nance-pose7-003My name is Nancy Leek. I live in Chico, California and am a retired librarian. Formerly I worked as a reference librarian for the Butte County Library and as the children’s librarian at the Orland Free Library. I am the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer. Together with John Rudderow I edited The Miner Poet: The Poems of Pres Longley.

Now I have a new book, a picture book biography called John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and the Short of It. It has full-color illustrations throughout by the talented Steve Ferchaud. It’s colorful, it’s exciting, and it’s fun to read. A great book for the classroom or the family before or after a visit to Bidwell Mansion.

All books are available by contacting me at goldfieldsbooksca @ gmail.com.

I love Northern California wildflowers and Northern California history. That’s why I am calling this blog goldfields, after one of the wildflowers that we enjoy seeing every year on Table Mountain, and after the real goldfields that drew so many men and women to the Golden State. Now that I am self-publishing my new book, my imprint is Goldfields Books.

At Chimney Rock, Nebraska, 2014

At Chimney Rock, Nebraska, 2014

When my husband Jim and I retired from our jobs in the spring of 2014, we went on a road trip to Wisconsin to visit family. One of my goals on the road was to see some of the sights that the pioneers like John Bidwell and the thousands who followed him would see along the way: Chimney Rock, Scott’s Bluff, Fort Laramie, Independence Rock, the Great Salt Lake and the Humboldt River. Here I am at Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

7 Responses to About

  1. tashtr3 says:

    Hi Nancy, my name is Tyler Ash.

    Over the last few years I have been bitten by the Butte County history bug and I just recently discovered your blog. I love it! I was thinking about starting a John BIdwell blog but it seems you already beat me to it! I was a student of Byron Wolfe at Chico State and was taught the art of re-photography. I don’t know if you’ve heard of either but I actually did an independent study on rephotographing some of Chico’s historic photos before I graduated. If you’re interested you can view them at my blog,( tylerashresume.wordpress.com). It will be under the Photography tab. I also wrote an in depth article on the George Crosette House in Chico and another article on the history of Chico’s Cold War missile base. Those are on there as well.

    I love learning more and more of the saga of John Bidwell and I will most definitely need to buy your book and add it to my growing collection of Chico history. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog because I think it will be my favorite one for many years to come. Hopefully our paths will cross sometime in the future.


    Tyler Ash

    • nancyleek says:

      Hi Tyler– Thanks for your comment. I haven’t been doing much with this blog lately, but I have good intentions. Your comments are a push in the right direction.

      Great photos on your website. I find the idea of rephotography very intriguing, and I’ve always admired Byron Wolfe’s work. My daughter is friends with his wife, and their kids are friends.

      You can get my book from Lyon books or from the Visitor’s Center at Bidwell Mansion. I hope we’ll run into each other one of these days. –Nancy

  2. Felipe Rios says:

    I found your blog super interesting. I love the history of north California too.Good luck!!!

  3. Sandy Hill says:

    I am interested in the street named SO-WIL-LEN-NO. I understand that it is a Maidu Woman’s name. Annie liked the name and named the street. Is this close to the facts??? Was this woman someone special in John and Annie’s lives???

  4. nancyleek says:

    The street is named after Maggie Sowilleno Lafonso — Sowilleno being Maggie’s Indian name. She was a member of the Mechoopda tribe. Maggie was a favorite of Annie Bidwell. She and her brother Elmer frequently dined at the Mansion, and Maggie was Annie’s greatest helper at the Indian Church. I am not quite sure when the street was named, but probably after Maggie died in 1909. That would make a good topic for my blog! Thanks for asking the question.

    • Sandy Hill says:

      Thank you so much Nancy. I have been looking all over for this answer. I look forward to reading more on your blog.

  5. Donna Gangemi says:

    Hi Nancy,
    I heard you speak at the Chico Museum and enjoyed it very much. I wonder if you would give your talk at the Newcomers luncheon. The talks are to help newcomers to learn about the area they have moved to .
    We provide lunch for you and you would speak for about 30 minutes .
    We need a speaker for November 17th. If you are able to do this please get in contact with me. If you are unable to attend the November luncheon, perhaps next year January 26th, March 25?
    Thank you,
    Donna Gangemi 343-1015

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