5 Things You Should Know About California’s 19th Century Maritime History

California is my home state. (Ironic, that I study the history of Virginia for Civil War studies, eh?) California played a significant role in 19th Century American Maritime History. Part of California’s role had to do with its location.

West Coast of the United States, bordered by the Pacific Ocean.

When California was a Mexican province, its people started welcoming the American merchant ships. When California became a state in 1850, the gold rush brought thousands to the west coast. California’s location also made it a gateway state for immigrants and a last port before a ship set off across the Pacific Ocean.

Today we’ve rounded up five important aspects of California’s maritime history of the 19th Century. We’re keeping it simple for the sake of time, but feel free to add comments if you have more information to contribute. Continue reading

With Gladness: California Ranchos


California is my native state. I was born, raised, and still live here. It’s sort of ironic that the focus of my history studies are on places, events, and people thousands of miles away…especially when I have such wonderful history “in my own backyard.” What can I say?

Truly, I appreciate and enjoy California history, so when I was planning the short stories to write and feature in With Gladness, I knew I wanted one of the stories to be set on a California Rancho. The “classic era” of the California Ranchos was during the 1820’s and 1830’s, but I set the story in 1848. Why? It was a time of conflict and change.

Today’s blog post explores more of the history behind the short story “A Light In The Window.” Continue reading

Gazette665’s After-Action Conference Report (West Coast) — Emerging Civil War

Here’s a report on Gazette665’s Civil War History Conference. (Article originally published on Emerging Civil War.)

Perhaps in the last few months, you’ve seen the announcements regarding a new Civil War History Conference in Southern California? The event took place yesterday (Saturday, June 4th) and was attended by about 60 people who enjoyed it with positive enthusiasm. Hosted by Gazette665 and coordinated by Sarah Kay Bierle (ECW member), the conference focused on the first […]

via Gazette665’s After-Action Conference Report (West Coast) — Emerging Civil War

CA History ‘Round The Town: Butterfield Stage

Last year a friend and I were talking about California History, communication, and stage coaches. We got curious and started looking for the old stagecoach routes here in California, and then, being a little obsessed with history, we started figuring out if the old stagecoach route could be traced and “recreated” on modern roads. And indeed I could pretty much drive the Butterfield stage route between our homes (and someday I might do that and document my adventure!) The Butterfield Stage line really did come right through my home town – so I’ve really got a nice piece of history in “my backyard.”

And, of course, a street named after it…

Butterfield Stage Road Continue reading

California History ‘Round The Town: General Kearny

I’m a little ashamed to say that the first thing I usually think of when I drive down General Kearney Street is “Yeah, he was the general who lost the Battle of San Pasqual.” While that is true, I’ve enjoyed learning more about this American military man and his role in the Mexican-American War and the settlement of the Southwest. So…now I’ll have some more positive thing to review as I’m driving on this “country” road.

General Kearney Stree

Continue reading

CA History ‘Round The Town: Jedidiah Smith

Recently, we’ve discussed two Spanish explorers who discovered routes into California. Today we’ll jump forward a few decades on the timeline to find an American who crossed into California from the east…and created a quandary for Mexican government ruling California at the time.

And, of course, there’s a street named for this American in early California History. Jedidiah Smith Road.Jedidiah Smith Road Continue reading