The migration of nearly 2 million Irish during 1845-1849 first brought the custom of Halloween to America. Irishmen by the thousands came to California for the Gold Rush from 1849 forward, although the traditions of adult legend-telling and children’s games on All Hallows Eve probably took a back seat to other considerations in those years, since Almanacs of the period make no mention of Halloween in their lists of holidays until later in the 19th century.
In the annals of western migration, the worst tragedy befell the members of the Donner Party, who were trapped in the snow-bound Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846-1847. Slightly more than Continue reading The Donner Party
Swiss immigrant John Sutter was not the only eminent foreigner in Mexican-owned California during the sleepily pastoral 1840s decade, although for a while he was the only settler in the Sacramento Valley wilderness. Massachusetts-born Continue reading 1840s Northern California Neighbors
Aware that they must cross the formidable Sierra Nevada before snowfall blocked their path, California-bound pioneers seldom halted their wagons very long for either births or burials. Independence Day, however, was a different matter. On July Continue reading July 4th on the Plains Across
German immigrant Peter Cadel arrived at Sutter’s Fort from San Rafael on July 14, 1847. Exactly where he first settled in the Sacramento Valley is unknown, but he was engaged in crop growing for which he hired John Continue reading Pioneer Brewmaster Peter Cadel