Samuel Brannan, 1819–89, California pioneer, b. Saco, Maine. Converted to Mormonism, he edited a Mormon paper in New York City before leading a party of Mormons by sea from New York to California. In 1847 he founded the first newspaper in San Francisco, the California Star. Later he began a merchandising business at Sutter's Fort and soon gained extensive landholdings. Returning to San Francisco, he was active in the move to bring order to the lawless city and was an organizer and the first president (1851) of the Committee of Vigilance.
See biographies by P. D. Bailey (1943, rev. ed. 1953, repr. 1959) and L. J. Stellman (1953).