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Sons of Union Veterans of
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Past Department Commander

Clarence Elroy Washburn

Clarence Elroy Washburn was born June 4, 1866, on his grandfather’s farm in East Otisfield, Cumberland County, Maine. He was the son of Elizabeth Jane (Edwards) and Adoniram Judson Washburn, and great-grandson of Stephen Washburn, a soldier of the Massachusetts Militia in the Revolutionary War.

He was educated in the public and private schools in Boston, Mass., and Lewiston, Maine. His father, a pioneer of Colorado, in 1858 platted a town named Spring City, Kansas—Colorado then being a part of Kansas—at the site of what is now Manitou Springs, but returned East and enlisted in a Rhode Island regiment during the Civil War.

After his father moved to California in 1885, he worked in a printing office, and was with the Associated Press in San Francisco six years.

He reported six sessions of the Legislature at Sacramento, and was war correspondent for the Associated Press during the revolution in Honolulu in 1893. Returning to California the same year, he became telegraph editor of one of the Los Angeles papers, a position he held for fourteen years.

In addition to his telegraph editorship, Washburn wrote occasional editorials, special articles and some verse. March 1st, 1894, he became Los Angeles correspondent of the San Francisco Chronicle.

He was a member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Press Club, the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the Revolution, the Pine Tree State Association in Los Angeles, the Southern California Academy of Sciences, and was a member of the Board of Managers of this Society in 1906.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, as First Lieutenant he drilled the men of Troop K, Third Squadron, Gen. Johnston’s First Southern California Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. In 1899 he was elected Captain of W. S. Rosecrans Camp No. 2, Sons of Veterans, U. S. A., and was Division Commander in 1901.

June 2nd, 1899, he married Anna L., daughter of Theodore D. Cranz of San Francisco, a Mexican War Veteran and one of the San Francisco Vigilantes Committee.

He was a brilliant writer of prose and poetry, and wrote and published music. An editor of a Western publication said of him: “He wrote poetry that breathes of passion and is tinged with the finest of sentiment; verse that savagely, though with masterly precision, rips up the foibles of his fellowmen, these are some of the doings of ‘Cynicus’.”

He died in Los Angeles the 25th of March, 1909.

He left a widow, mother and sister, Effie A. Washburn, of Los Angeles.

 

 

Source: Thomas Allen Perkins, Addresses delivered before the California Society of the Sons of the American Revolution: Biographical Sketches. San Francisco: Published by the Society, 1913, pp 115-116.

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