Frontier Feast 12/25/1847

John Sutter, the first pioneer settler in the Sacramento Valley, built a large, walled trading post  which included a blacksmith forge, a crude gristmill, a carpenter’s shop, a blanket weaving room, and a tannery.  Inside the walls was a kitchen large enough to feed the dozens of tradesmen, craftsmen, fur trappers, gardeners, and Continue reading Frontier Feast 12/25/1847

Christmas in the Mines

When Christmas came during the early Gold Rush years, thousands of predominantly male, mostly young gold-seekers were far away from ordinary comforts and the familiar faces back home. A number of preachers in the gold camps or town saloons offered short holiday services, and some miners dodged the pain of Continue reading Christmas in the Mines

Celebrating Christmas

Before the Gold Rush, Christmas was just another working day tending livestock or repairing equipment for those Americans who had settled in California, although many took time out for a few hours of quiet celebration. On December 24, 1845, Captain John Sutter’s logbook records that a worker completed a pump Continue reading Celebrating Christmas

Mexican-era Christmas

Secularization of the 21 California missions began in 1834, which took mission lands away from the Catholic Church and into the control of private ownership. At Christmastime, however, the centuries-long, deeply engrained and much beloved religious practices and family customs would not be denied.  A few weeks Continue reading Mexican-era Christmas