Squibob Chapter Historian Honored
Sean Englert, our Grand Noble Historian, was honored by the Save Our Heritage Organisation with their "2020 People in Preservation-Roadside Stewardship" award for his work on the Encinitas Boathouses Project.
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Who are the Clampers? What is E Clampus Vitus?
AN INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF HISTORY
By Chris Roberts
In a nutshell, E Clampus Vitus, or ECV, is a fraternal order that seeks to preserve and celebrate western history, especially those years when California flourished with mining activity and was settled by Americans and immigrants looking for opportunity out west.
We clampers also like to have a good time and tend to celebrate whenever we place a new plaque or find some new and significant site of historical interest. This typically takes place twice per year at our "clampouts" where members-at-large camp out, relax, and indoctrinate new members.
Although the history of the order is somewhat hazy, ECV historians agree that E Clampus Vitus was brought to California in 1849 by Joseph Zumwalt, in an attempt to provide solidarity and camaraderie among miners in the rural Gold Rush camps and towns. You see, miners and their ilk would likely not be welcome among Masons, Odd Fellows, and other fraternal orders present at the time. E Clampus Vitus, however, welcomed these men with open arms, gave them an opportunity to have some fun, and even served to take care of them, their wives, and children when accidents happened or they fell on poor fortune.
After many years of activity and spreading throughout the gold fields, the order all but died out, just like the Gold Rush. However, in the early 1930’s Carl Wheat and his cohorts revived E Clampus Vitus in San Francisco into the order we know today. From the 1930s through present, chapters have sprung up or branched off, covering all of California and most western states.
Yerba Buena–Chapter #1, "Capitulus Redivivus", has a most excellent page with many subpages and links to clamper history. It is highly suggested that you explore it.
Editor's note: The author unabashedly lifted various details from an assortment of ECV resources.