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.

Dealing with the Desert

Remember the Independence Company? That was the company of young men who set out, with flags flying and a brass band playing, at the same time as Luzena and Mason Wilson’s wagon train left Missouri. Luzena, afraid of the Indians, … Continue reading

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Lightening the Load

Wagon train pioneers inevitably had to lighten their loads. First to go were heavy items like the rocking chair and the cast iron stove. Some emigrants took equipment that they thought would pay off in their new home, like pickaxes … Continue reading

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Monotony and Peril

Nothing but actual experience will give one an idea of the plodding, unvarying monotony, the vexations, the exhaustive energy, the throbs of hope, the depths of despair, through which we lived. Day after day, week after week, we went through … Continue reading

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“We were on the road to California”

Luzena Stanley Wilson and her husband Mason set out for California one bright May morning in 1849. The first day’s slow jogging brought us to the Missouri River, over which we were ferried in the twilight, and our first camp … Continue reading

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The Adventures of Luzena Stanley Wilson

The account of Luzena Stanley Wilson is one of the most vivid and charming of all the Gold Rush stories that have come down to us. She told her story to her daughter Correnah in 1881 while Correnah was recovering … Continue reading

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Happy 102nd Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

In honor of Beverly Cleary’s 102nd birthday (born April 12, 1916), I am rerunning the post I wrote in 2016. Beverly Cleary is still on this earth, and still a beloved author, and if you have never read a book … Continue reading

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It’s California Poppy Day!

April 6 is California Poppy Day, honoring our state flower. The California Poppy was designated the state flower in 1903, and in 2010 April 6 was named an official state holiday (but not one where anybody gets the day off, … Continue reading

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