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Nelsons Grove, Woodland

~ 3,4,5,6APR14 ~

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The Gibson House plaquing in the news, 06APR14:
original story in Woodland's Daily Democrat

E Clampus Vitus dedicates plaque honoring Woodland's Gibson House

By Jim Smith Created:  04/05/2014 11:26:37 PM PDT

It may have looked like a gathering of Hell's Angels at Woodland's Gibson House Saturday morning, but the dedication of a plaque recognizing the building's historic significance was anything but non-sensical.

More than 100 members of the John A. Sutter 1841 E Clampus Vitus, an organization that works to preserve western history, dedicated the plaque they paid for and built.

Russell "Christ" Holder, Noble Grand Humbug, led the ceremonies to recognize the home of one of Woodland's founding families.

Members of E Clampus Vitus were primarily dressed in colorful red and black shirts, vests, hats and other garb.

Many of the attendees wore long beards, making them look more like refugees from a ZZ Top concert.
  While the group may appear to be a collection of misfits, E Clampus Vitus is anything but frivolous. It's a long-standing fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area.

The fraternity is not sure if it is a "historical drinking society" or a "drinking historical society," according to some accounts.

As Holder put it the John A. Sutter 1841 Chapter used "1841" in its title because that was the year John Sutter allegedly built his first still in California. And while the motto of the order, "Credo Quia Absurdum," is generally understood as meaning "I believe it because it is absurd," the group strives to do good works while having fun.

At Saturday's ceremony, Holder noted the historic significance of both the Gibson House and William Byas Gibson.

Executive Director of the Yolo County Historical Museum and Gibson House, Dave Flory - who is himself a member of E Clampus Vitus - worked with Bob Farrell of the Sutter 1841 group to get the necessary county permits to install the plaque.

During the ceremony, Flory was also recognized as an honorary member of Sutter 1841, even though he is a member of the James Marshall No. 49 chapter.

The 24-inch by 14-inch brass plaque is set in a 3-foot-square concrete monument and is inscribed with words about William Byas Gibson and his role in Yolo County agriculture. The Gibson House has more than 165 years of history in and surrounding this location.

The plaque reads: "William Byas Gibson came to California from Missouri by mule team in 1830 at the age of 19. In 1856 he started construction of the Gibson House which became the nucleus of his subsequent 3,000-acre estate. He married Mary Cook and they had 3 sons. The family specialized in breeding cattle and large scale farming.

The Gibson Family played a major role in the agricultural and commercial development of Yolo County."

The Gibson House itself was originally a small wooden homestead house, built somewhere around 1849. It was bought by Gibson in 1857.

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