The Golden State
The Spirit of Tehachapi
September 1, 2018
Each Sept. 9, I often remind people that it is the anniversary of the State of California's Admission to the Union. Usually, the answer I receive is, "Really, I didn't know that!" It happened in 1850. California was the 31st state to be admitted to the Union. We're 168 years old. That's important!
One might ask why, back in 1850, members of Congress in Washington, would want to admit the Golden State to the Union without following their usual custom of first making it a territory? Possibly because of the yellow metal called GOLD. Congress would have attested it had nothing to do with it. The fact that hordes of people were coming by wagon, ship and horseback to look for the precious yellow metal, didn't impress them at all. Well, maybe just a little? There were other reasons, which were solid and sensible. They explained it differently.
History tells us, that California was ceded to the U.S. by Mexico after the Mexican/American War. It was said that it was admitted to the Union as a free state and was part of the Compromise of 1850. A free state was one that was against slavery. Missouri, a slave state had just been admitted to the Union. With California joining, it balanced out the number of slave states against the free states. This being 10 years before the Civil War, one could see trouble brewing. Sounds like they were already choosing up sides.
Still, with literally thousands of people pouring into the state from the east and from foreign countries as well, the lure of yellow gold surely hurried Congress into accepting California into the Union. Word must have filtered back to Washington about the bonanza at Sutter's Creek by James Marshall in 1849.
Well, Gold Fever, Spring Fever, Valley Fever, whatever, we've been a state for 168 years. But, nobody knows it. It goes by like a thief in the night. I seldom see an item in the paper and maybe, just maybe, it might be mentioned on the evening news, but don't count on it.
Furthermore, I used to think that our state song was, "California Here I Come." A good rousing song. In 1951, during Harry Truman's presidency our state declared, "California, I Love You" as the official state melody. It was written in 1913 by two individuals whose names were Francis Silverwood and Abraham Frankenstein (yes, you read that correctly). Mr. Silverwood wrote the lyrics and Mr. Frankenstein composed the melody. It never seemed to have caught on, but at our local museum I ran into an original copy of the 1913 sheet music. I learned it and can sing it, but it's kind of long and sort of "schmaltzy" which indicates it having been written in the early part of the Twentieth Century when "schmaltz" was pretty popular.
Never-the-less, it's all about California and Sept. 9 in this year of 2018, our state, California, the 31st state to be admitted to the Union, will be 168 years old. Let's all sing a verse of, "California Here I Come!" Sorry, Mr. Frankenstein, but nobody knows your song.