Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: Echoes From the Past

This book I checked out from the Manteca library.  It is written by General John Bidwell (he was Captain during the Mexican American War and general of the California Militia during the Civil War.

I was very impressed with this book, which is actually a series of three articles which he wrote and were first published in the Century Magazine.  He was one of the first American settlers of California.   However I have noted that it is available online.

John Bidwell emigrated in 1841, saying his group was the first to come over the Sierra Mountains into California.  His party went up the East side of the Sierras at Walker River, and then followed the Stanislaus River which brought them to the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Rivers, pretty much in our front yard, only three miles away.  He tells of many harrowing experiences along the trail.

They first went to the home of Dr. Henry Marsh, an American settler.  [He was not a real doctor.]  He then tells of his early life in California.  He spent some time in jail, before getting a visa.  He worked with John Sutter and talks about how Sutter got his start in California.  The other articles include life before the Gold where he talks of the discovery of gold. He and a Californio had figured there was gold, and were going to look together.  However this plan came to nothing when his friend was caught and hung carrying papers during a revolt.  [This was an internal Mexican revolt with a change of the governor of California.]

He also has an article describing the events surrounding the Bear Flag Revolt and the Mexican American War.  He down plays the role of William Ide and puts the credit on John Fremont.  He did participate in the retaking of L.A.

This book gives a gives a general description of California History, 1841 though 1849.

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