California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Frisbie Guard
One of Vallejo's early National Guard units, Frisbie Guards in 1876. Pictured here are, left to right, front row, Alex Hichborn, lieutenant; Frank O'Grady, captain, and Louis Hardy, sergeant; back row, William Fraser, color sergeant, and William Hall, corporal. (Vallejo Historical Society)

Official or Other Titles:
Location: Vallejo, Solano County
Mustered in: September 29, 1869
Mustered out: June 10, 1872
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1869-1872
Papers on file at the California State Archives

a. Organization Papers 1 document (1869)
b. Bonds 2 documents (1869-1870)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 44 documents (1869-1872)
d. Election Returns 7 documents (1869-1872)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 6 documents (1869-1872)
g. Oaths Qualifications 138 documents (1869-1872)
h. Orders 1 document (1872)
i. Receipts, invoices 7 documents (1869-1872)
j. Requisitions 2 documents (1869-1870)
k. Resignations 3 documents (1869-1870)
l. Target Practice Reports 1 document (1871)
m. Other none
Vallejo Rifles and Frisbie Guards
By Mark J. Denger
Two highly competitive military organizations –the Vallejo Rifles and the Frisbie Guards –added color to the early days of Vallejo during the eighteen sixties and seventies, while their social events, their Summer outings and annual balls, were important on the city's social calendar.
The Vallejo Rifles, organized in 1862 as a company of the California National Guard, met with competition a few years later when the Frisbie Guards were formed, under the personal sponsorship of General John B. Frisbie.
General Frisbie had served as a Captain in Company H, New York Volunteers during the Mexican War of 1847. Born in 1823, he was a lawyer, politician, and militia officer in N.Y. After leaving the military service, Frisbie moved to California where he was a candidate for lieutenant governor of California in 1849; married the daughter of General Vallejo; and became a prominent business man in the town of Vallejo, interested in the building of railroads, president of a bank, and a man of considerable wealth. He was also a member of the state legislature in 1867.

The Vallejo Rifles originally were uniformed in the regular Army uniform of the day, but later adopted a costume of blue swallow-tail coat, matching military pants with white stripes, and high, black bearskin shakos. Captain John T. Barbour, a former corporal in Company B, California Battalion, stationed on the Mare Island Navy Yard, was elected as the first captain of the Vallejo Rifles.

Captain John T. Barbour migrated from New York to California with his wife Nancy in 1846. In 1847 settled at Benicia, where he built several houses, being in the lumber business with his father-in-law Landy Alford.

Not to be outdone sartorially, the Frisbie Guard, with the financial backing of General Frisbie, sported blue frock coats, red trousers and hats heavily bedecked with white plumes. Captain C. O. Ferris headed the Frisbie Guards, with First Lieutenant James Cluney, Second Lieutenant William McGill, and a membership of about seventy-five.

The rivalry between these two militia units were keen –in military perfection, in uniforms, and rivalry as to which unit staged the most successful social events.

The first meeting place for the Vallejo Rifles was old Farragut Hall, with their armory later established on Sacramento street in downtown Vallejo. The armory was later occupied by the Elks Club and the Salvation Army. The unit's headquarters were later moved to the Bernard House, where extensive rooms were equipped for their meetings and social activities.

Social events were supplemented by drills and target practice.

The Vallejo Rifles reorganized into Company B and later into Company D, California National Guard. Company B was first headed by Frank O'Grady as captain, Richard Coleman as first lieutenant, and C. D. McConley as second lieutenant.

One of the momentous events in the Vallejo Rifles' history was the visit of General U. S. Grant to Vallejo in 1880, when the uniformed company received him in their Bernard House headquarters. Every member of the Vallejo Rifles received a handshake from the distinguished visitor.
Link to Official History
History of the Frisbie Guard
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Updated 8 February 2016