Gold Country Tour

By Eilene Lyon After completing my archive research in California (Huntington Library, Bancroft Library, and the California Historical Society), it was time to do some gold rush sight-seeing. My first stop was the Wells Fargo branch on Montgomery in downtown San Francisco. This city owes its explosive growth directly to the gold rush. Wells Fargo... Continue Reading →

St. Anthony’s Fire

Week 22: #52 Ancestors – At the Cemetery By Eilene Lyon There is a cemetery in New Orleans that I have not seen, and probably never will. Why? Because there are no grave markers, and the buried remains are merely a bony tangle in the delta silt. Still, it is hallowed ground. This is the... Continue Reading →

Drake Family Chronicles

Week 14: #52 Ancestors – Brick Wall By Eilene Lyon Background For this project, I decided to write about my 4th great-grandparents, Samuel and Eliza Drake of Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland. It turned mammoth, so I’ve split it into three parts. I long ago determined that these are the parents of Eliza Jane Halse... Continue Reading →

The Huntington

Week 5: #52 Ancestors – At the Library By Eilene Lyon Before she died, my great-grandmother, Clara Ransom Davis, made a priceless (at least to me) donation to the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Why she chose the Huntington -- not the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley, the California Historical Society, or the... Continue Reading →

A Photographic Mystery

Week 52: #52 Ancestors – Resolution By Eilene Lyon I suspect this is a problem with no resolution to be found. But I decided to pitch it on the blog in hopes that someone, somewhere, has the key. Ten men left Trenton, Indiana, on March 10, 1851 to seek their fortunes in California. Only nine... Continue Reading →

Solving a 166-Year-Old Crime (revised)

By Eilene Lyon Introduction I posted the original version of this story on September 13, 2018. Briefly, it involves the 1851 – 1852 partnership between Elias D. Pierce, William S. Good, and Paris S. Pfouts in Siskiyou County, California. Pierce suggested that William Good took off with the company’s assets worth $40,000. I didn’t believe... Continue Reading →

A Sad Situation

Week 46: #52 Ancestors – Random Fact By Eilene Lyon “Benjamin Hull Jones, a native of Ohio, became dissipated, and by accident shot away a large portion of his face.” I found that statement more random and shocking than anything I’ve come across in my decades of research. When I began examining the life of... Continue Reading →

The 15-lb Nugget

Week 38: #52 Ancestors – Unusual Source By Eilene Lyon I’ve written quite a few posts about unusual sources, because I’m always pursuing juicy leads, like a dogged investigative reporter on the trail of the latest Trump scandal. I’ve listed some of these at the end. Please check them out! For this week’s prompt, I... Continue Reading →

“The Picturesque West”

By Eilene Lyon I stopped into the Friends of the Library book shop earlier this week. Check out this book I was so delighted to find – for the grand price of $4.00! As many of you are aware, I am working on a non-fiction book set during the California gold rush. This stout hardcover... Continue Reading →

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