Peter Lebeck is the Kern County Chapter
of the Ancient and Honorable
Order of E Clampus Vitus ®
We are not the biggest or the richest, but we are among the friendliest chapters in all of ECV. Come to a PXL Doin's and camaraderie is guaranteed. A brother’s rig, be it a tent, a pick-up or an RV is always welcome because, despite our name, at Peter Lebeck, SIZE DOESN'T MATTER.
Like all of ECV, Peter Lebeck is both a drinking historical society and a historical drinking society. Our roots go back to pre-gold rush days West Virginia, and the flourishing of our transplanted disorganization to the mining camps of 1849 California.
Revitalized in the 1930's as California's greatest surviving practical joke, E Clampus Vitus can lay claim to the membership of many historical figures from the time of the formation of California's constitutional government and beyond. For instance, once accused of belonging to an all male secret society known as the "Bohemian Club," Ronald Reagan flatly denied it, and proudly claimed that the only all male secret society he ever belong to was, "E Clampus Vitus." That would put him in the company of Bill Clinton's brother and, possibly, Jerry Brown; or at least, Jerry Brown's dad, the late Governor Edmond G. Brown. What a crazy mixed-up bunch, huh?
In fact in the early years of the newly minted State of California, E Clampus Vitus remained so prominent among state legislators that Clamper meetings were permitted in the Capitol Building. Satisfactory!
Recognized as an ECV Chapter in 1962, Peter Lebeck currently has over a hundred active members, with a typical two-night doin's drawing between seventy-five and a hundred red shirts. Brothers from other chapters who have attended PXL functions always have good things to say about us, and we make good efforts to make everyone feel at home.
Peter Lebeck typically hosts two Clampouts a year and a "Widder's Ball and Demotion Dinner" at the end of the current Humbug's tenure. We aim for at least one plaquing a year.
Unlike chapters that host all day doin's, PXL's three day Clampouts give the brothers a chance to unwind, without the pressure of driving at the end of a long day's celebration. Our hope is to give every brother a chance to decompress and go home to serve the needs of his widow.
So brother, if you have a close friend or associate who needs to be marched up and down the landscape and introduced to the joys of Clamperdom, consider bringing him in at Peter Lebeck where we believe that anyone who has gone through the ordeal of an initiation should also feel a desire to return.
For those interested in exploring the mysteries of ECV,read on and explore this web site. Contact our Noble Grand Humbug if you are an orphaned soul in need of enlightenment and a sponsor.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE
PETER LEBECK CHAPTER 1866
OF THE ANCIENT AND HONORABLE
ORDER OF E CLAMPUS VITUS
In the beginning, California had only two chapters of E Clampus Vitus. Platrix Chapter, #2 had the southern region as its protectorate. But, that area was too large for the membership to adequately attend meetings and other functions.
About 1957, a group of scholarly, yet jovial, Clampers began to see the historical and logistical sense of creating a separate chapter in Kern County. After several organizational meetings, they decided to do just that.
The Grand Council of ECV was petitioned to allow the secession and formation of the new chapter. It was originally thought that it should be called the Ft. Tejon Chapter, as that location is of great historical value in the county. Other names mentioned were; the "Colonel Thomas Baker Chapter" (for the founder of Bakersfield), the "Edward F. Beale Chapter" for the man who brought the news of the California gold strikes to the east, and the "Peter Lebeck Chapter" for the piss-poor bear fighter buried at Ft. Tejon.
Because the least was know about Lebeck, and therefore less controversy was expected, that name was chosen. In 1962, the Board of Proctors of E Clampus Vitus granted a charter to the "Peter Lebeck Chapter, #1866" for the protectorate of Kern County, to be headquartered in Bakersfield. Our Chapter number, 1866, was chosen as the year that Kern County was incorporated in the State of California. Our first Noble Grand Humbug was the late Ralph Kreiser.
What is know about Peter Lebeck is that on October 17, 1837 he was killed by a X bear, and is buried at what is now Ft. Tejon State Park. We think an "X bear" is a California grizzly bear, due to the formation of that letter in their fur during the winter months. We think that Mr. Lebeck was probably actually Pierre Levesque, a French trapper and hunter. When his body was exhumed in 1955, they found a 1836 French five-franc gold piece buried with him. But, it’s really all speculation.
Our chapter has placed numerous monuments throughout Ken County over the years. They memorialize historical events and people from the early days of the 1800's through Kern’s "Oil Rush" period to its place in the futuristic aerospace industry. We usually have two Clampouts per year, and a Widow’s Ball. Our Clampouts are in the desert and the mountains, and everywhere in between. You are welcome to join us any time.
The Peter Lebeck Chapter was proud to be the host of the 2006 Southern Alliance 6-way Clampout in California City, which drew 1142 Clampers. We look forward to many more years of preserving history for the citizens of Kern County. And we will do it in the best Clamper traditions of brotherhood and frivolity.