Our SOCAL Fall 2007 Gathering


SOCAL Fall Gathering Tours the

San Luis Rey Mission where Jean Baptiste “Pomp” Charbonneau Served as an Alcalde (Magistrate) after participating in the march of the Mormon Battalion

San Luis Rey Mission

Oceanside Public Library (Mission Branch)

27 October 2007

Oceanside, CA

It was a touch and go affair as fires, aided by low humidity, triple digit temperatures and gale force winds, burned all over SOCAL in the days prior to our planned gathering in Oceanside.

Although a few fires burned nearby at Camp Pendleton and in Fallbrook, Oceanside itself, thankfully, remained relatively untouched - except for the influx of evacuees coming from other areas and the poor air quality caused by smoke blowing into the area.  By the time of our meeting on Saturday though, Oceanside was returning to normal.  Most of the evacuees had left, the wind had died down and was coming from the ocean, and temperatures were back to normal.  It even sprinkled a little.

The first part of our gathering involved a behind the scenes tour of the San Luis Rey Mission where Jean Baptise “Pomp” Charbonneau, after serving as a guide and interpreter for the Mormon Battalion (1846-1847), worked as an alcalde (magistrate) from 1847 to 1848.

Our tour, conducted by a docent from the San Luis Rey Mission Museum, included the ruins of the military barracks, the Lavanderia where Native Americans washed clothes, the mission sanctuary, the mission cemetery, and the interior courtyard.  In the courtyard, we gathered for a group photo under a pepper tree planted in 1830.

Mission Tour Participants

Gather Under a Pepper Tree

Planted in 1830

(photo by Barbara Gaitley)

Left to right:  Lydia and Bart Telep (Agoura), Ginny and Art Simpson (San Diego), Seraphim Telep (Agoura), Mary Ann Kvenvolden (Palo Alto), our docent Harry, Nektarn Telep (Agoura), Carol Benner (Los Angeles), Keith Kvenvolden (Palo Alto), Barbara Willard (Redlands), Ken Jutzi (Camarillo), Ludd Trozpek (Claremont), Nan Kaeser (Sierra Madre), Marsha Smith (Camarillo), Rodney Willard (Redlands), Maralee Grantham (Santa Monica), and Ken Smith (Camarillo).  Not shown:  Barbara Gaitley (Van Nuys), Barbara Kelly (Fullerton), and Bob Benner (Los Angeles).

After the mission tour and lunch we regrouped at the Mission Branch of the Oceanside Library for the second part of our program involving two guest speakers.  Unfortunately, both of our planned speakers could not attend.

After discussing the situation earlier in the week with Carol Bronson, Executive Director of the LCTHF in Great Falls, Montana, it was decided that the fires and road closures throughout the area made meeting attendance levels and travel in the area just too uncertain.

Our other main speaker, Mike Harding from the Flight of Discovery, reluctantly had to cancel at the last minute as he had been asked the previous day by the County and City of San Diego to help with aerial surveys of the fire damaged areas.  Obviously this was a higher priority effort under the circumstances.

Fortunately, Jack Simmons (San Diego) (a.k.a. “Mad Jack”), a new CALCTHF member, had come to our meeting and, after being briefed on the circumstances, offered to give an extemporaneous talk about his experiences as a member of the Discovery Expedition of Saint Charles (DESC) during the Bicentennial.  In addition, long time chapter member George Rion (San Diego) was also present and volunteered to discuss the Lewis and Clark items he had brought with him.  Sometimes things just work out and this was one of those times!

During his talk, George announced that he had a “traveling trunk” of Lewis & Clark items and three scale models that he has used in the classroom and other venues to educate others about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  He also indicated that he would like to donate these items to our Chapter.  We accepted his offer and immediately began searching for a new home for them.*

Everyone very much enjoyed George’s talk and hearing about Jack’s first-hand DESC re-enactor experiences as well as examining the expedition related items they used to complement their talks.  One story that Jack told involved hunting buffalo on foot in North Dakota using a replica rifle of the kind the Expedition used (which we all had the opportunity to examine).

Although Jack started his talk in street clothes, during a break he put on his re-enactor clothes to the delight of all.  

Also during the break, refreshments were served by Nan Kaeser and everyone used the opportunity to look at the various items that George and Jack had brought with them.

After the break, Jack continued his discussion and a question and answer period followed.  Afterwards, there was a drawing for door prizes.  Additional tickets were also sold for a chance to win one of the Peace and Freedom blankets as it was decided to extend the time for purchasing tickets for this Fundraiser until April 1, 2008.  The drawing was re-scheduled to take place at our next gathering, to be held in April in Elk Grove, CA.

Many participants commented that this was possibly the best Chapter meeting ever held.  They enjoyed the morning guided tour of Mission San Luis Rey and the afternoon meeting in spite of the last minute changes and adjustments to the original agenda.  In particular, participants were pleased that there were so many opportunities to socialize and share their interests in Lewis & Clark.

To view and download photos from this gathering click on the photo gallery link below.

  1. *A new home was eventually found for George’s teaching aids and they are now in the possession of elementary school teacher, Deborah Dukes (Eureka, CA).


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