Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas in California, 1841

John Bidwell spent his first Christmas in California at Sutter’s settlement. Sutter himself hadn’t been there very long, and was only just getting started with his plans for fields and a fort. “The settlement, if it could then be so … Continue reading

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Today the only grizzly bears to be seen in California are on the state flag. But in John Bidwell’s day, grizzlies were a common sight, and a significant danger. California in 1841 was a land abounding in wild game–deer, antelope, … Continue reading

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“Everybody goes to Sutter’s”

It seems that in 1841 California, Sutter’s establishment was like Rick’s Cafe Americaine in Casablanca. “Nearly everybody who came to California made it a point to reach Sutter’s Fort. Sutter was one of the most liberal and hospitable of men. … Continue reading

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John Sutter

John Augustus Sutter (born Johann August Suter in 1803) claimed to have been a captain in the Swiss Guard, and to further that image, bought himself a uniform jacket in St. Louis, before heading westward. He may have served in … Continue reading

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