California Society History

On October 17, 1907, eleven years after the General Society of Mayflower Descendants formed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, thirteen Californians gathered at the Century Club in San Francisco to establish what is now known as the California Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Herbert Folger, born in 1888, a descendant of the Mayflower passenger, Degory Priest, initiated the October meeting. In addition to Herbert those in attendance were Frances Soule Campbell, Clinton Folger, Maria Freeman Gray, Mrs. Willard Mudgett Griffin, Laurilla Moore Hathaway, Sarah Louise Kimball, George Arthur Merrill, Mrs. Edwin White Newhall, Mrs. George Washington Percy, George Willig Spencer, Mrs. George Pierce Thurston and Seth Wilson Cushman.

Herbert Folger was elected chairman and Seth Wilson Cushman was the first secretary. During the evening, Herbert presented to the group a letter from Clarence E. Leonard, Secretary General of the General Society, stating that a charter had been granted to residents of the state of California who were members of the General Society.

The California Society of Mayflower Descendants has grown from the original thirteen members to a society that is second only in size to the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. Our total state membership is currently 2,579 members. There are 13 colonies scattered throughout the state, and the California State Board of Assistants meets five times a year to discuss state-wide business.

Meanwhile, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants has expanded and has colonies in Europe.