By the early 1850s, the population of the town of Rough and Ready had exploded to over 3,000. The town suffered the effects of general lawlessness and a growing resentment for the government having imposed a Mining Tax on all claims. On April 7th, 1850, a mass meeting of the townfolks was called to propose seceding from the Union. The town reacted by shaking its collective fist at the government with all its taxes and non-existent law and order. The Great Republic of Rough and Ready was formed that day as a free and independent republic. In the heat of the rebellion, they elected Col. Ebeneezer F. Brundage as President. The new President issued Brundage's Manifesto, which read in part: "We...deem it necessary and prudent to withdraw from said Territory (of California) and from the United States of America to form, peacefully if we can, forcibly if we must, the Great Republic of Rough and Ready." Along with his Secretary of State, Justice of the Peace Hans Q. Roberts, they signed a constitution similar to that of the United States.
The Great Republic of Rough and Ready lasted only three months as one of the world's smallest nations. On July 4th, swept up by a patriotic fervor, maybe feeling a bit guilty (and possibly, according to some accounts, reacting to the refusal of Grass Valley and Nevada City saloons to sell liquor to "foreigners" from Rough and Ready) another meeting was held. The town gave resounding consent to immediately rejoin the Union. Old Glory went up the flagpole and the whole episode slipped into history.
PHOTO ABOVE: Ladies of Rough and Ready display flag (about 1970). L to R: Helene Hurlbut, Marguerite Spaite, Fay Dunbar, Lisetta Scheave and Lillian Oliver. The flag is said to be the General's Flag with Company Modifications
Rough and Ready Chamber of Commerce l P.O. Box 801 l Rough and Ready, California 95975
Download PDF files below for more information on Rough and Ready
The Great Republic of Rough and Ready
The 3 Month Rebellion
1958 Episode of