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Yosemite Falls

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The Native Sons of the Golden West call their various chapters, Parlors. The Grand Parlor is an annual statewide meeting of representatives of each of the parlors in the state. The Delegate badge illustrated below includes the requisite California grizzly bear and a wonderfull representation of the magnificent Yosemite Falls, one of the crown jewels of California's natural wonders. The heavy yellow-bronze medal is unsigned.




And a larger image.

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California became a state in 1850 and shortly thereafter, a group known as the Society of California Pioneers was formed. They were white men who settled in California before it became a state (although I believe they accepted new emigrants through 1854). A group such as that does have a limited existence because once they pass, there can be no further pioneers. The NSGW, the Native Sons of the Golden West, was formed in 1875 in San Francisco. Membership was limited to white men of 16 (later 18) years or older who had been born in the state of California (sons of pioneers at that point) and were honest men who did not drink (or at least not to excess since their parlors did serve beer). As with many such men's organizations at the time, they formed a secret society of rituals, paid dues, covered members with payments when they were sick, and paid a death benefit to a members family as well as arranging for burial. In short, not much different from the Odd Fellows, Grange, Masons, or many other similar organizations. They partnered with the Society of California Pioneers to sponsor annual California Admission Day celebrations, a library for California history, and later endowed chairs in the University of California and provided scholarships for students of history. In time they became an active force in California politics with an emphasis on racial issues and gradually faded in influence. Where they were once selective in membership and fought the admission of ethnic minorities in the state to the point of being labeled racist, today they embrace everyone born in the state. They remain a charitable, fraternal organization devoted to preserving the state's history.

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