Union Cemetery's Druids


The Druids

The Druids Plot is Number 153, Block S in the Union Cemetery. They were not the mysterious group that lends itself to old English fascination, but rather they were a social organization that enjoyed what most social organizations of the day did, a good party with lots of booze. The Redwood City chapter, Marvin Grove No.52, United Ancient Order of Druids (U.A.O.D.), met on the first and third Monday nights in the Wahl building, which stood on Main Street at the east end of Broadway before Broadway was cut through.

A number of members of the Druids are buried in Plot 153S. Among them are Jules Farron who died September 23, 1900, and his wife Margaret. Jules was from France and Margaret from Scotland. They were farmers. Michael V. Dubarry, died November 14, 1893 at 63 years. He was also a farmer and very involved in the farmer's exchange at Five-Points. charles M. (Frits) Lind died November 8, 1899 at 56 years.

Also in this plot are three brothrer, Armand, Valentine and August Kieffer, who came to California and La Honda from France in the mid-1870s. They purchased a substantial parcel of land at the timber line between La Honda and San Gregorio. After several years they built and opened "The Alpine House", which was about a mile west of the Sears Hotel.

The hotel was an immediate success because the French people of San Francisco and San Jose began congregating on regular occasions. The location was perfect for growing fresh vegetables for great dinners, dairy products were immediately available as well as eggs and poultry. The brothers began taking vacationers on hunting and fishing expeditions in the immediate environs.

The bothers purchased a twelve seat coach which they named the "La Honda", and developed regular trips to San Gregorio, Pescadero, and Pebble Beach. The hotel also became a regular stop fo the Knights Stage Coach Line. Both Simon Knights and his regular driver Sam Stout enjoyed a few minutes in the French Quarter.

August was the first of the Kieffer brothrs to be buried in Union Cemetery. He was driving a team of horses at high speed on a sharp curve when the team ran away and the wagon turned over, throwing him and killing him instantly. He died at age 39 on April 26, 1897.

Valentine Kieffer died suddenly in April 1915. He took his own life with a shotgun.

Armand ran the hotel for one more year and then he joined his brothers in the Druid Plot in mid-October 1916. The ceremony for Armand at the cemetery was one of the more colorful in memory, as the Druids gathered in their organizational colors of red, green, yellow, and white.

--- from John Edmond's book Union Cemetery .

More information about the members of Redwood City's Druids can be found: Here and Here;

© 2011 Historic Union Cemetery Association

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