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Clampers’ Clan—Official March Song of E Clampus Vitus


           While we know quite a bit about the 19th century Clampers and their 20th Century revivers, but Clamper activities between these two incarnations is less well known.  We know that E Clampus Vitus was incorporated in Marysville on November 6, 1915, and from newspaper articles we know that there were over one thousand Clampers and several Lodges operating in the Central Valley north of Sacramento.  In addition to the Grand Lodge in Marysville, a lodge was instituted in Colusa in 1916.  Other lodges existed in Oroville, Chico, and Willows.  With the establishment of the new lodge in Colusa, Clampers came for the celebration and parade from the above-mentioned towns as well as from Arbuckle.
           Just as the Clampers became inactive in the eastern United States because of the Civil War, so did the Clamper Lodges in the Central Valley because of World War I.  The Colusa Sun reported that “Colusa Lodge #6, E Clampus Vitus, a boost organization was instituted in Colusa on June 30, 1916, with 500 members, a parade of 1000 men, and a banquet…The Lodge is showing a tendency toward apathy at present, possibly because of the war.”  It was not until Carl I. Wheat tried to incorporate E Clampus Vitus did he find that it was already a corporation, headquartered in Marysville.  Only then did these early 20th century Clampers become recognized.

           Sometime around 1980, my father XSNGH Alan Wilson returned from a Pair-O-Dice Chapter function and gave me a copy of piano music for a march entitled The Clampers’ Clan, and subtitled Official March Song.  I found it curious but did not think about it for many years.  Around 2000 I re-discovered the music and showed it to Clamper musicians SNGH Rick Hilgers and XNGH Don “Peanut Butter” Breeland.  They found it interesting as well and both felt that it was written in the late 19th Century or early 20th Century.

           When I was helping XSNGH Tom Crawford with his 2005 TRASH Trek, I thought it would be great to resurrect this Clamper march.  Utilizing MIDI software, I created the piano music, arranged for a tenor to sing the words, and created a CD, which was given away at Tom’s Trek.  Sam Brannan Chapter has also given copies of the march to Koyote Howl participants.  Subsequent to all of this, I have found references to the Abe Schneider who wrote the music for this Official March Song and pinpointed the copyright date.

The Clampers’ Clan, the Official March Song, words by Will H. Wright and music by Abe N. Schneider, was copyrighted on March 27, 1916.  Abe Schneider was a prominent in the city of Marysville for seventy years. Many organizations valued his membership not only for his musical ability, but also for his warm camaraderie.  The Clampers fondly referred to him as the Grand Organist.

In 2016, the one hundredth anniversary of the song’s copyright date, I gave SNGH Jim Waterman and the Board of Proctors copies of the march and asked the Board of Proctors to reaffirm Clampers’ Clan to be the Official March Song of E Clampus Vitus.  The Board did so.

THE CLAMPERS CLAN official march song, words by Will H Wright music by AN Schneider of US arr by E Camp of US 3967 Mar 27 1916 2 c Mar 27 1916 E 379187 Abe N Schneider, Marysville Cal  ( From the US Copyright Office records)

Loren Wilson, XSNGH