Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Stockton Zouave Guard
(Stockton Guard)
Members of the Stockton Guard, date unknown.
Military Unit Designation:
Date of Organization: December 12, 1871
Date of reorganization: July 22, 1885
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1872-1905
Geographical Location or Locations: Stockton, San Joaquin County

Papers on file at the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers none
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 138 documents (1872-1888)
d. Election Returns 11 documents (1872-1895)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 70 documents (1872-1905)
g. Oaths Qualifications 265 documents (1873-1886)
h. Orders 38 documents (1875-1893)
i. Receipts, invoices 16 documents (1872-1899)
j. Requisitions 16 documents (1872-1887)
k. Resignations 6 documents (1872-1887)
l. Target Practice Reports 9 documents (1872-1890)
m. Other
Examing Board, 5 documents (1891)
Report of Board of Survey, 1 document (1900)
Link to Official History:
History of the Stockton Zouave Guard (Stockton Guard)
This history was completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.
Organization of the Stockton Guards

In the fall of 1871, just after the election of Newton Booth as governor, there was a call published for all Stocktonians in favor of forming an infantry company to assemble in Hickman's Hall, sign the roll and then participate in the jollification of the Booth and Pacheco club over the victory of the preceding Wednesday. At that time Adjutant-General Tom Cazneau granted permission to form a company in Stockton, and Maj. E. S. Pillsbury was chosen to preside over the meeting called to organize and elect officers. It was held December 12, 1871, and the company organized was named the Stockton Zouaves. Why they adopted this name I know not, for their uniforms were of dark blue, cut in the usual military style, although several years later they adopted a uniform of gray trimmed with black and gold. However, they soon came to be called commonly the Stockton Guards. In January, 1872, the company had sixty-nine men enrolled, and the following officers were elected: Captain, J. E. Lyon; first lieutenant, E. Scott; second lieutenant, Jonas P. Stockwell; sergeants, Ed. Delano, W. F. Fletcher, H. J. Todd, and J. Murray; corporals, J. C. Sullivan, J. A. Muldowney, John D. McDougall and C. E. Eurie; drummer, Phil Biven.

Many of the members had formerly tramped with the Union and City Guards, while some had been members of the Old Columbia Guards. The membership included not only the leading business and professional men of the city, but also its leading society men. It was, in fact, a military social club, and all its excursions, picnics and balls were recherche affairs. The shadow of battle ne'er crossed its pathway save once. "On with the dance; let joy be unconfined!" was its motto, and its record was marked with many a merry time.

It was a common custom to have the high dignitaries of the state as guests of the company. At its first annual ball, December 12, 1872, Governor Booth and staff, Brigadier-General Davies and staff, and Adjutant-General L. H. Foote were present, all in full uniform. After the monthly inspection, the zouaves or guards were drawn up in two-column ranks and Kate Davies, stepping to the front, presented the company with a beautiful parade flag. In a short speech the Adjutant-General received the flag in behalf of the company. Six years later Governor Irwin and staff were the guests of the Stockton Guard. During the afternoon the Governor visited the race-track to see Rarus trot a mile in 2:14½, the fastest mile of the Pacific Coast up to that time. In the evening at the anniversary ball, in behalf of the Stockton ladies, the Governor presented the company with a beautiful standard. Private Joe C. Campbell, later senior counsel for Mayor Schmitz of San Francisco, received the flag in a ringing speech. At midnight the visitors were escorted to the Yosemite hotel, and, after being welcomed by Mayor Belding, enjoyed one of McBean's famous suppers.

In the military circles of San Joaquin County the men who stood prominently in the front rank were Col. P. Edward Conner, later made a brigadier-general, Capt. L. E. Lyons, and Col. John J. Nunan. It was the misfortune of the Stockton Guards in 1876 to lose Capt. Lyons as he went to San Francisco to reside. A man "born to command," he held the captaincy of the Union Guards from April 1, 1862, until disbanded. Just before he left the city the Stockton Guards, assembling in full uniform, presented him with a gold watch and chain and a Masonic emblem. Maj. William Gibson made the presentation speech, and Maj. J. D. Peters answered for the ever-modest Captain. The officers in command at this time were: Captain, Eugene Lehe; first lieutenant and secretary, J. J. Nunan; second lieutenant, J. W. Payne; orderly sergeant, William Trivett; quartermaster sergeant, George C. Turner; sergeants, Tom E. Hersey, H. Baker, J. B. Douglass and W. B. Hanlon; corporals, John D. Gall, Charles Merrill, J. H. Condon, P. P. Garvey, S. C. Dorr, Ben. C. Kerr, W. R. Stone and G. Arrivev.

The Guards Honored by General Grant

The great event of 1879 was the visit of Ex-President Grant to California on his famous tour around the world. Extensive preparations has been made by the citizens of San Francisco to receive the military hero, and a big procession was planned. But the steamer Tokio, bringing the General from the Orient, arrived unexpectedly on the afternoon of September 20. The Stockton Guards had voted to attend the reception and unaware of the Tokio's arrival they took steamer passage for the Bay City the same afternoon, accompanied by the city officials and a large number of citizens, including D. J. Oullahan, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Grant. On reaching San Francisco they were much surprised and disappointed to find that the parade had hastily taken place. The metropolitans had a good laugh at the expense of the Stocktonians, but soon the laugh was on the other side. Mr. Oullahan, sending up his card to the General, was at once admitted, although strict orders had been given that no one would be seen. Mr. Oullahan explained the conditions of affairs, and Grant immediately gave orders to usher in Mayor G. C. Hyatt, the Councilmen, and Captain Lehe. The following morning at 9 o'clock he received the Stockton Guards in the Palace Hotel court, and the military of San Francisco felt like thirty cents, for the Guards were the only militiamen thus honored.

The Guards, numbering sixty-nine men, under the command of Captain Lehe and Lieutenant Nunan, left Stockton early on the morning of January 8, 1880, and on arriving at the Capital were received by the Sacramento Hussars, the City Guard, the Light Artillery, the Chico Guard, the Mexican Veterans, the Pioneers and the Rifle Cadets. Alog the line of marching the Stockton company was the special feature of the parade. The Sacramento Bee said of Stockton's representatives: "The handsome gray uniforms faced with red and gilt braid made this company a conspicuous feature, and its excellent marching and the fine soldierly bearing of the members were the subject of much favorable comment." During the afternoon the officers of the visiting companies were tendered a reception at the Golden Eagle Hotel, and the rank and file were given a collation at the Western Hotel by Lieutenant-Colonel Creed Haymond. The company
returned to Stockton on a special train at midnight.
Extracted from History of San Joaquin County, 1923.


Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 8 February 2016