CaliforniaMilitia and National Guard Unit Histories
Goodyear's Rifles

Official or Other Titles:
Goodyear's Rifles, 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, California Militia. Sometimes listed as Goodyear's Bar Rifles
Location: Goodyear's Bar, Sierra County
Mustered in: December 27, 1854
Date of Disbanding: 1860
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1855-1857
Unit papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1855)
b. Bonds 1 document (1855)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 2 documents (1855-1857)
d. Election Returns 2 documents (1855)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 3 documents (1855-1856)
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 3 documents (1855-1857)
j. Requisitions 2 documents (1854-1855)
k. Resignations 1 document (1855)
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
8. Miscellaneous:

Commanding Officers
Charles F. Myers, Captain, Elected December 27, 1854; Resigned October 18, 1855
Justus Bragg, Captain, Elected October 22, 1855;
James M. Smith, First Lieutenant, Elected.December 27, 1854

B. Kennief, Captain: Date of Rank: March 14, 1856; Commissioned: March 24, 1856
James M. Smith, First Lieutenant, : Date of Rank: March 14, 1856; Commissioned: March 24, 1856
Official History
Goodyear's.Bar, Sierra County, was named in honor of two of its first 1849 settlers, Miles and Andrew Goodyear. (1) All travelers came to the little settlement by pack mule up
to 1859, when the road from Downieville was completed and the first stage coach made its appearance from Camptonville, decorated in banners and flags to celebrate the occasion. (2)

The Goodyear's Rifles were organized in 1854 (five years after the settlement of the town) when residents realized they must have military protection. On October 27, 1854, enough men signified their desire to be a .part of the volunteer company and a meeting was called for December twenty-seventh, and at this meeting officers were elected and the Muster Roll made up for the presentation to Adjutant-General Kibbe. The "Rifles" were a part of the Sierra Battalion under command of Major Hungerford, and took an active part in the battalion parades. The receipt of the arms and accoutrements February 9, 1855, enabled the corps to begin their regular drill and parade routine. The company continued this practice until the guns were called in by Headquarters in order to be sent to Washoe for the use of the volunteer companies in the Washoe Indian War of 1860 and 1861. During these pioneer days the settlers were beset many times by the hostile Indians and although there are no records to show that the Goodyear's Rifles as an organized force, took part in any Indian skirmishes, it is not to be doubted that the members often went to the aid of other districts that suffered Indian depredations.

In the Fall of 1855 Captain Myers was obliged to be absent from Goodyear's Bar a great part of the time and because of the loss of his leadership the corps became disinterested and lax in the up-keep.of their attendance and routine of drills. Captain Myers requested the acceptance of his resignation in order that a new Captain could be elected and so carry on the military spirit necessary for the well being of any company of the Guard. The Captain's resignation was accepted and an election was held on October twenty-second of that year, at which time Justus Bragg was elected to command the unit. Captain Bragg, however, was unable to continue as commanding officer for long. Another election was held March 14, 1856, to reorganize the company and at that time B. Kennief was elected Captain and James M. Smith was re-elected First Lieutenant. The rank and file numbered forty-four at this time, whereas it had numbered seventy at the time of organizing in 1854.

Apparently the newly elected Captain was not able to stimulate the interest of the active members of the company, and the Adjutant-General in his Report of December 1861 remarked that "No returns had been made by the officers of the Goodyear's Bar Rifles, although in former years the corps had been in good drill and ready for any service". It is assumed that after the arms had been sent to the Washoe War the interest of the members waned. The men did not keep up their drill practices and agreed mutually to disband in 1860.

(1) History. Plumas, Lassen and Sierra Counties California - Farris and Smith, 1882, page 465.
(2) History Plumas, Lassen and Sierra Counties, California - Farris and Smith, 1882, page 469.
This history was completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library
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Updated 8 February 2016