Person:Samuel Brannan (1)

m. 1805
  1. Mary Ann Brannan1806 -
  2. Thomas Brannan1808 -
  3. Daniel Brannan1810 -
  4. John Brannan1813 -
  5. Samuel Brannan1819 - 1889
m. about 1840
  1. Almira Brannanabout 1841 -
m. 1844
  1. Samuel Brannan1845 - 1931
  2. Sarah Adelaide Brannan1848 -
  3. Fanny Kemble Brannan1850 -
  4. Don Francisco Brannanabout 1852 - 1854
  5. Alecia Annette Brannanabout 1856 - 1931
  • HSamuel Brannan1819 - 1889
  • W.  Carmelita Carmen (add)
m. 25 March 1882
Facts and Events
Name Samuel Brannan
Gender Male
Birth[1][2][3][5] 2 March 1819 Saco, York, Maine, United States
Marriage about 1840 Kirtland, Lake, Ohio, United StatesMarried by Joseph Smith in the LDS temple at Kirtland
to Harriet Eliza Hatch
Marriage 1844 to Ann Eliza Corwin
Emigration[11] 4 February 1846 New York City, New York, United StatesAboard the Ship Brooklyn to California
Immigration[13][14] July 1846 San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United StatesTo Yerba Buena aboard the Ship Brooklyn
Reference Number? Q936075?
Residence[5][15] 1848 Sacramento, Sacramento, California, United States
Census 1852 San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United Stateswith Ann Eliza Corwin
Occupation[6][12] 1867 Calistoga, Napa, California, United StatesProprietor of Hot Springs
Census[7] 1870 San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United StatesWard 6
Residence[8] 1874 San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
Residence[9] 1875 San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
Residence[10] 1878 San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States
Marriage 25 March 1882 Guaymas, Sonora, Mexicoto Carmelita Carmen (add)
Death[1][4][16] 14 May 1889 Escondido, San Diego, California, United States
Burial[1][16] September 1890 San Diego, San Diego, California, United StatesMount Hope Cemetery



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Samuel Brannan (March 2, 1819 – May 5, 1889) was an American settler, businessman, journalist, and prominent Mormon who founded the California Star, the first newspaper in San Francisco, California. He is considered the first to publicize the California Gold Rush and was its first millionaire. He used the profits from his stores to buy large tracts of real estate. He helped form the first vigilance committee in San Francisco and was disfellowshiped from the LDS church because of his actions within the vigilance committee. Brannan's wife divorced him and he was forced to liquidate much of his real estate to pay her one-half of their assets. He died poor and in relative obscurity.[1]


An early convert to Mormonism, a protege of Joseph Smith, and an early leader of the Mormon Church in New York, Brannan led eastern church members to Yerba Buena (San Francisco) aboard the ship Brooklyn in 1846. They were the first group of American emigrants to reach California by sea. Brannan's dreams of empire, nurtured in contacts with national Democratic leaders, were undercut by the United States conquest of California and Mormon settlement in Utah, but the discovery of gold in 1848, which he played a key role in publicizing, soon made him rich supplying the miners. For a while he was reputedly the richest man, and certainly one of the most powerful, in California. Having broken with Brigham Young and the Mormans, Brannan pursued other interests, from mines and railroads to vineyards and a recreational spa, from San Francisco's Vigilance Committee to filibustering in Hawaii and Mexico. Drink, womanizing, divorce, and bad investments brought him down. He died having spent his last impoverished years pursuing another dream of empire, involving mining and colonization in Sonora.

Video Tributes

The Start of the California Gold Rush (1849)

Brannan's Master Plan: Gold Fever

Samuel Brannan and the California Gold Rush

Sam Brannon (1979 Mormon Video)


Periodical Articles

  • "Samuel Brannan and His Forgotten Final Years" (pp. 139-160) by Newell G. Bringhurst. DOI: 10.2307/41171850. URL: Southern California Quarterly, Vol. 79, No. 2, SUMMER 1997

Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Historical Society of Southern California.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Samuel Brannan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
Image Gallery
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Samuel Brannan, in Find A Grave , Find A Grave Memorial# 6601709, 13 July 2002.

    Birth: 1819, Maine, USA.
    Death: May 14, 1889, San Diego, San Diego County. California, USA
    Burial: Mount Hope Cemetery, San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA

  2. Sam Brannan, in Gold Rush Memories of a California Pioneer, Monologue based on an interview published in the Sacramento Bee, January 21, 1888, which had been printed previously in the San Diego Union, 14 March 2007.

    "I was born sixty six years ago in Saco, Maine - the last child of an Irish immigrant father and a mother who was the niece of George Washington’s Secretary of War."

  3. Samuel Brannan, in Wikipedia, Retreived 18 October 2013.

    "Samuel Brannan (March 2, 1819 – May 14, 1889) was an American settler, businessman, and journalist, who founded the California Star newspaper in San Francisco, California. He is considered the first publicist of the California Gold Rush and was its first millionaire."

  4. Samuel Brannan, in Wandering Lizard.

    "He died in Escondido on May 6, 1889."

  5. 5.0 5.1 Brannan (Samuel), in California Pioneer Register and Index 1542-1848, Page 68, 1890.

    "Brannan, Samuel, 1846, Mormon elder and chief of the colony sent from N.Y. on the Brooklyn. See full account of the colony, v. 544 et seq.; mention v. 471, 644-5. B. was born at Saco, Me, in '19; learned the printer's trade in Ohio from '33; travelled as a printer through many parts of the country; and from '42 published the N.Y. Messenger and later the Prophet, as organs of the Mormon church. Of his conversion and early experience as a latter-day saint not much is known, the subject being avoided both by himself and his old associates; but he was clearly a leading spirit in the church, and was just the man to take charge of the Californian scheme. There is no good reason to doubt his devotion to the cause, but it was his firm intention to build up his own fortunes with those of his sect; he was greatly displeased with President Young's change of plans respecting Cal.; and having failed during a visit to Salt Lake to modify the president's views, it required but few years to divest himself entirely his of old-time religious fervor and become an apostate. Meanwhile, at S. F. he was a leading spirit from the first, preaching eloquently on Sundays, publishing the Star, buying town lots, taking part in political controversies, working zealously for the advancement of the town's educational and other interests, always aggressive but liberal in his views, showing no signs of sectarianism. For mention in this part of his career '46-7, see v. 494, 649-51, 666-8, 681-2. In '47 he established the firm of C. C. Smith & Co. at Sac., later Brannan & Co., in which Mellus & Howard and Wm Stout were partners. The immense profits of his store after the discovery of gold in '48-9, with his mining operations at Mormon Island, and the increase of S.F. real estate, made him a little later the richest man in Cal. Of his career after '48 something will be found in vol. vi. of this work; also in my Popular Tri bunals, B. having been prominent in connection with the vigilance committees. I do not attempt even to outline his most remarkable career as capitalist and speculator. In many parts of the state and even beyond its limits he acquired immense interests, showing in their management the ability and energy so characteristic of the man. He probably did more for S.F. and for other places than was effected by the combined efforts of scores of better men; and indeed, in many respects he was not a bad man, being as a rule straightforward as well as shrewd in his dealings, as famous for his acts of charity and open-handed liberality as for his enterprise, giving also frequent proofs of personal bravery. In '59 he purchased the Calistoga estate, in connection with the improvement of which his name is perhaps most widely known. Here he established a distillery on a grand scale, and here in '68 he received eight bullets and nearly lost his life in a quarrel for possession of a mill. Meanwhile he had given himself up to strong drink; for 20 years or more he was rarely sober after noon; and he became as well known for his dissolute habits and drunken freaks as he had been for his wealth and ability. Domestic troubles led to divorce from the wife married in '44, who with their child had come with him in '46 and borne him other children in Cal.; division of the estate was followed by unlucky speculations, and Brannan's vast wealth melted gradually away. In the days of his prosperity he had liberally supported the cause of Mexico against the French invasion and its tool Maximilian, and just before 1880 he obtained in return a grant of lands in Sonora, embarking with somewhat of his old energy in a grand scheme of colonization, which has thus far proved a total failure. For the last year or two down to '85 Brannan has lived at Guaymas or on the frontier, remarried to a Mexican woman, a sorry wreck physically and financially, yet clear-headed as ever and full of courage for the future. Thousands of pioneers in Cal. remember this erratic genius with the kindliest of feelings, and hope that he may yet add a brilliant closing chapter to the record of one of the most remarkable characters in Californian annals."

  6. Samuel Brannan, in Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1867, San Francisco, CA, USA: Henry G. Langley, Langley Publishing, 1867. In Special Collection at Washoe County Library, Reno, Nevada, 1867.

    Given Name: Samuel
    Surname: Brannan
    Location: Calistoga, Napa, California
    Occupation: prop. Hot Springs

  7. United States. 1870 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publications M593 and T132).

    Year: 1870; Census Place: San Francisco Ward 6, San Francisco, California; Roll: M593_81; Page: 105A; Image: 214; Family History Library Film: 545580

  8. California, United States. Great Registers, 1866-1898.

    California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 43; FHL Roll Number: 977099

  9. California, United States. Great Registers, 1866-1898.

    California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 42; FHL Roll Number: 977098

  10. California, United States. Great Registers, 1866-1898.

    California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 44; FHL Roll Number: 977100

  11. Elder Samuel Brannan, in California Pioneer Heritage Foundation: Ship Brooklyn Saints, 2009.

    "In the November 1845, Orson Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles went to New York and selected a young printer by the name Elder Samuel Brannan to lead this company of Saints... Stormy weather and other problems delayed their departure until February 4, 1846, (the same day as the Mormon Nauvoo exodus began) when the Ship Brooklyn finally cleared the New York harbor."

  12. Samuel Brannan, in Rootsweb: Representative and Leading Men of the Pacific, 2008.

    "From among his numerous enterprises, we may particularize the instance of Napa Valley, where he is the proprietor of the Calistoga Hot Springs, and a valuable estate of three thousand acres surrounding them. Here, his all-pervading activity has created out of bare nature the principal watering place in California, not inaptly termed the “Saratoga of the Pacific Coast.” This famous place of fashionable resort is too well known in California to require any extended description at our hands. Its climate, rivaling the most celebrated localities of Italy or the south of France, and the scenery, uniting the grandeur of the loftiest summits of the coast range with the pastoral features of the adjacent rich farming country, have made Calistoga the favorite resort of tourists and invalids from all parts of the country. This costly scene of comfort and healthful recreation Mr. Brannan has reared by his own unaided resources, and the effect of his far-reaching enterprise is felt in the impetus he has given to the prosperity of all that section of the State. The Napa Valley Railroad, connecting Calistoga with tide water at Vallejo, is especially due to his persistent energy."

    Original Source: Shuck, Oscar T., “Representative & Leading Men of the Pacific”, Bacon & Co., Printers & Publishers, San Francisco, 1870. Pages 455-459

  13. Samuel Brannan, in Thomas F. Rhoades; pioneer, Mormon.

    "The Rhoades entered the Sacramento Valley on October 5, 1846 , making them the first Mormon family to migrate overland to California. They were not the first Mormons in California since Samuel Brannan had landed with the Ship Brooklyn and 238 Mormons in Yerba Buena in July, 1846, only a few months before."

  14. Samuel Brannan, in Latter-day Scoundrel, 14 August 2008.

    "Sam Brannan (1819–1889), the Mormon elder and newspaper publisher who brought a shipload of Mormons to the Mexican province in July 1846 and became the Golden State's first millionaire. When Brannan sailed into San Francisco Bay aboard the chartered Mormon emigrant ship Brooklyn, his flock was "all armed to the teeth."

  15. Sam Brennan House, in NoeHill Travels in California, 3 January 2009.

    "This building, erected by Henry E. Robinson in 1853 on land owned by Sam Brannan, was used as the first meeting place of the Pioneer Association and other organizations of early days."

  16. 16.0 16.1 Brannan, Samuel, in Encyclopedia of American History: Expansion and Reform, 1813 to 1855, Volume IV.

    "He died in Escondido, California, on May 2, 1889, reputedly so poor that his body lay in the undertaker's vault for 16 months until a well-intentioned nephew paid the embalming bill. A pioneering, if slippery, entrepreneur of the California frontier, Brannan was finally laid to rest in San Diego."