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.

Mrs. Evoy Robbed

On Wednesday, May 25, 1853, Mrs. Bridget M. Evoy was traveling by Hall & Crandall stagecoach from Shasta to Marysville. When the stage stopped at Dry Creek House she discovered that the gold she was carrying in a carpetbag was … Continue reading

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“Send a Basket by the Stage”

Mrs. Bridget M. Evoy was an enterprising woman of the Gold Rush. She came to California with her family on the Lassen Trail in 1849. She earned her gold by successfully running a hotel or boarding house called the “California … Continue reading

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Sierra or Sierras? You Decide

I had to sympathize with the writer of this item on SFGate about the argument over whether to say “the Sierra” or “the Sierras” when referring to the mountain range between California and Nevada. (SFGate is the online media outlet … Continue reading

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The Stars and Stripes Forever

My idea of a fabulous 4th of July includes eating a hamburger, corn on the cob, and watermelon, singing the Star Spangled Banner, watching fireworks, and listening to a live band play The Stars and Stripes Forever. I would like … Continue reading

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A Chico Fourth of July — Centennial Version

Our celebrations of Independence Day are pretty tame compared to the way they enjoyed the Fourth in Chico in 1876. Here’s the July 4th entry from Bidwell’s diary in 1876: Tues. July 4Warm, very – no wind. = Bells rang … Continue reading

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Slavery in California

This well-known photograph shows a black miner in the California goldfields. It was taken at Auburn Ravine in 1852, but the man’s name is unknown. Was he free or was he enslaved? Did he strike it rich? Was the gold … Continue reading

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A Cartoon Expedition to California

Comic books have been around longer than you might think, and the California Gold Rush of 1849 proved to be a gold mine (so to speak) for satiric artists. One of the most entertaining is called Outline History of an … Continue reading

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I Went to Hell and So Can You

Bumpass Hell, that is, in Lassen National Volcanic Park. With grandchildren visiting from Wisconsin, and temperatures over 100 degrees in the valley, a trip to Hell turned out to be cooler than staying at home. The trail to Bumpass Hell … Continue reading

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The Bear Flag and John Bidwell

What did John Bidwell think of the Bear Flag Revolt and the famous Bear Flag raised at Sonoma? Not much, if you asked him, and more than one person did ask. I like our state flag — I think it’s … Continue reading

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In Search of Alvin A. Coffey

Today my friend Josie and I went in search of Alvin Coffey‘s presence in Tehama County. I am working on a picture book biography of Coffey, an African American pioneer, and I wanted to see where he lived and where … Continue reading

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