The Spiritualist Movement A Brief History
Examples of Spiritualist Practice
Spiritualism in Marysville
New Mecklenburg began growing swiftly. People from all around saw the land as the perfect place to build a new life, and set up claim. The river systems proved valuable to the Gold Rush Era. Between the mountain claims up into the Sierra’s, down to San Francisco. Steam Ships made their way back and forth, and the town flourished. Later in 1841, Charles and Mary Covillaud arrive in the United States. Covillaud becomes Cordua’s partner. And the township is renamed as Marysville (1849), after Mrs. Covillaud.
“Colonel” Lyman W. Ransom The Weekly Spiritualist
By 1840, New York native “Colonel” Lyman W. Ransom made his way to California, from Colchester, CT. He arrived with his wife Elizabeth and 5 children; Elijah, Lyman Jr., Augusta, Winfield, and Phebe. (There is also a Julia 32yrs old, by a different last name, not sure who she is). It is unknown exactly when he arrived in Marysville, but by July 1851, Colonel purchases one-third interest in the Marysville Herald, the local newspaper. He became publisher for the paper. He was also a well-known Spiritualist. His son Elijah, is also listed as a known Medium. A number of Spiritualist periodicals began to appear throughout the 19th century. The Banner of Light, out of Boston, was one of the most prominent. This paper listed everything from public meetings, lectures, advertisements, to prominent leaders in the Spiritualism community. As a practicing Spiritualist, Colonel Ransom took it upon himself to distribute the periodical all over Marysville. By February 1857 Ransom had produced a paper called the Weekly Spiritualist. The paper was met with very little support from the community. To Ransom’s disappointment as publisher and editor, the periodical was discontinued by May 1857. This may also be in part, that The Banner of Light that Ransom so proudly supported, accused him of pirating articles without permission as of May 21, 1857.
Other Records of Spiritualism in Marysville Mrs. S. M. Miles
It seems that by my research, Spiritualism was not received well by the people of Marysville, despite the fact that it was highly regarded by the middle and upper class. People like Ransom struggled to find their place in such a small working class township. Large cities such as Boston, New York City and San Francisco were much more fitting to such practices. But as I research further, there are more stories of people who practiced Spiritualism within Marysville, quietly.
In a journal written by prominent Marysville resident W.T. Ellis, he recants memories of a grade school teacher he had, Mrs. S.M. Miles;
“THE first school I ever attended was a private school for small children, in the second story of a brick residence where the present Hall of Records is now located. The teacher was Miss Ella Moody whose parents had a ranch situated on the south side of the Buttes in Sutter County. I attended her school, I believe, about two years, and then went to another private school which was conducted by Mrs. S. M. Miles, wife of the first Mayor of Marysville. The school was in the present two-story brick residence situated at 427-8th Street. Mrs. Miles was a spiritualist and, occasionally, when she was conducting the school classes, she would excuse herself for a short while, saying “that she wanted to talk with her husband for a little while”; (he had been dead for a good many years). We could hear her “talking” to the Doctor in the next room but of course could not hear his replies, although she told us she could hear them; whether she did or not, she seemed to get a great satisfaction out of her conversations with her deceased husband.”
According to records, Mrs. S.M. Miles, opened a school on 8th street called “Marysville Select School” in 1874-75. It was a private institution.
Dr. S.M. Miles
Today, Spiritualism is still alive and well….