Friday’s Faces From the Past: Edward Biron Payne

From left, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne, Maude McMurray, Edward McMurray, Lynette Payne McMurray in front with her father, Edward B. Payne, in back.
The Payne Family. From left, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne; little Maude McMurray¬†&¬†young Edward McMurray, Lynette Payne McMurray’s children; Lynette in front and her father, Edward B. Payne, in back. Taken at Wake Robin Lodge, Glen Ellen, California, c1907. (Click to enlarge.)

It is fitting to add this post today, on the anniversary of Edward B. Payne’s birthday, July 25, 1847.

Sorry that I haven’t been posting much due to real life, which sometimes interferes with genealogy. ūüėČ

I have also recently had an article about Edward B. Payne (fondly known as EBP in our house) published in The Russian River Recorder, Spring 2014, Issue 124, which is the journal of the Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society, Sonoma County, California. The article took a lot of time to write, mostly because I was supposed to distill this complex man and his long life into 1200 words. I just couldn’t do it. I was so happy that they expanded the issue and I was able to use 1500 words. I will be posting the article soon.

The Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society ¬†currently has a wonderful exhibit called “Visionaries, Believers, Seekers, and Schemers: 19th Century Utopian Communities of Sonoma County.” The community founded by Edward B. Payne, “Altruria,” although short-lived, was “‚Ķ a glorious failure” according to some writers. ¬†The Russian River Recorder¬†has¬†four articles about Altruria, plus numerous¬†articles about the other three¬†Utopian communities founded in Sonoma in the late 1800s. They are a very interesting read.

There were no known images of Altruria, as far as my research or that of others, until I contacted the Huntington Museum a couple of years ago. In some of Charmian London’s scrapbooks, the archivist¬†found two images of Altruria. I requested a copy of the whole page, to get the images in context, and was surprised to see that there was also one image torn from the page- I would love to know more about that missing image! (I would be matching up the torn back of any loose photos with the remains in the scrapbook, but alas, the archivist states there are no loose photos.) These images too will get posted here on the blog, but I do need to get permission from the Huntington first; they did give their kind permission to publish in the journal above. It has been exciting to¬†email back and forth with curators, archivists, and librarians for this research. They are all unsung heroes in my mind.

Edward B. Payne lecture advertisement. Possibly c1920, October 9.
Edward B. Payne lecture advertisement. Possibly c1920, October 9. (Click to enlarge.)

When Edward B. Payne could no longer preach due to his ‘pulmonary affliction’ (he acquired¬†tuberculosis when he lived in New England), he earned¬†a little¬†income from lectures he provided throughout the Bay Area of California.

Lots more to come on EBP.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) The Healdsburg Museum has a wonderful exhibit of the four Sonoma County Utopian communities through Aug. 3, 2014, plus their June 2014 The Russian River Recorder details these communities. See for more information. They are planning an online video tour of the exhibit, so watch for that soon.

2) Images from family photo archives.


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