Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BRANNAN, Samuel, pioneer, born in Saco, Maine, in 1819. In his youth he was an editor and printer, and gained some notoriety as editor of Mormon journals. He was an elder in that church, and arrived in San Francisco in July, 1846, as leader of the Mormon colony sent out in the ship "Brooklyn" from New York. The colonists were disappointed on their arrival to find the country already a part of the United States, by virtue of Sloat's proclamation of 7 July, 1846; but they soon forgot their vexation and entered enthusiastically upon the business of the new American community. Mr. Brannan began the publication of a newspaper, the "Star," the second in California and the first published in the San Francisco district. Meanwhile he preached every Sunday, took part in political controversies, and did whatever he could as editor to bring California into notice at the east. The gold discovery in 1848 brought him great wealth, but led to the dissolution of the Mormon community in California, and thus a little later to Brannan's apostasy from the Mormon church, an event that followed directly upon a quarrel with Brigham Young and the other Utah leaders. In San Francisco Mr. Brannan owned large tracts of hind, and so had much influence upon the early development of the city. In Sacramento he was also a large landowner and a partner in several great mercantile enterprises. He was prominent in 1850 in the efforts to suppress the squatter movement at that place, and he took part on the side of the law during the squatter riots of that year. In 1851, however, he was prominent in the extralegal popular movement against crime in San Francisco, publicly advocating, as was his wont when excited, the most violent measures against malefactors. He offered the use of his own place of business as the headquarters of the vigilance committee of June, 1851, and was one of the executive leaders of the committee itself, being especially forward in addressing public assemblages and in assisting to conduct the few public executions that the committee ordered. In 1859 Mr. Brannan purchased a great estate at Calistoga, north of San Francisco bay, and acquired an extensive reputation in connection with the further development of that region. Later he aided the Mexicans with money and supplies in their struggle against Maximilian, and in 1880 he received a grant of lands in Sonora. A colonization scheme resulting from this grant has not succeeded.
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