Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 — 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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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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“Now is the time for making money”

Ann Eliza Brannan’s letter to her sister in September 1848 is a snapshot of life in California at the beginning of the Gold Rush. She was the wife of Sam Brannan, early pioneer and entrepreneur. They had come to San … Continue reading

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Stories of the Humboldt Wagon Road

According to the back cover, Andy Mark’s new book promises “Thrills, Chills & Mills.” You could say that it also features Spills, ‘Villes, and even Kills. In Stories of the Humboldt Wagon Road he tells the history of the road … Continue reading

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Alvin A. Coffey, African-American Pioneer

Alvin Aaron Coffey arrived in California in the fall of 1849 in company with his master, Dr. William Bassett. Coffey was born into slavery in 1822 or 1824 in Mason County, Kentucky, the property of Margaret Cooke. Bassett was his … Continue reading

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Meeting President Lincoln

John Bidwell believed fervently in the Union cause. In 1864 he was a California delegate to the Republican National Convention in Baltimore on June 7-8, where Lincoln was renominated for president. Bidwell was in the delegation sent to the White … Continue reading

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Gold on the Feather River — A Timeline

When did John Bidwell discover gold on the Feather River? As you can see from the following timeline, he made more than one discovery, culminating in finding rich deposits at Bidwell’s Bar. It is also interesting to notice how much … Continue reading

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