Stockton Rural Cemetery

Stockton Rural Cemetery

In 1864, Reuel Colt Gridley supported the Democratic candidate for mayor in Austin, Nevada, where he operated a grocery store. He made a bet with a Republican friend that the loser would carry a fifty-pound sack of flour through the town. He performed his punishment with the accompaniment of the town band, and at the end someone offered that the sack should be auctioned off to raise money for the Sanitary Fund, a new organization that aided disabled Civil War veterans. After finally selling for $250, the winning bidder did not take the sack, but donated it back to Gridley to be auctioned off again. It was auctioned repeatedly until over $8,000 was raised. When nearby Virginia City,

Reuel Colt Gridley

Reuel Colt Gridley raised $275,000 to support of the Union cause.

Nevada heard of the event (and where young newspaper editor Mark Twain was working at the time), they invited Gridley to come there, which he did. He then traveled to California where San Franciscans donated $2800 and Sacramento citizens donated $10000, before heading to St. Louis and the major eastern cities. These bidders added around $170,000 to the Sanitary Commission’s fund, and within twelve months Gridley had raised $275,000 with his sack of flour.

The Reuel Colt Gridley Monument is located in the Stockton Rural Cemetery near Memory Chapel, Cemetery Lane and East Pine Street, in the city of Stockton, California. The memorial was erected by Rawlins Post of the Grand Army of the Republic and is #801 on the Office of Historic Preservation’s California Historical Landmark list.

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