John McLeod: Overlooked Action Figure

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

Ralph O. Yardley

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 Stockton Historic Maritime Museum

It's hard to forget that Stockton is a seaport city, especially when towering oceangoing vessels regularly enter the port to load up with agricultural goods. But how many people currently remember the city's past as a major West Coast shipbuilding center? And how many can recall the influence that the U.S. Navy has had in San . . . → Read More: The Stockton Historic Maritime Museum

History All Around

Sometimes it's easy to forget that history surrounds us. Look closely, though, and you can see it in structures, bridges, roadways, rivers, and other objects. Each has a story to tell, sometimes reaching back hundreds or thousands of years.

Inside Stockton’s Fox California Theatre, 1932.

San Joaquin County is no exception. Many people don't know that the . . . → Read More: History All Around

Sounds from the Gold Rush Era

Have you ever wondered what the past sounded like? That's right, sounds from the past—before there were cars, airplanes, and radios. Human voices, animals, birds, and nonmotorized vehicles like wagons and carriages dominated the soundscape. But there were also choirs, bands, and pianos, and they sang or played music we don't hear often today.

A time . . . → Read More: Sounds from the Gold Rush Era

Tragedy in Early San Joaquin County

When Charles Weber's partner received a Mexican land grant for Rancho del Campo de los Franceses in what is now central San Joaquin County, he agreed to settle eleven families on the 48,000-acre property. In 1844, herders James Williams and Thomas Lindsay built tule huts and began living near what would later be called Stockton Slough.

Later . . . → Read More: Tragedy in Early San Joaquin County

Stockton the Hero: A Rap Tribute

How could anybody ever forget Commodore Robert F. Stockton (depicted below)? Who? You know, the U.S. naval officer who commanded American forces in California during the Mexican War and served as military governor in 1846 and 1847. Remember now? Remember how Charles M. Weber admired him so much that he named the city of Stockton after . . . → Read More: Stockton the Hero: A Rap Tribute

The Calaveras Schoolhouse Project

Visitors to the San Joaquin County Historical Museum will recognize the image below as a photograph of the Calaveras Schoolhouse, a genuine nineteenth-century structure moved to and currently located at the Museum. The San Joaquin County Historical Society is pleased to announce a grant from Walmart for a new interpretive panel that discusses the school's history, . . . → Read More: The Calaveras Schoolhouse Project

On the Edge

Who says history is boring? Lots of people. All too often, conventional wisdom sees history as a disjointed smattering of names, dates, and battles. Often it has tended to equate the study of history with the accomplishments of males. What often gets overlooked, however, is an expanded definition that includes not only stories of men, but . . . → Read More: On the Edge

Another Look at the Westward Migration

Life can be hard. Life was very hard for many of our ancestors. Last week, I was reminded of this reality when I came across an eighty-page manuscript consisting of transcribed letters between Henry Beers Underhill (1821-1904); an early settler of Stockton, California; his first wife, Harriette Young Fish Underhill (1827-1854); and other family members.

“The . . . → Read More: Another Look at the Westward Migration