Monthly Archives: February 2018

Book of the Week!

Yippee! The California State Library choose my book Nancy Kelsey Comes Over the Mountain as their book of the week! This absolutely makes my day. Here’s what they said in their Facebook post: Book of the Week: Looking for a … Continue reading

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The Young Mountaineer

Some time ago I wrote about Dr. James O’Brien after seeing his amputation kit at the Society of California Pioneers in San Francisco. That was in 2014, but I recently received a comment on that entry, from the doctor’s great-great-great-granddaughter. … Continue reading

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One of Those Strange Individuals

John Bidwell told many fascinating stories about his life and experiences. Here is one about his friend and trail companion, James John, and an encounter with a grizzly bear in California. The grizzly bear was an hourly sight. In the … Continue reading

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Runaway Horses in 1851

I’ve been going through letters in the John Bidwell Papers in the California State Library. Bidwell was the kind of man who held on to all his correspondence, and kept it well organized. Most of the letters deal with mundane … Continue reading

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More about Sutter and the Mormons

At the same time that Captain Sutter was bragging to General Vallejo (in Spanish), about his wheat fields and his new saw mill and flour mill, he was also writing to Thomas O. Larkin (in slightly awkward English) on the … Continue reading

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The Best of Days for John A. Sutter

1847 was a good year for Captain John Sutter. Things were going well and prosperity lay all around. Here is a letter written from John A. Sutter to Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo on October 31, 1847. (The original letter, in the … Continue reading

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Sutter’s Fort Restored

“In its broken, withered and dilapidated condition it offers sublime evidence of the devastation of time.” So wrote the Sacramento Daily Union on September 2, 1891. But by 1890, nostalgia for “the days of old, the days of gold, the … Continue reading

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