Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sam Brannan

"Sam Brannan, founder of Yuba City, ... was California’s first millionaire, one of chief financiers of Central Pacific Railroad and founder of California’s first successful commercial bank."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was with some surprise that I noted that someone had made a plaque praising Samuel Brannan. Before the innocent reader of the blog takes the plaque a full value, I would refer the gentle reader to the SALT LAKE DAILY TRIBUNE, dtd. March 24, 1877, page 4, para. 2, which describes Sam Brannan as follows: "...For Samuel was a sly old boy, and lusted after the fair maidens, matrons, or even widows of Zion...In an over confiding hour Brother Brigham entrusted Brother Brannon with $50,000, with which to come to San Francisco and purchase provisions....He came; but he fell from grace and never returned--neither did he return that $50,000, but invested it in corner lots and outside lands....But Samuel grew fat in the land of Gomorrah, and in the hours of his prosperity became filled with the spirit--not of the Holy Ghost, but the spirits of Bourbon. Since he quit worshipping at the foot of Brigham and Belial, he has fallen down and worshipped ata the shrine of Bacchus with more than ordinary zeal...." There is more, but the gentle reader will get the flavor from the quote above. Sam Brannan "became a penniless drunkard...finally reduced to sleeping in back rooms of saloons." (see Scott, Samuel Brannon and the Golden Fleece, page 428) As to investing in the CPRR, Brannon bought stock for $20,000 in 1864, giving him 50 more shares in the CPRR than did the Associates. His divorce in May 1870 found that he had 200 shares of CPRR stock, and stock in the Pacific Bank worth some $134,000. As to the idea that Sam Brannan "founded the first successful bank", in 1863 he joined with former California Governor Peter Burnett and Joseph Winans in creating the Pacific Accumulation Loan Company. The Bank opened in October 1863, and Brannon resigned the Presidency of the Bank in June, 1864 in favor of Burnett. Burnett then created the Pacific Bank. Burnett was most fair to Brannon, saying "It is but simple justice to Samuel Brannon to state that he is the father of the bank....With all his faults, he has many noble qualities, and has done much for California."
To place a plaque in honor this fellow places some doubt on our society--Samuel H. Auerbach in 1862 said "...he achieved much notoriety for his numerous and scandalous affairs with the most famous of the girls whose moral standards were not as noticeable sa their beauty and extravagance."
Ah, the perils of history.

2/08/2011 8:30 PM  

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