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

Feasts at the Fort

John Sutter’s wilderness trading post attracted a number of adventurers. By August 1840 he could boast that he had 20 men in his employ, at a time when his settlement was hardly more than a way-station. He arranged fur trapping brigades, and hired clerks, cooks, blacksmiths, and other tradesmen.  Over the years 1839 – 1849, the cooks at Sutter’s Fort included William Daylor, John Continue reading Feasts at the Fort

The Rise of Sutter’s Fort

John Sutter landed along the banks of the American River in August 1839, accompanied by a small, but loyal crew of Hawaiians and Germans he hired during his sojourn in the Islands.  The first order of business was to construct shelter. About a mile south of the river landing place, on a knoll that rose above the flat valley floor, the Hawaiian workmen constructed a Continue reading The Rise of Sutter’s Fort

Christmas in Mexican California

Secularization of the California missions (taking control away from the Catholic Church in favor of private ownership) began in 1834, after the Mexican government decided that they could no longer afford to support the mission system. At Christmastime, however, the centuries-long, deeply ingrained and much beloved Continue reading Christmas in Mexican California