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.

William M. Gwin

If you covet a seat in the U.S. Senate, one way to get it is to find a place that is just about to become a state, and make yourself a leader in state politics. Come with the air of … Continue reading

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The Democracy

In the early years of California statehood, the Democratic Party dominated state politics. Often referred to as “The Democracy,” it arose out of Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. For a while, after the demise of the Federalists, this was the only party … Continue reading

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A Pioneer in California Agriculture

John Bidwell was not only an American pioneer on the California Trail, he was California’s foremost pioneer in agriculture. Agriculture was Bidwell’s consuming passion and lifelong pursuit. After discovering gold at Bidwell Bar, he was able to purchase Rancho del … Continue reading

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Rancho Olompali

On this date— Rancho Olompali is the only Mexican land grant awarded to a California Native American. The story is an interesting one, and I have to thank the Sacramento History Museum for bringing this date in history to my … Continue reading

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Politics in Nineteenth Century California

I am working on a presentation for an OLLI class on Local History. (OLLI is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute — basically retirees teaching other retirees whatever they feel like teaching. It’s a fun and easy way to keep your … Continue reading

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For California’s Gold

I enjoy reading historical fiction, but only if I know it is as authentic as possible. Nothing makes me more testy than to have an anachronism intrude into a good story.  I remember one where two young men arrived by … Continue reading

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Ghosts of Gold Mountain

Ghosts of Gold Mountain, by Gordon H. Chang, is “the epic story of the Chinese who built the transcontinental railroad,” a book that combines faultless scholarship with compelling storytelling. (published by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2019; available at your public library.) … Continue reading

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