Military Wiki
William Brown Ide
Photo purported to be of Ide[1]
Commander of the California Republic

In office
June 14, 1846 – July 9, 1846
Preceded by Andrés Pico as Governor of Mexican Alta California
Succeeded by John D. Sloat as U.S. Military Governor of California
Personal details
Born (1796-03-28)March 28, 1796
Rutland, Massachusetts
Died December 1852 (age 56)
Red Bluff, California
Spouse(s) Susan Ide
Profession Farmer, politician, soldier
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

William Brown Ide (March 28, 1796 - December 19 or 20, 1852) was a California pioneer and Commander of the short-lived California Republic.


William Ide was born in Rutland, Massachusetts to Lemuel Ide, a member of the Vermont State Legislature. A carpenter by trade, Ide married Susan Grout Haskell (1799–1850) in 1820.[2] He and his wife Susan lived at first in Massachusetts, but soon began moving westward—to Kentucky, then to Ohio and finally to Illinois. They farmed in Springfield, where Ide supplemented his income by teaching school.[3] Ide is said to have been a leader in the Mormon community of Nauvoo during his time in Illinois, although the Church of Latter Day Saints authoritative records have no account of his being a member. [1] [2]

In 1845, Ide sold his farm and joined a wagon train in Independence, Missouri headed for Oregon. On the advice of the mountain man Caleb Greenwood, Ide and a group of settlers split off and headed to Alta California, then a province of Mexico. They arrived at Sutter's Fort on October 25, 1845. Ide traveled north to work for Peter Lassen on Rancho Bosquejo.

In 1846, on a report that the Mexican government was threatening to expel all settlers who were not Mexican citizens, about thirty settlers conducted what was to become known as the Bear Flag Revolt. On June 14, Ide and the others seized the pueblo of Sonoma and captured the Mexican Commandante of Northern California, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who in fact supported American annexation. On June 15, Ide released the Proclamation he had written the night before.[4] By noon of June 17, the rebels raised the new California Bear Flag, proclaiming the Mexican province to be the California Republic. Ide had been chosen to serve as commander.

The Bear Flag Republic lasted until July 9, 1846, just 25 days, until the U.S. Flag was raised at Sonoma. Ide and other "Bear Flaggers" joined John C. Frémont and the U.S. armed forces in taking possession of California from Mexico.

After the Mexican–American War, Ide returned to his home near Red Bluff, California, where he resumed his partnership with Josiah Belden at his Rancho Barranca Colorado. He bought out Belden in 1849, and was successful in mining.

Ide died of smallpox in December 1852, probably during the night of the 19th–20th, at the age of 56. He is buried in a small cemetery on the east side of Highway 45 5 miles south of Hamilton City at the former site of Monroeville where a monument is visible from the road.


William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park, comprising a restored adobe house and other buildings near Red Bluff, commemorates his life.[5][6]


  1. See
  2. Tehama County Pioneers by Keith Lingenfelter
  3. William Brown Ide
  4. One version of the text of the proclamation can be found at http://www.militarymuseum.g/BearFlagRevolt.html. Several versions were created of the Proclamation. Fred Blackburn Rogers William Brown Ide, Bear Flagger, Appendix A, IDE PROCLAMATIONS
  5. William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park
  6. Apparently, Ide never actually lived at the Ide Adobe, but rather at a location much further south in Tehama County. "William B. Ide never lived at park" by Rebecca Wolf, Red Bluff Daily News Online, accessed 02/23/2008


  • "William Brown Ide, Bear Flagger by Fred Blackburn Rogers (1962)". 

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