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Recounting women's roles in early California
Women played an important role in early Californian history. In 1900, California celebrated its first 50 years of statehood. The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed several prominent pioneer women and published their oral histories in an article on Sept. 9, 1900.
Cattle boom of 1850s short-lived in Solano
In my last column, Luzena Stanley Wilson described her experiences of riding across the hills of Solano County around 1851 to visit her Wolfskill neighbors at Putah Creek and encountering the vast herds of grazing black Spanish steers.
A mid 1830s ride could be just plain dangerous
First Spanish missionaries and later Spanish landowners such as the Vaca, Pena and Armijo families acquired vast acreage of Northern California land to raise cattle, namely black steers.
Walnut orchards part of Solano since 1930s
One of my fond memories of growing up in Germany includes spending dark winter nights with my family, reading to each other while sharing a special treat - a bowl of California walnuts. My brother and I would try to shell the nuts so that the two halves of the shells remained undamaged. These half shells eventually would be used to fashion little boats, baskets, figurines and other crafts.
Flood of 1849 forced residents to rooftops
This winter has not yet brought much cold or rainy weather, so that my holiday letter to shivering friends in Germany includes photos of roses in bloom. Yet this weather can change quickly, turning into heavy winter rains, such as Luzena Stanley Wilson and her family experienced in 1849 in Sacramento.
Christmas customs of the past
There are few recordings of how early Solano County settlers prepared for or celebrated the Christmas season. Customs surely varied widely based on each family's immigration background. Taking a day off from work and having the means to create a well-cooked meal likely were the highlights for early pioneers.
'Tapeworm ticket' hurts intestines of election
My last column looked at local elections in the 1860s and 1870s and their tumultuous proceedings. One of the most memorable elections occurred in 1871, when Vallejo gained national fame for the invention of the so-called "tapeworm ticket." The main information for the events surrounding this ballot ticket can be found in "Recollections of a Newspaperman," written by Frank A. Leach in 1917.
Law was passed closing saloons on election day to quell rioting
Our recent local elections with low voter turnout and disinterested citizens had me look at earlier elections in Solano County. With today's well-regulated and orderly campaign and voting system in mind, 19th century elections read more like a riot.
Wartime proclamation reflected somber mood
My last column looked at the early years of the Fairfield-Suisun Airbase, a wartime response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although the local newspapers did not report much about the activities, local residents were eager to learn more about the "great flying field."
Construction took off in building an Army airfield
My recent columns on the wartime housing boom in response to the incoming personnel for the Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Field led me to look a bit closer at the early years of Travis Air Force Base.
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