Edmund Frederick Erk.

A merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West online

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Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 21 of 38)
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of banging, slamming and clashing of tin pans, wash boilers, cymbals,
hammering of gongs and monotonous squealing of stringed weapons,
and other instruments of torture by the orchestra (which was com-
placently smoking while seated on soap boxes upon the stage) was
indescribable. Two of the leading actors, standing behind chairs
(which might have represented warships or fruit stands for ought we
knew) faced each other with wild and violent gesticulations and emit-
ted piercing yells that were audible over the bombardment of the

Occasionally Sir Flechsig would applaud the performers vigor-
ously, and we were at a loss to know for what reason, as he was not
suspected of being posted on Chinese drama or to have a speaking
acquaintanceship with the language. It developed later, however,
that he had an acquaintance who is a shorthand writer in an Alle-
gheny Chinese laundry, who had given him many written orders for
clean linen. From this familiarity he felt that he could interpret one
of the signs on the stage to read "to be done next Friday." As this
was Monday night he had reason for hope in the sign.

The antics of the performers knew no description." Those slain
in full view of the audience found an almost immediate resurrection,
and trotted off the stage without exciting the least commotion. The
costumes were a riot of color worked into such combinations and
forms as were beyond the wildest imaginations of the most insane.
No two performers were garbed alike. There was no freak in dress
too crazy to be indulged in ; no absurdity too absurd to be tolerated ;
no frenzy in diabolism too fantastic to be attempted. It was wild
masquerade of inconceivable costumes that even a tailor with delir-
ium tremens and seven devils could not pattern. The headgear was
equally as outlandish. Some of the hats were shaped like the Eiffel
tower with as many stories, and a few more balconies and trimmings.
Others were magnificent in their simplicity being nothing more than
stove-pipe-shaped exaggerations in many colors and embellished with
tassels and Chinese embroidery.

The property man was the undisputed monarch of the perform-
ance. He sat among the actors and orchestra upon the stage, with


an air of authority that knew no denial. Occasionally, when he felt
that it was time to change the scenery, he would unceremoniously
order the actor essaying the role of king to abdicate his soap-box
throne, and readjusting the paraphernalia to suit himself, lighted a
cigarette and with a saucy air and commanding wave of his hand
ordered the performance to continue. There being no curtain used,
the scenic changes lent additional interest.

All emotions and passions were depicted and expressed in music
(?), while the lines of the actors were read in sing-song accord to
the noise made almost continuously by the orchestra. To be compelled
to endure it in silence made it more severe. Seated about were ladies
and gentlemen unknown to us, and this necessitated repression ; yet
at times the pain was so difficult to bear that Sir Oscar could scarcely
restrain his tears. As the howling, wailing and shrieking of the
performers, and the raging, bombarding and explosions of the orches-
tra rose higher and higher, wilder and wilder, and fiercer and fiercer,
Sir Oscar could have cried, had he been alone.

The foot-lights went out several times for refreshments and on
the whole the performance was a grand success. The first time the
lights adjourned, an usher appeared on the stage with a kerosene
lamp, but the audience with one voice laughed him out into the star-
less night. We shall never forget how proud and buoyant he looked
as he sailed in with that kerosene lamp and soiled chimney, and how
hurt and grieved he seemed when he took it and groped his way out,
while the house trembled with merriment.

The actors are the slaves, the chattels of the manager or pro-
prietor ; they live in the basement beneath the stage and come to the
street rarely, and then only by stealth. Their one living room under
the stage suffices for all purposes. Here they cook, eat after midnight,
and sleep all day. This of course refers only to the Chinese Theatre
where the performances are customarily given. It is said the actors
live on the coarsest food and represent the lowest and most despised
class or casts of China.

It was with a degree of the greatest appreciation that we again
breathed the out-door air, after the performance had run its three
hour course. The beautifully illuminated and decorated streets af-
forded a marked contrast. The thoroughfares, hotels, headquarters
and casinos were thronged with fashionably attired men and women,
and the holiday spirit prevailed uninterrupted. Slowly wending our
way to the hotel, we reluctantly retired to our rooms to dream a
Chinese nightmare!



LJESDAY the day of the parade had arrived. Every Sir
Knight was up and about early in the day. Uniforms were given
a final brush, belts adjusted, and all other duties essential to good
appearance were performed.

The day was oppressively hot ; this was forecasted in the early hours.
Sir Seiling, who had become overheated while polishing a belt buckle,
called the Jap bell boy and ordered some ice. The boy disappeared and
returning shortly with an old newspaper, handed it to Sir Seiling with
the information that he could get a supply "down at the grocery." Sir
Seiling refused to act upon the suggestion, fearing that carrying dripping
ice through the streets of San Francisco in dress Templar uniform would
establish a tiresome summer fashion.

What threatened to appear as a "before and after taking" advertise-
ment in the ranks of the Allegheny paraders, was narrowly averted while
our delegation was dressing for parade. In some manner Sir "Bobbie"
received Sir Oscar's trousers and the latter secured Sir "Bobbie's," and
if it were not for the fact that Sir Oscar tried his on first, the fatal error
might not have been discovered until too late, for "Bobbie" certainly
had no trouble falling into Oscar's garment, which was considerably
wider than his own.

The program for the day teemed with interesting events. Following
the parade of the morning, the Triennial Session of the Grand Encamp-
ment was scheduled to open in Golden Gate Hall in the afternoon, while
a reception was to be given in Native Sons' Hall by Oakland Command-
ery, No. 11. One of the stellar events which the evening had in store
was a reception by Pittsburgh Commandery, No. I, to Sir Knights and
ladies of San Francisco and visiting fraters and their ladies at the Com-
mandery headquarters in the Palace Hotel, from 8 to 12 o'clock. Other
prominent events of the evening were : Reception to Grand Master at
Palace Hotel. Promenade concert in the nave of the Ferry building, 8
until 12. Chinese play at the Grand Opera House, 8:15 to 10:15 o'clock.
Reception by Sacramento Commandery No. 2 at Pioneer Hall. Recep-
tion by San Jose Commandery No. 10 at Mechanics' Pavilion. Recep-
tion by Oakland Commandery No. n at Native Sons' Hall. Reception
by Golden Gate Commandery No. 16 at Golden Gate Hall. Exhibition
drill and band concert by Malta Commandery Drill Corps, Binghamton,


N. Y., in front of the Palace Hotel. Open air concert in Union Square,
from 8 until n p. m.

We knew the day would be without rain and that the sun would
shine forth in all its radiance, but we had not anticipated 102 degrees
under which to make a march of several miles, and execute military
maneuvers on the public highways.

The parade started 10:15 o'clock in the morning and continued its
march until i :2O o'clock in the afternoon, covering a distance estimated
from four and one-half to seven miles. It moved like one piece of won-
derful mechanism, and what a gorgeous pageant it was. The whole
affair was marvelously planned and executed, and the great army of
mounted and marching Sir Knights, in number, appearance and pre-
cision, presented an imposing array.

The mighty column, said to have been the most notable parade ever
seen in San Francisco, was led in its march by Governor Pardee of Cali-
fornia, and Mayor Schmitz of San Francisco. E. Sir Charles L. Field,
Grand Captain-General of California, was in full command, assisted by
an able staff, headed by E. Sir George D. Clark. Behind them rode a
squad of police, Sir George W. Wittman, Chief of Police, commanding,
followed by a corps of mounted buglers.


R. E. Sir Frank William Sumner, Past Grand Commander of Cali-
fornia, Chief of Division ; E. Sir Jessee B. Fuller, Chief of Staff. Cali-
fornia Commandery No. I (mounted), E. Sir Charles M. Plum, Com-
mander, as Special Escort to the Grand Master. Officers and members
of the Grand Encampment and visitors from other Grand Jurisdictions,
under command of V. E. Sir W. B. Melish, Grand Captain-General.

California Commandery No. I, led the First Grand Division as escort
to the entire parade. These 350 Knights, attired in their handsome
velvet costumes embroidered in white, and mounted upon sleek-coated
steeds of black, with a military band dressed in blue, bringing up in the
rear, formed a beautiful picture and received just and enthusiastic
applause all along the line of march.

Next came the California Bugle and Drum Corps leading, the first
carriage containing: Most Eminent Sir Henry Bates Stoddard, Grand
Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United
States of America ; Most Eminent the Earl of Euston, Grand Master of
the Great Priory of England and Wales.

Second carriage: R. E. Sir George Mayhew Moulton, Deputy
Grand Master of the Grand Encampment; V. E. C. Fitzgerald Matter,
G. C. T., Great Vice-Chancellor of the Great Priory.

Other officers of the Grand Encampment in carriages.

These carriages were followed by Golden Gate Commandery No. 16,


E. Sir P. D. Code, Commander, resplendent in full-dress uniform, act-
ing as Special Escort to the Grand Encampment.

Following Golden Gate Commandery came a line of carriages con-
taining members of the Grand Encampment, visitors from other Grand
Jurisdictions and officers and past officers of State Commanderies.

Terminating the First Grand Division came a brown cub bear
chained to a pole in the center of a float and shambling around in playing
the part of mascot for his Commandery. The float was decorated with
the black and white of the Templar, and the national colors. As a finale
to the First Division came ambulance wagons ready to relieve the injured
at a moment's notice.


R. E. Sir Freeman C. Hersey, Grand Commander of Massachusetts
and Rhode Island, Chief of Division; Sir Frederick E. Pierce, Chief of
Staff. The Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and
Subordinate Commanderies.


R. E. Sir Harrison Dingman, Past Grand Commander of District
of Columbia, Chief of Division ; R. E. Sir Charles Clark, Chief of Staff.
The following Grand Commanderies and their Subordinate Commander-
ies : New York, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut. The
banners of this division were exceptionally beautiful, while a large rep-
resentation of Sir Knights and Commanderies were shown.


R. E. Sir Thomas Kite, Grand Commander of Ohio, Chief of Divi-
sion; E. Sir John Nelson Bell, Chief of Staff. The following Grand
Commanderies and their Subordinate Commanderies, Ohio, Kentucky,
Maine. Subordinate Commanderies under the Grand Encampment of
the United States. The Louisville, Ky., band reaped a large share of
applause by the rendition of Southern airs, while the Louisville Drill
Corps executed some fine maneuvers. Maine was well represented by
Portland Commandery, while Ohio contributed much to the success of
the parade. Ambulances followed the Buckeye Sir Knights and then
came the flags and magnificent banners of the


This section was made up entirely of Sir Knights from the Keystone
State, and with the exception of the California representation, Pennsyl-
vania had by far the greatest number of Sir Knights in line. This fact
was heartily appreciated over the full route of the parade and applause
was most liberally showered upon this division.

"Look at Allegheny!" "Look at Allegheny!" was the cry along the
line of march as our pilgrims, forty-four in number, executed some of
their well-known manuevers. It is not egotism to say that the "boys"


kept bravely at their tasks under the sweltering sun,and that as march-
ers, and for military bearing they had few equals in the monster parade.
Pittsburgh Commandery No. I, Tancred Commandery No. 48, and other
commanderies, all notable for drill work, included Washington, Harris-
burg, Allen, Kodosh, Philadelphia, Reading, De Molay, Pilgrim,
Towanda, Coeur de Lion, Baldwin, Mary, Corinthian, Chasseur, Melita,
Mount Vernon and Golden Gate Club. The division was in command of
R. E. Sir Wilson I. Fleming, Grand Commander of Pennsylvania, and
E. Sir Frank McSparren, Chief of Staff. Pittsburgh Commandery No.
I, was especially well represented, its column of marchers extending more
than half a square, while Tancred Commandery also shared liberally in
the applause showered upon the Pennsylvania delegations.


V. E. George Edwin Ohara, Deputy Grand Commander of Illinois,
Chief of Division; Holman G. Puritan, Chief of Staff. The following
Grand Commanderies and their Subordinate Commanderies: Indiana,
Texas, Mississippi, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Jer-
sey, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana.


E. Sir John H. Leathers, Chief of Division; Sir Knight Ernest
McPherson, Chief of Staff. The following Grand Commanderies and
their Subordinate Commanderies: Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Maryland,
Nebraska, Arkansas, West Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina, South


R. E. Sir J. W. Chamberlain, Past Grand Commander of Minnesota,
Chief of Division; R. E. Sir Benton H. Langley, Chief of Staff. The
following Grand Commanderies and their Subordinate Commanderies:
Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Arizona,
Florida, Indian Territory, District of Columbia, Oklahoma, New Mexico.


E, Sir Thomas B. Hall, Chief of Division; Sir Knight John W.
Guthrie, Chief of Staff. Commanderies Subordinate to the Grand Com-
mandery of California: Sacramento, Pacific, El Dorado, Stockton.


E. Sir William D. Stevens, Grand Junior Warden of California,
Chief of Division ; Sir Knight Perry Weidner, Chief of Staff. Com-
manderies Subordinate to the Grand Commandery of California: Los
Angeles, San Jose, Oakland.


E. Sir Joseph C. Campbell, Chief of Division ; Sir Knight William
C. Ralston, Chief of Staff. Commanderies Subordinate to the Grand



Commandery of California: Naval, Ventura, Woodland, St. Bernard,
San Diego, Visalia, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, Fresno, St. Omar, Pasa-
dena, Eureka, Lassen.


E. Sir Hudson B. Gillis, Grand Senior Warden of California, Chief
of Division ; Sir Knight Edwin A. Forbes, Chief of Staff. Commanderies
Subordinate to the Grand Commandery of California : Oroville, Nevada,
Marysville, Chico, Red Bluff, Watsonville, Colusa, Mt. Shasta, Santa
Ana, Southern California, Santa Rosa, Mt. Olivet, Ukiah, Napa, Vaca-
ville, Bakersfield, Long Beach.

The route of march was from the corner of Geary and Kearny
streets; along Kearny to Pine street; along Pine to Montgomery; along
Montgomery to Market; along Market to Van Ness avenue and along
Van Ness avenue to Washington street, where the column was swung
around and countermarched over the same route.

The officers of the Encampment and Priory continued in the parade
until the reviewing stand was reached at the top of the hill, at Sutter
street and Van Ness avenue, where they took seats upon the platform to
view the splendid line of march.

On every street over which the march was made the curbs were
lined with spectators ten and twelve deep, while every stairway, window,
and in many instances, roofs, were peopled. The grand stands were
choked with humanity and the police were compelled to check the surging
masses. The people were as enthusiastic as they were numerous, swing-
ing their hats and shouting as the thousands of swords passed by.

From windows and housetops, in the wide vicinity, there burst
forth a snow-storm of waving handkerchiefs, and the wavers mingled
their cheers with those of the masses below as the gorgeously costumed
Knights went speeding by.

One of the innovations of the march was the presence of a number
of water-bottle wagons, which deposited syphons of Shasta Spring water
along the entire line of march for the benefit of the marchers, who were
perceptibly suffering under the torrid temperature of 102 degrees. These
bottles were picked up during the march, and when the thirsty Knight,
(still marching) had secured what drink he could, the bottle was set on
the street again to be picked up by the next sufferer, or the water-bottle

Glasses were dispensed with, of course, and the fraters drank from
the spout. If the drinker pressed the lever too hard, a stream shot forth
well calculated to drown the would-be partaker. Sir C. C. Heckel suc-
ceeded in getting one of the bottles while he was sweltering under a brisk
march up one of the hills. With parched tongue and open mouth, he
aimed the syphon spout on a direct line with his throat. Anxiety over-
US )


stepped the bounds of prudence, for he pressed the lever with a force that
not only immediately enwrapped him in a most complete Shasta shower
bath, but the inner man remained as dry as the outer man had become

One of the sad incidents of the parade took the form in the death
of Sir Knight Joseph Leath, of the Grand Commandery of Tennessee,
while he was performing a most chivalrous act toward a brother Sir
Knight. Sir Leath was riding in a carriage at the head of the Coeur de
Lion Commandery, and while passing California street on Van Ness
avenue, he noticed an old friend marching in the parade who appeared
to be staggering from exhaustion and overcome by the heat. Sir Leath
ordered his driver to stop and invited the weary marcher to take his seat
in the carriage. As the gallant Knight stepped down from the carriage
he clasped his hands to his heart and sank to the ground dead. The
kind act of true fraternal fellowship which Sir Leath was performing
while on the very threshold of death gave a rich impressiveness to the
sorrow which was felt and expressed over his death.

When the grand parade of the morning had ended and luncheon was
over, member? of the Grand Commandery assembled in the main audi-
torium of Golden Gate Hall to transact the business of the Triennial
Session of the Grand Encampment. The entire afternoon was con-
sumed in arranging preliminary details for the session. None but mem-
bers of the Grand Commandery were permitted within the Auditorium,
with the exception of a few who were given privilege to hear several
of the speeches from the gallery.

Most conspicuous in the gathering was the Earl of Euston and his
staff, who occupied places on the platform with the officers of the Grand
Commandery. In their robes of scarlet splendor and trimmings of ermine,
the English delegation presented a striking feature and added lustre to
the setting of the scene.

E. Sir George D. Clark, chairman of the reception committee, and
a member of the executive committee of the Conclave, called the Com-
mandery to order, and introduced Governor George C. Pardee, of Cal-
ifornia as the first speaker. He gave the knights the liberty of the
length and breadth of his great state, and told of the accomplishments
of the order. Mayor Schmitz of San Francisco extended a welcome
on behalf of the city, while E. Sir Henry D. Loveland extended the
hospitality of the State Commanderies. He was followed by the Most
Eminent Grand Master Sir Henry B. Stoddard, who in his address
introduced the Earl of Euston. The Earl gave a short response. His
manner of delivery, full of enthusiasm, carried with it the emotion the
speaker felt in extending his thanks for the welcome accorded him.
His voice, though full and strong, seemed to tremble under the weight

of his words as he told of the accomplishment of the Order in forming
a closer alliance between the nations of Great Britain and America.

The session then launched into the business that laid before it. In
addition to secret proceedings, the only business done was the appoint-
ment of committees on Credentials, Work of the Grand Officers,
Charter, and Dispensation.

Mechanic's Pavilion was a haven of refuge and rest for many of the
visitors during the afternoon. Its decorations of foliage, and perfume
from the redwood boughs were cooling and invigorating. Ice cream
and mineral water booths were the objects of unlimited attention, and
Commanderies showing exhibits of agricultural and mineral wealth were
magnets of interest.

Thousands crowded Mechanics' Pavilion at night to attend the re-
ception given in honor of the visiting Sir Knights. Never in the history
of the structure had such a crowd gathered within its walls, nor was such
a magnificent scene ever witnessed. All the splendor of the trappings
of the Sir Knights, and the dainty raiment of the ladies, were displayed
as the great promenade proceeded through the length of the main floor
of the Pavilion. A conservative estimate placed the number of visitors
at over 30,000.

The Earl of Euston, accompanied by his staff, were the guests
of the Commanderies quartered in the Pavilion. The Earl's arrival
was the occasion for a great demonstration. With his party he walked
along the promenade, while the band played English popular airs.
After a half hour, the Earl and his party returned to their apartments.
On every hand the local Commanderies showered their hospitality
upon the visitors, and the reception proved a glorious success from
every standpoint.

During the evening a promenade concert was also held in the Nave
of the Ferry Building, and notwithstanding the crowds at the Pavilion
reception, thousands were attracted to the Ferry Building and participated
in a most brilliant function. The concert was made the occasion for an
informal reception by the Sir Knights and ladies of California Com-
manderies. The view the Nave offered both of the illuminated city and
the lighted waters of San Francisco Bay, studded with warships and
merchant vessels, made the event especially auspicious.

It was a tired and weary regiment of pilgrims that sought their berths
that night. The long march in the magnificent parade, under a sun that
had no sympathy; the receptions, promenades, and band concerts of the
evening, (not to speak of the many other private and public functions),
were sufficient to test the most strenuous vitality, and we slept a needed



OTWITHSTANDING the activities of the previous day, there
was a brisk effort on the part of our pilgrims to report for break-
fast before "Old Sol" had raised his head out of his bed in the
east. Those who succeeded in rising before the sun had cause to
rejoice, for the torrid heat of the previous day was continued. "Old
Sol" again proved himself to be the most distinguished Knight of all, and
not content with such honors as 32nd and 33rd degrees, he blazed forth in
his own exclusiveness, at 102 degrees in the shade.

It seemed as if there was no end of pleasures, amusements and di-
versions as one glanced at the interesting program for the day, and
considered the entertainment already provided. Probably the most im-
portant event scheduled was the Competitive Drill for prizes which was
to be held in the morning in Golden Gate Park. Sessions of the
Grand Encampment, bay excursions, receptions, concerts and the banquet
to the Grand Encampment to be held in the evening, were among other
features of the day's program.

There was fully 25,000 people gathered on the sloping lawns sur-
rounding the ball park when the competitive drill began at 10 o'clock.
Four corps in all, competed. The trophies were perhaps the most valu-
able ever offered for a like occasion. Every drill corps that competed

Online LibraryEdmund Frederick ErkA merry crusade to the Golden Gate : under the banners of Allegheny Commandery, No. 35, Knights Templar, Allegheny, Pa. : a complete story of the Twenty-ninth Triennial Conclave, Grand Encampment, Knights Templar, U.S.A. ... and a tour of ten thousand miles through the wonderland of the West → online text (page 21 of 38)