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.

More about Alvin A. Coffey

Back in February I wrote about Alvin A. Coffey, African-American forty-niner. Thanks to Eaul Blansett, co-author of The Tortuous Road to Freedom, I now have more sources for his story. My favorite sources are always first person accounts. Alvin left … Continue reading

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On the Trail with Videos from OCTA

If you are a history buff, if you’ve wondered what it would be like to be a pioneer, if you want to trace the trail that brought your great-grandpa to California, then you will enjoy the videos produced by the … Continue reading

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Stephen Hill and Slavery in the Golden State

California was admitted to the Union in 1850 as a free state. Nevertheless, slaves were brought to California by slave-owning southerners both before and after statehood, and the slave owners usually got away with it. Slaves made the effort to … Continue reading

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George Washington Dennis — African-American Forty-Niner

I’ve been reading Delilah Beasley’s classic work on African-Americans in California, The Negro Trail Blazers of California, published in 1919. Ms. Beasley spent years researching the stories of blacks in California. I got the book from the public library, but … Continue reading

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Titus Hale Encounters a Desperado

In his autobiography written for the Society of California Pioneers, Titus Hale has one more good story to tell: I passed through the so-called trying times without any great amount of trouble or anxiety, and it was not till 1899 … Continue reading

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Titus Hale — Still More Adventures of a Teen-Age Forty-Niner

The flood about used up my capital and my lease of the lot only ran till June 1st so I concluded to abandon pies, cakes and nuts and on March 4th 1850 started for Georgetown; I was at Coloma and … Continue reading

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Titus Hale — More Adventures of a Teen-Age Forty-Niner

Titus Hale was an enterprising young man at sixteen years of age. A few days after that [the election] we sold our team, and I engaged in business peddling Nuts. I bought my first stock from R. Gelston, 25 lbs. … Continue reading

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Titus Hale — A Teen-Age Forty-Niner

Titus Hale came to California in 1849 at the age of fifteen. He and his father, Israel Hale, traveled the overland route from May to October, arriving in California by way of the Lassen Trail. While others in their wagon … Continue reading

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John and Annie Bidwell Video

If you are interested in the Bidwells — especially if you are a 3rd or 4th grade teacher doing Butte County or California history — don’t forget that I have a read-aloud YouTube video of my book John and Annie … Continue reading

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Dorsey the Canine Mail Carrier

I concentrate on stories of northern California, and this isn’t one, but who can resist a good dog story? It’s the story of Dorsey, a dog who carried the mail in the mining camps of San Bernardino County. Dorsey was … Continue reading

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