Sam Brannan: California’s first millionaire
Sam Brannan holds a record for the most firsts in California. He formed the first chartered commercial bank. He was the first president of San Francisco's infamous Vigilance Committee of 1851. He published San Francisco's first newspaper. He conducted the first non-Catholic church service and performed the first entirely Anglo marriage service. He built the state's first flour mill. He was the first man tried by a jury in California. And, he was arguably California's first millionaire. Brannan was born in Maine in 1819. His father was 64 and an alcoholic, so Brannan formed a strong attachment to his older sister. When she became a Mormon and moved to Ohio in 1833, site of the first Mormon "gathering," Sam followed and began a three-year apprenticeship in the printing office of the Church of the Latter-day Saints. A few years later he became a convert and maintained a close relationship with its founder, Joseph Smith, Jr.