Category Archives: Uncategorized

Best-Sellers at Bidwell’s Bar

Take a guess — What were the best-selling items at John Bidwell’s store? When I wrote a biography of John Bidwell in 2010, I wanted to include a photo of a page from his 1849 store ledger. I paged through … Continue reading

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Gold Rush Medicine

Say you’re a young miner, come to Bidwell’s Bar to dig for gold in 1849. You are generally a strong and healthy young man, but the work is hard and your meals are not exactly mom’s home cooking. Beef and … Continue reading

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Sam Brannan, Gold Rush Capitalist

When news of the gold discovery on the American River reached Sutter’s Fort, John Sutter did his best to keep it quiet. He knew if word got out his sawmill would never be finished and his crops would never be … Continue reading

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A Wicked War

I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the United States on Mexico. I thought so at the time, when I was a youngster, only I had not moral courage enough to resign. … Continue reading

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Shopping at Sutter’s Fort, 1849

Today in History — Courtesy of the Sacramento History Museum: December 28, 1848 On this day in 1848, John Sutter Jr., in an effort to raise capital to pay off his father’s looming debts, started to sell portions of Sutter’s … Continue reading

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A Miserable, Merry Christmas

Lincoln Steffens, notable muck-raking journalist of the late 19th and early 20th century, was born in San Francisco in 1866 and grew up in Sacramento, where his father owned a prosperous store. There in Sacramento he watched as the city … Continue reading

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Christmas with the Bidwells

Every December the Bidwell Mansion Association hosts a holiday event at Bidwell Mansion for members and guests. Although conditions are different this year, we couldn’t let 2020 go by without “Christmas with the Bidwells” so we put together a virtual … Continue reading

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Good News for Johnson’s Ranch

We made a tortuous journey through the snow before we came to the headwaters of the Yuba river, where there were mules to carry us down to Johnson’s Ranch. . . . I stayed several days at the ranch, enjoying … Continue reading

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Old Pairs of Jeans

You probably have a few old pairs of jeans in your closet. But probably not 125 years old (and if they are, they are worth a lot of money). Eight pairs of jeans were found earlier this year down in … Continue reading

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Books for Christmas

Something they want, Something they need, Something to wear, Something to read. I don’t recall that recommendation being around when my kids were little, but it fits my long-established philosophy of Christmas gift-giving. And as a librarian and devoted book … Continue reading

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