The Tribune states that Miss Sarah Pellet, of Syracuse, is to accompany Dr. Harriet K. Hunt, of Boston, on a western tour of lecturing and giving advice to women.
"News and Facts from All Quarters," Daily Morning Post, Pittsburgh, April 4, 1854, page 1
Since I wrote, we have had the first temperance lecture delivered in town. Miss Pellet has been here. She came in town Sunday and lectured in front of the hotel. When she took her stand on a dry goods box and commenced talking, everybody ran. The saloons and stores were deserted. No dog fight ever drew together such a crowd. Perhaps you have seen Miss Pellet, as she hails from Maine. She is not bad looking, dresses in the Quaker style, has a fine voice and a great flow of language. Did I say flow? It is a perfect torrent. She talked for an hour and never stopped to draw breath. The noon arrived. We drew the long breath when she got through and thanked our stars we were not tied to her for life.
In the evening she took the theatre and spoke for two hours, all on temperance. At the close a collection was taken up to defray her expenses. She got seventy-one dollars--pretty good day's work. As she is traveling all over the country at this rate she must have a pretty good thing. Great country for women, isn't it? What an opening this state presents for a woman of genius . . . while we poor men have to work at least three days in the week to get a living.
Franklin A. Buck, Weaverville, California, letter of June 29, 1854 to Bucksport, Maine, excerpted from Katherine A. White, A Yankee Trader in the Gold Rush, Houghton-Mifflin, quoted by Andrew Genzoli, "Redwood Country," Times-Standard, Eureka, California, October 4, 1967, page 18
The Women's Rights meeting at Saratoga, yesterday, was attended by a large and fashionable audience. Miss Sarah Pellet and Susan B. Anthony were the principal spokeswomen.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 19, 1854, page 2
Women's Rights Meeting.
SARATOGA, August 18, 1854.A women's rights meeting was held here today.
In the afternoon, Miss Sarah Pellet addressed a large and fashionable audience at St. Nicholas Hall, on the subject of women's rights.
She was listened to with attention, and was frequently interrupted by the cheers of those present.
At the conclusion of the proceedings, Susan B. Anthony made an appeal for assistance to carry on the movement for obtaining a repeal of the present laws, that oppressed women might not have their property taken from them by drunken and worthless husbands.
New York Herald, August 19, 1854, page 1
The convention week at Saratoga was closed on Friday last by the strong-minded women, who held forth on the grievances of the sex in St. Nicholas Hall, in the afternoon and evening of Friday, to large audiences, contrary to the general expectation. They did not hold a convention, but contented themselves with giving lectures on women's rights at twenty-five cents a head. At half past three Miss Pellet, who I informed you is going to California, delivered an address in which she made a desperate onslaught on the lords of creation. To them she attributed all the wrongs of women, who, she claimed, were their equals in every respect. Many of the difficulties that occur between a husband and wife were caused, she said by the latter not being allowed a separate purse. Upon this point she was very forcible; she saw that she had made a hit, from the manner in which it was received by the fairer portion of the audience, and like a good tactician, she pursued her advantage by recommending the men to allow their wives a fair amount of pin money if they desired to gain their favor. In the present horrible condition to which the mothers and daughters of American have been reduced, something, she believed, must soon be done. Society is all wrong, and nobody was doing anything to set it right. Even the most fogeyish admitted that it was necessary to do something; but nothing could, she contended, be accomplished until the women put their shoulders to the wheel and led the van in the great battle against the tyrants for their rights and privileges. With a brave heart she would say to women, "Go and do," and the doing would be a blessing. Men may be lawyers and politicians; and why should not women also aspire to the bar, the bench, and even the Presidential chair? The idea that every woman must be educated for the kitchen should be ignored; and she advised them particularly never to allow man to exercise any lordship over them, or to arrogate to himself tyrannic authority over them. He should never be allowed to suppose that he was better fitted to take the lead than she was. Women are not allowed to take any part in religious ceremonies, although admitted as members of churches; but she believed that these churches only were most blessed in which women are permitted to participate in the prayer meetings. Their influence is wanted at the ballot box to reform the character of our elections, and to place the proper men in office. Much would she give to be able to stay in this part of the country during the coming election; but duty called her to another field, and she was therefore compelled to leave the cause in the hands of the ladies of New York, who, she was certain, would labor for the election of true men to office.
At the conclusion of Miss Pellet's address, Miss Susan B. Anthony came forward, and urged the claims of the strong-minded women on the sympathies of the audience, by giving an account of the petition which was presented in our state legislature last year, and which she said was signed by about six thousand men and women. The legislature had, she said, granted the two most important claims which were presented therein--the right of the wife to her own earnings, and to the disposition of her own children on proof that the husband was unfit, from his intemperate habits, or from any other cause, to take care of them. She closed by saying she would, in company with her colleague, Miss P., go through the audience and receive whatever subscriptions they were willing to allow for the promotion of the cause; but the audience, thinking that the twenty-five cents which they had paid for admission was quite sufficient, commenced leaving the hall as fast as their powers of locomotion would permit. . . .
August 19 letter from Saratoga signed "J.M.," in the New York Herald, August 23, 1854, page 1
At Boston, August, 1854, Major Edwin A. Sherman embarked on the S.S. Empire City on his return trip to California via the Isthmus of Panama. The departure was made amid cheering and laughter, with funny remarks from bystanders, as Colonel John C. Fremont and his little daughter Elizabeth came up the gang plank, followed by two ladies dressed in brown linen "bloomers." The passenger list included Mrs. Frank Pixley, Mr. and Mrs. Barney Williams, actors, and Mrs. Otignon and her three children. The "bloomers" were above criticism and proved their utility when riding mules across the Isthmus to the tune of "Whoop la Mula." As the S.S. Panama approaches San Francisco, Major Sherman gives this scene: "The passengers, by association and of necessity, had become known to each other, and as we were getting nearer to the end of our voyage and soon to separate, we became more sociably inclined; and, as I had resided some four years and more in California, I made bold to make acquaintance with the two ladies in 'bloomers.' I asked the younger and smaller one where she was going and what she was going to do. She replied: 'My name is Miss Pellet, and I am going to deliver lectures on temperance.' I told her that was a good thing and gave her the names of several gentlemen who were interested in that line to call upon.
"I then inquired of the other lady and asked her the same questions. She answered: 'My name is Miss Mary Atkins, and I am going to start a female seminary.' 'Well,' I said, 'I do not know how you will make out, but I think you would do better to commence with one already established, if you can make a trade. There is a Young Ladies' Seminary at Benicia, convenient to the lines of travel, founded by a young man, upon my recommendation, four and a half years ago, and he may want to make a change; and you might possibly agree on terms and buy him out. I will give you a letter of introduction to him.' I then wrote it out for her. On presenting it to her I said: 'If you want to succeed in California, discard at once your 'bloomer' garb. The men are all roosters and will not tolerate anything of spurs on the other sex; and the women will shrink from contact with you, and you will find it difficult to succeed.' She thanked me for the letter and my blunt advice. She went to Benicia, bought the young man out and for about twelve years made the Benicia Young Ladies' Seminary a most popular institution. Miss Pellet lectured on temperance for a short time and then went to Nicaragua as aide, or something, to the filibusterer, William Walker, who was captured and forfeited his life, being shot. What her career was after that I am not informed."
Edwin A. Sherman, Sherman Was There, in the Oakland Tribune, September 20, 1936, page 13
"WOMAN'S RIGHTS.''--Miss Pellet commences her lectures in San Francisco this evening. She will probably deliver several lectures on Political Reform, and may hereafter lecture on Temperance, at the request of the "Sons" [the Sons of Temperance].
Sacramento Daily Union, September 29, 1854, page 2
MISS PELLET'S LECTURE.--Miss Sarah Pellet, of Syracuse, N.Y., will give a lecture this evening at Musical Hall, on "Political Reform: The Means of Securing It." The subject is one which is certainly of interest at the present time in California. Whether Miss Pellet can throw any light upon it is another question, but she is said to be a woman of considerable intellectual power, a clear mind, and a pleasing address. Mere curiosity to hear a woman lecture will probably of itself draw a full house. Miss Pellet is a graduate of Oberlin College, and is, we believe, a regularly educated physician.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 29, 1854, page 2
A newcomer [to San Francisco] in the person of Miss Sarah Pellet, M.D., late of Oberlin College, was determined to lecture on "Women's Rights, and How to Secure Them." She did. But Miss Pellet's delivery was a cross between a robin's twitter and the wild roar of a queen bee. There were seven paid admissions at her second lecture. . . .
Miss Sarah Pellet, smarting in obscurity, came out with a brilliant idea. She wanted to bring "5000 respectable, marriageable New England girls" to California. One editor admitted the idea to be a honey--but "doubted that our angular visitor could discover 5000 shapely damsels willing to follow her."
Julian Dana, The Man Who Built San Francisco, New York 1936, pages 87 and 90
MISS PELLET'S LECTURE ON POLITICAL REFORM.--The announcement that a lecture on "Political Reform: The Means of Securing It," would be delivered at Musical Hall last evening, by Miss Sarah Pellet, drew together not a very large, but a very intellectual audience, who appeared to have gone partly from curiosity and partly from an evident disposition to encourage the listener. About eight o'clock, Miss Pellet was introduced to the audience by A. Williams, Esq. She placed herself behind a pulpit-looking arrangement which was placed on the stage, and which only permitted her head to be exhibited to the audience. She is a woman apparently about thirty years of age, small and neat-looking, and wearing spectacles.
We suppose that when a woman enters upon the arena of politics, and becomes a public lecturer, she expects to subject herself to the same criticism that would be called out by a lecture from one of the opposite sex. Throwing entirely aside the question of the propriety of women becoming public lecturers, we must say that Miss Pellet does not seem to possess any of the qualifications for an interesting lecturer. Her address was written, and, in reading it she appeared to find great difficulty, until her constant repetitions and haltings became painful to the audience. Her voice is not pleasant, and her manner of delivery anything but agreeable. Her lecture seemed to be made up of very commonplace remarks, was of a very rambling and discursive nature, without any particular point to it, and was either so far above or beneath the comprehension of the audience that nobody appeared to be able to understand what she was driving at. It was very dull and very prosy, and not at all relieved by two or three long articles read from the columns of a New York Tribune about three years old. Without now saying anything about lectures by women generally, we must say that we think Miss Pellet has decidedly mistaken her profession, and that her reformatory plans can be prosecuted to much better advantage with her pen than in the forum.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, October 7, 1854, page 6
Miss Sarah Pellet."This lady arrived in this city on the California, and expects to spend some time here. She intends to lecture on political reform and Temperance, in various portions of the state--perhaps upon other subjects. She brings with her high testimonials of character and ability, and will doubtless accomplish good.
"If rum has made woman suffer, who will say that she shall not be permitted to proclaim it, that the maker and vendor may know the extent of the evil they are doing. As to political reform, we hope Miss Pellet will so speak, that all the women in the state will take hold in good earnest, and aid in this business. We heard a political speaker once say that Gen. Harrison owed his election to woman's influence. And who will object if they help along here in redeeming the state from political corruption. We don't know but that it would be a good plan to elect ladies to our Legislature; if they could not do better than the men have done heretofore, we are greatly mistaken.
"California has welcomed many who have devoted themselves to theatrical or operatic performances. Let the welcome of Miss Pellet, who comes to labor in the cause of truth and moral progress, be as cordial. We hope she will speak without fear, be heard with candor."
We were pained to read the above article, which appeared in the last number of the Christian Advocate.
For a good, true woman, who knows what her station and position in society should be, and does not attempt to step beyond her proper sphere, no man has greater respect than ourself; but from these same gadding, gabbing, strong-minded, political reforming, itinerant, public lecturing and spouting "females," good Lord deliver us! "When a woman can get up before a gaping crowd, and throwing aside that feminine virtue--modesty, which constitutes the charm of her sex, can launch forth in strong invective against political corruption, in favor of woman's rights, or against "rum" (it matters not what), then she ceases to command our respect; then do we thank God that our sister, or mother, is not an unsexed, unfeminine, unblushing public babbler. Of Miss Pellet we know nothing, except that she mistakes her calling; she may possess every charm of person and of mind of which it is possible to conceive, but if so, we cannot but have the opinion that she is prostituting her powers to an unwomanly purpose. We do not wish to be understood as opposing the doctrines which Miss Pellet is preaching. We are decidedly in favor of political reform, and have aforetime exerted ourselves, with the pen, and in the forum, to bring it about. We are also a pledged temperance man, and of course should be pleased if the crying evil of intemperance should no longer afflict the land. But we are also an admirer of woman, and like to see her in her proper sphere. We had hoped that California would be spared the infliction of female reform lecturers; and we do now hope that Miss Pellet will speedily cease to be a Miss, that she will turn her talents to domestic affairs, exert her voice in soothing the cares of the social fireside, no longer gesticulate in public, but use her delicate hands in plying the needle on a husband's shirt buttons, or in rocking a cradle, and repent that for a time she has attempted to assert prerogatives which belong exclusively to man.
Sierra Citizen, Downieville, California, October 7, 1854, page 2
MISS SARAH PELLET addressed large audiences of our citizens, on the evening of Sunday and Monday last, on the subject of a "Prohibitory Liquor Law." The fair orator is evidently well posted on the subject, but we doubt whether her efforts were productive of much good.
Mountain Democrat, Placerville, California, December 9, 1854, page 2
MISS PELLET lectured last evening to a very attentive and crowded house, on the subject of Temperance. Tonight she speaks again, at Warren's Hall, in advocacy of the Maine Liquor Law.
Georgetown Weekly News, Georgetown, California, December 14, 1854, page 3
MISS PELLET.--For fear that we should be considered, by our readers, as favorable to the course which Miss Pellet is taking, we will simply say that as we believe her to be an amiable and respectable lady, we would think far more highly of her if she would reserve her counsel and healthy instruction for her husband and children. She would do well to cover for a while her "strong-mindedness" under a veil of blushing and retiring modesty; and our word for it, she would be enabled to fulfill her earthly mission as a woman in a speedier and more proper manner than she possibly could as a "strong-minded woman" and a public speaker. We have no sympathy for that woman who will so far unsex herself as to appear before the world either as a public speaker, a Reverend or an M.D. Out upon such masculine feminines. We don't wish to have anything to do with them. With the sexes, we must say we like the two extremes--give us either a man or a woman.
Georgetown Weekly News, Georgetown, California, December 28, 1854, page 2
Our citizens had the pleasure of listening to a temperance lecture last evening, in the new Town Hall, delivered by Miss Sarah Pellet. The audience was quite large and paid the most respectful attention to the fair lecturer. Miss Pellet is a tolerably fair speaker, her articulation very distinct, her points and illustrations quite apropos, and by her pleasing but modest style will doubtless effect much good for the cause of temperance reform in her peregrinations through the mines of California. It is a subject of the highest importance to the mass of our population. A lady lecturer can at any time attract a large crowd and make a more durable impression than a man, and I do hope that Miss Pellet will not cease in her work of temperance reform until her idol--the Maine prohibitory liquor law--shall become the law of the land.
"Placer County Correspondence," Sacramento Daily Union, December 29, 1854, page 3
Miss Sarah Pellet declared her intention of taking out five thousand respectable New England girls to California.
"New York," Daily Indiana State Sentinel, Indianapolis, January 16, 1855, page 3
Last Wednesday Miss Sarah Pellet delivered a lecture on the subject of Temperance, at the close of which she urged the formation of a division in Salmon Falls[, California].
"Salmon Falls," Georgetown Weekly News, Georgetown, California, January 18, 1855, page 2
MISS PELLET ON TEMPERANCE.--Miss Pellet in the course of a lecture on temperance, delivered at Nevada on Sunday evening last, 11th inst., avowed herself as opposed to the Maine law, but in favor of abolishing the retail trade in liquor. At the close of her lecture, says the Democrat, she obtained some two hundred signatures to a petition for a prohibitory law.
Georgetown Weekly News, Georgetown, California, February 22, 1855, page 1
We learn that the Sons of Temperance at Forest City celebrated the 22nd ult. by orations being delivered and a procession consisting of 240 Sons. The orations were by J. S. Diehl, Judge Galloway, Dr. Randall and Miss Pellet.
Nevada Journal, Nevada City, California, March 2, 1855, page 2
About a year ago, a paragraph appeared in some newspaper (we do not recollect what one) to the effect that five thousand respectable marriageable girls were about to be shipped to California, by a Miss Pellet. Now, Miss Pellet, you have been rather slow in recruiting for your female matrimonial army, as the paragraph is still going the rounds. If you wish to succeed in the enterprise, make them certain by means of good security, that you will furnish them with husbands as soon as they reach the land of gold--or, if you cannot do this, we expect you will finally succeed without it, as the city dailies and weeklies continue to publish your enterprise as though the item contained late and important news.
Jackson County Democrat, Brownstown, Indiana, March 6, 1855, page 2
Miss Sarah Pellet, the amiable and talented young lady who is now lecturing through the state on the subject of temperance, honored the citizens of Gold Hill [California] with a lecture on the evening of the 11th inst. She spoke one hour and a half; during the whole time she was listened to with great interest. She is a young lady calculated to gain the admiration of all who may feel interested enough in the good cause of temperance to hear her lecture. She is very prepossessing in her manners and appearance, is thoroughly acquainted with her subject, acting as a powerful agent in bringing about a reformation in a state where reformation is much needed. We hope Miss Pellet will honor us with another visit.
"Placer County Correspondence," Sacramento Daily Union, March 19, 1855, page 2
MISS PELLET ON TEMPERANCE.--The spacious Assembly chamber of the Capitol was filled last evening with ladies, legislators and citizens generally convened to listen to a lecture by the well-known female advocate of temperance, Miss Pellet. At the outset of her remarks the fair championess appeared to be somewhat disconcerted, but as she waxed warm in her subject regained her self-possession, which she retained to the close of her address. This lady is evidently an enthusiast in the cause of temperance, and she certainly treated her subject sensibly and fairly. Miss Pellet spoke ex tempore, and her manner, though mild, is earnest and impressive. Her ideas are clothed in handsome language, and her grammar as well as pronunciation are scrupulously correct.
Sacramento Daily Union, March 21, 1855, page 2
TEMPERANCE.--Miss Sarah Pellet, the distinguished female lecturer on Temperance, delivered a lecture on Saturday evening to a large and respectable audience, in the Town Hall, Washington. On Sunday morning she started on horseback for Cache Creek, Yolo County, to deliver another lecture at that place pursuant to appointment. Miss Pellet was escorted on her journey by R. H. Basket, County Clerk of Yolo, who, we understand, is already or is about to become a convert to the cause.
Sacramento Daily Union, April 24, 1855, page 3
Miss Pellet's lecture last evening was attended by a large and respectable audience. Her theme was pressed with a modest, graceful, and, at times, eloquent manner, although the argument was somewhat disconnected. She is evidently deeply impressed with the importance of her subject, and occasionally her countenance speaks the zealousness of her mind. On the whole, the subject was handled with some ability. Miss Pellet will deliver another lecture this evening at the City Hall.--San Joaquin Republican, 28th.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, April 30, 1855, page 2
MISS PELLET AT WHISKEY CREEK.--Miss Pellet has lately been lecturing on temperance at Whiskey Creek, Shasta County. It is to be hoped that all who assisted in christening the place were present, albeit "out of their element."
Sacramento Daily Union, June 11, 1855, page 2
THE "FOURTH" AT DOWNIEVILLE.--Miss Pellet will address the Sons of Temperance at their convention to be held in Downieville, on the 4th of July.
Nevada Journal, Nevada City, California, June 15, 1855, page 2
Miss Pellet passed through this place yesterday on her way to Cañon City, and gave notice that she would return at seven o'clock this morning and deliver a lecture upon temperance. At the appointed hour she made her appearance, but with the exception of myself, not a solitary individual was to be seen. Men as a general thing do not like to hear a temperance lecture before breakfast. She expressed her regret at the size of the audience and not feeling disposed to lecture for my exclusive benefit, she departed for Shasta, thereby disappointing a number of her admirers who had been on a spree the night before and had not yet risen from their beds. She is a very pretty and agreeable young lady; seems to be very fond of getting well paid for her lectures, and if she had the right kind of a husband might possibly make a devoted wife.
June 16 letter from Oregon Gulch, in the Shasta Courier, Shasta, California, June 23, 1855, page 2
We give Calvin B. McDonald's account of this fatal meeting, as published by the Sacramento Record-Union in 1879. It is as vivid a picture as he ever drew. Calvin B. McDonald was assistant editor of the Evening Journal in 1860-61; later editor of D. O. McCarthy's American Flag, 1865-66. He was sometimes called "The Triple Thunderer." We were city editor of the Examiner when Dickens died, and the editor-in-chief, B. F. Washington, consented to the employment of McDonald specially to write an editorial on Dickens. This was in 1870. Not long afterwards, the two editors became personal enemies and waged war upon each other in their editorial columns. Both have been dead for many years.
"In 1855 there came to this state a female temperance lecturer, Miss Sarah Pellet, a friend of Lucy Stone Blackwell, Antoinette Brown and that confederation of lady reformers. She was young, intelligent, good-looking and pure, and will be kindly remembered by many who shall read this sketch. The writer of this was then conducting the Sierra Citizen at Downieville, and Miss Pellet having been scurrilously referred to by certain other papers, she there found defenders, came to Downieville, and we became fast friends. Through her exertions a large and flourishing division of the Sons of Temperance was there established, and all the respectable young men temporarily stopped drinking and became enthusiastic advocates of total abstinence. A temperance Fourth of July celebration was projected, and we nominated our friend, Miss Pellet, to make the oration, and notwithstanding a strong prejudice against women orators, succeeded in procuring her the coveted invitation. A short time before that Mr. Robert Tevis, a promising young lawyer, and a brother of Lloyd Tevis, of San Francisco, who had come there to run for Congress, joined the Temperance Division, and was anxious to make the speech in order to present himself favorably to the public. He was hard to be put off, and was never reconciled to the disappointment, though, to pacify his opposition to the lady speaker, he was appointed to read the Declaration of Independence, with the privilege of making some remarks on the illustrious document. The glorious Fourth shone brightly on two or three thousand people. The celebration began with a salvo of all the anvils in town; the primitive band blew the blast of freedom through patriotic brass, and Mr. Tevis, having read, began to comment on the Declaration in a long speech, greatly to the displeasure of the gallant sons. In order to terminate his misappropriate oration, the anvils were set to firing with such a thundering and consecutive noise that nothing else could be heard, and Mr. Tevis, being very angry, gave way for the orator and sat down. The event made a great deal of talk, and brought the ambitious young man into very unpleasant notoriety instead of fame. The Democratic Party had procured the use of two columns of the local paper, and had appointed as editor the Hon. Charles E. Lippincott, State Senator from Yuba County. Lippincott had a keen appreciation of the ludicrous, and as Tevis was a Know-Nothing, he took occasion to roast the unfortunate young man in the Democratic corner of the paper, and it created a great deal of fun in the town. The next day Mr. Tevis came to me--I had no jurisdiction in the Democratic side of the paper--and demanded the publication of a card which pronounced the author of Lippincott's article "a liar and a slanderer." He was white with rage, and trembling, and would not be reasoned with. Knowing the nature of his antagonist and his deadly skill with arms, I tried to dissuade Tevis from the rash and dangerous publication, and dwelt on the inevitable consequence. But he would hear nothing; he wanted to fight, he said, and would fight, in the street or otherwise; and if the card was not published he would consider it an act of hostility to himself; and so the unconscious type gave out the fatal impress, and a challenge from Lippincott followed promptly, and was as promptly accepted. The difficulty took a political shape--Democrats and Know-Nothings--though some leading Democrats did their best to prevent the meeting. Both belligerents belonged to the order of Odd Fellows, but as neither was a member of the local lodge, no direct authority could be imposed, though the good brethren kept in session all night devising means to prevent the encounter. Several times the difficulty was supposed to be settled, but as often it would be renewed by certain chivalric vagabonds, who seemed eager to see bloodshed when not flowing from their own veins. Morning came; the forenoon passed. The peacemakers, having been so often baffled, gave up their humane exertions, and it was understood that the fight would come off that afternoon. In the meantime the principals and their friends had gone to the wood, the public not knowing when or where, and the sheriff was in pursuit. The dueling ground had been selected some six miles from town, on a flat near the top of the lofty hills of Sierra County, where never a bird sings and where the somber fir trees spread their eternal pall, but when nearly ready for their sanguinary proceedings the sheriff and his posse were descried on a distant eminence, and the dueling party moved into an adjacent county, beyond the jurisdiction of the pursuers. There another arena was prepared, and the great act of the tragedy was ready to come on. In the meanwhile the principals had been away with their seconds in opposite directions, practicing with double-barreled shotguns, loaded with ball, at forty yards--the weapons and distance agreed on--and I was afterward told that each had broken a bottle at the word. Lippincott was a low, heavy-set man with light hair, piercing black eyes, deliberate and resolute in his speech, and with that peculiar physical structure indicating steadiness and self-possession. He was the son of a clergyman in Illinois and was exemplary in his habits, except the ordinary drinking of that time, was highly cultivated in mind, and was an exceedingly good humorous and sentimental writer. He declared he did not wish to kill his adversary, to whom he had never spoken in person, did not want to fight if it could be avoided, but the nature of the public insult and the customs of the time compelled him to send the challenge. During a previous winter he had been engaged in hunting deer and bear and was known to be a remarkably good woodsman. In making his choice of weapons, Tevis unknowingly selected those with which his adversary was most familiar, double-barreled shotguns, carrying ounce balls. Mr. Tevis was a tall, spare man, of a highly nervous and excitable temperament. He came from Kentucky and possessed the ideas of chivalry and honor prevailing at the South, and was an excellent sporting marksman, but too little skilled in woodcraft to know that in shooting downhill one should aim low, else he will overreach the mark. He was possessed of good natural abilities but was somewhat eccentric in manner, and did not possess the element of popularity. In walking out with him on the evening before the meeting I observed his manner was abstracted and his speech confused and faltering as he talked of his solemn situation, but his courage and resolution were unwavering, and he seemed absolutely athirst to spill the blood of the one who had made him the object of mortifying ridicule. This was our last interview and his last night upon earth; and the pale, ghost-like face, as it then appeared in the twilight when he walked under the frowning hills and beside the resounding river, hangs in my memory to this day. I had seen the bounding deer sink down before the aim of his iron-nerved antagonist, and felt then that he was a doomed man walking the lonely outskirts of the world. The combatants took their places, forty yards apart; the ground was a little sloping, and the highest situation fell to the lot of Tevis. The sun was going down upon the peace and happiness of two families far away, and upon a brilliant young man's ambition and life. As his second walked away he turned toward Tevis and laid his finger on his own breast, as an indication where to aim, and Lippincott observed the gesture and fixed his eyes on the same place. The word was given; both guns cracked at the same instant. Tevis sank down, shot directly through the heart, and a lock of hair fell from near Lippincott's ear. The fallen man had not made the necessary allowance for descending ground, and his murderous lead had passed directly over his adversary's left shoulder, grazing his face. His wound was frightful, as though it had been bored through with an auger, and the ground was horrible with its sanguine libation. The survivor and his friends took their departure, and the dead man was temporarily buried in that lonely place, which in the gathering twilight seemed like the chosen abode of the genius of solitude. On the following day the body was taken up, properly enclosed, packed on a mule to Downieville, and interred in the bleak hillside cemetery. The funeral was very large and demonstrative, and seemed to be a death rite performed by the Know-Nothing Party, and although the duel had been fair enough, according to the murderous code, the better class of citizens regarded Tevis as the victim of that fell and devilish spirit which has stained the history of our state with human blood. Lippincott fled to Nevada; and when he afterward returned to Downieville he felt himself like another Ishmael. Old friends extended their hands reluctantly, and then the man of sensibility felt that he was overshadowed by that voiceless, noiseless, horrible thing which made a coward of Macbeth. Miss Pellet, regarding herself as the innocent cause of the duel, stood courageously by her friend, visited him in his exile, exerted all her personal influence to reconcile public opinion to the survivor, and behaved altogether like a brave, true-hearted woman, as she was and still is, in her fancied mission of reform. After completing his term in the State Senate, Mr. Lippincott returned to his home in Illinois, to find his reverend father dying. I heard that his son's connection with the fatal duel broke the good man's heart, and he died. At the outbreak of the war, Lippincott joined the Union army, distinguished himself in battle by his reckless daring, and became a Brigadier General. He was afterward the Republican State Auditor of Illinois. If this brief sketch should come to the attention of his personal or political friends, let them know that his career in California was distinguished and honorable; that he was respected and beloved by his acquaintances, and that his unhappy entanglement in the duel resulted from his position and the prevailing spirit of border life. At that time a politician who would have suffered himself to be published a liar and a slanderer, without prompt resentment, would have been considered as disgraced by most of his fellow citizens. Mr. Lippincott was an intimate friend and strong supporter of the late Senator Broderick, and was by him regarded as his ablest advocate and partisan. Miss Pellet went to Oregon, and there, while a gallant settler went to pilot and protect her through the wilderness, the savages came upon and murdered his family and burnt his house. So did disaster seem to follow the poor girl. Afterward she returned across the plains to the East, and I have lately heard of her at a woman suffrage convention in Syracuse. Her temperance division at Downieville has melted away; some of her cold-water converts are dead; others have been separated from their families by the foul fiend whom she almost drove from the place, and one remains to be the brief historian of her memorable and melancholy campaign. And so swiftly turns the whirligig of time."
Oscar T. Shuck, ed., History of the Bench and Bar of California, 1901, pages 238-240
TEMPERANCE LECTURES.--Miss Pellet will speak on the subject of Temperance in the following places: At Dutch Flat, Friday evening; Lowell Hill, Saturday evening; Red Dog, Sunday, 11 a.m. and at Nevada in the evening. She will be at Georgetown on Tuesday, and at Coloma, Placerville, Mokelumne Hill, Camptonville &c. succeeding days.
Nevada Journal, Nevada City, California, July 13, 1855, page 3
MISS SARAH PELLET, the lecturer on temperance, woman's rights, &c., came up a passenger on the Columbia, bound for Portland, O.T. We had the pleasure of a few minutes conversation with the fair professor and learned that it was her intention to visit Oregon, and to return via Jacksonville to this place in time for the steamer in the latter part of next month.
Crescent City Herald, September 26, 1855, page 2 Miss Pellet's plans must have changed, as she was in the Rogue Valley on October 9.
But above all, [on board the S.S. Columbia] there was Miss Pellet--the Miss Pellet who delivers lectures on temperance, democracy and the social virtues. I had read in some newspaper a report, written by some scoffer, of one of Miss Pellet's lectures, wherein she was unsatisfactorily described as a "small, middle-aged female in spectacles," and was agreeably disappointed in finding her a fine-looking young lady of twenty-four or five, with a very pleasant expression, sweet smile, and to all human appearance, not in the least degree strong minded, that is in the offensive sense of that term. That she has a kind heart and gentle disposition, one poor seasick lady, with a suffering baby [no one else mentions a child], can warmly and truly testify, and her kind and sisterly attention will by her be ever gratefully remembered. As to the spectacles, candor compels me to admit that they are occasionally brought in use, but as Miss Pellet humorously remarked, they are the only strong glasses in which she allowed herself to indulge. She was on her way to Portland, where she intended delivering some lectures, and then contemplated making a tour by land from Oregon to California. Success attend Miss Pellet.
Signed "Amos Butterfield" but attributed to "Prof. Phoenix" in the San Francisco Herald, reprinted in "A Trip to Oregon," Puget Sound Courier, Steilacoom, Washington, November 16, 1855, page 1
MISS PELLET.--It may be considered a want of gallantry to say a word in disparagement of the efforts of this woman in the cause of Temperance. But we cannot resist the conviction, and shall not hesitate to express it, that if the same lingoes about cold water, which come from the lips of Miss Pellet, were got off by a male of sufficient age to wear the toga virilis, they would be deemed "stale, flat and unprofitable" and voted a bore by the whole community.
It may all be very well to talk about a "strong-minded," masculine woman, mounted on a mule, ascending steep mountains, and descending into yawning canons, traveling nights alone, to preach total abstinence to miners, the most self-denying class on earth, but this is a species of night-errantry we are not constituted by nature or fitted by education to admire. Just imagine (and it is not all imagination) a feminine of goodly proportions--a feminine with petticoats and goggles on--begrimed with dirt, perched up sidewise on a specimen of the long-eared race lank as the hungry kine of Egypt, going over the breakneck declivities of the Sierras "solitary and alone," like Tom Benton, to retail a diluted extract of every Temperance address delivered since the days of Mohammed.
We say it may do to talk about, but to think about it won't do at all.
The terms "disinterested," "apostolic," "heroic," "philanthropic," "self-sacrificing" have been so frequently applied to Miss Pellet that it may be regarded as a species of petit larceny to rob her name of one of these adjective adjuncts, but we never heard of her speaking to an audience of miners that didn't have to "pan out"; and if we were to give our private opinion, we should say, were it not for the "prospects," her "disinterestedness" &c. would never be heard of, as well as herself. Pity her philanthropic heart couldn't be made to beat for one instead of all mankind. We are induced to make these remarks from reading our neighbor, the Telegraph.
Nevada Journal, Nevada City, California, September 28, 1855, page 2
WHAT CAN WOMAN DO?--We learn that Miss Pellet traveled on horse and muleback in the mountains five hundred and fifty miles, and held twenty-two temperance meetings in eighteen days! The counties where this was done, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou, are among the most mountainous counties in California. The weather from the first to the twentieth of June is near the hottest of the season. Onward went the cold water woman in the hot sun, on mule and horseback, painfully creeping up the burning sides of the mountains, through the dreary, dusty way, for five hundred and fifty miles, as glad to meet the miners as to meet the cool stream in the glen, as refreshing the talk of temperance as a drink of cool water to the thirsty traveler; and talking once, and sometimes twice, and even three times a day!
Prescott Transcript, Prescott, Wisconsin, September 28, 1855, page 4
ROGUE RIVER WAR.
Correspondence of the N.Y. Tribune
San Francisco, Monday, Oct. 15, 1855.
Having passed through Oregon, from Portland to Jacksonville and out to Crescent City, within the last eighteen days--leaving Jacksonville and Fort Lane a week ago this morning--I may give you as authentic intelligence as you will receive from any source. Before leaving Willamette Valley old residents of the country remarked the smokiness of the atmosphere, telling us it was less smoky in 1853, when the Rogue River war was in progress. They said the mountain atmosphere was very clear when there were no fires in the mountains, and that these fires were kindled by the Indians as war signals, and they feared a general outbreak. But all seemed quiet as we passed on through the Umpqua and out by the cañon--which would be a terrible place to encounter a band of desperate red men, it being the worst pass for a wagon road I ever saw--and on through Rogue River Valley. Yet the people were apprehensive of danger as we neared Jacksonville, for the report of the attack on wagoners in California, near the Oregon line, had reached the valley, and the memory of 1853 revived.
At Jacksonville the excitement was intense. The report was believed that Gen. Wool had come up from California for the purpose of prosecuting the war; that he had recommended the organization of volunteer companies, and given the soldiers at Fort Lane permission to volunteer, which they had immediately done to the number of sixty, under command of Col. Alston. At Sterling, the same day, Sunday, Oct. 7, a volunteer company was made up under command of Smiley Harris, and I came to Jacksonville toward evening. They were to meet a company from Bear River, and another from Butte Creek, and before morning attack on Butte Creek some of John's Indians--about twelve in number--who, with others to the number of twenty-five, had been stopping several days in the same place, and could be easily surrounded and cut off. John's men had long been lawless, and it was hoped they would now be destroyed. We breakfasted on Monday at Fort Lane, after a ten miles' morning ride from Jacksonville, and then learned that General Wool was not there, nor was he expected; that the volunteer companies were not authorized by the officers at the fort, and the soldiers were all there--two companies, one hundred and fourteen each. Capt. Smith, our host, pointed to eight or ten Indian women and children, who had come to the fort for protection about daybreak. The men at the fort had heard firing a little while before, and soon learned that the volunteer companies had not found the company of John's tribe, as they expected, for John's men had heard of the intended attack and gone off upon the reservation. The volunteers then went to a rancheria, containing at the time two men, and women and children to make up a dozen, fired into it, killing one old woman and slightly wounding another. [The actual toll of the Lupton massacre was much higher.] The woman killed was Sam's mother, and the company were Sam's Indians. This Sam was chief of perhaps a hundred men, whom the Shasta Indians had long tried to induce to join them against the whites, but Sam had hitherto refused. Whether this outrage would induce him to turn, Capt. Smith did not know. He thought whatever lawlessness the Indians committed, the whites were the aggressors, as in this instance. He said if John's men had been cut off it would have been unjust, for they had been peaceably fishing and drying salmon for several days, and he did not think they had hostile intentions. I left the fort in company with Mrs. Wagoner, from whose house, thirty miles from Jacksonville, she had attended me on Saturday. [Mrs. Wagoner would be killed the next day.] Mr. Rosenstock, our escort, and Dr. Drew of Jacksonville, and Judge Deady, also joined us at the fort, and were going to the Willamette Valley, and the latter to his home. He had been holding court as district judge at Jacksonville. It was his opinion that the movements of the volunteers might arouse the Indians to desperation, and that a general attack was to be feared. We called at the house of Dr. Ambrose, the Indian agent, who had an engagement with the judge to attend him to the Willamette; but when we called he had just received a summons from the fort to go there directly. Judge Deady bid him good morning, and told him to come on to Mr. Wagoner's, where he would spend the night, and go on with him in the morning. As we proceeded we heard a report that one or two hundred Indians, armed and mostly mounted, were on the road down the valley, the way we were going; also that a horse and a keg of whiskey had been stolen on Saturday night from the premises of Mr. Wagoner, and that he had sent after and recovered them by some of George's Indians, whose encampment was near his house. On reaching our destination, and indeed all along the road, we found at every house renewed fear of the Indians. But George's tribe were about Mr. Wagoner's house, nor did he seem to feel in danger. One of these friendly Indians came to him in the night and told him that a keg of whiskey had been stolen, and he hired him to bring it back. Sunday morning he found that a fine horse belonging to a Dr. Carpenter of Sacramento, who was traveling for pleasure through the country, had been taken from the house. One of George's men was hired to go after it, and succeeded in bringing it back, but its shoulders were swollen with hard riding. All was quiet here, however. At 8 next day Dr. Drew and Judge Deady went on. I waited for attendance toward Crescent City, taking my horse, which I had left here to recruit. At 10½ o'clock, Mr. Wagoner could go with me. I had tried to obtain a little Indian girl for guide, but her mother was afraid to let her go, she said. When we left the house, Mr. Wagoner and her little girl, six years of age, were the only whites; but a half dozen of George's Indians were there round the door. They had breakfasted at Mr. W.'s table, which they often did. Mrs. W. could talk the Chinook with them as well as any of them, and did not fear to be left. When we were a half mile or more from the house I heard a musket report, and asked Mr. W. what it meant. He said it was one of George's men shooting game--said they were good shots. I heard another report, but thought no more of it. We rode by a blind trail to Vannoy's ferry, where I was to take a good wagon road and could go alone. We found Mr. Vannoy much excited. A man came past an hour and a half before, saying that he took breakfast at Mr. Jones', four miles from Mr. Wagoner's, on the Jacksonville road, and after breakfast had occasion to go off the track on an errand, and returning in sight of the house it was in flames and the haystacks also, and he heard reports of guns and the cries of women. Mr. Vannoy had sent the half dozen men he had with him to alarm the neighbors and put them on guard. Mr. Wagoner, of course, was in fear lest his house was attacked, but I think did not recall the musket report that we heard. He hastened back. I came on my way. Reaching Sailors Diggings I found that there had been a mule train attacked near there and three Indians had been shot, and all though Illinois Valley the people were preparing to resist. Indeed, the general sentiment was that the Indians must be destroyed. This position they say seems hard, but there is no other way; if an Indian is fed and cared for ninety-nine days and on the hundredth he gets any inattention, he will resent it, and it is those who have been best treated that often do the injury, and there is no trusting any of them. There is considerable bitterness toward the officers at Fort Lane on account of the want of interest manifested, it is charged, in suppressing the robbers and stopping their depredations. The report came by expressman when I was at Crescent City, confirming what I feared, that Mrs. Wagoner and child were killed and the house and barn fired in a few minutes after Mr. Wagoner and myself left. The Indians were a company of Shastas, who had been joined perhaps by John's and Sam's tribes after the Sunday night's work of the volunteers on Butte Creek--for the volunteers had attacked three encampments and killed twenty-four Indians, which Captain Waite and his soldiers buried on Monday, and enough more to make forty. It was supposed after this the Indians had come down Rogue River, burning and murdering all the way. They had attacked wagons, killed the men, and taken horses and whiskey and guns, and whatever else they could appropriate; and a mule train near Mr. Wagoner was left by the men when they saw the Indians firing the house and murdering the inmates. These men, in going to Jacksonville, had seen dead bodies all along the road. The house at Evans' ferry, eight miles from Wagoner's, Jones' house, four miles, and Wagoner's, and two further down toward the Willamette were reported and destroyed. With the scattered position of the people in Rogue River and Illinois valleys there can be no protection on the property, and the only safety of the people is in meeting and placing themselves in condition to defend their lives. The war is one of extermination, designed on both sides; but the Indians will of course be defeated. The government troops were immediately dispatched in chase down Rogue River Valley, under Major Fitzgerald. The Governor of California has ordered three companies sent up to Northern California, and yesterday the Columbia carried up troops to the Oregon.
There is a general combination of the Indians in Washington and Oregon territories, and the war will be a very bloody one, not equaled for atrocity in the annals of the past, perhaps.
On Friday evening last Miss Pellet, who had returned from a tour through Southern Oregon, delivered a lecture on the subject of Temperance to a very large and attentive audience at the Presbyterian Church in this city. Only once or twice before have we seen the building so well filled. The novelty of hearing a lady lecturer certainly attracted many, although it strikes us that the apparent disinterestedness and self-sacrifice of one of the weaker sex in a good and great cause is of itself sufficient to enlist the attention of a community. Whatever Miss Pellet's personal predilections may be in regard to traveling, her mission through a country like the one she has just visited enjoins certainly many hardships to undergo which requires no little courage sustained by a deep conviction of the importance of the cause engaged in.
Miss Pellet spoke perhaps for an hour or more of the evils which are found everywhere in the train of intemperance, and some of her remarks cannot have fallen fruitless to the ground. Temperance, whether we regard it as total abstinence, or merely moderation in our enjoyments,`` is one of the cardinal virtues of society; if we would oftener contemplate and ponder on its excellencies, many of the rougher shoals on which numbers around us make shipwreck of their happiness, might be avoided, and the argument used by Miss Pellet that the reputation of California for intemperance has done more to retard immigration from the other parts of the Union than all other causes put together--will hardly find a contradiction.
Contrary to expectation the steamer did not arrive on Saturday, and by request, Miss Pellet delivered a second lecture at the church. This time her subject was the expediency of a prohibitory liquor law. She spoke for more than two hours, we believe, without any apparent signs of fatigue, and the audience continued attentive and apparently well interested in her arguments, seasoned with some good stories. Inasmuch as the prohibitory law is intended to correct and limit only the traffic in liquors, we think it is fast winning for itself the popular favor, and at no distant date, we hope, may be found on our statute book. Total abstinence is an extreme to realize, which is hoping too much; but a limitation or restriction in the traffic of liquors is not only practicable, but demanded by sound morals and good policy. Miss Pellet declares the advocacy of a prohibitory law to be the only object of her lectures, and we entertain little doubt but that her efforts will be crowned with success.
At the conclusion of her lecture a petition for a division of the Sons of Temperance at this place was signed by a number of persons, so that in a few weeks a society of that kind will be permanently organized in this city.
Crescent City Herald, October 17, 1855, page 2
TEMPERANCE ADDRESS.--A very interesting address on Temperance was delivered by Miss Pellet last evening at the Sacramento theater. The house was literally jammed, and the address was listened to attentively throughout.
Sacramento Daily Union, December 17, 1855, page 2
MISS PELLET.--This indefatigable apostle of temperance will lecture to the people of Nevada on her favorite subject at Frisbie's Theater on Sunday evening next, should the weather be suitable. Turn out and "shell" out, ye sons of temperance and sons of Bacchus!
Nevada Journal, Nevada City, California, December 28, 1855, page 2
Miss Pellet.Miss Sarah Pellet, who made a flying trip through Oregon as a temperance lecturer last fall, has left California for the States. It will be seen by the following extract from a letter we received by the last mail that the political aspects of the country are still engaging her attention:
ON BOARD STEAMER NEW WORLD,My Dear Sir--I much regret that I have no intelligence as yet from Oregon, except through the papers. I left the Rogue River country just as the war was commencing; escaping the attack by a few minutes only. I have not as yet heard directly from the war there. I have written to you once, but it occurs to me to write again. * * *
Dec. 12, 1855.
The political aspect of California skies is still rather dark. It is not certain yet what will be done by the Legislature. A Senator may be sent to Congress, but it is doubtful. Foote and Crabb and a half score of others will contest the ground. There is a strong sentiment in Southern California in favor of slavery and state division, but the revolution of such a wish on the part of a candidate for the Senatorship will not procure him votes, I think, even in the K.N. Legislature.
But I will not write much this morning--am not in the mood. Wishing you much success, I am very respectfully,
SARAH PELLETT.Oregon Argus, Oregon City, January 12, 1856, page 2
TEMPERANCE.--Miss Pellet delivered one of her characteristic addresses on temperance in the Assembly Chamber last evening, to a full house, including a large representation of ladies. The address was introduced by a duet, sung by two amateurs (gentlemen), and a prayer by the Rev. Mr. Cummings.
Sacramento Daily Union, January 14, 1856, page 2
A preacher, advertising herself as "Miss Sarah Pellet, a graduate of Oberlin," delivered a discourse last Sunday, in this city, taking for her text the words, "Stand up, I myself also am a man." If Pellet is a man, what right has he to advertise himself as a woman?--N.Y. Observer.
Defiance Democrat, Defiance, Ohio, January 19, 1856, page 5
STEAMERS TO SAIL.--The Stephens and Sierra Nevada are advertised to leave this morning, but, judging from their usual custom, they will not probably get away before afternoon. The price of passage on Saturday was, on the Stephens, first cabin, $250; second do., $175; steerage, $110. On the Sierra Nevada, first cabin, $200; second do., $150; steerage, $100. Col. Kewen and lady, Miss Pellet, Dr. J. B. Phinney and lady, and about one hundred others, will go on the latter to Nicaragua, which will furnish quite a reinforcement to Walker's little army.
Daily Alta California, January 21, 1856, page 2
FEMALE LECTURERS.--Lately was chronicled by the press with more or less unction, according to the gallantry of editors, or their want of the same courteous quality, the exodus of a strong-minded woman from our shores.
It is whispered, she was more provident in her apostolic peregrinations than the twelve of old. Rumor has it that she provided her purse with the necessary against a rainy day, to the tune of $25.000. This can hardly be true, yet such has been the scarcity of women in certain parts of the mining region that Miss Pellet could not fail to accumulate something of a pile by merely exhibiting herself in woman's array at two bits a sight. Simple curiosity to see a woman would have emptied hundreds of gulches of their crop of old bachelors. But when it was announced that she would spout cold water to the miners, there was a charm of novelty about the thing that could not be resisted. Open-mouthed listeners faced a column of oracular Merrimack, heard their much-loved beverage unmercifully berated and paid for the abuse with the same liberal spirit, and from the same motive that they would pay to witness the antics of a wooden-headed Punch.
Miss Pellet suffered more wear and tear of body than of mind, in her ejaculating circuits among the hills. No one who ever heard her went away with a feeling of sorrow that an overtaxed intellect was wearing itself out. Water was her element, but she dabbled in it where it was shallow. The stream that flowed from her lips was "one weak, washy, everlasting flood," muddy and tasteless. In a word, Miss Pellet was a humbug. Whatever praise may have been courteously bestowed upon her, we challenge her pretended admirers to produce a single sentence of hers that exhibits a mark of individuality, or proves talent in the least above mediocrity. But she has gone, and in her stead has come another lecturer of her sex, and of a different order. The one was a type of the age of bronze, the other of the age of gold.
Mrs. Farnham is a woman of mind, of culture, and of large observation and experience. Men will listen to her lectures for the wealth of thought and beauty of language which characterize them. She fills a house, and keeps the audience interested in her subject, which she handles in masterly style. Every sentence that drops from her lips bears it with a burden of thought. There is nothing trivial or commonplace in her discourses, no bluestocking affectation, or ranting of a moral reform exhorter. Her address is made to the understanding, the taste, the intellect.
We understand Mrs. Farnham will visit this city next week, when our citizens will have an opportunity of hearing subjects well treated in the strongest, yet finest language by a woman.
We are not particularly well disposed towards female lecturers, but as even cold water papers say, "if you will drink go to friend Teal's and get the genuine article," so we say, if you will hear female lecturers, go and get the worth of your time and money in listening to Mrs. Farnham.
Nevada Journal, Nevada City, California, February 8, 1856, page 2
MISS PELLET.--A private letter from Miss Pellet appears in the Chronicle, which we herewith subjoin:
Virgin Bay, Feb. 17th, 1856.DEAR SIR:--I have scarce a word to write today. I have made a flying trip through Nicaragua--seen the beauty of this fine country, the customs of the people, the strength and security of the government and the confidence the people seem to place in it. The people honor the power that has given them quiet, and though it is not native to the soil, so their rights and property are respected, they hail peace from such a quarter. There is no danger of revolt, I am confident. The native forces are being disbanded, by the advice of the native officers, and are returning quietly to their homes, where they are so much needed. The adult men in the whole republic are not more than one to five of the women, and the labor of all is needed to preserve the present condition of things, to say nothing of restoring the past--the plantations that are desolate.
You know Judge Campbell, and saw the notice of his death by the last steamer? He had not completed his intended report of his visit to the Nicaragua mining regions, but in his brief tarry he had won universal esteem, and respect for him made him missed when he died. He would perhaps have been supreme judge of the republic, had he lived. Clay, too, his companion in his tour to the mines, followed him in a few days. Granada is quite healthy now, though some are sick. Randolph and Messrs. Kewen and McDonald are each recovering from acclimated fever. Adios.
SARAH PELLET.P.S.--We are regretting that there are so few down from California by this steamer--so few to stop on the Isthmus. I want to have Walker sustained. There are elements of character in the man that give me the assurance of his success.
Sacramento Daily Union, March 29, 1856, page 1
LAMENTABLE.--There are sixteen drinking saloons in Weaverville, and what is worse, Miss Pellet has been there, so that the people cannot plead ignorance of the effect of bad spirits on the system.
Sacramento Daily Union, February 27, 1856, page 2
Miss SARAH PELLET writes a letter from Nicaragua to the Golden Era. She says she is delighted with Virgin Bay, and from the tenor of her letter, we are led to infer that she has joined Walker's army. Fast country this! our women turning filibusters too. England had better take the sober second thought in regard to the threatened war with us, as our army of "strong-minded women" would be hard to beat.
Trinity Journal, Weaverville, California, March 1, 1856, page 2
MISS PELLET.--This lady, so well known to every American, has been spending a week at Leon. She was escorted to that city by Lieut. Col. E. J. Sanders. We are anxious to welcome her back to Granada.
"Nicaragua," Sacramento Daily Union, March 10, 1856, page 2
THE LECTURE ON NICARAGUA.--In the present state of feeling upon the question of Nicaragua, no doubt exists that Miss Sarah Pellet will be greeted with a large audience. The Central American states have been directly intruded upon the public mind in the past few years, by reason of our acquisition of California, with the necessity of a connectlon across the Isthmus. Perhaps there is no portion of our continent of which less is known by the American people than of them. Miss Pellet offers, as regards Nicaragua, an opportunity this evening for such instruction. Her long residence in the country would well quality her for the task. She brings testimonials of the highest character from the newspapers to the southward of us, and others of a more private nature.
Savannah Daily Georgian, Savannah, Georgia, May 22, 1856, page 1
Lecture on Nicaragua.At the present time, when Central American affairs are attracting so much attention, a lecture on Nicaragua will be listened to with more than ordinary interest. Such a lecture will be delivered tonight at St. Andrew's Hall by Miss SARAH PELLET, a talented and accomplished young lady, who comes to us recommended by letters from many leading men of the country, and who is spoken of in the most complimentary terms by our cotemporaries of other cities where she has lectured.
The New Orleans True Delta, speaking of her lecture in that city, says: "Others have told us of the geology of the country, its agricultural and commercial resources, the rude aboriginal relics of the land of the mosquitoes and mahogany, the painted and sculptured rocks, the idols and monuments of Rusacola and Tyapateco, the plains and plazas of Jutibucat and Tegucigalpa. But she entertained us with what is perhaps much more interesting--the alternating reverses and successes of the present government, which she now holds is permanently established. We were pleased with the modest and ladylike manner in which Miss Pellet read her lecture."
The Crescent, in a notice of the same lecture, says--
"Miss P. has traveled extensively over Nicaragua, made the acquaintance of the prominent men there, looked at the grand old mountains, smiling plains and fertile valleys, and has, withal, taken notes by the wayside, which render her amply competent to speak knowingly in the premises. Besides, she is a warm advocate of the cause of true freedom and genuine progress in Central America; believes in the "manifest destiny" of her countrymen; and thinks the time is not far distant when the blessings of civil and religious liberty will be extended as far southward as the Isthmus of Darien."
Miss PELLET has only recently returned from California, over which she traveled as a temperance lecturer, and where she contributed much to the advancement of the temperance cause. The Jackson Mississippian, noticing her lecture on California, which she repeated in that city by request of numerous citizens, says--
"Of the ability and accomplishments of this lady it is unnecessary to speak to those who heard her previous lectures. Concerning her abundant opportunities to become acquainted with the theme on which she will lecture, we cannot speak better than to copy the following notice of her departure from California, which state she visited as a temperance reformer. The Sierra Citizen, a paper of wide circulation, says:
"'We see it announced in several of our exchanges that Miss Pellet is about to end her California mission and return to the Atlantic, and thence perhaps to Europe. She is certainly a remarkable woman--her name will be closely identified with the history of the state, and be spoken with respect as one who stepped out from among the more timid and less adventurous of her sex, traveling on a mission of peace through the deep gorges of the Sierras, among the rough adventurers of the mountains, speaking words of friendly exhortation and encouragement to thousands who had nearly forgotten the tones of woman's voice, but still maintaining that womanly dignity which distinguishes her sex in their humbler spheres. She accomplished more than all the other reformers, and, in after years, when the moral vineyard hangs with clustering grapes, when the husbandman has rooted out the last noxious weed, and looks with pride over his goodly heritage, he may perhaps be reminded by his helpmate that a woman first brought into the unhewn forest the olive and the vine.'
"Other notices of the services of this accomplished and excellent woman in the Golden State, paying still more glowing tributes to her worth, are before us, but we have no room to copy them. We learn from them that she visited both California and Oregon, giving more than 800 public lectures, and assisting in the organization of scores of divisions of the Sons of Temperance, to the aid of which society her efforts were directed, and were received gladly everywhere."
The engagements of Miss PELLET will only permit her to give one lecture in Savannah at this time. We hope she will be greeted with a large attendance. Coming but recently from the scene of action, having left Virgin Bay the day after Schlessinger's defeat, she is enabled to give a vivid and faithful description of the condition of affairs on the Isthmus. The ladies cannot fail to be interested in that unsettled country, and we trust our temperance friends will give a cordial and encouraging welcome to a deserving lady who has done so much for their cause.
Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, May 22, 1856, page 2
N I C A R A G U A .Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, May 22, 1856, page 2
ONE NIGHT ONLY!!
Miss Sarah Pellet,
At St. Andrew's Hall,
Will deliver one of her Chaste and Admirable LECTURES upon Nicaragua, its Society, Manners, Customs, and a complete description of the Rivas and Walker Government.
All who desire an excellent geographical knowledge of that interesting country will most assuredly be pleased.
Lecture to commence at 8 o'clock.
Admission Twenty-Five Cents. May 22.
Miss PELLET will lecture in Charleston, on Monday evening, on NICARAGUA. She was in Columbia last night.
Daily Chronicle & Sentinel, Augusta, Georgia, May 25, 1856, page 2
A FEMALE TO GO ON THE STUMP.--The Syracuse Journal intimates that Miss Sarah Pellet, whilom book pedlar on the cars, is to take the stump for the Republican nominee. She is to "run" the polygamy plank.
"All Sorts of Items," Auburn Weekly American, Auburn, New York, June 25, 1856, page 5
The Syracuse Journal intimates that Miss Sarah Pellet is to take the stump for the Republican nominees.
Savannah Daily Republican, Savannah, Georgia, June 30, 1856, page 3
Miss Sarah Pellet is delivering lectures in Savannah upon Nicaragua, its society, manners, customs, and a complete description of the Rivas and Walker governments.
"General Gossip," Wide West, San Francisco, July 13, 1856, page 3
"AID AND COMFORT."--Miss Sarah Pellet, who lectured here last winter upon Nicaragua, we see it stated, is about to take the stump in New York for Fremont. The Syracuse Journal announces that Miss P. "had the most favorable opportunities to become acquainted with the plans and operations of Southern men, and will do us good service during the summer in our campaign for self-preservation."
Daily Chronicle and Sentinel, Augusta, Georgia, July 13, 1856, page 3
FREMONT ALL SAFE!--Mr. (we beg his pardon) Miss Sarah Pellet, Esq., has taken the stump for Fremont and Dayton, and of course, Women's Rights. What's the price of whiskey now, Sarah?
Crescent City Herald, July 30, 1856, page 2
MISS PELLET'S CREAM OF NECTAR.
This will be a very desirable article for bar rooms, leaving a very large profit to the retailer, besides being a very delicious effervescing summer beverage and strictly a temperance drink. Sold in 5-gallon kegs.
Advertisement for Sparrow Brothers, Marysville Daily Herald, August 29, 1856, page 3
The "Republican" pullets are in a flutter about Pennsylvania. Miss Pellet, or Pullet, wrote to the New York Herald on Sunday last as follows:--
"Do not, for Heaven's sake, allow the idea that you give up on the election of Col. Fremont. I came last night from Boston; his friends there are hopeful. I went there on Friday in company with Dr. Rob, of that city, who has been in Pennsylvania four weeks, and who four weeks ago organized the first German Republican club. He says the Germans could not vote a Union ticket. Dr. Rob and several more German workers--not wireworkers--are to be sent from Boston tomorrow; and other places in Massachusetts send men, with money, into Pennsylvania tomorrow, also. The whole work had been left in charge of the American organizations, and is defeated. I augur good from it. There will now be three parties in New York as well as Pennsylvania, and I still think we shall win.
Truly, S. PELLET."Boston Post, October 22, 1856, page 2
Mr. Delevan's Donation to Kansas.
Some time ago it was stated that E. C. Delevan, Esq., had subscribed $1000 for Kansas. For this sum, the Atlas states, he a few weeks ago purchased and forwarded the following articles:
164 winter coats, made of doeskin and other substantial materials.This donation was not transmitted through the partisan Kansas Relief Committee that centers in this city, and we are glad of it; for the prejudices of that body made them unfit almoners of a charity destined to be general in its scope. But Mr. Delevan found a sufficient reason, we believe, for discarding this committee, and "relieving it" of this portion of its "relief" business, in the fact that he could transmit these supplies through other channels without expense.
150 pair of winter pantaloons.
82 vests for winter wear.
204 shirts of various kinds.
Making in all 601 garments.
Mr. Corning and a few others in the city contributed a sum sufficient to enable Mr. D. to send the full value of his donation, undiminished, to the people of Kansas; and to pay the expenses of Miss Pellet, a philanthropic lady, under whose charge the distribution is to be made.
If the honest sympathizers with the people of Kansas would imitate Mr. Delevan, not only in his benevolence, but in his good sense in repudiating those partisan and pernicious relief committees, they might accomplish some good, and repay the host of evils which misdirected philanthropy has inflicted on that people.
Delaware Gazette, Delhi, New York, December 17, 1856, page 2
WILL LECTURE.--Sarah Pellet is to lecture tonight, at the courthouse in Auburn. This will be the first lecture Sarah will have given since her return to California.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, April 13, 1857, page 2
MISS PELLET.--Miss Pellet is about to return to the Eastern States via the Plains. She will leave about the first of June.
Daily Alta California, May 2, 1857, page 2
MISS PELLET.--This fair disciple of Father Matthew was present on Monday at the Wagon Road Convention, now in session in Sacramento. A delegate moved that a committee be appointed to escort the divinity heroine within the bar of the Senate chamber, but before he had an opportunity of giving his gallantry a practical turn, the strong-minded damsel had fled the room.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 14, 1857, page 2
REJECTED.--Miss Pellet offered a resolution, through the secretary, to the Sacramento Wagon Road Convention, which was summarily laid on or under the table. It refers to the high prices of passage to the Atlantic States by the sea line, to the facilities for crossing the plains, the value of mules and horses, &c., &c.
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, May 15, 1857, page 2
SARAH PELLET ON HER TRAVELS.--Miss Sarah Pellet recently lost her portmonnaie containing the following articles, according to the inventory of the finders: A free pass on the Illinois Central Railroad; one co., on Michigan Central Railroad; one do. from the C.S.N. Co.; an order for fifty copies of the Prohibitionist; a bill of lading of seven boxes, "said to contain clothing"; three more railroad checks; a free pass on the Terre Haute, Alton, and St. Louis Railroad; another on the Illinois Central; another on the New York Central; another on the Indianapolis, Pittsburg and Cleveland; five autographs of S.P.; one lead pencil, 2¼ inches long, sharp at one end; two brass pins; twelve three-cent postage stamps; one ten-cent do.; a small snarl of black sewing silk; two needles, one coarse and one fine; nine red wafers and a pair of small scissors.
Marysville Daily Herald, October 8, 1857, page 2
Miss Sarah Pellet, the reformer, has turned up again. She proposes to forward to California a consignment of 5000 marriageable girls from the New England States. They are to be consigned to the various divisions of the Sons of Temperance, who are to provide for their wants, husbands included.
Red Bluff Beacon, May 26, 1858, page 1
Miss Sarah Pellet, a young lady who has been in Utah, is delivering lectures in Boston on the Mormons.
Daily Gazette, Vincennes, Indiana, June 21, 1858, page 3
. . . Miss Sarah Pellet, the ex-Walker-Nicaragua lecturer, ex-Fremont stump orator, ex-woman's privileges advocate, and now the Pacific and Ocean electric telegraph friend.
"Saratoga, [New York,]" Daily Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, August 28, 1858, page 1
The veteran editor of the Virginia (Nevada) Trespass, formerly a Californian, relates the following:--Something of a moral view of the Pacific Railroad, different from that of the San Francisco preacher in his Sunday lecture, was that of the miner in a mountain town in California in 1856. Miss Pellet was expatiating on the great injury which whiskey had done to the morals of the country, and, swelling with inspiration, said she, "What, indeed, my friends, do you suppose would be the difference to your fair state today, if some arbitrary edict had forbidden the admission of a drop of liquor through the Golden Gate?" Just here were the sensation was supposed to come in, as the speaker paused, a tall miner arose, and, as respectfully as the language could be delivered, said: "By ---, madam, we'd have had the Pacific railroad!"
Weekly Trinity Standard, Weaverville, California, August 29, 1868, page 1
NEEDED CORRECTION.--A scrap of Southern Oregon history just published in the Dalles Mountaineer, with regard to an occurrence alleged to have taken place here in 1855, is untrue and should be corrected. The Mountaineer states that a temperance lecturess, Miss Pellet, together with the audience, was driven by the Captain of Company A out of the courthouse. This is an aspersion on the courage of as brave a community as ever lived and the gallantry of as true manhood as Oregon ever saw. The real facts are that Captain Smiley Harris, afterwards forced out of the service for cowardice, did while intoxicated attempt to interrupt Miss Pellet, but he was promptly put down, and the lady attentively and respectively listened to until the close of her lecture. There are many now living in Jacksonville who attended the lecture and pronounce the Mountaineer's statement grossly exaggerated.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, February 18, 1880, page 3 The issue of the Mountaineer referred to is not on the microfilm of that newspaper and presumably lost.
Miss Sarah Pellet was the cause of it all. Her line was temperance. She came into the northern mines in 1855 with a mission--to stop the miners from drinking away their gold. Unfortunately she was the indirect cause of two men facing each other with double-barreled shotguns at 40 yards.
This is the tale of the long-forgotten Tevis-Lippincott duel--a unique story in California's record of formalized murder.
IN THE HARD-drinking1850s temperance was a mighty forlorn hope, and nowhere more so than in the tough mining camps of California. It is here recorded that whole mining camps--including the Chinamen--made the week between Christmas and New Year's one continuous bender. But faith sustained Miss Pellet, and there she came--to save the lost souls.
Sarah was "well put up, but dragonish." That was Miss Pellet, from her corkscrew curls to her white cotton stockings. She was a novelty, however, because women had not yet come to the mining camps in any great number. A woman's place was in the home, and wives addressed their husbands as Mister. So what the heck kind of business was it for a middle-aged female to go traipsin' round tough mining camps preaching temperance?
THE NEWSPAPERS of the area made some mighty sarcastic remarks about Miss Pellet when she undertook to establish societies of the Sons of Temperance. All, that is, except the newspaper in Downieville. The editor rebuked the camps farther down the mountain and invited Sarah to come to Downieville and do her stuff. And the crusader came.
About this time young Robert Tevis was nursing political aspirations, with his eye on a seat in Congress. He was in his early 30s and not long from Kentucky. Bob came from a good family and had a certain aristocratic intolerance common to Southerners at that time. He was an ardent hunter and a sure shot.
THE FOURTH of July celebration was drawing near and the committee was looking around for somebody to deliver the regular Fourth oration. In those days rival camps bid as high as a thousand dollars to secure the services of a silver tongue for the "exercises." It was a point of pride to have the ringtailedest word slinger obtainable for the occasion.
Young Tevis wanted the job--it provided the opportunity to rise and shine before the electorate of Downieville. It was a terrible blow when Sarah Pellet was chosen as orator, and he was given the lesser honor of reading the Declaration of Independence. The brooding Kentuckian accepted, with the stipulation that he should have the privilege of adding some "explanatory notes" to his reading.
THE BIG DAY arrived and miners came trooping in from Kanaka Gulch, Slug Canyon, Indian Valley and Goodyear's Bar. When everybody was well lickered, and the last of the St. Charles ham was gone, they trooped across the bridge to Jersey Flat for the exercises.
Robert Tevis, every inch the aristocrat, stepped to the rail and gave his reading. Finishing that, he launched upon the "explanatory notes" and it soon became apparent that he was working for himself with election in mind and might talk forever. Meanwhile the orator of the day, Sarah Pellet, had to sit while the youngster stole her spotlight.
One of the committeemen finally arose and forced Robert to make his bow and quit. He took his seat, white with rage. Sarah got her innings then.
DOWNIEVILLE was delighted at the way Robert Tevis had cheated the female orator. Senator Charles Lippincott did not agree, however, and inserted an item in the newspaper flaying Tevis neatly.
Next day editor MacDonald received a visit from young Tevis, who inserted an article of his own in the next issue of the paper, characterizing Senator Lippincott as a "liar and slanderer." It was cause for "satisfaction " Lippincott's seconds waited upon the Kentucky youth immediately. Being the challenged party, he dictated that weapons should be double-barreled shotguns loaded with ounce balls at 40 yards.
J. Barton Hassler, "Portals of the Past," Mountain Democrat, Placerville, California, January 7, 1965, page B2
Senator Lippincott had challenged Robert Tevis to a duel. Double-barreled shotguns loaded with ounce balls at 40 yards. Downieville was agog with excitement.
CONSTERNATION reigned in the Odd Fellows lodge. Both principals had memberships. Brothers visited Lippincott and Tevis. "Several times the difficulty was supposed to be settled, but as often it would be renewed by certain chivalric vagabonds who seemed eager to see bloodshed when not flowing from their own veins!"
Peace negotiations failed. The sheriff tried to keep an eye upon the two principals, but they eluded him and went on horseback to a little flat high on the northerly ridge of North Fork Canyon. Two doctors and the seconds accompanied them. A somber and dour place.
JUST WHEN the seconds were pacing off the ground the sheriff and a posse were seen coming up the hill. Immediately the murder party mounted and crossed the line into Yuba County, not far away. The peace officer was stopped by an invisible mark through the pine needles. There in a similar glade the combat took place. The seconds measured off the ground just as the light was beginning to fail and blue shadows were pushing down from the ridge. Tevis won the toss for position and chose the higher ground. The loaded weapons were placed in the duelists' hands. A contemporary account follows:
"LIPPINCOTT was a low, heavy-set man with light hair, piercing black eyes and resolute speech . . . Mr. Tevis was a tall, spare man, of a highly nervous and excitable temperament. He came from Kentucky and possessed the ideas of chivalry and honor prevailing in the South.
"The combatants took their places 40 yards apart; the ground was a little sloping and the highest situation fell to Tevis. The sun was going down upon the peace and happiness of two families far away. The word was given; both guns cracked at the same instant. Tevis sank down, shot directly through the heart; and a lock of hair fell from near Lippincott's ear.
"The fallen man had not made the necessary allowance for descending ground; and his murderous lead had passed directly over his adversary's left shoulder, just grazing his face."
SO DIED Robert Tevis, the young man who had thought to steal some Fourth of July thunder to advance his candidacy for Congress. The body was taken to Downieville and interred in the bleak cemetery.
As for Miss Sarah Pellet (who caused the whole thing), she seemed to have a positive genius for scattering trouble from her crinoline. Editor MacDonald says that after the Sons of Temperance fell back into sin in Downieville, she carried the torch into the wilds of Oregon. There, while a gallant settler acted as a guide through the wilderness, Indians descended upon his homestead during his absence, slaughtered his family and burned his cabin.
AFTERWARD she returned across the plains to the East and operated a woman's suffrage organization in Syracuse. The trail of death behind her did not seem to bother Sarah and she continued sweeping back the sea of rum with her little broom until her death many years later.
Looking back across the years it seems as if a strange fatality attached itself to Downieville's early celebrations of the Fourth of July. At the camp's first big blowoff in 1850 a man got 39 lashes on his bare back before the eyes of a blood-hungry crowd. The next Fourth witnessed the hanging of Juanita (recorded in this column earlier). A man was shot and killed the following year. And then, in 1855, came the famous Tevis-Lippincott duel.
A man had to be careful in the northern mines during the early Gold Rush. Death could come swiftly.
J. Barton Hassler, "Portals of the Past," Mountain Democrat, Placerville, California, January 14, 1965, page B2
Last revised April 3, 2021