Knights of Pythias

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Past Subordinate Lodge
San Francisco: California - Lodge 1

Date of Institution - March 25, 1869
Accepted Damon No. 2 June 6, 1910
Accepted Golden West No. 145, Sept. 14, 1933.

The first Pythian Lodge was organized in California on March 25, 1869 at Merriman's Hall on Mission Street with the near simultaneous formation of California Lodge No. 1 and Damon Lodge No. 2.

Two men had received authority to institute Pythian Lodges in California. The first, John Stratman, Esq.,
was initiated and received appointment as Deputy Grand Chancellor of the State of California on July 13, 1868
in the District of Columbia. Stratman made the trip to California and waited on Lodge paraphernalia to arrive.
When it did not arrive, Stratman traveled East to New York to procure a complete set of paraphernalia.
However, in his absence, a San Francisco barber named George H. Chard (who had been instructed by Supreme Scribe Barton to work with Stratman) contacted Supreme Chancellor Read, informed him that Stratman had
quit the State, and convinced Read to revoke Stratman's commission and appoint Chard in his stead.

Chard went on to organize the first lodges, but within nine months of organizing California No. 1, "had been suspended for embezzling the funds of the Order, a charge to which he plead guilty." Under Chard's brief
leadership, California Lodge No. 1 was instituted on April 8, 1869, Damon Lodge No. 2 was instituted on
May 19, 1869, and Golden Gate Lodge No. 3 was instituted on May 28, 1869. The first lodge in California to be organized by Stratman, after his commission was reinstated, was Laurel Lodge No. 4, in San Francisco on
June 12, 1869, which met first at Merriman's Hall and then moved to Tucker's Hall on the North West corner
of Montgomery and Sutter Streets, until moving to the Pythian Castle at 909 Market Street in June of 1873. (Pythian History, Wm. Kennedy, pp. 371-372.)

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