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California Alcalde

January 18, 2020 at 6:00 pm 7:30 pm

Stephen J. Field

A One-Man Play on Marysville’s 170th Birthday

In the intimate confines of the Lee Burrows Theater at Yuba Sutter Arts, California’s most accomplished Gold Rush pioneer will come to life in a one man play about Marysville’s first elected official, who implemented the whipping post, wrote most of the state’s early laws, and was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by Abraham Lincoln despite being from a different political party.

“California Alcalde” (mayor), a play about Stephen J. Field, will be performed at 6 pm on Saturday, January 18, 2020, the 170th anniversary of the founding of Marysville. Marysville history enthusiast Chuck Smith wrote the play and will be playing Field. Admission is $10, and all proceeds will go to Yuba Sutter Arts to support its operation and programs. The theatre is located at 630 E Street in Marysville. Seating is limited. Doors will open at 5:30 pm.

Field was the catalyst for the creation of Marysville, and wrote that when he left the city to take an appointment on the California Supreme Court in October of 1857, that he did so regretfully, having seen the city grow from a collection of tents with a few hundred residents to a town of substantial buildings with from 8,000 to 10,000 residents.

Field’s life in the West was marked by danger. He survived several attempts on his life, mostly by judges or former judges. To defend himself, he had special pockets made in his coat to carry revolvers, a derringer, and bowie knife. As a sitting member of the U.S. Supreme Court, he was arrested by a San Joaquin County sheriff on a murder charge.

At the time of his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1897, Field held the record for the longest tenure on the nation’s highest bench. And although that record was eclipsed in the 20th century, Field issued hundreds of opinions, many of which have fundamental impacts on our lives today.

His career was controversial. Many thought he was one of the most brilliant jurists of his time; others thought he was corrupt and arrogant. The latter opinions seemed to have impacted his failure to secure the Democratic nomination for President.

The play will explore the many remarkable incidents of a consequential life, focusing largely on Field’s time in Marysville and California, but also on his national legacy.  Because it is Marysville’s 170th birthday, there will also be cake.Tickets are available online at www.yubasutterarts.org, or by calling 530-742-ARTS. Plenty of free parking is available on the adjacent streets and in the nearby Umpqua Bank and Bank of America parking lots.


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630 E St
Marysville, CA 95901
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(530) 742-2787