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

Stockton Rural Cemetery Celebrates 150 Years

Monument at grave of David S. Terry, Stockton Rural Cemetery.

Whoever said "dead men don't tell tales" must have never visited a cemetery. As any local historian can attest, the tombstones and monuments of the deceased actually do tell stories. In fact, they stand as some of the richest sources for biography and local history anywhere . . . → Read More: Stockton Rural Cemetery Celebrates 150 Years

Charles M. Weber Desecrates a Flag

Where have the past four years gone? I don't know about you, but it seems to me that the last presidential campaign never ended. So here we sit, two and one-half months from the next election, as the presidential candidates swing at each other and the war of words escalates. Could political emotions get much hotter?

. . . → Read More: Charles M. Weber Desecrates a Flag

Hollywood and San Joaquin County

Illustration from 1884 edition of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Last year, I joined three other San Joaquin County archivists one cool winter day for lunch in a downtown Stockton park. Our interests often converge and the conversation moved from one subject to another. Then it turned to movies and television programs filmed locally—either . . . → Read More: Hollywood and San Joaquin County