Society of Old Friends
Society of Old Friends was founded in 1864.
May 24, 1873: “Local Brevities. The fourth annual Encampment of the Society of Old Friends meets at Alameda to-day and to-morrow, ending Monday.”
February 26, 1885: "The Society of Old Friends held an entertainment and ball at Platt's Hall on Monday, Feb. 23d, in honor of Washington's birthday. We acknowledge receipt of an invitation from the Secretary J. E. Slinkey, Proprietor of the 'El Monte' Hotel, and sorry we could not participate, having a previous engagement. No doubt all present had a good time. We understand a branch of the society is soon going to be started in Sausalito, and the meeting will be held in A.O.U.W. hall, secured for that purpose. (Sausalito News, February 26, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
March 12, 1885: "About 40 or 50 members of the Society of Old Friends have ordered a bull's head breakfast for Sunday, March 29th, to be prepared by mine host, J.E. Slinkey of the El Monte." (Sausalito News, page 3, column 1.)
March 19, 1885: "We acknowledge receipt of an invitation to the Bull's Head Breakfast which will be held on Sunday next in Read's Pavilion adjoining the 'El Monte' Hotel, and which is under the management of Col. J.E. Slinkey, Secretary of the Society of Old Friends. The Breakfast will be presided over by Judge T.J. Bowers of San Rafael and Col. R.H. Taylor, F.F. Jones and Judge Robert Ferrall of San Francisco. Barney Galindo of Novato will be chef de cuisine." (Sausalito News, March 26, 1885, page 3, column 2. Column 3 has mention of a St. Patrick's Day ball at Barney Galindo's in Novato too. Apparently an in-demand restaurateur.)
April 2, 1885: "The Bull's Head Breakfast held last Sunday in Read's Pavilion was in every way a grand success. A large attendance of the Society of Old Friends from San Francisco were present. Barney Galindo preserved his laurels as a bull's head cook, and George Davis and Jim McCue with their white aprons as carvers. The host Col. Slinkey, Secretary of the order looked happy and was frequently toasted for his efficiency as such officer and particularly for the excellent manner in which the breakfast had been conducted." (Sausalito News, April 2, 1885, page 2, column 3.)
April 9, 1885: "A Branch of the Society of 'Old Friends' will be established this summer in Sausalito. The annual picnic and re-union of the Society will be held this year on Sunday, May 24th, at Stevens Park, Oakland." (Sausalito News, page 3, column 1.)
May 7, 1885: "The Society of 'Old Friends' which is well represented in Sausalito and San Rafael, will hold its annual election at Platt’s Hall, San Francisco, on Thursday, May 21st, from 3 to 9 p.m." (Sausalito News, May 7, 1885, page 3, column 1.)
May 21, 1885: "The Society of Old Friends will hold its annual election in the Alcazar building this evening and its picnic Sunday next, at Stevens Park, formerly Badger’s at Brooklyn. Many Sausalito brothers and friends will doubtless be present." (Sausalito News, May 21, 1885, page 3, column 1.)
January 19, 1893: Annual banquet of the Society of Old Friends was held at the Occidental restaurant. J. E. Slinkey among a long list of attendees. It was a stag party (no ladies), and it was decided to hold the annual picnic and social reunion of the society on Sunday, April 23rd, at the Germania Gardens, Harbor View, for the benefit of the cemetery fund of the society. Speeches, stories, songs and recitation wound up the evening’s entertainment. (San Francisco Chronicle, January 20, 1893, page 10.)
February 10, 1893: "The installation of officers of the Society of Old Friends took place last night in Butler’s Hall, Pine street. Ex-Judge Robert Ferral, president of the society, introduced the new officers in a very graceful speech. Following are the names of those installed: President, Judge A. Craig; vice-presidents, Theodore G. Cockrill, Thomas Sawyer, J. S. McCue, W. A. Scollay, Phil Hartman, Henry Borneman, J. Niessen, Judge A. Barbier, W. McIntyre, Dr. J. S. Knowlton; secretary J. E. Slinkey; assistant secretary, Charles Burrey; treasurer, Arthur McGurren; marshall, M. C. Brydges; attorney, Clarence Gray; undertaker, C. B. J. Metzier; gravedigger, Aron Meyer; organist, R. L. Yanke; chaplain, W. S. Brown; carver, Dr. J. S. Knowlton; photographer William Shew; bandmaster, Charles Alpers; grand marshall, Major Edwin Lewis; master of ceremonies, Harry Nieman; commissary, Charles Butler; medical examiner, F. F. Lord; sergeant-at-arms, Colonel Alfred Perrier; director of amusements, Louis Imhaus.
"After the ceremonies of installation had been concluded the members participated in a well-served collation, enlivened by songs and speeches. After the banquet it was decided to have a bullshead breakfast on next Washington’s birthday. Arrangements were also made to hold the annual picnic and social reunion at the Germania Gardens, Harbor View, on Sunday, April 23, for the benefit of the society’s charity fund.
"Since their last consolidation the “Old Friends” have increased their membership to over 2500, and the cry is still they come.
"After a resume of the general condition of affairs by the retiring officers, more songs and speeches carried the festivities in to the small hours of the morning." (San Francisco Morning Call, February 11, 1893, page 7, column 1.)
August 19, 1893: At meeting of Society of Old Friends in Social Hall, 102 O'Farrell Street, a committee is formed to get up a benefit at a theater for the California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park. Committee is Dr. F. F. Lord, Henry Bornaman, R. L. Yanke, Judge A. Craig and J. E. Slinkey. (San Francisco Chronicle, August 19, 1893, page 5, column 3.)
March 8, 1895: "The annual banquet of the Society of Old Friends took place last night at the Commercial Hotel [corner of today's Kearny Street and Columbus Avenue]. Everybody was acquainted and everything was delightfully informal and social. The Old Friends is a social and fraternal association, of which ex-Governor James A. Johnson is president and J. E. Slinkey secretary. A. Craig acted as master of ceremonies and the ladies and gentlemen who sat down at the table, members of the the society and their families, numbered 125. The spread was supplied by Edward Holland, the proprietor of the hotel. There were speeches by the chairman, J. A. Johnson, J. J. Coffey, A. Craig, J. S. McCue, J. E. Slinkey and Charles Alpers. Songs, serious and comic, were given by Tom Sawyer, Charles Ward, E. C. Hirgen and N. Fess. Among the gentlemen present, in addition to those already named were: Dr. F. F. Lord, J. M. Nougues, R. H. Taylor, Arthur McGurren, Ernest Heymans, W. A. Lane, F. W. Crondace, A. D. Bell, F. W. Kaufman, J. H. Riley, J. E. Tucker, R. P. Lewis, J. P. Forner, J. M. Rademaker, T. R. Tilley, Colonel W. St. Paul Seitz, Captain Lueders and many others. The clam-bake of the society will be held at Sausalito next May." ("Society of Old Friends," San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1895, pg. 8.)
October 11, 1896: "The society of Old Friends is to have a clambake and general good time to-day at Birds Point, Alameda. Dr. F. F. Lord, Thomas Sawyer, John Diemer, J. J. Coffey and J. E. Slinkey compose the committee of arrangements and have done all in their power to render the occasion enjoyable." ("Old Friends' Clambake," San Francisco Call, October 11, 1896, page 18.)
April 27, 1898: “'Old Friends’—Regular meeting Wednesday Night, April 27, in Old Friends’ Hall, 14 Third st. All members hereby invited. By order of Judge J. A. Campbell, President. J. E. Slinkey, Secretary.” (San Francisco Call, April 26, 1898, page 14.)
May 4, 1898: “The Society of Old Friends will give its annual picnic and barbecue on Monday, May 30, in Wildwood Glen, Sausalito. This will be in celebration of the thirty-fourth anniversary of the organization of the society. The committee of arrangements, of which Ed L. Head is chairman and J. E. Slinkey secretary, has in hand the arranging of a programme of game for old and young.” ("Old Friends' Picnic," San Francisco Call, May 4, 1898, page 8.)
May 17, 1898: While planning the annual picnic and barbecue for the Society of Old Friends, the president, Judge James A. Campbell, has a stroke and dies playing cards in Slinkey's boarding house at 110 Ellis Street. (San Francisco Call, May 17, 1898, page 12, column 1.)
October 13, 1898: J. E. Slinkey is one of the new members elected to the Bear Club. (San Francisco Call, October 14, 1898, page 5.)
April 14, 1900: Having been evicted by the City of San Francisco from using the society's cemetery, where 130 Old Friends were already interred, the Society of Old Friends holds a masquerade ball at the B'nai B'rith Hall to raise funds for a new cemetery in San Mateo County. J. E. Slinkey serves on the committee of arrangements. ("Old Friends Make Merry As In The Days of Yore," San Francisco Call, April 15, 1900, pg. 36.)
October 24, 1904: “'Old Friends' Organize. Preliminary Steps Taken to Form New Social Club. At a meeting called at the Diller Hotel yesterday, preliminary steps were taken to organize a ‘Society of Old Friends,’ after the plan of the San Francisco organization perfected in 1864. F. Van Norman was appointed temporary chairman and J. E. Slinkey temporary secretary. S. S. Atwood, Dr. J. E. Tucker and J. E. Slinkey were appointed a commission to draft a constitution to be presented for adoption at a meeting to be held October 30—George M. Stewart was suggested for president of the society, and his name received the unanimous approval of those present. The object of the organization is to promote friendship and sociability, it being proposed to give picnics, excursions, barbecues and Bull’s Head breakfasts. The first public entertainment will be on New Year’s day.” (Seattle Daily Times, page 7, column 2.)
September 21, 1913:“'Old Friends—' a Reminiscence.”
“After having been organized in 1864, the “Old Friends,” a famed society of friendship and sociability, is still in active existence and has established commodious headquarters on Market street, near Eighth. General H. Schaffner heads its list of officers and the venerable Colonel J. E. Slinkey still attends to the duties of secretary. In the eighties and early nineties Slinkey had a hotel in Sausalito on the high hill near the railroad ferry landing. In those days the society had many a meeting and bull’s head breakfast in the caravansary and on its grounds, and a lot of prominent men, now gone, were always at those functions as felicitous speakers and happy participants. Those were the times when Colonel David Bank Sickels put into verse the significance and motto of the society, a sentimental rhyme which is still cherished by its members and the first verse of which, I believe, runs as follows:
There are no friends like “Old Friends,”
And none so good and true;
We greet them when we meet them.
As roses greet the dew;
No other friends are dearer,
Though born of kindred mould;
And while we prize the new ones,
We treasure more the old.”
There have gone never to return to its sociable feasts and pow-wows the genial and brave Admiral A. Walker, Nat S. Britton, the millionaire and one of the best authorities in California on Spanish dishes, and particularly the bull’s head breakfast; the old Grand Army veteran and first governor of Washington State when it was a territory Gov. E. S. Salomon; the fastidious but gentlemanly Dr. F. I. Lord, Judge Robert Ferral, John Lord Love, the most popular police judge San Francisco ever had; J. A. Campbell and a hundred and more hood old souls. Today Justice H. A. Melvin is one of its treasured members, and the bench and bar, the medicos and commercial life, are well represented to maintain a good history and splendid traditions.” (Oakland Tribune, Sunday, September 21, 1913, page 25, column 2: in weekly “The Knave” column. )
February 18, 1914: Society of Old Friends holds its annual meeting and J. E. Slinkey is again elected secretary-treasurer. Plans are made for a 50th anniversary party of the society on May 15. (San Francisco Chronicle, February 22, 1914, page 32.)
May 4, 1918: “Old Friends" Will Hold Stag Party. The Society of Old Friends will celebrate the 54th anniversary of the organization Sunday evening May 19, with a stag party, instead of the annual banquet and dance, as previously announced. The affair will be free to all members and invited guests, and will be held at the club rooms, 549 Turk street. [Likely really 459?] The committee in charge comprises H. C. Robinson, Charles F. Boyd, Lew F. Thom, O. O. Oates, A. J. McCormick, Alfred Anderson, Wm R. Harrison, J, Stegeman, Theo. Reinke, and with President A. A. Ritter and Secretary Colonel J. E. Slinkey ex-officio.” (San Francisco Bulletin, May 4, 1918, page 2.)