain him to step one pace forward. About one-half of those present obeyed. Then came a dispute as to who was the winner. From words, the two contingents went to blows. W. T. Ellis, Sr., from whom the armory at the southeast corner of D and First Streets was rented at a pittance by the soldier lads, was told of the ruction. He was then quite active; and before the busy combatants were aware of the sturdy pioneer’s presence, he was at the top of the stairway, shouting out his amazement at the actions of his youthful tenants. At sight of him, there was a general scampering for the stairway. Ellis, for the nonce, was brigadier-general, major, captain, everything. In their rush to leave the building, the young men nearly carried their landlord with them. They went down the stairs quite without ceremony. It was the beginning of the end for that particular command.
COMPANY C, CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD
It is not generally known that the militia of the city of Marysville hold the enviable title of Champions of the World for rifle shooting, at 200 yards, off-hand, fifty men competing on a side. This honor was won by the members of Company C, 8th Infantry Regiment, National Guard of the State of California, on May 19, 1895, and has never been equaled. The Marysville militiamen won over the members of Company B of the National Guard of San Francisco, on that date, by seventy-five points, the score being: Marysville, 1982; San Francisco, 1907. This was thirty-one points better than any showing made before or since in a National Guard match between 100 men.
The following took part in the contest in behalf of this city: Captain E. A. Forbes; lieutenant, George H. Voss; sergeants, Phil J. Divver, Henry Schuler, David Canning and Peter J. Delay; corporals, Chris Mayer, Chris Hovis, Matt Nelson, Joseph Arnoldy, John Giblin, and Warnick Waldron; musicians, Oscar F. Stoodley and Jesse Boulton; privates, William O’Brien, W. F. Lewis, Tom E. Bevan, Peter J. Arnoldy, George Devoe, Marck Eckart, John Selinger, Hernry Scheussler, Herbert W. Wills, Richard H. Klempp, George Ohleyer, Cornelius Slattery, Will S. Rogers, Dr. A. H. Suggett, A1 P. Lipp, Byron Divver, Carl Neubold, M. Gomes, Henry Burner, William A. Sutfin, Wyllie Steward, George Burnight, Arthur Brannan, J. W. Hutchins, George Yale, W. W. Shaffer, Thomas Giblin, George McCoy, Steve Howser, Fred H. Greely, C. H. Woolery, Thomas C. Johnson, Dr. J. H. Barr, J. L. Howard, John S. Hutchins and Thomas Bennett.
Perusal of the old records of the now extinct Company C shows that no less than fifteen of the marksmen who took part in this memorable and exciting match have answered “taps.” These include Capt. E.A. Forbes; Lieut. George H. Voss, who afterward became sheriff of Yuba County; and Sergeant Phil J. Divver, who later became supervisor and county clerk.
All arrangements for the match were made by Captain Forbes of the locals and Captain Cook of San Francisco. Representatives from the following National Guard contingents of this section of the State witnessed the contest: Company A of Chico, Company B of Colusa, Company F of Oroville, and Company G of Willows. The city presented a gay appearance that night, as the visitors drowned their defeat in wheelbarrow races, foot races, and other improvised athletic contests.
By the year 1898, when volunteers were called for the Spanish-American War, Company C had become known as Company D. As such it proved the machine through which a volunteer company of 105 men, including the officers, entered that war. The brave lads did not see service, however, the war being too short-lived. They were first ordered into training at Camp Barrett, at Fruitvale, Alameda County, under Capt. George H. Voss, where they remained three weeks before being mustered into the regulars. A few weeks later a portion of the company was sent into barracks at Mare Island, the other detachment going to Vancouver, B. C.
World’s Championship Record
200 Yards. Fifty men to side. May 19, 1895. Marysville, California
Company B, 1st Infantry Regiment, San Francisco, Captain Cook’s “City Guards”: 1907 points; average per man, 38.14
Company C, 8th Infantry Regiment, Marysville, “Hayseed Eighth”: 1982 points; average per man, 39.64
Yuba-Sutter Post, American Legion
On the evening of August 2, 1919, fifteen veterans of the World War met in the Yuba County Courthouse in Marysville to consider the organization of a post of the American Legion. It being the unanimous wish of those present that a charter be applied for, the following signed the petition: Garth H. Ottney, Allen B. Cunningham, Howard H. Harter, Walter M. Langdon, Abel McCabe, Lawrence H. Sargent, Otto J. Bassman, Omar H. Martin, Raymond H. Corona, Homer B. Meek, Theodore F. Engstrom, A. M. Bundy, Waldo S. Johnson, A. H. Harrison, and H. W. L. Niemeyer.
At the next meeting, held on September 19, 1919, it was announced by the temporary chairman that the charter had been granted by the National Committee of the American Legion, and that the name conferred upon the new post was “Yuba-Sutter Post, No. 42, American Legion.”
Following the adoption of a constitution along the lines suggested from national headquarters, the election of officers took place, resulting as follows: Commander, Donnell Greely; vice-commander, A. H. Harrison; adjutant, Henry Niebling; treasurer, Garth Ottney; executive committee, H. W. L. Niemeyer, O. C. Harter, J. E. Holbrook, E. L. McCune, and John H. Spradling; sergeant-at-arms, Edward Wilson.
The post soon began to make its influence felt in the community. An active interest was taken in the claims of service men, and many claims were brought to a successful termination through the work of the post.
The first real thrill came when word was received by the post, one day, that a certain salesman connected with a carpet-bagging concern that had opened a store on D Street for the purpose of selling left-over government goods from the war, had insulted a Red Cross girl who visited the place. A squad was not long in forming. Working with military precision, they soon had the stock of goods on the sidewalk and the manager and clerks under orders to shake the dust of Marysville from their feet, and take their stock with them. They went, without a protest.
Later, the attention of the post was called to certain billboard matter in which the face of the Kaiser was conspicuously shown as an appeal from a certain San Francisco newspaper to have the public read a story which the war lord was about to contribute to it for publication. Again the boys worked in keeping with their military training – this time by night. When the residents of the city awoke next morning, they found the Kaiser’s physiognomy peeking through lines that represented prison bars. Above or below the Kaiser’s head were inscriptions deriding him for his war record and his treatment of innocent women and children. The posters were never restored., nor were any similar ones substituted.
The post annually observes Armistice Day with a big celebration. At the death of a comrade, military honors are shown and the grave of the deceased properly marked.
Bishop-Langenbach Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars
Bishop-Langenbach Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, was organized in Marysville on June 2, 1922, at a meeting held in the City Hall. This meeting was arranged by Tom Harney, an ex-service man en route north, who had mustered the members in a tent placed by him at Third and D Streets. The post adopted its name in honor of two Yuba County young men who made the “supreme sacrifice” in the World War of 1914-1918. They were Private Lester Bishop and Lieut. Paul J. Langenbach.
Private Lester Bishop, Company L, 30th Infantry, American Expeditionary Forces, was wounded August 10, 1918, at Chateau Thierry; he died on October 17, 1918. at base hospital No. 34 at Nantes, France, and was buried at Marysville on October 3, 1919, with high military honors.
Lieut. Paul J. Langenbach enlisted as a private with the 160th Infantry, California National Guard. He left for “over there” in June, 1918. When he arrived in France, he was transferred to Company I, 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division. He was killed in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, October 27, 1918. His remains were later brought to this country and laid to their final rest in Marysville, where his father and other members of his family had their place of residence.
Other after-war organizations of the county are the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Legion, and “40 and 8.”
History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924
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