California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
San Francisco Home Guard
(The Old Guard, 1st Regiment, California Home Guard; 85th, 86th, 87th and 91st Companies, California Home Guard)
1st Regiment, California Home Guard
A majority of the documentation here comes from the December 22, 1917 issue of the California Home Guard News
Joining the Home Guard:
Interesting Description of San Francisco's First Regiment Activity
by William S. Scott
Chairman Senate Committee on Military Affairs
Adjutant 1st Battalion, First Regiment San Francisco Home Guard

The people of this country should by this time realize the necessity of adequate military training for all the young men of the nation. Less attention will be paid in the future to the soothing doctrines of the well intentioned but misguided pacifists who have been responsible for the lamentably unprepared condition in which we found ourselves when it became plain that Germany was determined to force us into the terrible world-war.

The Germans knew that the United States had but little military equipment, that our stores of ammunition were nil, that we had but few trained officers and soldiers, and, therefore, they felt that they could destroy our commerce and murder our women and children on the high seas with impunity.
If Germany had known that every man of military age in the United States was trained in the school of the soldier, and that every one of those men was provided with a high powered rifle that he knew how to use effectively, that there was an abundance of ammunition on hand for each of those rifles, that a sufficient number of those men were highly trained as officers who could lead our troops successfully in battle, and if the Germans had known that the United States had an adequate navy with all its necessary auxiliaries and a merchant marine that could be used to transport troops, they very probably would never have taken the liberties with us that they did. If the United States had been prepared as she should have been it is likely that there would have been no world war, and if there had, it would never have reached the awful proportions that it has, and thousands of happy American homes would not be in deep mourning, as they will be before this terrible war is ended.
It is the same old story, we have closed the stable door after the horse was stolen-and history has repeated itself as it has done in all the wars of our Republic.

It is gratifying to witness the splendid manner in which our country is now rallying to the colors, the colors that have been tattered and torn, but that have never been lowered, and that never will be lowered, no matter how much disloyalty is shown to them by a certain element of our people.

All over our nation today young men are being hastily trained as officers, and at the many large army camps throughout the country the very flower of the youth of our land is being hurriedly taught the Art of War, not for the purpose of aggression, but in defense of democracy.

The layman has but a vague idea of the amount of training necessary to perfect a soldier. Modern combat demands the highest order of training, discipline, leadership and morale upon the part of an army which must be fit to cope successfully with all conditions that may arise. The leaders must possess selfreliance, initiative, aggressiveness, and a thorough conception of team work, and in order to lighten the severe physical strain which of necessity falls upon the troops they must make constant efforts to spare them unnecessary hardship and fatigue, they must look carefully after the mental and physical welfare of the men under their command, they must know the capacity and traits of the men they command, and, above all, they must not needlessly sacrifice their men by leading them into combats that do not promise success. The rank and file must have the tenacity to hold every advantage gained, they must have the individual and collective discipline and skill necessary to overcome the enemy, they must have the dogged determination to close with the enemy in attack and to meet him vigorouslv with the bayonet in defense.

Every soldier must possess good health, vigorous physique, keen eyesight, presence of mind, and courage with good judgment, military training and experience. It is of such men that the American Army is composed, and they will surely uphold the best traditions of our Republic. It takes time to develop and perfect these qualities in men, and I hope after this war is ended our country will adopt universal military training, so we may always have an adequate trained force to protect us from invasion or aggression.

Now, that our Regular Army, our National Guard, and our National Army are either in France or are on their way over there," the spirit of '76 and of '61 and of '98 is pervading those of us who, for various reasons, are unable to rally to the colors on a foreign shore.

Throughout the nation the Home Guard companies, battalions and regiments are being organized and drilled in military science for the purpose of having an auxiliary military force upon which the various State governments may depend for support in cases of need.
This action on the part of thousands of patriotic citizens shows how thoroughly our people are becoming aroused to the necessity of supporting the President and their State authorities.

All over California splendid Home Guard companies are flourishing. In San Francisco, Colonel F. F. Canon, former Assistant Adjutant-General of California; Lieutenant-Colonel Thos. A. Nerney ; Captain Louis Graf, and other patriots, have organized a regiment of twelve companies of Home Guards with a machine gun company, a hospital detachment, and a regimental band.This regiment is composed of Grand Army men, Spanish War Veterans, former National Guardsmen, and hundreds of citizens between the ages of eighteen and sixty years, all imbued with a determination to help win the war. Among the number are many young men of draft age who are receiving their preliminary military training, which will assist them and make them more valuable to the Government when they enter the National Army.

The wives of the rnembers have formed an auxiliary Red Cross Association, and on Monday and Tuesday evenings of each week they visit the armory at 14th and Mission Streets, and while the men are drilling as soldiers, the women are industriously knitting garments for the American Red Cross Society to be sent to the boys "over there."
Immediately upon my return from Presidio I joined the twelfth company of Colonel Canon's Home Guard regiment, where I am glad to assist in training our citizens to be of use to our Government.
On Tuesday evening, December 4th, in company with Hon. Chester H. Rowell, Judge Thos. F. Graham and Senator Lester G. Burnett, I visited the armory and witnessed a drill and review of the regiment. They made a splendid showing. The officers were efficient, the men were well trained, and the band, under the direction of Leader W. D. J. Murphv, rendered inspiring music. We recognized among the personnel many of the leading citizens of San Francisco.

After the drill and review Col. Canon assembled the officers in the headquarters, where the visitors addressed them. Each expressed himself as surprised and pleased to behold such an excellent military body, and they pointed out the various needs for such an organization, wishing them every success, and assuring the regiment of their support.

Chairman Senate Committee on Military Affairs.
First Regiment, San Francisco, California Home Guard

F. F. CANON, Commanding
Formerly the Assistant Adjutant-General of California


WHEN it came to the choice of an officer to foster and lead the movement which has resulted in the formation of San Francisco's regiment of "Home Guards," the line, field
and staff officers of that organization made no mistake in selecting Colonel F. F. Canon, National Guard of California, retired, as their Commanding Officer.

As a drill-master or executive, as an organizer or arbitrator, and a man of tactfulness and zeal, Colonel Canon, by effectiveness and enthusiasm of purpose, has demonstrated his fitness to command. It would be well to look into the Colonel's "past," and taking his record of military efficiency as a guide, we learn At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War he became Private F. F. Canon, Co. "F," 6th California Infantry, U. S. Volunteers, where he served until the close of the war, until honorably discharged by the Fderal Government.

When the California National Guard was re-organized, 'following the close of the war, he presented himself for service, and was enlisted in Co. "E," 2nd Infantry, N. G. C., at Sacramento, California, on April 29, 1899, and on May 3rd of the same year was promoted to thegrade of Corporal. He was advanced to the grade of Sergeant the following February, and served at this rank until August 1, 1.903, when he was chosen First Lieutenant in the same company. On the 12th of August, 1905, Lieut. Canon was promoted to the grade of Captain, and placed in command of Co. "E." Here he served five years as a company commander, when he was again promoted to the grade of Major, and given command of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, N. G. C. Major Canon's service in the 2nd Infantry, N. G. C., was terminated on January 11, 1911, and he was rewarded by being commissioned a Colonel, and appointed the Assistant Adjutant-General, State of California. Col. Canon served his term of office until 1915, when he was placed on the retired list of California National Guard Officers.

Colonel Canon has other active service besides his participation in the Spanish American War. This includes service, of an executive nature, in San Francisco, incident to the earthquake of 1906, and also at McCloud, California, in 1909, where he aided the civil authorities to establish law and order. When the late Brig.-Gen. E. A. Forbes and State Senator W. S. Scott (Lieut. W. S. Scott) fostered and legislated the provisions of the High School Cadet bill through the State Legislature, Colonel Canon was the officer chosen to carry out the provisions of that law. His activities in connection with the first of the "Training Camps" in 1913, was another demonstration of Colonel Canon's ability as anorganizer and executive.
This movement, from its inception, lacked the moral support of our citizens, and was successfully accomplished.

Your regiment is to be congratulated upon the choice of this officer as your Colonel. He brings to you the ideas and methods of the progressive student of military matters-gained through personal experience as a company officer, a field officer, and also as a staff officer. In Colonel Canon, you will come to recognize a regimental commander with all those prerequisites that distinguish.


Major Abram M. Marks, First Battalion California Home Guard. Enlisted Co. G, 2nd Infantry, N. G. C., 1906, serving through the different non-commissioned grades. Transferred to Co. E, 2nd Infantry, N. G. C., where he was elected First Lieutenant, taking command of the s company upon the election of Colonel (there Captain) Canon to the rank of Major of the Battalion.
First Company
First Company is very fortunate in having at its head a man of such personal influence and acquaintance as Capt. Louis Graf. Capt. Graf was an officer of the Ninth Co. Coast Artillery. He was instrumental in organizing this company, and served them long with high credit. He has succeeded in making the first company of our Regiment one of the most promising, and is ably assisted by First Lieutenant Sykes, an old guardsman, who in public life is Fire Commissioner of San Francisco. The entire Regiment is under many obligations to Lieut. Sykes for his untiring energy inpromoting its marvelous growth. Second Lieutenant of the First Co. is C.B. Stebbins, known as the live wire, not only of the company but the entire Regiment. Stebbins served with the 28th Coast Artillery Corps, and was honorably discharged. Former Lieut. Ferbeck has found it necessary to take a business trip to Honolulu, Yokohama and several points in the interior of Japan. The First Co. have lost two popular members who have been called to the colors by Uncle Sam.
Recruiting Dance, First Company, First Regiment California Home Guard
A pleasant evening was enjoyed Saturday, December 15th, at the State Armory, the occasion being a dance given by the members of the 'First Company, California Home Guard, Captain Louis Graf commanding. It was the first of a number of social affairs which are to follow. The following committee, R. Leiser, Chappie H. R. Fried, Walter Schwartz, Claude Graham, John Fox and Harry Hughes handled the affair excellently, despite the large attendance of members and friends.The Regimental orchestra furnished the music, much to the satisfaction of all present.
Second Company

The Second Company hereby challenges any company in the regiment to a competitive drill to be held at the Armory drill ground any date within the next month. In the person of Captain Kane the Second Company realizes that it has lost a captain possessing rare snap and ability to handle men. But First Lieut. Griffin, acting commander, sprung a surprise on the company the first night he had charge in the shape of a strenuous workout, and with the able assistance of First Sergeant Kermode, was instrumental in the institution of several reforms, which, in the opinion of all concerned, will be for the best of the company. Notable among them was the establishment of permanent squads and a roll call each drill night before maneuvers. While this procedure is essential to all well-drilled companies, it was impossible to put it into effect until non-commissioned officers were chosen. However, to Lieut. Griffin and Sergeant Kermode belongs the credit of its institution at the earliest possible time.

Those men who are desirous of enrolling in the crack Second Company had better sign up quickly, as the company is fast filling up to its full quota of seventy-five men. Only a few vacancies are left, and every night finds a half dozen new recruits waiting to sign up.

Third Company

Captain F. S. Robbins, First Lieut. L. B. Schmitt and Second Lieut. F. W. Merriweather, with their efficient corps of noncoms., are rapidly getting the company into excellent shape., The personnel of the company is all that could be desired and they certainly make some showing as they pass with "eyes right" in review. Sunday, December 2d, two squads met at Nineteenth Avenue and Sloat Boulevard for a practice march, and say, how those old young boys did enjoy it! Each night before assembly, Captain Bobbins gives a talk upon and diagrams the, work to be given on the parade ground, and they are both interesting and instructive. Our social committee has been selected and we expect to have some things doing very soon. Come on in, boys; we are going to carry Third Co. right up front.
Fourth Company

Under the command of Captain W. C. V. Nelson,this company is malting great progress, and all companies are warned to be on their toes in order to keep pace with it. Captain Nelson, besides having long military service, is just out of the Officers' Training Camp, and is up to the minute in all the late tactics. He is ably assisted by Lieuts. Mahoney and Cooke, so great work is expected of this company. In our company we have about fifteen U. S. Mail Clerks, so if you see a squad of Mail Carriers drilling as they deliver your Christmas mail, it's only a few loose from the 4th Company. One of our Lieutenants drilled so hard one night that he had a toothache for a week, and his excuse for being absent the next drill night was, a dentist is drilling me tonight.

Fifth Company
Capt. M. F. Sylva is making great progress in efficiency drilling with his company. The Captain certainly knows how. He has served in the 61st Company of the Coast Artillery, and Gen. Commander of the 7th Company, California Coast Artillery. Capt. Sylva is ably assisted by First Lieut. D. M. Barrows, who was formerly with the 8th Infantry, U. S. A., as Corporal and expert rifleman. Lieut. John W. Whitson was formerly with the 7th Company of California Coast Artillery. Sergt. Buckley saw service of one year in Belgium Army.
Seventh Company

Seventh Company is one of the three companies formed out of the Old Guard, an organization composed of ex-members of the National Guard. After the company had been organized, it elected W. C. Sharpstein Captain, W. F. Chipman, First Lieutenant, and J. W. Davis, Second Lieutenant. All of these officers were formerly captains in the National Guard.

Since becoming the Seventh Company of the Regiment, the strength of the company has increased from forty-five to ninety-two, and applications to enlist are still coming in. The Seventh Company belongs to the Second Battalion, and at its last meeting, held Monday evening, December 10th, voted to change its drill night to Thursday so that the entire battalion could drill on the same night. Captain Sharpstein has about fifty seasoned veterans and the recruits are rapidly being brought into shape under the instruction of Lieutenants Chipman and Davis. About the 1st of January, a competitive examination will be held for noncommissioned officers. The examination will consist of oral and written questions and of squad instruction by the candidates.
Eighth Company
Company is commanded by Captain Henry John Bucking, a veteran of the Spanish-American War. He certainly knows how. He has as his right hand man, First Lieutenant Tooker.
The Captain, as well as most of the men, are employed at the Union Iron Works, so they are not only doing service to their country in the way of turning out certain equipment necessary to the United States Government, but also preparing themselves to protect it if necessary.Although not so strong in numbers as some of the other companies of the regiment, are building up fast.
Tenth Company
The 10th Company of the First Regiment is composed of men of a high personnel, and nearly all the membership has seen service in the Philippines or in the National Guard. It therefore lacks no material for the making of efficiency and esprit de corps.

Captain Stanley H. Stewart is a well known drill master, and has the confidence of the entire company. Both First Lieutenant J. A. Tamblin and Second Lieutenant V. Houck have had service in the regular and volunteer armies, which goes to show that the company is well officered.
The 10th Company expects to be one of the crack companies of the regiment, and judging from its make-up it is not an idle assertion. Each man in the company knows what is to be expected of him, and that he must be a part of a harmonious whole so as to make for success to be attained by military organization. There can be nohanging back in the traces; there each one in the loth Company knows.

The question asked: When are we going to obtain our uniforms and rifles? What are the officers doing in the way of recognition and for getting financial assistance? Members of the 10th Company feel that as long as they have enlisted in a cause for protection of property and life, they should be supported not only by the State at large, but by the business and property owners of the city and State, who will benefit directly through Guard activities when the call comes for duty. Here is a thought that the business interests of the State may do well to ponder over, and then come to the aid of the Home Guard now struggling to get into shape and usefulness.


Band Notes
Nothing Instrumental But Interesting

The California Home Guard First Regiment of San Francisco has the honor and distinction of having the first Home Guard Band. We must state that it is a band and one that every member of the regiment is proud of, composed of over fifty experienced musicians, the greater number of whom have seen service in the Army and Navy.
Under a competent instructor, rehearsals are held every Tuesday evening at the State Armory, at Fourteenth and Mission Streets, and will soon be ready to render the most difficult operatic or classical selection,not taking a back seat for any musical organization in the country.

Mr. Lee Burbeck, instructor, is a musician of wide knowledge and extensive training. For the past twelve years he has been connected with many bands, including the famous Exposition Band. He is well versed in arranging and composing.

The band was organized on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 1917, on twenty-four hours' notice, by Bandmaster W. D. J. Murphy and Assistant Bandmaster E. M. Blum.

At the first rehearsal, eighteen men passed in review of the regiment, and on the following Tuesday the Home Guard was surprised to see forty fullfledged musicians pass in review.

Applications are on file up to date from 121 musicians, and they are all anxious to do their little bit for their country. On Saturday evening, Dec. 8, 1917, the band gave its first concert at the Civic Auditorium for a Red Cross lecture.

A benefit raffle of a $50.00 suit and a $10.00 pair of shoes is being given for a Uniform Fund, drawing December 29th. Any well-dressed gentleman appearing at the Armory during January will surely look like a winner.A much-needed section of the battery of the band was donated by Mr. H. Hansen, of 111 Kearny Street, in the form of a bass drum.
Drum Major Syl Newman of the band is on the job all the time. It is, a pleasure to witness him wield thestick. Just notice how he has them countermarching when on parade.

Our First Regiment Band has placed its order for uniforms with the firm represented by our Lieutenant Colonel, Tom A. Nerney, and more than 40 have already signed up for measures.
Syl Newman has his old-time form as Drum Major of the First Regiment Band and the organization is very lucky to have him. Many of the Spanish War veterans will recall "Syl" as the snappy and alert man of '98 at Manila with the "Fighting First" from California.

Perhaps the girlies insist on knitting sweaters instead of socks because they know the American boys will never get cold feet.

85th Company, California Home Guard
This company was formerly the 6th Company, 1st Regiment.
86th Company, California Home Guard
Commanded by Captain William Crittenden Sharpsteen, this company was formerly the 7th Company, 1st Regiment.
Record of the Eighty-Sixth Company, California Military Reserve
Text Courtesy of the San Francisco Geneolgical Society
The biography of a man commences with an account of his ancestry. It seems fitting, therefore, that the record of this Company should be preceded by a brief account of the two organizations out of which it was evolved.
The Old Guard
Shortly after the United States declared war against Germany, a number of former National Guardsmen issued a call to all men who had formerly served in the army or navy of the United States, or in the National Guard of this, or other states, to meet for the purpose of forming an organization whose services should be tendered to the federal, state and municipal governments.
At the first meeting a temporary organization was effected and a resolution was adopted tendering the services of the organization and of its members to the President of the United States, the Governor of the State of California, and the Mayor of the City of San Francisco for such employment as the several executives might designate. At a subsequent meeting a permanent organization was effected under the name of The Old Guard, to whose membership were eligible all honorably discharged soldiers and sailors of the United States and of the National Guard of the several states. Albert E. Castle, formerly a Colonel in the National Guard of California, was elected President, and H. L. Batchelder, formerly a Captain in the National Guard of California was elected Secretary.
Others who will be mentioned in this record, who took part in The Old Guard are: Hugh T. Sime, formerly a Major in the National Guard of California and subsequently a Major in the United States Army during the Spanish War and W. C. Sharpsteen and W. F. Chipman, formerly Captains in the National Guard of California. The five officers mentioned were among those elected to the Board of Directors of The Old Guard. After a number of meetings had been held and the roll had increased to about three hundred members, it was decided that until some service was found for the organization, the members should be given instruction in the Infantry Drill Regulations of the United States Army insamuch as these regulations had been adopted subsequent to the tactics under which most of the members had been instructed.
Accordingly, one of the halls in the Civic Auditorium having been procured for the purpose, Major Sime was appointed to take charge of the instruction, and he selected four former Captains as his assistants. One of these was Captain Sharpsteen, who by reason of the withdrawal of the other Captains ultimately became sole drill master. Weekly drills were held until the Fall of 1917.
On May 10, 1917, The Adjutant General of the State of California issued regulations for the organization and government of the Home Guard. Briefly, it authorized citizens of the United States, or those who had declared their intention to become citizens, between the ages of eighteen and sixty years, to the number of not less than forty nor more than seventy-five, to form a company and upon signing muster rolls approved, first, by the County Council of Defense and then by the Adjutant General, a license would be issued by the Governor to the Company.

The Officers of the company were a captain, a first lieutenant and a second lieutenant to be elected by the members, and a first sergeant, sergeants and corporals to be appointed by the captain. Each company was required to drill at least once a week for one hour and a half, and members failing to report for three consecutive drills without good and sufficient excuse were to be dropped from the rolls. The purposes for which the organization were formed were, as declared in the regulations, "to repel invasion, to suppress insurrection or riot, and to prevent destruction of life or property."
Provisions which became the subject of an acrimonious discussion, which will be noticed later, were the following: "Companies may in the discretion of The Adjutant General, be organized into battalions or regiments with the necessary headquarters personnel." "Headquarters officers will be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of The Adjutant General."
These regulations had been in force for several months before they came to the notice of The Old Guard. In the meantime, sixty companies had been formed in other parts of the state.
Information came to The Old Guard that a movement was on foot in San Francisco to organize twelve companies of the Home Guard, which were to be formed into a regiment, and that one company, the Sixty-first, had already been organized and licensed.

An invitation was issued to The Old Guard to organize four companies out of its membership to constitute the Second Battalion of the regiment. Muster rolls were accordingly procured and signed and the four companies were numbered Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth and designated as the Second Battalion. After muster rolls had been signed by the minimum number of men required by the regulations, but before they had been approved the several companies proceeded to the election of officers. M. F. Sylva was elected Captain of the Fifth Company, William Wehser of the Sixth Company, W. C. Sharpsteen of the Seventh Company. W. F. Chipman was elected First Lieutenant, and John W. Davis Second Lieutenant of the Seventh Company.
Almost simultaneously the other companies were organized and elected officers. While the companies were in process of formation, and with only one company licensed the officers of that company, together with a number of persons who had been active in promoting the organization of the regiment, met and and appointed regimental field and staff officers.

Although this was considered in bad taste by the members of the Second Battalion, as in their judgment no selection of field and staff officers should have been made until all the companies had been formed and elected officers, no protest was made.
The muster rolls of the several companies were placed in the hands of the person named as colonel for the purpose of having him file them with The Adjutant General and procure the licenses. Instead of proceeding as the regulations required, the Colonel informed The Adjutant General that a regiment of Home Guards had been formed in San Francisco, and had selected a full complement of field and staff officers and requested The Adjutant General to organize the companies into a regiment and to issue certificates to the persons select as field and staff officers. The Adjutant General very properly insisted on observance of the regulations, pointing out that they required, first, approval of the muster rolls; second, issuance of the license; third, selection of company officers; and fourth, confirmation of the officers elected.

After these preliminaries had been observed and not before it would be in order for The Adjutant General in his "discretion" to organize the companies into a regiment and to recommend to the Governor the field and staff officers. The colonel insisting upon recognition of the regiment and the appointment of the field and staff officers at the same time as approval of the muster rolls and of the officers selected by the several companies, a deadlock ensued. A most unedifying controversy followed in which it was sought to force The Adjutant General into a recognition of the regiment and of its field and staff officers. Much of the controversy found its way into the newspapers and produced a very demoralizing effect on the companies of the regiment, the members of which were doing their best to qualify themselves for the emergency for which they had enlisted.
The Adjutant General having allowed the companies to use the State Armory for their meetings and drills, each battalion was assigned one drill night each week on which the companies were first drilled by their commanding officers and later as a battalion by their respective majors. Major Sime was elected Major of the Second Battalion.

Besides the drills at the Armory, the regiment on two occasions held drills at Golden Gate Park and took part in a number of parades, one of which was on Memorial Day when it marched to the Presidio. The other occasions were in aid of the several Liberty Loans.
The White House presented the regiment with the national colors and O'Connor, Moffatt and Company presented it with the regimental colors. This latter event took place in the Civic Auditorium and was largely attended by citizens of San Francisco.
Eighty-Sixth Company, California Home Guard
It soon became evident to the officers of the Second Battalion that if an emergency arose the Governor would not call upon the companies of the Home Guard in San Francisco because of their having no official status, and at a meeting of the Board of Officers of the regiment a motion was adopted for the appointment of a Committee to interview The
Adjutant General relative to the situation. Captains Sharpsteen, Blackburn and Clark were appointed such committee, and after interviewing The Adjutant General made a report in which they recommended that each company should proceed to organize in accordance with the Home Guard regulations; that the regimental organization should be dissolved, and that the affairs of the regiment should, pending the organization of the companies into a regiment, be conducted by three of the captains. This report was signed by Captains
Sharpsteen and Blackburn in its entirety. Captain Clark concurred except as to that portion which called for the dissolution of the regimental organization. Upon the question of the adoption of the majority or minority report being put to the Board, the officers of the field and staff, together with the officers of the first and third battalions voted in favor of the adoption of the minority report. The captains of the second battalion reported the result of this meeting to their companies following which the companies authorized their captains to withdraw from the regiment. Accordingly new muster rolls were signed by the members of the companies of the Second Battalion, which having been approved by the County Council of Defense were forwarded to the Adjutant General, who in turn approved them and issued licenses to the four companies. The Fifth Company became the Eighty-seventh Company, Sixth Company the Eighty-fifth Company; the Seventh Company the Eighty-sixth Company and the Eighth Company the Ninety-first Company.
On June 6, 1918, Major Sime, by direction of The Adjutant General, presided at the election of officers for the Eighty-sixth Company at which W. C. Sharpsteen was elected Captain, W. F. Chipman First Lieutenant and Felton Taylor Second Lieutenant. As soon as the officers for the four companies had been elected and certificates issued to them, application was made by the commanding officers to organize the companies as a battalion. This application was denied by The Adjutant General but upon the invitation of the commanding officers of the companies Major Sime continued to act as instructor in battalion drill.
Arms and Uniforms
A most serious defect was the lack of arms, and after the companies had been drilled in all the movements that could be performed without arms, this was very keenly felt.
Through the efforts of Lieutenant Chipman the use of forty rifles owned by The Nationals was procured for the Eighty-sixth Company. At about the same time the Eighty-fifth and Eighty-seventh Companies procured rifles in sufficient quantities to arm their men, and the members of the Ninety-First Company as well. The rifles of the Eighty-Fifth and Eighty-Sixth Companies were the old Springfield caliber .45, and those of the Eighty-seventh Company were Mausers. None of the rifles had bayonets, but ultimately bayonets for the rifles of the Eighty-sixth Company were purchased, and that company was then given instruction in the bayonet exercise prescribed in the Infantry Drill Regulations.
To increase efficiency an effort was made to inaugurate target shooting. On September 9, 1918, a detachment of twenty men under command of Lieutenant Chipman met at the range at Shellmound Park and fired two hundred and forty rounds.
The practice demonstrated that the rifles were in no condition for target shooting, and that no proficiency could be attained with them.
As soon as the company had been licensed the subject of procuring uniforms for the members was agitated. Due to the energy of Lieutenant Taylor uniform hats (campaign) were procured by the members in time for the Fourth of July parade, but no progress was made toward obtaining anything else until the early part of September 1918 when a committee composed of Lieutenants Chipman and Taylor, Sergeant Teller and Privates Partridge and Kirkpatrick volunteered to raise the necessary funds. Their efforts were instantly successful. In a two days' canvass the required sum was secured. Following is a list of the contributors:
American National Bank, Anglo California Trust Company, Anglo, London and Paris National Bank, Bank of California, Bank of Italy, Crocker National Bank, First National Bank, French Savings Bank, Fugazi Popolare Bank, Hibernia Savings and Loan Society, Humboldt Bank, Italian American Bank, Mercantile National Bank, Merchants National Bank, Savings Union Bank and Trust Company, Seaboard National Bank, Union Trust Company, Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank, Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company, W. R. Grace and Company, Welch and Company, O'Connor, Moffatt and Company, Roos Brothers, White House, Frank C. Drew, J. M. Mannon, Jr., Garrett McEnerney, Morrison, Dunne and Brobeck, Henry Rosenfeld, Major C. L. Tilden, John S. Partridge, A. Spreckels, Albers Brothers Milling Company, San Francisco Savings and Loan Society, The Mission Bank.
Contracts were made with Roos Brothers for a uniform consisting of coat, breeches and leggins, and with O'Connor, Moffatt & Company for O. D. shirts, which were furnished in time for the Fourth Liberty Loan parade, which occurred on the evening of September 28, 1918, on which occasion thirty-six members paraded. The Eighty-sixth Company was the only company in San Francisco that was uniformed.
Field Exercises
Although the company at the time of its organization was composed almost entirely of men beyond the draft age who would not be accepted for service in the army, a conviction formed in the minds of the officers that an excellent opportunity was presented to give instruction to men within the draft age who might be called into service. A special effort was, therefore, made to enlist such men in the company. The result of the effort was most gratifying. The recruits under the instruction of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the company soon became so proficient in the drill given in the limited space of the drill yard that it was decided to find a large tract of ground convenient to the street car lines on which instruction in extended order and bayonet exercise could be given.
Through the courtesy of Mr. Behan, Manager of the Spring Valley Water Company, Lake Merced tract was allotted to the company, and on Sunday August 25, September 22 and October 6, 1918, the company engaged in these exercises for several hours with great profit to everyone. The ground selected was especially adapted to extended order.
Trench Construction and Bayonet Assault
The exigencies of trench warfare, as waged in the World War, resulted in rendering the bayonet exercise prescribed in the drill regulations obsolete. It was not, however, until about the time that the second draft was imminent that the new method of fighting with the bayonet was published.

The officers of the company immediately decided to carry the instruction beyond what had been originally contemplated. The Spring Valley Water Company was appealed to set aside a piece of ground and to permit the construction on it of trenches, and the necessary equipment for a bayonet assault course.
Permission was readily given, and on Sunday October 6, 1918, after a drill in extended order over the brush covered sand dunes at the western extremity of the Lake Merced tract, the company proceeded to the ground selected for the trenches and began to work.
The United Railroads donated to the company the use of a dozen picks and a dozen shovels. The San Francisco Retail Lumber Yard gave the lumber necessary which amounted to about two thousand feet.

The Pacific Wire and Steel Works contributed the wire and the Palace Hardware Company and W. A. Plummer Manufacturing Company made substantial discounts in their bills for hardware and canvas dummies respectively.

Messrs. R. H. Swayne, George W. Lamb and T. H. Palache contributed money toward defraying the expenses. The work was continued on Sundays October 13, 20 and 27, November 10 and 17, 1918, on which last date the work was practically completed.
The Armistice having been declared on November 11, 1918, no instruction was ever given at the trenches although instruction in the use of the bayonet in trench fighting was given at the Armory during the period construction of the trenches was under way, extra drill being given each week in order to make the instruction more intensive.
On Sunday December 15, 1918, twenty-one members of the company met at the trenches in uniform and were photographed in various positions.

Owing to the small number attending it was impossible to assume a strictly military formations in every instance so the photographer was given considerable license in the arrangement of the groups.
The slow progress made in trench construction was due to the fact that during practically the whole of the period there was an epidemic of Spanish Influenza. There was a sickness in the families of many of the men and a natural disinclination to expose one's self that made the attendance very light on two or three occasions. Those who did attend did not observe "union hours", and genuine regret was expressed when the work was completed.
In addition to the parade in aid of the Fourth Liberty Loan, which has been mentioned, the company paraded on the Fourth of July and also the evening of August 6, 1918, when it acted with the other three companies, as escort to Governor Stephens, who addressed a patriotic meeting in the Richmond District.
Officers' Association
The Home Guard regulation, to which reference has been made, were doubtless dictated by a desire to allay the apprehensions of the people who feared that the withdrawal of so many able-bodied men, including the organized National Guard, into the military service of the United States, would invite riot and insurrection. The fact that neither the United States or the State then had arms or equipment for the Home Guard detracted from the value of these organizations in a military sense.

Some of the companies outside of San Francisco undertook to arm themselves with rifles of a non-military character and, therefore, unsuited for the purposes of drill. The four companies in San Francisco at a late day succeeded in getting military rifles of obsolete patterns, which, while suitable for purposes of drill, would not have been of much service as firearms.
At the outset The Adjutant General did not require companies to be armed as a condition to being licensed, but before application was made by the Eighty-fifth, Eighty-sixth, Eighty-seventh and Ninety-first Companies, a ruling was made that no further Home Guard organizations would be licensed unless they had arms or had contracted to procure them. This virtually put an end to the organization of Home Guard Companies as it was impossible, except at prohibitive prices, to purchase military rifles.
In a number of localities there were several companies which could have been organized into battalions. The Adjutant General, however, declined to issue the necessary order for such organization, except in one instance, Fresno, but he refused to recommend the appointment of headquarters officers for that battalion.
In several cities of the state there were either state-owned armories, or armories that had been rented by the state, and the Home Guard companies in these cities made unsuccessful appeals to The Adjutant General for use of the armories for the purposes of assembly and drill, except in San Francisco where permission for use of the State Armory was given to a number of organizations, none of which at the time belonged to the Home Guard.
Although The Adjutant General, by authority of the Governor, had promulgated regulations for the organization and discipline of the Home Guard, there was no appropriation for supervision of the companies. The Adjutant General's office was swamped with work connected with the draft so that only the most perfunctory attention could be given matters pertaining to the Home Guard.
In this situation officers of the Home Guard to the number of forty-five and representing thirty companies met at Sacramento on September 21, 1918, pursuant to a call made by Captain E. A. Brown of the Ninth Company to discuss matters of interest to the Home Guard with a view to making it a more effective organization. A permanent organization was effected and the following were elected officers:

Captain Brown President and Captain Sharpsteen Vice-President, who with Captain Baldwin of the Tenth Company, Captain Curson of the Second Company and Lieutenant Hubbard of the Fiftieth Company constituted the Executive Committee. The following resolutions were adopted:
"1. We, the officers of the California Home Guard hereby pledge our loyalty and service to the President of the United States, to the Governor of the State of California, at any and all times as in their opinion they require them.
"2. That the Secretary be instructed to address a request to the Governor that the allotment of 2861 rifles as noted in Special Regulation #37 War Department be requisitioned by him for distribution to the Home Guard; and that all State Armories and all equipment supplementary there to be requisitioned for the Home Guard.
"3. That when sufficient companies exist, which justify the formation of battalions, that
battalions be formed and the necessary officers authorized.
"4. That a legislative committee be appointed by the President to work with The Adjutant General of the State to draft a bill to be presented to the coming session of the Legislature covering the requirements of the Home Guard.
"5. That pending legislation The Adjutant General be requested to change the name of the California Home Guard to some other suitable name."
The Executive Committee took steps to carry out all these resolutions but owing to the declaration of the Armistice, the only one of the resolutions on which results were obtained was that relative to the change of name. On November 1, 1918, The Adjutant General issued an order changing the name of the organization from California Home Guard to California Military Reserve.
If the Officers Association had been organized as soon as sufficient companies had been licensed to make an effective association, it is safe to say that many, if not all, of the disagreeable incidents which served only to impair the efficiency of the Home Guard would not have occurred. With the headquarters of the association at Sacramento, the Executive Committee would have acted as a means of communication between the companies and The Adjutant General and the fullest co-operation would have been assured.
If it be true that "they also serve who only stand and wait", the Eighty-sixth Company may well be proud of its record. Its members were at all times ready to perform any service that might be required of them, and instead of merely marking time endeavored in every way to fit themselves for the emergency which was feared but did
not occur.
It drilled once a week for fourteen months, except for a period of three weeks, when the "flu" was prevalent. During a part of this time there were extra drills at the armory. The field exercises, including the work of constructing the trenches, occupied not less and often more than six hours of each of eight Sundays.
All this, however, was in performance of the service required by the Home Guard Regulations. Its proudest achievement is that it helped to train eight young men who entered the military service of the United States. That it did not do more is due entirely to the failure of the authorities to recognize the value of the training that could be given by such organizations as the Home Guard, to men about to enter service.
It was not until the second draft that the importance of such preparation was recognized. Provost Marshal General Crowder at that time instructed all draft boards to urge all registrants for the draft to attach themselves to organizations that were giving instruction in all the drill regulations as the superiority of the men who had had none had been remarked by army officers everywhere. Nine members of the Seventh Company entered the military service of the United States prior to the company being licensed as the Eighty-sixth Company, and these added to the eight members of the Eighty-sixth Company makes a total of seventeen. The records of these men appear in the roster which follows.
This record would not be complete without acknowledgment of the enthusiastic support given the commanding officer by the lieutenants and the non-commissioned officers. Their faithful attendance at every drill and on every occasion when the company was assembled, together with the remarkable interest displayed at all times in the patriotic work for which the company was organized was always appreciated.
When it is considered that all of the officers and non-commissioned officers were men of family and had reached an age when they looked forward to a quiet evening at home as a rest from the cares of the day's occupation, it will be understood how completely their hearts were in the work. The same may be said of most of the privates, who by their example encouraged the younger man to give the time and effort necessary to prepare them in no slight degree for service.
Dinner to Celebrate the Mustering Out of the Company
On February 28, 1920, the long awaited order discontinuing the California Military Reserve was published by The Adjutant General to be effective March 10, 1920.
Notice was immediately given that the event would be celebrated by a dinner at the St. Francis Hotel on Saturday evening March 13, 1920.
All members of the Company were invited to the dinner, and in addition the Governor, The Adjutant General, Captain E. A. Brown, President of the Officers' Association of the California Military Reserve, Major Hugh T. Sims, and all former members who had entered the military and naval service of the United States.
Forty-two sat down to the excellent dinner. A letter of regret was read from the Governor in which he expressed his appreciation of the service rendered by the Company. During the evening an orchestra, in charge of Corporal Youngberg, played popular airs, which were rendered vocal by the guests.
Addresses were made by the Adjutant General, Captain Brown, Major Sime, Lieutenant Hendricks and Captain Sharpsteen.
A resolution was adopted that annually on the Saturday evening nearest to the 13th of March a dinner of the Company should be held as a means of keeping alive the spirit of comradeship.
During the evening a beautiful potted plant was presented by the members of the Company, through Lieutenant Chipman as spokesman, to Mrs. Sharpsteen in recognition of the sacrifice she so much of his time to the Company. Lieutenant Chipman also announced that the members of the Company would later present Captain Sharpsteen with a token of their regard.
The evening concluded with distribution by The Adjutant General of service certificates to all members of the Company who had served three consecutive months, and to those members who had served a less period but who had entered service.

The certificates bore the signatures of the Governor, The Adjutant General and the Captain.
The Star Spangled Banner was then sung and the assemblage dispersed looking forward to the next annual reunion.
A few days later a Committee, consisting of Lieutenants Chipman and Taylor, First Sergeant Masten and former First Sergeant Walberg, called on Captain Sharpsteen and presented him with a gold pencil inscribed: "From men of 86th Co. C.M.R. to Capt. W. C. Sharpsteen, 3-13-20".

Captain Sharpsteen thanked the Committee and through them the men, and assured them that while he needed nothing to remind him of his associates, the pencil would always bring to mind the days when the Eighty-sixth Company was doing its part to help win the war.
Elected Captain June 6, 1918.
Elected Second Lieutenant June 6, 1918.
Appointed Sergeant June 6, 1918.
Appointed First Sergeant June 6, 1918.
Honorably discharged September 5, 1918.
Appointed Corporal June 6, 1918.
Appointed Corporal September 19, 1918.
Appointed Corporal June 6, 1918.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918.
Honorably discharged July 11, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Appointed Corporal June 6, 1918.
Appointed Sergeant August 29, 1918.
Elected First Lieutenant June 6, 1918.
Appointed Corporal June 6, 1918.
Appointed Corporal June 6, 1918.
Honorably discharged August 29, 1918, to enter military service of the United States.
No record of service.
Appointed Corporal August 29, 1918.
Honorably discharged October 10, 1918.
Appointed Corporal June 13, 1918.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918. Entered Merchant Marine as Radio Operator.
After being placed on vessel was stricken with influenza and had not recovered when armistice was signed.
Appointed Sergeant June 6, 1918.
Honorably discharged July 18, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Appointed Sergeant June 6, 1918.
Honorably discharged September 10, 1918.
Honorably discharged October 17, 1918, to enter military service of United States.
Enlisted October 5, 1918, in the S.A.T.C. Affiliated Colleges unit and served as private until honorably discharged December 13, 1918.
Appointed Corporal June 6, 1918.
Discharged September 19, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Discharged July 18,1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Discharged July 11, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Honorably discharged July 11, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, to enter military service of the United States.
Appointed First Lieutenant of Engineers U.S.A.
Served as instructor in Officers' Training School camp Hunphreys, Virginia; also at Camp Gordon, Georgia in construction work; also at Ft. McPherson, Georgia as Camp Activities Officer.
Honorably discharged July 18, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, to enter field service of Y.M.C.A.
Honorably discharged July 18, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Appointed Sergeant July 11, 1918.
Honorably discharged July 29, 1918, before having served three consecutive months to enter field service of Y.M.C.A.
Honorably discharged July 18, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Appointed Sergeant June 6, 1918.
Honorably discharged October 17, 1918, to enter active military service of the United States. At the time of his enlistment he was in the Medical Enlisted Reserve Corps in
which he had enlisted November 16, 1917. On October 16, 1918, he was transferred for service in the S.A.T.C. Co. A, Affiliated Colleges unit and served as corporal until
discharged December 11, 1918.
Honorably discharged June 18, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Discharged September 10, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918.
ELECTED JUNE 13, 1918.
Honorably discharged August 29, 1918, to enter military service of the United States.
Inducted into service September 5, 1918, Camp Kearny. Served with Headquarters Company 47th Field Artillery from October 7, 1918, to date of honorable discharge February 21, 1919, with rank of Sergeant.
ELECTED JUNE 13, 1918.
Honorably discharged September 10, 1918, before
having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged August 15, 1918, before
having served three consecutive months.
Discharged for three consecutive absences
without excuse.
Honorably discharged August 15, 1918, before
having served three consecutive months.
Discharged October 10, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Honorably discharged September 10, 1916, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged August 29, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged August 11, 1918, to enter military service of the United States. Enlisted July 13, 1918, in the Air Service and assigned to 604th Company Aero Supply Squadron.
Transferred to 13th Company Supply Squadron. Transferred to Quartermaster Corps at Vancouver Barracks March 1, 1919.
Transferred to Presidio and made Sergeant. Honorably discharged March 17, 1919.
Honorably discharged August 29, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 10, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 15, 1918 before having served three consecutive months.
Discharged October 10, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, to enter military service of the United States. No record of service.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Discharged October 10, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Honorably discharged December 12, 1910, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged December 12, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Appointed Corporal July 18, 1918
Appointed Sergeant July 29, 1918
Appointed First Sergeant September 5, 1918
Appointed Sergeant July 11, 1918
ELECTED JULY 11, 1918.
Honorably discharged August 15, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 20, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 10, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
ELECTED JULY 18, 1918.
Honorably discharged September 10, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, to enter military service of the United States. Enlisted September 23, 1918, United States army and served in 17th Recruit Company C.S.I. Fort McDowell with rank of Sergeant. Honorably discharged January 24, 1919
Honorably discharged August 29, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918 before having served three consecutive months.
Honorably discharged September 19, 1918, before having served three consecutive months.
Discharged October 10, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse.
Discharged October 10, 1918, for three consecutive absences without excuse
* Members of Company entitled to Service Certificates.
Entered service July 21, 1918. Assigned to 105th Squadron. Honorably discharged January 12, 1919. Died March 8, 1919.
Enlisted December 5, 1917. Attached to Flying Corps Kelly Field June 1, 1918.
Transferred to Squadron C Rockwell Field where he served until April 12, 1919 when he was honorably discharged.
Enrolled in U. S. Naval Reserve force seaman second class December 13, 1917.
Called into active service at San Pedro March 4, 1918. Received commission as Ensign U. S. Naval Reserve force at Pelham Bay, New York, October 7, 1918. Attached
to U.S.S. George C. Henry running between New York and France October 28, 1918.
Released from active service May 24, 1919.
Enrolled in U. S. Naval Reserve force December 1, 1917. Assigned to active duty U.S. Naval Reserve force March 22, 1918.
Served as seaman and signal quartermaster on patrol duty in and around San Pedro, California. Released to inactive duty January 24, 1919.
Enrolled in U. S. Naval Reserve force September 1917. Entered Officers' School San Pedro, California, April 1918.
Commissioned Ensign U.S. Naval Reserve force October 1918. Assigned to duty at U. S. Naval Training Station at San Pedro as regular watch and division officer.
Released from active service February 1919.
- - - - -

copyright © 1996-2004 Pamela Storm Wolfskill & Ron Filion. All rights reserved.
87th Company, California Home Guard

Formerly the 5th Company, 1st Regiment
From pages 315-316 of Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area:
MANUEL F. SYLVA was born in Clarksburg on July 31, 1882, and was educated in the public schools of Yolo and Sacramento Counties. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1903 for service in the Spanish American War, rising through various gunnery classifications to sergeant until he was discharged in 1907.
During the San Francisco earthquake and fire in April 1906 he commanded patrols in the Presidio District. On July 1909 he enlisted as first sergeant of the California National Guard, made first lieutenant, and was discharged in 1912. In 1917, with the advent of World War I, he asked unsuccessfully to be commissioned for active service in any rank on four different occasions. He was commissioned captain, commanding the 87th Company, California Home Guard, and at the close of the war was in command of the Second Provisional Battalion, and placed on the reserve list as Brigadier General, to command the projected California Department.
The company, which he organized, lacked guns, so in 1918 he called on the San Francisco Turn Verein to lend them rifles for the duration of the war, and received 29 Old Model Springfield rifles and 50 Mauser rifles which had been a personal gift of Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm to the San Francisco Krieger Verein.
In civilian life Manuel F. Sylva was traveling manager for review of the Reviews Company, assigned to the California Department. Later he was credit manager of D.N.& E. Walter Company of San Francisco. During this period he studied law at Kent Law School and the YMCA Law Review Course, passed the bar examination, and went on to practice law for 16 years. He was at one time Assistant District Attorney for San Francisco.
Affiliated with many civic organizations, he was founder, organizer, and first grand president of the Grand Council of Cabrillo Civic Clubs of California in 1934. Sylva's motivation in organizing the Cabrillo Clubs was to give proper recognition of the Portuguese explorer's contribution to the history of California. He was the leader in efforts to make Cabrillo Day, September 28, 1937, a state holiday.
He died August 28, 1937, survived by his wife Grace F. Sylva.


The World's War Record of the 87th Company, California Military Reserve
October 1917 to November 1918

History of the 87th Company C. M. R.

On. October 1st, 1917, Colonel. F. F. Canon, who was organizing the 1st Regiment California Home Guards, called on M. F. Sylva for assistance. Mr. Sylva was offered a staff position, but declined, preferring to organize and serve with a company. In accordance with his request, he was given a set of Muster Rolls with which to organize a company. These Muster Rolls had been drawn up and signed in accordance with the Act of Congress approved June 3rd, 1916, with Chapter 170 of the Penal Code and Chapter 159 of the Statutes of 1911, State of California.

On October 23rd, 1917, a meeting was held, at which the company was duly organized, and officers were elected as follows: M. F. Sylva, Captain; D. M. Barrows., First Lieutenant; J. W Whitson, Second Lieutenant. The company was then designated 5th Company. California Home Guards, and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, under command of Major Hugh T. Sime.

Due to a change in the policy of the Adjutant-General's office, the licenses for the companies and the commissions for the officers were not issued. In spite of this handicap, drills were held regularly, which were well attended, and many men received training which helped them greatly when going into active service.

On February 8th, 1915, realizing the handicap of drilling without arms of any description, the company obtained twenty-nine wooden rifles, which were made by certain active members. These rifles, while only makeshifts, proved of great value in instruction in the manual of arms.

During this time there was considerable friction between the office of the Adjutant-General and some of the local companies, due to the non-issuance of licenses and commissions. There was also a great deal of trouble between the officers of the 1st and 3rd Battalions on the one hand, and the officers of the 2nd Battalion on the other. The 6th, 7th, and 8th Companies which, together with the 5th comprised the 2nd Battalion, had formerly been the organization known as the Old Guard, and had drilled at the Auditorium before coming in with the Home Guard.

All of the officers of the 2nd Battalion were men of military experience, and were incensed at the decidedly unmilitary tactics of the officers of the other two battalions. The Adjutant-General had stated that companies procuring arms, and obtaining the approval of their County Councils of Defense, would be licensed as separate companies and not as units in regiments or battalions. This did not meet with the approval of the officers of the 1st and 3rd Battalions, but the officers of the 2nd Battalion believing that the rule was a wise one, and also believing that the first duty of a soldier is to obey orders from a superior, finally broke off entirely from the other two battalions.

The next problem was to obtain arms. On May 13th, 1918, Capt. Sylva called on the San Francisco Krieger Verein and the San Francisco Turn Verein, and requested them to loan the rifles owned by them to the 5th Company for the duration of the war. This request was very courteously and gladly complied with by these organizations. The company received from the San Francisco Turn Verein twenty-nine Old Model Springfield Rifles and from the San Francisco Krieger Verein fifty Mauser Rifles with stands. These latter rifles had been a personal gift of the Kaiser to the Krieger Verein.

Upon notification sent to the Adjutant-General that arms had been secured, a set of muster rolls was forwarded to Capt. Sylva. These rolls were soon filled with forty-six names, were approved by the County Council of Defense, and forwarded to the Adjutant General, whereupon a license to bear arms was issued to the company, and it was officially designated as the 87th Company, California Home Guards.

In obedience with an order from the Adjutant-General, an election was held for officers. The incumbent officers were elected unanimously, namely: M. F. Sylvia, Captain; D. M. Barrows, First Lieutenant; J.W. Whitson, Second Lieutenant.

From that date, June 13th, 1918, the company has drilled regularly every Thursday night at the Armory, and on each Tuesday night there has been a well-attended non-commissioned officers' school. The drills have covered every phase of close order formation, including the squad, platoon, company and battalion. There have been extensive drills in open order, and with their German military rifles, the company has been second to none in the manual of arms. On two occasions the company has participated in field training in extended order and maneuvers at the Polo Grounds, Burlingame.

On Memorial Day and on Independence Day the company participated in the parades held locally. The marching of the company was one of the features of the night parade, which opened the Fourth Liberty Loan drive. On August 6th the entire battalion, including the 87th Company, acted as an escort of honor to Governor Stephens. Adjutant-General Borree inspected and addressed the battalion on August 22nd.

In the non-commissioned officers' school the following subjects have been studied intensively: Infantry Drill Regulations, through the School of the Battalion, Interior Guard Manual, including Guard Mounting, Small Arms Firing Regulations, with sighting and aiming drills, Military Law, and a portion of Military Map Reading and Sketching. The school has been open to all privates who wished to attend, as well as to non-commissioned officers, and many of them availed themselves of the privilege. The course in Military Law was given by First Sergeant N. D. Cook, a prominent member of the local bar.

On October 24th, orders were received from the Adjutant-General suspending all meetings during the influenza epidemic. Drills were again resumed November 21st. In the meantime, an order was issued from the office of the Adjutant-General, changing the name of the California Home Guard to the California Military Reserve.

The company can surely be proud of the record which it has established during its year of life. As far as can he ascertained, more men have gone from the 87th Company into Officers' Training Camps than from any similar organization in the State. Every man who has attended the drills and school realizes the benefit which he has received. Men who have gone into active service from the ranks of the company have been made non-commissioned officers almost immediately, and have written back to those remaining behind of the great good which the intensive training received under the officers of the 87th Company has done them. And last, but not least the members of the company feel that lasting friendships have been formed which should not be broken. The esprit de corps of the company under all difficulties has been remarkable. This has been due in part to the spirit of patriotism which imbued all of the men, and partly to their confidence in the military training and knowledge of the officers. The non-commissioned officers who, with few exceptions had no military knowledge previously, were of wonderful assistance in keeping the organization in proper shape. Sergeant Patterson and Private Beaumont, to mention only two of many deserving of credit, gave largely of their time, ability and influence to the growth of the company. The 87th Company has succeeded only because each and every man has done a little more than his share.

A few words regarding the officers of the company would net be out of place.

Captain M.F. Sylva

This sterling officer was the organizer of the 87th Company. After volunteering his services four different times during the World's War, he felt that some use could be made of his knowledge in training men to bear arms for their country. Surely those who know the record of the 87th Company feel that Capt. Sylva rendered his country valuable service. His military experience follows:

Enlisted August 1st, 1903, in Company C, 2nd Infantry, N.G.C. On November 14th, 1903, he enlisted in the 61st Company, C.A.C., U.S. Army. He held ratings as Second-class Gunner, First-class Gunner, and Gun Commander. In marksmanship he qualified in Special Course "A." He received his warrant as Corporal February 24th, 1905, and Sergeant September 13th, 1905. He was in charge of patrols in the Presidio Heights District during the catastrophe of April, 1906, and his work was so satisfactory that the residents of that district appealed to General Greely to have him remain for a longer period. On November 13th, 1906, he was honorably discharged with excellent character. On December 1st, 1906, he again enlisted in Company G, 2nd Infantry, N.G.C. as Sergeant, and was discharged on account of removal, March 1st, 1907. On July 28th, 1909, he enlisted as First Sergeant of the 7th Company, C.A.C., N.G.C. He was so popular with the company that, notwithstanding his inability to be an active member, owing to outside duties, he was elected First Lieutenant. He was honorably discharged for removal, January 26th, 1912. After organizing the 5th Company, C.H.G., he was unanimously elected Captain, and was again unanimously elected to the same office on the reorganization of the company into the 87th Company.

First Lieutenant D.M. Barrows

A more efficient officer does not exist in the local military reserve companies. He has been of such tremendous assistance to Capt. Sylva in military training that a great deal of the credit is due him. The Captain has selected him several times as instructor in the School in Infantry Tactics, Map Work, and Small Arms Firing Manual, in which latter the Lieutenant excels, having a well-won Expert Rifleman's badge from the regular army.

Enlisted June 13th, 1908, in the 8th Infantry, U.S.A. He received his warrant as Corporal January 10th, 1910; was appointed Company Clerk February 20th, 1910. He qualified as Sharpshooter July 18th, 1908, and as Expert Rifleman May 22nd. 1909. He saw active service on the Mexican Border from March to June, 1911. He was honorably discharged with an excellent character by, reason of expiration of term of enlistment on .June 12th, 1911. At the organization of the 5th Company, C.H.G., he was elected First Lieutenant, and on the reorganization, was again elected unanimously to the same office.

Second Lieutenant J. W. Whitson

This efficient officer is one of the hardest workers in the company, always on the job, and attending to all duties involving on the Second Lieutenant cheerfully and 100 per cent perfect. The Lieutenant certainly knows how.

He enlisted July 28th, 1909, in the 7th Company, C.A.C., N.G.C. During his enlistment he held the ratings of Second-class Gunner, First-class Gunner, and Chief Plotter. He was honorably discharged by reason of expiration of term of service, with an excellent character, on July 27th, 1912. He was elected Second Lieutenant of the 5th Company, C.H.G., on its organization, and at the re-organization he was again elected by a unanimous vote to the same office. Great credit is due him for his valuable assistance in training the company.

Roll of Honor, 87th Company, C.M.R.

The following men are in the service of their country, having gone from the ranks of the 87th Company. It is possible that there may be others who are in active service, but as far as is known, this list is correct:

First Lieutenant R. It. Hatchett, Engineer Corps.
Second Lieutenant S. S. Lawrence, Field Artillery.
Second Lieutenant W. Chick, Engineer Corps.
Second Lieutenant H. Barker, Infantry.
S. Simpson, Stanford Training Camp.
M. Goldsmith, Artillery Officers' Training School.
A. Gilmour, St. Mary's Training School.
L. R. Livingstone, Aviation. W. T. Varney, Aviation.
L. Bottomley, Artillery Training School.
E. G. Pew, Infantry.
G. R. Searl, Infantry.
A. S. Hardman, Hospital Corps.
L. A. Grow.
L. A. Dealy, Hospital Corps.
C. S. Purviance, Hospital Corps.
H. Harmsen, Hospital Corps.
J. P. O'Brien. Signal Corps.
J. E. Ross, Signal Corps.
A. Wood, Engineer Corps.
J. McPartland, Engineer Corps.
J. Flynn, Engineer Corps.
L. J. Grindinger, Engineer Corps.
E. McKenna, Engineer Corps.
W. McSmith, Navy.
J. P. Perrira, Navy.
H. Hoey, Navy.
L. Mitchell, Navy.
B. Fossell.
G. H. Piggotti, Jr.
C. Rasmussen.
N. M. Simon.
H. R. Wilson.
W. D. Wise.
A. Fitzpatrick.
W. Cramer.
W. B. Doyle.
P. MacDonald.
T. Sanchez.
W. Urbick,
Roster, 87th Company, C.M.R.
Captain, M. F. Sylva
First Lieutenant D. M. Barrows.
Second Lieutenant J. W. Whitson
First Sergeant N, D. Cook.
Supply Sergeant V. S. Pearce
E. Kreeft
N. S. Patterson
G. W. Hardman
C. O. Weedin


C.A. Beagles
F. A. Selander
A. Nickel
C. S. Bucher
E. Ellingson
G. A. Parker
F. W. Schell


W. A. Baxter-Gould
G. P. Beaumont
A. Berglof
C. H. Bessett
L. Bloom
E. Browning
W. E. Butler
F. Callahan
W. Cullen
G. W. Cunniffe
E. H. Forrester
W. S. Franklin
J. Gill
L. Gioia
P. J. Grace
H. Griffo
P. M. Hansen
J. F. Harper
L. D. Hetter
G. G. Hibbett
H. Hill
S. J. Hipkins
A. Hippley
W. Hotter
K.C. Ingram
H. H. Kahn
M. H. Lewis
H. C. Lindberg
L. McCoy
T. B. McCoy
D. Mercato
W. T. Miley
W. Morenstern
H. J. Morse
A. Muller
W. H. Oates
J. D. Parr
L. S. Payne
O. Pettingill
F. R. Quigley
G. H. Renworth
C. E. Robinson
F. Seeger
A. Siewert
L. Silberstein
K. H. Smitten
F. K. Snowden
E. E. Stark
R. Stockman
G. R. Thomson
H. S. Tilford
A. E. Thomas
S. J. Vogel
T. E. Wales
H. Wobber
J. Zuichi


90th Company, California Home Guard
91st Company, California Home Guard
This company was formerly the 8th Company, 1st Regiment.


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Updated 8 February 2016