Your Legislature At Work

Right now, I’m working on the highway pages. A new proposed resolution, ACR 149 would “request the Department of Transportation to grant, without charge, to the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus an encroachment permit that would authorize an appropriate plaque to be placed adjacent to the Isleton Bridge on State Highway Route 160 near the City of Isleton.”

Not familiar with this “ancient and honorable order”? Try clicking here. To give you a hint, however, their motto is Credo Quia Absurdum, which is generally understood as meaning “I believe it because it is absurd.” Clamper meetings were held in the Hall of Comparative Ovations, generally the back room of a saloon. Some chapters even built their own Halls of Comparative Ovations. One still stands in Murphys. The Clamper flag was a hoop skirt, with the words “This is the flag we fight under.” Meetings were held “at any time before or after a full moon.” New members were called “Poor Blind Candidates.” They were required to present a poke of gold dust, although the value of the poke was left to the discretion of the brotherhood, and was frequently waived entirely if the prospective member could not afford it. They exist today. New chapters sprung up in Los Angeles (Platrix Chapter #2) and other major cities in California, and were numbered sequentially. However, once Lodge 10 was established in 1936, members pointed out that it was illogical for such a rowdy organization to be so neat in its numbering scheme, and so some creativity was developed in the numbering. The “Pair-o-Dice” chapter in Paradise, for example, is Lodge No. 7-11. The de la Guerra y Pacheco chapter, halfway between Lodge Number 1 in San Francisco and Lodge Number 2 in Los Angeles, is Lodge Number 1.5. There were chapters in British Columbia and Hawaii, but they no longer exist. The organization has raised historical plaques in many places throughout the West (often those sites such as bordellos and saloons overlooked by more traditional historical societies), with a traditional “doin’s,” or party, after is plaque dedication. These are now common in historical areas around California and the West — when in the Gold Country, a Clamper-placed plaque is never far away. The fraternity is not sure if it is a “historical drinking society” or a “drinking historical society.”

The society is also responsible for Drake’s Plaque.

So this raises the question: Why the Isleton Bridge?