Author Archives: nancyleek

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.

A Visit to the Kelly-Griggs House

Continuing my OLLI adventures, today the Historic Houses class visited the Kelly-Griggs House Museum in Red Bluff. The Kelly-Griggs House is a classic example of 19th century American architecture, and one of several handsome Victorian homes in Red Bluff, California. … Continue reading

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The Lincoln Assassination Incarceration

I have to thank the Orland Historical and Cultural Society for bringing this story to my attention on their Facebook page. And a great bit of history it is! On April 20, 1865, Captain Augustus Washington Starr was sent from … Continue reading

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Coming Soon!

I have a new book in the works — a picture book biography of another pioneering Californian — and I want to show you some of the great illustrations that Steve Ferchaud has done for it. What was it like … Continue reading

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A Visit to the Mary Aaron Museum

This fall I am (for the first time) a peer leader for an OLLI class. (OLLI is basically retirees teaching other retirees anything they are interested in.) We are touring historic houses in northern California. Sounds like a fun idea, … Continue reading

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Feuding in the Kitchen

If you have attended an event at Bidwell Mansion in the last few years, you may have been lucky enough to see some dramatic vignettes performed inside the Mansion. These short dramas are all based on actual historical accounts — … Continue reading

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“I do not want to “fail” in this job”

This is John Bidwell’s last letter to George McKinstry for the year 1848. He is still at the ranch of Charles Roether, which was on the Feather River at Honcut Creek, where he has been buying cattle to drive to … Continue reading

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1848 Shipping List — Part 2

Here is the rest of Bidwell’s letter to McKinstry on November 1, 1848. It is chiefly concerned with that most important trade item — cattle. Demand was going up, and so were prices. I learn here that Cordua has raised … Continue reading

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