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- The Spirit of 1906 - 6/6 -


These memoranda I have written years after the happenings which they sketch. They are drawn from the records of the company and from the tablets of my memory. Those upon which I have touched were amongst the higher lights, they are vivid in recollection and as well remembered as if they had taken place at a recent date.

Those were strenuous times. Times that not alone tested the dignity and honor of men, but rocked them to their very foundations. Only the admittedly honest and honorable men survived the experiences of those days without blotch upon their escutcheons. It is naturally to be presumed that the minds of those who passed through those days of reconstruction recall many deeds of heroism, of sacrifices made upon the altar of duty. Each has the surmounting of his individual trials to remember, but amongst all that was done as the result of the San Francisco conflagration there is, in my opinion, nothing carrying greater, honor or higher integrity than the work and sacrifice of that gallant band of men who were directors and shareholders of the California Insurance Company. They were the pioneers and the sons of pioneers who braved the hardships and terrors of desert and sea - the founders of this great commonwealth. Incidents and happenings which have passed from public record will still live in the memory of those who played a part. The wonderful rehabilitation period, with all that it meant of physical and mental suffering, but typifies today in concrete, stone and brick the sturdy and stalwart spirit of those men who were made absolute pioneers by the ash heap of 1906. Some of these have gone to their last accounting, but for those who are still serving, and still tugging at the oar, there remains but to guard the heritage which they bequeathed - to bring upon the results of their work a continuation of their ideals.

The spirit of 1906, glorified by San Franciscans, which alone made possible the resurrection from the ashes of that "city loved around the world," sitting serenely upon its seven hills by the portals of the Golden Gate and whose destiny is oblivious of fire and earthquake, is worthy of more than a passing tribute. Its example should thrill and encourage those who are inclined to falter. It is a beacon light to those who are to continue the struggle with the petty details and the larger duties of everyday life. And among the contributors none are more to be admired or borne in reverent respect than the directors, those men who held either large or small investments in the "California" and were true to their trust.


Whether the end justifies the means depends upon the judgment of the critic. It is possible that there is too much of personality herein, but in justice to the writer, it must be borne in mind that no attempt has been made for literary style; that the task imposed upon him was attempted solely to comply with the insistence of others and that the use of the first personal pronoun is the readiest vehicle of expression.

No special mantle of credit rests upon his shoulders. If there be any such garment it drapes the shoulders of every man connected with the company from the humblest employee up through the heaviest stockholders to the highest official. It overlaps and falls with becoming dignity on the shoulders of those who are fellow citizens and fellow Californians, who shared with us as we shared with them the heat and burden of the days succeeding the never-to-be-forgotten disaster of April 18, 1906.

The Spirit of 1906 is a book of the Primo Press, San Francisco, printed in April, 1921

The Spirit of 1906 - 6/6

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