Californians and the Military
William Brown Ide

William Brown Ide (March 28, 1796 - December 19 or 20, 1852) was a California pioneer and Commander of the short-lived California Republic.


William Ide was born in Rutland, Massachusetts to Lemuel Ide, a member of the Vermont State Legislature. A carpenter by trade, Ide married Susan Grout Haskell (1799–1850) in 1820.[2] He and his wife Susan lived at first in Massachusetts, but soon began moving westward—to Kentucky, then to Ohio and finally to Illinois. They farmed in Springfield, with Ide supplementing his income by teaching school.[3]

Ide is said to have been a leader in the Mormon community of near Nauvoo during his time in Illinois, although the Church of Latter Day Saints has no account of his being a member in the Salt Lake City authoritative records. [1] [2]

In 1845, Ide sold his farm and joined a wagon train in Independence, Missouri headed for Oregon. On the advice of the mountain man Caleb Greenwood, Ide and a group of settlers split off and headed to Alta California, then a province of Mexico. They arrived at Sutter's Fort on October 25, 1845. Ide traveled north to work for Peter Lassen on Rancho Bosquejo.

In 1846, on a report that the Mexican government was threatening to expel all settlers who were not Mexican citizens, about thirty settlers conducted what was to become known as the Bear Flag Revolt. On June 14, Ide and the others seized the pueblo of Sonoma and captured the Mexican Commandante of Northern California, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who in fact supported American annexation. On June 15, Ide released the Proclamation he had written the night before.[4] By noon of June 17, the rebels raised the new California Bear Flag, proclaiming the Mexican province to be the California Republic. Ide had been chosen to serve as commander.

The Bear Flag Republic lasted until July 9, 1846, just 25 days, until the U.S. Flag was raised at Sonoma. Ide and other "Bear Flaggers" joined John C. Frémont and the U.S. armed forces in taking possession of California from Mexico.

After the Mexican–American War, Ide returned to his home near Red Bluff, California, where he resumed his partnership with Josiah Belden at his Rancho Barranca Colorado. He bought out Belden in 1849, and was successful in mining.

Ide died of smallpox in December, 1852 probably during the night of the 19th–20th, at the age of 56.


William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park, comprising a restored adobe house and other buildings near Red Bluff, commemorates his life.[5][6]

1. See

2. Tehama County Pioneers by Keith Lingenfelter

3. William Brown Ide

4. One version of the text of the proclamation can be found at http://www.militarymuseum.g/BearFlagRevolt.html. Several versions were created of the Proclamation. Fred Blackburn Rogers William Brown Ide, Bear Flagger, Appendix A, IDE PROCLAMATIONS

5. William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park

6. Apparently, Ide never actually lived at the Ide Adobe, but rather at a location much further south in Tehama County. "William B. Ide never lived at park" by Rebecca Wolf, Red Bluff Daily News Online, accessed 02/23/2008


"William Ide - Biographic Notes". Inn-California. Retrieved 2005-09-09.

"Simeon Ide's A Sketch of the Life of William B. Ide". Retrieved 2008-01-30.

"The Bear Flag Revolt". Colusi County Historical Society. Retrieved 2005-09-27.

Hubert H. Bancroft's History of California,Vol. V. 1846-1848

"The Bear Flag Museum". Retrieved 2007-11-07.

"William B. Ide Adobe SHP 2009 brochure". Retrieved 2009-04-16.

"William Brown Ide, Bear Flagger by Fred Blackburn Rogers (1962)".


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Updated 8 February 2016