San Francisco Genealogy

Source: 60 Years of the Past Presidents Assn. of The Native Sons of The Golden West, 1900 - 1960
by Peter Thomas Conmy, San Francisco, California, 1959.
Thank you to Cindy (Storm) Andress for transcribing this material.

60 Years of the Past Presidents Assn. of The Native Sons of The Golden West, 1900-1960
by Peter Thomas Conmy, Director of Historical Research
Grand Parlor, Native Sons of the Golden West and Secretary-Treasurer General, Past Presidents' Association, General Assembly, Past Presidents' Association.

Grand President, N.S.G.W.
1959 - 1960 [photo]

DR. KENNETH K. REUTER, Governor General,
1958 - 1959 [photo]

Grand President 1909 - 1910
Dean of the Past Grand Presidents


The Past Presidents’ Association of the Native Sons of the Golden West on January 27, 1960, will observe the sixtieth anniversary of its establishment.  It was organized in San Francisco, California on that date in 1900.  A full half century plus an additional decade now have passed and happily the close of the sixtieth year finds the association in flourishing condition.  From the single unit which originated in San Francisco, the organization now is statewide throughout California, its membership good numerically but not voluminous, because limited to a restricted class, the Past Presidents of the subordinate parlors of the Native Sons of the Golden West.  In earlier years most of the parlors changed their presidents at the close of a six-month period, but in recent ones they have tended to follow the pattern of most other fraternal societies and hold their presiding officers for a full year of service.  Nevertheless, the Past Presidents’ Association is in a flourishing condition with branches in the northern and southern areas, the central valleys and the great bay region.  As the organization completes its three score years of existence, there has been a demand for a history of its origin, it growth, expansion and principles.  At the General Assembly held in San Francisco on October 18, 1958, a resolution providing for the publication of such a work by the present writer was adopted.  On October 21, 1939, in his then capacity of Grand Historian, N.S.G.W., he presented to the General Assembly meeting in Oroville, a short history of the association.  Now, in his dual capacity of Secretary-Treasurer General of the General Assembly, and Director of Historical Research of the Grand Parlor he cheerfully directed his efforts toward the production of this larger presentation.  This work also has not been without sentiment, for his father, the late Thomas C. Conmy, a Past President of Golden Gate Parlor No. 29 of San Francisco, was not only one of the founders of the Past Presidents’ Association but its secretary for the first twelve years of its existence.  Unfortunately, the official records of the organization from 1900 through mid-April 1906 were destroyed in the great fire of the latter year, but fortunately, the secretary preserved copies of the first By-laws and List of Members, the first ritual (1901) and the amended ritual (1905)*1.  From These and other available sources the writer has been able to delineate the facts attending the birth of the Past Presidents Association.

*1.  John A. Steinbach, born in San Francisco, October 21, 1854, was Grand President 1884-85.  He died August 13, 1913.  Frank J. Murasky, born in San Francisco, November 7, 1884, was a Superior Judge of that city and county from 1898 until his death on June 30, 1930.


Those who had served a term as President in a subordinate parlor automatically became Junior Past President, and after six months in that office held the rank of Past President, sometimes referred to as Senior Past President.  This policy appears to have obtained in the early days of the order, and the high title could be earned only by service as President and Junior Past President.  On several occasions resolutions were presented at Grand Parlor sessions providing that the rank of Past President should be conferred upon Recording and Financial Secretaries who had served a specified number of terms, but none of these were adopted.  That no one might be elected a Junior Past President (except in the case of a new parlor) was decided by Grand President Steinbach in 1884 who held that the Junior Past President must continue to act in that capacity until a retiring President has been installed.   The Parlor cannot elect a member to fill the Past President’s chair. *2

to the rank when the reinstatement is after the period of limitations. *4 It was the Grand President Jo Davis Sproul in 1893 decided that if a Junior Past President’s office declared vacant, he is not entitled to the honors of a Senior Past President. *3 He also ruled that if a past president is suspended from membership, he loses the right to be restored  holding of Grand President Mattison in 1899 that the Grand President is without authority to confer the honors of the title of Past President upon a member. *5 This can result only from service as Junior Past President.  The early rituals of the Order indicate that Senior Past Presidents wore a sash of old gold color, but there was no ritualistic part for the rank. *6 Junior Past Presidents wore a white sash and performed certain ceremonial functions.  Although the rank of Past President appears to have been well established during the first quarter century of the existence of the Native Sons, its holders of the title did not have an organized existence.  The writer, however, does have in his possession a ribbon of old gold color, on which are printed the words “Past Presidents’ Association, N.S.G.W., September 10, 1890.”

Absence of a formal organization of past presidents did not impede the growing pride that the holders of the title took in their rank and in the Native Sons of the Golden West itself.  The Order’s accomplishments in the ‘90's were great and the society wielded an important influence in the affairs of California.  To be a Past President of a subordinate parlor was considered an honor.  Pride of office thus led to a demand for a special affiliation based on rank.  In San Francisco where there were in 1899 twenty-two parlors, it was necessary for their representatives to meet as a clearing house for concerted action *7 Presidents and Vice Presidents usually were among the parlor’s representatives.

*2 In re Placerville Parlor No. 9, Minutes and Proceedings, Seventh Session, p. 15.
*3 In re Woodland Parlor No. 30, Fifteenth Session, p.. 25.
*4 In re Humboldt Parlor No. 14, Seventeenth Session, P. 17
*5 In re Los Angeles Parlor No. 45, Twenty-second Session, p. 27, 222.
*6 Sash regalia were abolished in favor of the collar type in 1906.
*7 The San Francisco Parlors in 1899 were: California No. L, Pacific No. 10, Golden Gate No. 29, Mission No. 38, San Francisco No. 49, El Dorado No. 52, Rincon No. 72, Stanford No. 76, Yerba Buena No. 84, Bay City No. 104, Niantic No. 105, National No. 118, Columbia No. 121, Hesperian No. 137, Alcatraz No. 145, Alcalde No. 154, South San Francisco No. 157, Sequoia No. 160, Precita No. 187, Olympus No. 189, Presidio No. 194, Marshall No. 202.

Presidents usually were among the parlor’s representatives.  According to the late Fabius T. Finch, who in 1899 was president of Presidio Parlor No. 194, the writer’s own parlor, there was an expression of sentiment in favor of an organization that would keep the presidents together after the completion of their terms.  These several factors led to the formation of the Past President’s Association.

Foundation date and Leaders.  The Past Presidents Association was founded in San Francisco on January 27, 1900, in the same city where the Order of the Native Sons itself was established on July 11, 1875, twenty-five years earlier.  Many of the original members in the course of a quarter of a century had passed on, including the Founder of the Order, General Albert M. Winn, yet it is very interesting to note that the man who has closest to him in the birth of the society, and who served as its first President (July 1875 - January 1876) was also the leading founder of the Past Presidents Association.  Reference is made to John Anthony Steinbach of the Pacific Parlor No. 10, first president of the original Native Sons, and whose term as Grand President, 1884-85, was so illustrious.  Under the title of Governor, John A. Steinbach was the first presiding officer of the Past Presidents Association.*8 In the founding of the organization he was assisted ably by Hon. Frank J. Murasky of Olympus Parlor No. 189, a man whose memory still lives for his work as a jurist and as the first great juvenile court magistrate in California. *9 A third founder was Stephen Arnold Douglas Jones of Pacific Parlor No. 10, and it is believed that “Sad,” as he fondly was called, did the major part of the work in preparing the ritual of the association.  Other founders were active as members of the committee which wrote the first By-Laws, namely John H. Grady of California Parlor No. 1, Thomas C. Conmy of Golden Gate Parlor No. 29, Louis C. Pistolesi of Sequoia Parlor No. 160, William R. Milton of Seapoint Parlor No. 158 (Sausalito), and James O’Gara of Pacific Parlor No. 10.  The question frequently is asked by Native Sons generally, “Why a Past Presidents’ Association?”  This question well may be answered by quoting the preamble to the By-Laws printed in 1900:

The Past Presidents Association of the Native Sons of the Golden West has been organized for the purpose of furthering the interests and well-being of the Order of the Native Sons of the Golden West; to encourage the members of Subordinate parlors in the work of the Order, and to bring about a high understanding and appreciation of the objects, purposes and aims of the Native Sons of the Golden West; to disseminate its principles to the world at large; to enlist the older members more fully in the good work of the Order, and to revive the dominant interest heretofore taken by many Past Presidents in their early days in the Order; to cultivate and encourage sociability and fraternity among the members of the association, as well as among the members of the Order throughout the State, and, generally, to encourage and enlarge upon the work of the Order, and to be an incentive to the member of the Order to pass through the chairs - giving them something higher to look forward to.

*8 John A. Steinbach, born in San Francisco, October 21, 1854, was Grand
 President 1884-85.  He died August 13, 1913.
*9 Frank J. Murasky, born in San Francisco, November 7, 1884, was a Superior
 Judge of that city and county from 1898 until his death on June 30, 1930.
The association functioned immediately along the lines set forth in the preamble.  In particular it stressed ritualistic work and its members gave generously of their time in teaching this to the officers of the subordinate parlors.  It brought together the past presidents of subordinate parlors in different parts of the state and thus served as a clearing house for the interchange of ideas on matters pertaining to the fraternity.  It opened with a charger list of two-hundred fifty-four, of whom one-hundred fifty-five were from parlors situated in San Francisco and ninety-nine from the outside.  This evidences the fact that from the outset the Past Presidents Association had a statewide appeal *10 By the close of the year 1900 some fifty more members had been admitted of whom thirty-eight were from parlors outside of San Francisco.  The complete list of charter members and other 1900 affiliations is too long to be reproduced here.  The names of some of those who have played an important part in the affairs of the Order and/or the Association are presented at this point, however.

California Parlor No. 1       Sacramento Parlor No. 3
Charles W. Decker               Robert T. Devlin
John H. Grady                    Clarence M. Hunt
Henry Lundstedt
                                     Stockton Parlor No. 7
                                       Hubert R. McNoble
Oakland Parlor No. 2
Robert M. Fitztgerald
George C. Pardee           Argonaut Parlor No. 8
                                     William C. Neumiller
                                         Albert F. Jones

*10 According to an account in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, January 28, 1900; the Past Presidents Association was organized on the evening before, Saturday evening, January 27th.  John A. Steinbach was the temporary chairman and P. Massang, Temporary secretary.  The permanent officers elected were President John A. Steinbach; Junior Past President, Justice Charles H. Garoutte; 1st Vice President, Frank J. Murasky; 2nd Vice President, Denial A. Ryan; 3rd Vice President, W.R. Milkton; Recording Secretary, J.J. Jamison; Financial Secretary, Adolph Eberhart; Treasurer, Joseph B. Keenan; Marshal, A.J. Morganstern; Sentinels, W. P. Johnson and W. H. Staniels, Seven trustees were scheduled to be elected at the next meeting, on the last Saturday of February.  (San Francisco Chronicle, January 28, 1900, 9-4).  The trustees elected on February 4, 1900 were: Clem J. Belloli, O. A. Foster, C. M. Hunt, Louis Nonemoin, C.T. Rose, Arthur E. Scott and Malcom C. Whyte. (San Francisco Chronicle., February 25, 1900 11-3).  The association manifested its interest in civic affairs at this second meeting for as the Chronicle points out, Judge Murasky brought up the subject of the preservation of Calaveras grove of Big Trees.  He was followed by several other members.  A committee was selected to draft a memorial to Congress.  The membership is as follows: F.J. Murasky, Frank Mattison, Henry Lunstedt, R.C. Rust, C.H. Garouette, M.T. Dooling, Percy V. Long, John A. Steinbach and J. J. Jamison.”

Pacific Parlor No. 10          Mission Parlor No. 38
Stephen V. Costello              Daniel O. Troy
George D. Clark
Samuel W. Dixon              Fremont Parlor No. 44
Henry E. Faure                  Maurice T. Dooling
John T. Greany
Joseph K. Hawkins        San Francisco Parlor No. 49
John O’ Gara                       John H. Nelson
James O’Gara
Daniel A. Ryan              Mt. Tamalpais Parlor No. 64
John A. Steinbach                   Thomas Boyd
George B. Stanzenberger      J. Emmett Hayden

Humboldt Parlor No. 14              Niantic Park No. 105
Fletcher A. Cutler                        Lewis F. Byington
                                                Joseph B. Keenan

Bidwell Parlor No. 21               Ramona Parlor No. 109
Jo D. Sproul                             Edward A. Meserve

San Jose Parlor No. 21          Arrowhead Parlor No. 110
C.J. Belloli                                  John Anderson
Thomas Monohan

Sunset Parlor No. 26            Piedmont Parlor No. 110
John J. Monteverde                    W. H. C. Hynes

Santa Rosa Parlor No. 28         Plumas Parlor No. 131
Charles O. Dunbar                   Charles E. McLaughlin
James F. Stanley

Golden Gate Parlor No. 29         Alcatraz Parlor No. 143
Thomas C. Conmy                        James L. Gallagher
Frank H. Dunne
Percy V. Long                        Sequoia Parlor No. 160
Fred Suhr                                     Henry Scheper

Woodland Parlor No. 30           Precito Parlor No. 187
Charles H. Garoutte                  George N. Van Orden

Excelsior Parlor No. 30            Olympus Parlor No. 189
Richard C. Rust                          Andrew Mocker
                                                Harry I. Mulcvrevy
                                               Frank J. Murasky
General Winn Parlor No. 32
Charles M. Belshaw

Early Policies and Practices.  The first By-Laws provided that meetings should be held on the last Saturday evening of each month in Native Sons Building in San Francisco.  It would appear that this day was chosen because at that time the meetings of the twenty-two San Francisco parlors covered Monday through Friday evenings.  Saturday night meetings also facilitated the attendance of the large number of out-of-town members.  The By-Laws adopted in 1900 contain an Order of Business which includes items of balloting on candidates.  There is reason to believe, however, that this was copied more or less from the Constitution for Subordinate Parlors, for the By-Laws, Art.  11, Sec. 2 provided for admission that was both non-initiatory and automatic upon the past president presenting his application for membership.  The provision is quoted here:

 Applications for membership shall be in writing and signed by the applicant, be
 certified to under seal by the Secretary of the Parlor of which he is a member,
 and must be accompanied by the initiation fee and dues for the first quarter; and
 the Secretary of the Association shall thereupon enter his name upon the roll of

The initiation fee was $l.00 and the dues 50 cents a quarter or $2.00 per year.  In 1900 offices were created as follows: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Third Vice President, Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, Marshal, Inside Sentinel, Outside Sentinel and three Trustees.  The offices were not changed, but the 1901 ritual shows that the titles of President, and Vice Presidents were supplanted by Governor and Vice Governors.  For a long time the President and Vice President, used the gubernatorial titles during initiation but eventually the presidential titles were replaced entirely.  This change came about in 1915.

By 1903 the By-Laws had been amended providing for a secret ballot on membership.  At that time also provision was made for the expansion of the association into other parts of the state.  This made the San Francisco Association the parent body until such time as multiplication of units might make necessary the creation of a general organization.  Branch assemblies were required to observe the same ritual as a San Francisco Assembly.  A membership of twenty-five was prerequisite for the institution of a branch assembly; and, this could be done only by the parent assembly in San Francisco.  Even as early as this time (1903) the beginnings of the General Assembly are noted, for it was provided,

 That until such time as a sufficient number of branch assemblies shall be
 instituted to require some other plan for the sake of uniformity, such
 affiliated assemblies be required to furnish this assembly a copy of their
 roll of membership and of the names of all candidates for initiation; that
 their By-Laws and Rules be subject to approval by the parent assembly;
 that this assembly hold an annual session, at which the annual password
 will be chosen and all matters of ritual, by-laws, rules, etc., passed upon;
 that at such annual session the members of the affiliated assemblies shall be
 entitled to all the rights of members of this assembly.

Governors of San Francisco Assembly.  The need for a parent organization grew with time, and in 1920 San Francisco Assembly surrendered its supervisory powers to the newly organized General Assembly.  In the twenty-one year period, 1900-1921, the original assembly pioneered the was first by operating on a statewide basis, and later by supervising branch assemblies in several sections of the state.  Between 1900 and 1921 the following men led San Francisco as presiding officers.
    1900  John A. Steinbach
    1901  Frank J. Murasky
    1902  S.A. D. Jones
    1903  Charles T. Rose
    1904  Dan Q. Troy
    1905  James F. Linehan
    1906  John F. Hansen
    1907  James F. Stanley
    1908  Robert T. Devlin
    1909-10 Henry E. Faure
    1911  Fabius T. Finch
    1912  Dan Q. Troy
    1913  William E. Melander
    1914  Walter Garfield
    1914  Thomas C. Conmy
    1915  Frank A. Bonivert
    1915  Charles O. Zahn
    1916  Moses M. London
    1916  John G. Schroder
    1917  James J. Hayes
    1918  Adam D. Alvarez
    1919  Adolph Gudhus
    1920-21 Harold T. Dupont
    1921  William J. Dougherty
    1921   Henry Meyer

These are the Native Sons who directed the affairs of the Past Presidents’ Association during the first twenty-one years of its existence.  As a group and as individuals they were dedicated to the Native Sons of the Golden West and the ideals for which the society stands.


Although the Past Presidents’ Association won an immediate affection in the hearts of the members of the Native Sons of the Golden West and from the start played an important part in the affairs of the fraternity, recognition by the Grand Parlor came slowly.  The Proceedings of the 23rd Session of the Grand Parlor which convened in Oroville in April 1900, just three months after the founding of the Past Presidents Association, contains no reference to it. *11 At the 24th session held in Santa Barbara in 1901 the newly formed association petitioned for recognition. *12

*11 Although the proceedings show no participation in the 1901 Grand Parlor by the Past Presidents Association, it appears that at its second meeting, held February 24, 1900, there was received, from Argonaut Parlor No. 8 of Oroville, an invitation to attend the session of the Grand Parlor to be held there April 23rd - 27th.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The invitation was accepted, and the following were appointed a committee to make arrangements for the trip: A. F. Jones, Leonard Stone, F.W. Burnette, David Wilson and W. E. McCreary.” (San Francisco Chronicle, February 25, 1900 11-30).

This letter was signed by John A. Steinbach, Joseph B. Keenan and Peter G. Dupy and certified by the officers association, Frank J. Murasky, Governor, William A. King, Secretary of State, and S. A. D. Jones, Governor pro tem.  Grand President Ruse referred the communication to the State of the Order Committee, but a study of their reports fails to show that it was reported back to the floor or even mentioned at all.  Hence the Association went on for a number of years under the style and title, “The Past Presidents Association of the Native Sons of the Golden West,” without official sanction by the Grand Parlor which alone according to law is to determine under what conditions the corporate name, “Native Sons of the Golden West” shall be used and by whom used.  The fact, however, that the association was permitted to do this without protest itself evidences the good feeling existing between the two organizations.  In 1909 the Grand Parlor convened in the 32nd Session adopted the following resolution endorsing the association:

 WHEREAS, the Past Presidents’ Association of Subordinate Parlors, Native
 Sons of the Golden West, is bending its efforts to ever keep strongly before
 the general public, as well as in the minds of the N.S.G.W., the splendid effort
 of our Order and,
 WHEREAS, with this purpose in view, they are now arranging to hold a series
 of free lectures in San Francisco on subjects pertinent to the early history and
 general welfare of our state; and,
 WHEREAS, the first lecture of the series will be delivered by George Wharton
 James, an acknowledged and eminent authority on California history, during
 the month of May, 1909, be it therefore,
 RESOLVED, that the Native Sons of the Golden West; assembled in Grand
 Parlor hereby endorse the Past Presidents’ Association, and pledge ourselves to
   Take an interest in furthering the success of an activity so I accord with the
 principles of patriotism of our Order.*13

During 1914-15 the Past Presidents’ Association rendered very valuable service to the Order, especially in the ritualistic field.  Degree teams were sent into the interior to assist the rural parlors and the Board of Grand Officers approved the use of Grand Parlor funds to pay for their transportation.  In 1915, therefore, the association received its first commendation in a Grand President’s report.  Wrote Grand President Mooser,

 Too much praise cannot be given to the work of this association.   So much
 have I been impressed with the good results derived from its activities that
 I have, out of the Grand Organizer’s Fund, contributed $250 to the expenses
 of the association. *14

*12 Grove Parlor, Proceedings, Twenty-Fourth Session (1901), pp. 209-10
*13 Grove Parlor, Proceedings, Thirty-second Session (1909), p. 246
*14    Grove Parlor, Proceedings, Thirty-eighth Session (1915), p. 10

The following year meeting in Modesto the Grand Parlor passed Resolution No. 9 calling for the appointment of a committee to study the Past Presidents’ Association and to report back at the next session a plan for the government and representation of the same in Grand Parlor. *15.  Grand President Bruck appointed Charles L. McEnerney, M.M. London, Louis F. Erb, W. M. Manning and W.J. Farrell.  This committee reported in 1917 to the Grand Parlor meeting in Redding.  The committee was not favorable to the suggestion of giving the assemblies representation in the Grand Parlor but felt that the Grand Parlor officially should recognize the association and provide a constitution for its government.  The committee, therefore, sponsored Resolution No. 35 which would accomplish this.  It was the opinion of the committee that if the Grand Parlor failed to take the stops necessary to control the assemblies of the association, they would form soon a parent body of their own, and then there would be two Grand or Parent Bodies of Native Sons in the state, namely, the Grand Parlor and the Grand or General Assembly. *16.  Grand President Bruck referred Resolution No. 35 to the Committee on Legislation.  This committee did not share the views of the Committee on the Past Presidents’ Association and reported the resolution unfavorably. *17 A long debate ensued but in the end the Grand Parlor rejected Resolution No. 35.  The incoming Grand President, Jo F. Snyder of Nevada City, on his own motion appointed another Committee on the Past Presidents’ Association but in 1918 no report was received and thereafter the committee was no re-appointed. *18 In that year, however, there was adopted Resolution No. 11, providing a Senior Past Presidents Regalia for every subordinate parlor senior past president and for installing him as such at the close of his term as junior past president. *19 The words of installation were decreed to be as follows, “You, Worthy Senior Past President, having passed through the various Chairs of the Parlor and having discharged your duties, as you saw them, are accorded the honor of wearing a Senior Past President’s regalia and the Acting Senior Past President will so clothe you and conduct you to a seat in the body of the Parlor.”

In 1919 the Grand Parlor meeting in Yosemite Valley passed Resolution No. 8 which provided that if an officer of a subordinate parlor is also a past president, he may wear a miniature senior past president’s regalia over that of his office.  At this session Grand President Toomey in his report paid a glowing tribute to the Past Presidents’ Association.  He wrote, “I think that our Order should be proud of the fact that we have men in the Order who have passed through all the chairs of the subordinate parlors and have retained enough interest in the Order to organize this Association and give their time and money to promote the interest among the members, and I want to thank them for the assistance they have rendered to the Order and to me during the past year. *20

*15 Grove Parlor, Proceedings, Thirty-ninth (1916), p. 215
*16   Grove Parlor, Proceedings, Fortieth Session (1917), pp 231-32
*17   Ibid., P. 238
*18 The minutes of the San Francisco Assembly, June 9, 1915, show that Grand Secretary,  Fred H. Jung was present and “Bro. Jung recommended that a supreme assembly be formed of the Past Presidents Association, and when formed to present to the Grand President to have such formally instituted as Past Presidents Association, and duly recorded as a state body and to have the Grand President Authorize the same.”
*19 Grand Parlor, Proceedings, Forty-first Session (1918), pp. 224, 226.

Other Grand Presidents who commended the work of the Past Presidents’ Association in this period were James F. Hoey (1921), William I. Traeger (1922), Charles A. Thompson (1918), James A. Wilson (1929), John T. Newell (1931) and Dr. Frank I. Gonzales (1932).  Grand President Newell has initiated into the association in October 1930, at the General Assembly held in Tracy, while he was still Grand President, and expressed himself as greatly pleased.  In 1921 at the 44th Grand Parlor Session held in Stockton the sum of $75 was ordered paid to the Past Presidents’ Association for expenses incurred in studying modifications in the ritual.  The report of Grand President Seth Millington in 1933 indicates that he depended upon Fred H. Greely Assembly for the institution of a new parlor in Alturas, Modoc County.

RECIPROCAL REPRESENTATION IN GRAND PARLOR AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY.  The General Assembly, a parent body of the Past Presidents’ Association, was established in 1921, as will be explained later.  The General Assembly is composed of delegates elected annually by the subordinate assemblies.  In 1923, however, the General Assembly made the Grand President of the Native Sons of the Golden West an ex officio member, provided he held membership in a subordinate assembly. *21 In 1930 this was extended to include the three Grand Vice Presidents, and in 1941 the Junior Past Grand President.  In 1943 the writer, then a delegate from San Francisco Assembly No. 1, introduced legislation making all Past Grand Presidents members of the General Assembly, and this measure was adopted.  Finally in 1956 the General Assembly meeting in Sacramento extended ex officio membership in the General Assembly to all Grad Officers provided that in each case the incumbent officer be a member in good standing of a subordinate assembly.

For a long time members of the General Assembly had been thinking that the Grand Parlor should extend to it a representation of an ex officio basis, presumably through the Governor General and/or the Past Governors General.  In 2955 the General Assembly ordered sent to the Grand Parlor a petition which requested making the Governor General an ex officio member of the Grand Parlor.  As membership in the Grand Parlor is prerequisite to introducing legislation therein, the Secretary Treasurer General in his capacity of Past Grand President agreed to do so and was joined by Armen M. Nishkian, a member of the Grand Parlor’s Committee on Laws of Subordinates.

*20 Grand Parlor, Proceedings, Forty-second Session (1919) pp. 13-14.
*21 General Assembly, Minutes, 3rd Session (1923).  This appears to have its roots in an action taken by San Francisco Assembly ten years earlier.  On May 23, 1913, the By-Laws were amended by adding the following: “The Grand President and Grand Secretary in office shall be honorary members of this association, with all the rights and privileges of active membership but no dues shall be required of them.”
One June 13, 1913, Grand Secretary Jung was obligated as an honorary member.  On February 6, 1915, honorary membership was transferred from honorary to regular.

On April 7, 1956, The Secretary-Treasurer General appeared before the Board of Grand Officers and explained the nature of the proposed legislation. *22 Two attorney members of the Board expressed divergent points of view.  One stated that it would be improper for the Grand Parlor to seat a representative from an outside organization unless that organization, in some way, were affiliated with it.  He suggested that a foundation for future representation be laid by the Grand Parlor officially recognizing the Past Presidents Association.  The other attorney stated that his formality was unnecessary, that the Grand Parlor’s action in making the Governor General a member of itself would be a recognition of the association.  The propriety of the proposal was discussed at length and an informal vote taken which indicated a small plurality in favor of making the Governor General a member of the Grand Parlor.  At the Grand Parlor session meeting at Hoberg’s May 1956, the Secretary-Treasurer General introduced the legislation which by Grand President Halsing was referred to the Committee on Legislation.  That committee reported the Resolution as out of order in that it had not been filed with the Grand Secretary - thirty days before the opening of the Grand Parlor pursuant to that section of the Constitution of the Grand Parlor which provides that amendments to it must be filed thirty days in advance.  The Chairman of Committee, John F. Hanson, Jr. Of Alameda Parlor No. 47, whose late father was, in 1906, the seventh presiding officer of the association, implied that any emergency existed whereby the committee on its own motion could introduce the measure.  The proposal was reintroduced as Resolution No 4 at the 1957 session at Santa Barbara, and having been reported favorably by the Committee was adopted. *23 This first Governor General to be seated in the Grand Parlor pursuant to this amendment was Henry C. Storti who attended the 1958 session at Stockton.


The original By-Laws of the Past Presidents’ Association adopted in 1901 made no provision for the expansion of the organization into various sections of the state.  In other words, the intention then seems to have been that of having one association in San Francisco Drawing its membership on a state-wide basis.  Such a policy was short-lived, however, and in the 1903 edition of the By-Laws is found provision for branch assemblies.  This read as follows,

*22 “Minutes of Grand Officers,” April 7, 1956, Grand Parlor, Proceedings, Seventy-ninth Session (1956), p. 69
*23 Grand Parlor, Proceedings, Eightieth Session (1957), p. 40. The sponsors of the resolution were: Armen M. Mishkian of the Board of Appeals, Peter T. Conmy, Past Grand President and Lawrence J. Lafleur, Grand First Vice President.


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