As an anthropologist, I'm not accustomed to thinking in terms of "firsts." But I was asked by the members of the staff at Madden Library at California State University, Fresno, to compile a list for San Joaquin County as part of an exhibition on "firsts" in the greater San Joaquin Valley.
Bidwell-Bartleson party member Charles M. . . . → Read More: Some San Joaquin County “Firsts”
Why is this man wearing a mask? Is he a gangster? Has he put on a disguise for Halloween? No, he's actually protecting himself from a highly contagious disease.
The year is 1918. The worst of the First World War is over and peace is just around the corner. Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world . . . → Read More: The Masked Banker
How would the history of San Joaquin County have been different without its farm animals? What about now? For more than 150 years, they've played a vital role in the County's way of life. Despite their historic importance, however, cattle, sheep, horses, and other farm animals tend to get overlooked nowadays by a population—especially children—that often . . . → Read More: Critter Corral Opens at Museum
Did you know that early San Joaquin County had two other Charles Webers, in addition to Charles Maria Weber, the founder of Stockton? One bore the name Charles Kimball Weber, and the other, his son, Charles Oscar Weber. Neither man was as wealthy or influential as Stockton's founder, but both owned sizable farms and left respectable . . . → Read More: The Other Charles Webers
How many women motorcyclists can you remember seeing? Not many, I'll wager. My own eyes were opened about five years ago after learning that one of my nieces motorcycled to and from classes each day while attending college in southern California. Every other motorcyclist I see nowadays seems to be female.
Lodi mayor Mabel Richey (right) . . . → Read More: The Lodi Comets
It was a Saturday night and Mama decided to pile us all into the old Plymouth and head off to the Starlight Drive-in to catch a movie. The Starlight was located right off the southbound 99 near Childs Avenue in Merced. I forget what time we made it back, but we were half asleep when Tio . . . → Read More: Papa Was a Bootlegger
Have you ever wondered where McLeod Lake, in downtown Stockton, got its name? I did. If you look at the Museum's earliest map of the Stockton area, which dates from the middle 1840s, you can see this very Scottish name right in the middle of what was then very Hispanic territory. How did this happen?
McLeod . . . → Read More: John McLeod: Overlooked Action Figure
My poor daughter. A lover of animals, she would often ask me as a child to make drawings of them for her. "Daddy," she would say, "draw me a cat." So I would grab my pencil and paper, sit down, and go to it. I don't remember her ever complaining, but her disappointment must have been . . . → Read More: Ralph O. Yardley
"The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day…." So begins "Casey at the Bat," the most famous poem in baseball history. It's the bottom of the ninth as the story begins, with two outs and two runners on base. Then "mighty Casey" steps up to the plate. Will he pull it off? Will the . . . → Read More: Where’s Mudville?
In an earlier blog, I addressed San Joaquin County's lesser-known Chinese-American "potato king," Chin Lung (January 25, 2012). Here's the story of the County's nationally known "potato king," Japanese-American George Shima.
Japanese immigrant Ushijima Seikichi, later known as George Shima, arrived in San Joaquin County in 1889 and worked his way from migrant laborer to farmer in . . . → Read More: George Shima, “Potato King”