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.
Paschal Beverly Randolph, mixed race African American Spiritualist
"Colonel" Lyman W. Ransom, a major supporter of Randolph, became Grand Sentinel and Supreme Grand Master of this chapter. Several members were dropped from this organization because they "were never really Rosicrucians at heart". Rosicrucians by definition are members of a secretive 17th- and 18th-century society devoted to the study of metaphysical, mystical, and alchemical lore.
Other Records of Spiritualism in Marysville Mrs. S. M. Miles
It seems that by my research, Spirtualism was not received well by the people of Marysville, despite the fact that it was highly reguarded 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, situated 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
Regardless of the lack of support of the community, Spiritualism was alive and well in California Gold Rush Country towns like Marysville. Many of these believers kept to themselves it seems, but allowed spirits to be a part of their everyday lives. Much like the late Sarah Winchester, allot of women saw their wealthy and powerful husbands and children come, and then go. In this era it seems lonliness crept in, and many were desperate to hang onto their late loved ones. For many women, their husbands were all they had, and did not know how to go on, nor function without them. With a movement like Spiritualism a staple for everyday living, it gave them hope to be still be connected with their dearly departed.
Today, Spiritualism is still alive and well....