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 Butte County Pioneer Museum

Yesterday I visited the Butte County Pioneer Museum in Oroville. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:15 to 2:15, it’s worth visiting to get a flavor of old-time life in a town that gained its wealth from gold-mining. The stone … Continue reading

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Three Handsome Gentleman from Helltown

Who are these three gentlemen? The photograph was taken at the Chico photography studio of H.H. Frye, but the three men are not identified. The photo was brought to a committee meeting of the Association for Northern California Historical Research … Continue reading

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Slavery in Butte County

Even though California was a free state, slavery certainly existed here. Slaveholders brought their slaves with them from the South, and they did everything they could to hold on to their “property.” But were slaves bought and sold in California?* … Continue reading

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The Perkins Case

The first test of the California Fugitive Slave Act (enacted in April 1852) came shortly after its passage. Three men, Carter Perkins, Robert Perkins, and Sandy Jones, were seized on the night of May 31, 1852, by the sheriff of … Continue reading

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A Young Man Named ‘Frank’

This is the story of the case that led to the enactment of the California Fugitive Slave Law. In 1850 a man named John Calloway brought an enslaved man named Frank from Missouri to California. Frank was eighteen years old. … Continue reading

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The California Fugitive Slave Law

As a student of history, I knew about the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. What I didn’t know about until recently was that California had its own Fugitive Slave Law, enacted in 1852, to deal with the unique circumstances … Continue reading

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Get Around, Get Around, I Get Around

I am getting around to some wonderful North State communities in the next few months. I love to talk to folks about history and am always happy to give presentations or sign books. Here’s what I have on my calendar: … Continue reading

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A Visit to Shasta State Historic Park, Again

Last May I posted about a visit to Shasta State Historic Park, but at the time the Courthouse Museum was not open. Well, guess what? It’s open now, Thursday through Sunday. It’s a great time to visit. We went there … Continue reading

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San Francisco Panorama

The Society of California Pioneers has an online exhibit of a fabulous panorama of San Francisco Bay in 1853. Take a look. The panorama is a series of five photographs taken by William Shew. The first panel shows a collection … Continue reading

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Whatever Happened to Sebastian Keyser?

Sebastian Keyser was granted Rancho Llano Seco in 1844 but he never lived there and never made improvements on the land. Why did he take title to a piece of land he never intended to use? No one knows. But … Continue reading

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