June 28th is when you can see General Mariano Vallejo’s amazing and exquisite silver field service (actually over 100 pieces), given to him around 1841 by Fort Ross commander Count Alexander Rotchev. Martha Vallejo McGettigan will present her talk about the silver collection as well as family lore from 7 – 8 pm at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, Presidio of San Francisco. Free admission.
The field service, designed by a French company for use by high ranking military officers of the time, is occasionally displayed at the Society of California Pioneers in San Francisco, custodians of the collection gifted to them by the Vallejo family. There are several explanations for Rotchev’s gift, one of which includes Vallejo saving Princess Elena Gagarina, Rotchev’s wife, from the romantic interests of Chief Solano. Though highly discounted as the reason, it was most likely a “thank you for courtesies received” during Rotchev’s tenure as commander of Fort Ross. Both men were social equals, highly educated, young, and saw each other at least annually, if not more often, when the Russians trekked to Vallejo’s rancho, Casa Grande – now a state park in Petaluma, California- to purchase needed food items for their settlements.
(Photo: Pat Keats (middle) Director of Library & Archives, SCP, shows the Vallejo silver collection to Maria Lobanovsky (right), author, Drinks & Zakuski and The Lobanovsky Family Table and to Carol Blackman (right), author, More to Say From San Francisco.