Piltdown Man--Cardiff Giant--Plate of Brasse--Fallon's Journal
California Cavalier: the Journal of Captain Thomas Fallon
Edited by Thomas McEnery
Inishfallon [sic] Industries, San Jose, 1978
This book is magnificently printed and bound in the best tradition of Bay Area fine press printers, but The Fallon Journal does not exist. It is pure invention by the self-styled editor.
(A later printing, which I have not seen, and have not been able to locate, is said to carry a disclaimer)

Reminiscent of the infamous Drake's Plate of Brass, a hoax perpetrated by E. Clampus Vitus upon Herbert E. Bolton, Professor of American History and Director of the Bancroft Library of the University of California (a fellow Clamper) in 1937, the Fallon journal was carefully crafted hoax by Thomas McEnery, then mayor of San Jose, CA. The fictitious journal was based on many accounts, including Frémont's 1845 government Report and the 1958 translation of the diary of Charles Preuss.

Charles Preuss, "August 10, 1843: Shooting buffalo with the howitzer is a cruel but amusing sport."

McEnery's Thomas Fallon, "3rd December 1843: I am sorry I was unable to see them hunting buffalo with the little cannon. It is no doubt cruel but very amusing."

An example of what would seem to be a very important relation by Fallon is:

13 February, 1844: Carson spends a long time carving on a tree today. I hope it is not for a headstone.

This would seem to be evidence relating to the Carson Tree, cut down in 1888, and currently in a State Parks & Recreation storage facility in West Sacramento. But the tree was not on Frémont's route of February 1844, but rather at the top of today's Carson Pass on the route first opened by the exiting Mormon Battalion of 1848. This became the route of the '49ers.
What was Carson doing there? What was McEnry's Fallon doing there observing? All efforts of the expedition were then in building a nearly 20-miles long road across deep snow from near Markleeville at 5,700' to the Pass at near 9,000' elevation.
But don't be fooled: McEnery's Journal of Thomas Fallon is fiction.
The most likely origin of the blazed tree, if it was indeed carved by Carson, is that it was done in 1853, when Carson drove a flock of 6,500 head of sheep from New Mexico to California, crossing by the then established emigrant wagon route.

Based on this created history of Thomas Fallon, Mayor Thomas McEnery had the city of San Jose commission a bronze equestrian statue of Fallon at a public cost of $80,0000.00.
Then McEnery's daughter Erin made a film based on it!

Yes, McEnery left a few clues that the journal was fiction (see p. 106 for the most obvious). But, like the many clues provided in the 1937 E. Clampus Vitus publication Ye Preposterous Booke of Brasse, which was intended to undeceive Professor Bolton, the clues are too obscure to undeceive the unwary or those who want to believe.

From the March 16-22, 2005 issue of Metro,
Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.
Refilming History

Some people told ERIN McENERY she was too biased to make a movie about her father's pet project, a book TOM McENERY wrote about the bronze statue of Cpt. THOMAS FALLON, San Jose mayor in 1859 and controversial Mexican-American War hero. They were right--if McEnery's one-sided documentary is any indication. The Cinequest release featured many city officials defending Erin's father's effort to bring history to life, but neglected to include one of the most damning arguments of the opposition. JAVIER SALAZAR, the leader of the Fallon protesters, contends that much of the "history" attributed to Fallon is clouded with inaccuracy, and that Tom McEnery's infatuation with the character is proof of this. Before he became San Jose mayor, Tom McEnery edited a book called California Cavalier: The Journal of Captain Thomas Fallon, which some people thought was a factual account obtained from Fallon's authentic journal. The San Jose library placed its copy on the nonfiction shelves for nearly 10 years. Then in 1987, the same year Tom McEnery commissioned the Fallon statue, Salazar questioned the accuracy of the book and asked to see the journal. McEnery couldn't produce it. Instead, History San Jose republished McEnery's book with a disclaimer that reads, "Although as firmly based on an exploration of Thomas Fallon's life and personal letters as possible, this Journal is a work of fiction." KRISTIN McCAMAN, who oversees History San Jose's Fallon House, confirms, "There are no journals or diaries in existence that we know of. Unfortunately, a lot of people got the wrong the idea." Erin McEnery responds, "For 15 years, their whole argument is about a book?

[as in, what's the matter you guys--can't take a joke?]

This doesn't seem that important to me." She says she doesn't think she knew about the book or Salazar's role in debunking it. "Anyway, how would I if Javier never returned my phone calls?"

In a comment posted on the San Jose Inside website on Public Art Controversies, posted by Jack Van Zandt on Thursday, July 13, 2006, Tom McEnery responded:

Mon, Jul 17, 2006 - 7:04 am
As always the serious look at our history gets complicated by a lot of nonsense. Just view the documentary on Channel 54, the panel, and the Aztlan Academy web site, and I believe that you will have more of your questions answered. Oh, and you can get my book, "California Cavalier", if you want a bit of fun...

[the joke again]

...and a feeling of the time of Captain Fallon.

Editor McEnery has his Thomas Fallon begin his journal with the death of Xervier.

July 4, 1843: Fort Lancaster: Xervier nearly turned completely around by the bullet as it tore into his back. He was lifted off the ground and crashed into a chair smashing it into several pieces. As he lay flat staring up at me I felt a strange exhilaration--I was breathing heavily and my heart pounded against my chest. I know it was right to kill him and I had killed before but never at so close a range. The shirt he wore was steaming [sic] with powder burns. Two men carried him to the blacksmith's shop. I guess it an odd thing to begin my journal with his shooting, but after it was done I knew that I had begun a new time in my life--things that should be recorded. Things I could never return from.

Rufus Sage, Rocky Mountain Life; or Startling Scenes and Perilous Adventures in the Far West, 1846.

July 11, 1843: Witnessed the death of an old mountaineer [Xervier] at Fort Lancaster, who came to his end from the effects of a pistol wound, received in a drunken frolic on the 4th. The ball entered the back about two inches below the heart, severely fracturing the vertebrae and nearly severing the spinal marrow. He lived one week succeeding the occurrence, and meanwhile suffering the agonies of death. His body below the would was entirely devoid of feeling or use from the first, and as death preyed upon him by piecemeal, he would often Emailer us with most piteous and heart-melting appeals kindly to end his miseries by hastening his end. The murderer [Thomas Fallon] was left at large, and in two or three weeks subsequent accompanied Captain Frémont to Oregon.

The Journals of Theodore Talbot; 1843 and 1849-52.

He [Colonel Dodge] brought news of the death of Xervier, one of his men, who had been shot in a frolic, or rather a brawl, on the 4th of July by Thomas Fallon, a hand belonging to St. Vrain's fort.

John Charles Frémont, Report of The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842, and to Oregon and North California in the Years 1843-'44

July 28, 1843: A French engagé, at Lupton's fort, had been shot in the back on the 4th of July, and died during our absence to the Arkansas. The wife of the murdered man, an Indian woman of the Snake nation, desirous, like Naomi of old, to return to her people, requested and obtained permission to travel with my party to the neighborhood of Bear river, where she expected to meet with some of their villages. Happier than the Jewish widow, she carried with her two children, pretty little half-breeds, who added much to the liveliness of the camp. Her baggage was carried on five or six pack-horses; and I gave her a small tent, for which I no longer had any use, as I had procured a lodge at the fort.

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