Abraham Lincoln Related
Ext. Rare 1861 California Gubernatorial Election Ballot For John Conness one of slain President Lincoln's Pallbearers
1861 California Gubernatorial Election Ballot, UNION DEMOCRATIC TICKET, Sierra County, John Conness for Governor, Choice Very Fine.
The California gubernatorial election of 1861 took place on September 4, 1861. This is an exceedingly rare Union Democratic Ticket, measuring 3" x 9", from Sierra County, California. This Election Ticket is Promoting John Conness for Governor, who, though defeated, would befriend Abraham Lincoln and become one of the slain President's Pallbearers at Lincoln’s funeral on April 19, 1865. It also lists candidates for other state offices. Printed in black on reddish-tan thin wove paper having some fading. The margins are wide, full and complete on all sides showing no folds or actual wear. As Senator, Conness introduced a bill to establish Yosemite National Park and voted to abolish Slavery. The first we have seen and an extraordinary Political, California and Abraham Lincoln related item.
John Conness (September 22, 1821 – January 10, 1909) was a first-generation Irish-American businessman who served as a U.S. Senator (1863–1869) from California during the American Civil War and the early years of Reconstruction. He introduced a bill to establish Yosemite National Park and voted to abolish Slavery. His advocacy of Chinese immigration and civil rights cost him his constituency.
He emigrated to California in 1849 to join the excitement and promise of the Gold Rush.
He was among the thousands of "forty-niners" attracted by the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada, and the hundreds of thousands who quickly followed. For two years, he mined Mormon Island, and the Middle Fork of the American River, and was interested in the industry for the rest of his life. Having made a stake, he settled in the new community of Georgetown and operated a store selling supplies to miners.
A Douglas Democrat who later became a Union Republican while serving in the Senate, Conness earned President Abraham Lincoln’s respect. The two men worked together on legislation to protect Yosemite National Park and Mariposa Grove. In addition, Conness gave support to Lincoln's war measures. Lincoln once said of Conness that he “is habitually careful not to say what he does not know,” and described him on another occasion as “one of our United States Senators, of high standing, whom I cheerfully indorse.”
Conness was with colleagues senators William M. Stewart of Nevada and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts the night Lincoln died. "Upon hearing of the attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward, the three men ran to Seward's lodgings. There they were turned away by a doctor who was attending to Seward, and they ran to the White House, where they heard the news that Lincoln had been shot. Conness declared that 'this is a conspiracy to murder the entire cabinet' and directed soldiers to go protect Secretary of War Edwin Stanton." Conness had the honor of being a pallbearer at Lincoln’s funeral on April 19, 1865.