Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chickens at Rancho Chico

All this talk about the price of eggs reminded me of this letter, written by one of John Bidwell’s employees in 1851. Edward Shackelford Darlington, who was only 19 or 20, can’t resist spoofing the etiquette of 19th century letters. … Continue reading

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February Is Black History Month

Get ready for Black History Month! Alvin Coffey is the ideal book to highlight black history in California. As 4th grade students study the Gold Rush, they learn about the prospectors who came seeking gold in the rivers and streams … Continue reading

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Finnicum, Father and Son

When Randy Taylor posted this business card on Facebook, I figured that J.D. Finnicum must be the same man as “Joe Finnicum, the Jehu” immortalized in poetry by Pres Longley. But that is not the case. James Duncan Finnicum, stage … Continue reading

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The Floods of 1852

It’s a rainy January all over California this year, a welcome relief after several years of drought. I have written before about the floods in Sacramento in 1850 and in 1862. Flooding came again in 1852. Determined to build on … Continue reading

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Give the Gift of Books

Something they want, Something they need, Something to wear, Something to read. (Detail from Charles C. Nahl’s Sunday in the Mines. Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento.) As a librarian and devoted book reader, I have always given the gift of books. … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving in California

Thanksgiving in California / At the Cabin, 1849 — D.W.N. Or maybe it was really 1850. In Daniel W. Nason’s (unpublished) memoir of his two years in California, written twenty years later, he recalls the Thanksgiving feast he had with … Continue reading

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The First Thanksgiving in California

On October 24, 1849, Governor Bennet C. Riley, the military governor of California, issued a proclamation designating Thursday, November 29th, as a day of thanksgiving. Proclamation In conformity with the customs of other states and territories, and in order that … Continue reading

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Book-Signing Event!

I’ll be signing and selling my books tomorrow (Wednesday, November 9) at the Chico Library. If any of you are in the area, please stop in and say “Hi!” It’s an after-school event from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Alvin Coffey: … Continue reading

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Capitals of California

How many capitals has California had? More than I knew. I might have been able to list three or four, but seven? Who knew? The California State Library knows. Here is a link to a page on Previous Capitals — … Continue reading

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Halloween at Bidwell Mansion

How would a group of well-brought-up young people entertain themselves on Halloween 115 years ago? Annie Bidwell’s diary gives us a glimpse. In 1905 Harriett Alexander came to Chico to live at Bidwell Mansion and attend Chico High School. She … Continue reading

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