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Best Advice: Grandkids, This One’s for You

Best Advice: Grandkids, This One’s for You

FAN asked attendees at the 2014 Tuolumne County Health Fair to share their best advice for their grandchildren.

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The Mystery of Hemingway’s Guns

The Mystery of Hemingway’s Guns

Each new discovery, however small, was exciting – yet none as exciting as holding Hemingway’s guns.

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Maryly Wallof: The View from 96

Maryly Wallof: The View from 96

What’s Maryly Wallof’s secret to amazing vitality at 96? “I stay as active as I can,” she says. “Until I was 93, I didn’t feel like I was aging at all.”

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The Standard Crew: Little Mill Town’s History of Friendship

The Standard Crew: Little Mill Town’s History of Friendship

Lifelong friends recall the little mill town that left its mark in the form of a happy childhood.

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Finding Your Roots: DNA Testing Yields Answers

Finding Your Roots: DNA Testing Yields Answers

“The way your scars are raised and roped tells me that you have either Asian or African background,” the plastic surgeon asserted. “Couldn’t be!” I reacted, looking with him at the healing burns on my arms back in the 1980s.

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Historic Haunts: Exploring the Utica Mansion

Historic Haunts: Exploring the Utica Mansion

At the Utica Mansion, there is more than what first meets the eye.

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Finding Your Roots: Exploring a Rich Italian Heritage

Finding Your Roots: Exploring a Rich Italian Heritage

Cheryl Gandolfo Maddox, a descendant of one of Tuolumne’s pioneer families, shared her family’s story with me. One thought that proudly ran through her conversation: “He came with absolutely nothing but the clothes on his back, and look what he

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I Was a Teen Hobo: Tales from the Rails

I Was a Teen Hobo: Tales from the Rails

Algon Anderson left home at the height of the Great Depression. Just 13, he was among more than 250,000 young Americans who took to the nation’s rails and highways to escape poverty. His six-year journey left an indelible mark – one of compassion.

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Kyle Atkins: Green Men, Mean Men and Three Kids

Kyle Atkins: Green Men, Mean Men and Three Kids

In 1955, eighth-grader Kyle Atkins set off with two buddies on a three-day fishing trip. Instead of fish, they snagged a scary adventure that included flying saucers, commie spies, aliens and a dead man.

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The View from 101: Bob Darling

The View from 101: Bob Darling

Who needs a bucket list if you’ve faced the Yankees in Boston’s Fenway Park?  Or put your arms around Marlene Dietrich? Bob Darling reflects on a century lived to the fullest.

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Lost Lode of the Sierra

Lost Lode of the Sierra

Stories of hidden wealth in our foothills have fascinated professional and amateur treasure hunters alike, but Tuolumne County’s Lost Lode of the Sierra has managed to escape notice and elude the pages of history for more than 100 years. Just

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The View from 98: Audrey Sweat

It’s 1923 and picture perfect. Two little girls in ruffles and bows pose with a handsome young man in a starched, striped shirt. It’s Audrey Payne and her sister, Claudine, smiling for the camera with their dad. In real life, things

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Finding Your Roots: Pioneer Spanish families in California

A tattered old pamphlet with a handwritten index on its stapled cover caught my eye at the De Ferrari Archive in Sonora. I was working with the remarkable collection amassed and donated by County Historian Carlo De Ferrari. Who wrote

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Finding Your Roots: Searching for Sons and Daughters of Our Military Ancestors

Finding Your Roots: Searching for Sons and Daughters of Our Military Ancestors

We have many records available in the search for our military ancestors, but what of their sons and daughters?  What of the children who were born and died while their families accompanied their British-soldier fathers to battle?   Although this isn’t

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Centenarians Reveal What Matters Most

Centenarians Reveal What Matters Most

“Thank you for all your years,” event emcee Cathie Peacock told the crowd at a late October luncheon. “Your talent, your wisdom and your expertise have served as an example for others to follow.” Those years tallied in the thousands,

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Gold Strikes, Swindles and Wild Doings

Gold Strikes, Swindles and Wild Doings

In the realm of swindles, scams and backsliding chicanery, it is generally agreed that the following episodes were the Old West’s biggest gold mine frauds of the 19th Century. While one of these stories took place in Calaveras County and

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Portal to History: Excerpts from Upcoming De Ferrari Book are Rich in Drama, Humor, Lore

Portal to History: Excerpts from Upcoming De Ferrari Book are Rich in Drama, Humor, Lore

More than five years ago, Carlo De Ferrari began jotting down a few stories about his family. “I wanted to leave something about us for my nieces and nephews,” says the 89-year-old De Ferrari, Tuolumne County’s official historian. “I thought

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Memories of Wash Day and Flaming Irons

By Lou Allie Heath Why Mama chose Thursday, though Grandma on a nearby farm always washed on Mondays, I could never understand. I thought the weather should be the main consideration but not my mom or grandma. Rain or shine,

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Lou Allie Heath: A Country Girl’s Life in 488 Pages

Lou Allie Heath: A Country Girl’s Life in 488 Pages

“I didn’t write it because I thought I was special,” says 101-year-old Lou Allie Heath of her two-volume memoir. “I had just an ordinary country girl’s life.” Lou Allie was born into a farm family on Nov. 6, 1910, in

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Finding Your Roots: ‘The Hunter’s Dream’

Finding Your Roots: ‘The Hunter’s Dream’

Returning from my 18-month Family History mission in Utah, I walked into the Carlo M. DeFerrari Archive in Sonora wondering, “What’s new?”  Directly in front of me was a huge painting called “The Hunter’s Dream.” To my left were several

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Gold Rush History: 49er Scams Exposed

Gold Rush History: 49er Scams Exposed

Those who have dug gold in the Mother Lode – day after day for hours on end – know just how hard it is for a placer miner to earn an honest living, which is probably why so many 49ers

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Love After 50: Michael and Genevieve Kvidera

Love After 50: Michael and Genevieve Kvidera

Their 1950s love story went something like this: Genevieve was shy and quiet. She fell hard for Michael, an older boy who had a mature manner and a great smile. Their dates involved a lot of walks and talks –

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Gold Rush History: A Land of Golden Opportunities & World-Class Hoaxes

California has always been part reality and part fantasy. Since the days of the Gold Rush, it has been known as the land of infinite opportunity – and home to some of the world’s greatest hoaxes. A classic instance of

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Eva Savateer: My Secret … For Living to 100

Eva Savateer: My Secret … For Living to 100

“I can’t say for sure, but just keep working. Just go along, do what you can do, and be happy.”

~ Sonora native Eva Bonavia Savateer

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Finding Your Roots: Applauding Local Historians

Finding Your Roots: Applauding Local Historians

Genealogy miracles small and large have been experienced by most family history researchers … and recently, I watched one unfold. Have you ever bumped into a good friend while in a distant city – what a thrill to see them

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Finding Your Roots: Great Gains in Digital Access

Finding Your Roots: Great Gains in Digital Access

What a great time to be a genealogist! The records being collected and digitized are appearing online faster than we can keep track of them. At the time of this writing, there are 475 collections on beta.familysearch.org, and several more will

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From the Trail of Tears to the Mother Lode

From the Trail of Tears to the Mother Lode

It was called “nu na hi du na tlo hi lu I” or the “Trail Where They Cried.” In 1838, the U.S. government forced nearly 20,000 Cherokees from their homes in Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas and several other states under

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Cherokee Wolves Share Native Traditions and Culture

Cherokee Wolves Share Native Traditions and Culture

“When I was a little girl my mother would not allow me to tell anyone I was Cherokee because people would look down on you,” says red-headed, blue-eyed Millie Batchelor. “But,” she adds, “I’ve been proud of it all my

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The View From 101: Erma Giussi

The View From 101: Erma Giussi

“Overalls! Oh my Lord,” says Erma  Giussi. “You had to wash every day or you’d never keep up.” From her cozy Sonora living room, Erminia Paradisa Girardi Giussi is looking back to 1926 where she can still see herself washing

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Adventures on the Wind: Balloonist Bob Kinsinger

Adventures on the Wind: Balloonist Bob Kinsinger

Bob Kinsinger always intended to be a world traveler. It’s a passion he has nurtured his whole life. Now 87, the retired university and foundation administrator has crisscrossed the globe dozens of times – very often floating slowly beneath a

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Finding Your Roots: Poorhouse Records

Finding Your Roots: Poorhouse Records

“If you don’t stop wasting, you’ll land me in the poorhouse!” was a phrase that many of us who were Depression babies grew up hearing. Poorhouses have been with us for hundreds of years – and many people have been

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Gold Rush History: Lost Gold Mines of the Sierra Nevada

Was he a talented treasure hunter or the crazy son of an English lord? Only Thomas Stoddart knew for sure.

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The View From 100: Holly Rice

The View From 100: Holly Rice

‘We cut weeds, worked on the roads or cleaned out the rivers. Each of us would get just a little work, a few days at a time, and then someone else would get the work. Can’t even remember how much they paid us. Just some kind of money.’

— Holly Rice on work during the Depression years

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College Apology Spotlights Lessons of Injustice

College Apology Spotlights Lessons of Injustice

By Deanna Maurer and Suzy Hopkins A few months ago Joe and Amy Haratani, seated next to 26 empty chairs, were stunned to find themselves receiving a standing ovation from a Modesto Junior College graduation crowd. The thunderous applause was

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Sonora Elementary Music Federation, 1946

Sonora Elementary Music Federation, 1946

This photo appears in the Autumn 2010 issue of Friends and Neighbors courtesy of Fran Trout of Sonora, along with a story about longtime educator Dario Cassino. The names of each of the students, also provided by Fran Trout, follow:

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Triumphant End of a 40-Year Genealogical Journey

Triumphant End of a 40-Year Genealogical Journey

Blanche Aphecetche has completed a remarkable genealogical trek that spans several continents and countries, and details the lives of the lives of hundreds of relatives from Shakespeare’s time to the 21st Century. The result: five huge volumes of family history

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The View from 98: Camille ‘Mickey’ Nichols

The View from 98: Camille ‘Mickey’ Nichols

“I was a happy-go-lucky girl.” Mickey Nichols is relaxing into the story of her 98 years. Orioles are visiting the feeder outside her living room, and she’s comfortable in an easy chair. Her memory is excellent, so there’s a lot

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Finding Your Roots: Helpful Databases

Finding Your Roots: Helpful Databases

Thanks to the generosity of our Tuolumne County Archivist, Charlie Dyer, I am holding in my hands a real treasure – more valuable than gold! I realize that saying such a thing in the Mother Lode is like swearing in

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Timeline: Hospital History

1849 – First hospital in Sonora opens in a tent near today’s Courthouse Square. Attending physician paid $8 a day. 1851 – New hospital established near old Roman Catholic church (SE corner of Norlin and Jackson streets); special tax levied;

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Remembering Old Tuolumne General

Remembering Old Tuolumne General

Tuolumne General Medical Facility was originally called Tuolumne County Hospital. The county-run, taxpayer-funded hospital played an important role in Sonora’s early history.

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A Look Back at X-Rays and Early Lab Days

A Look Back at X-Rays and Early Lab Days

In the 1950s and ’60s, two brothers were Tuolumne County’s entire workforce of laboratory and X-ray technicians: Jack and Jim Rucker. “Jack moved here in the late 1940s and was putting in 100 hours a week and getting kind of

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Finding Your Roots: Native American Ancestry

Finding Your Roots: Native American Ancestry

Your ancestry is Native American and you want to find your ancestral records. Your parents and grandparents have told you stories, but you wonder where to go from there. Perhaps the following will be of help to you and Myrtle

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The View from 100: Emmalou Olson

The View from 100: Emmalou Olson

“Mother didn’t fool around when it came to having her children,” says Emmalou Olson, recounting the story of her dramatic and premature arrival in 1910. She was expected to appear in April, but instead chose the pre-dawn hours of February

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The View From 100: Lurline Bird

“Find something you love to do and just keep on doing it.” That’s the secret to her happiness, says retired schoolteacher Lurline Bird, who turns 100 years old in October and has been happy for every one of them. “It’s

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Finding Your Roots: Tasty Clues to Heritage

Chocolate gravy … holopchi … taties … beaver tails. What do the foregoing have in common and how on earth could they be clues to your ancestry? At family gatherings, big or small, conversation usually gets around to “remember when…”

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Chapters of Life: Blackout in War-Torn England

By George Sharrard One night just after blackout restrictions came into play, the family held a discussion. There was no need to anticipate what the subject would be: A few rolls of three-quarter-inch masking tape were in full sight close

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Gold Rush History, Vigilantes: Problem or Solution?

When vigilance committees first appeared in Tuolumne County, they were surprisingly organized, professional,fair-minded groups made up of respectable citizens.

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Memories of Summerville Elementary, 1918-1926

By Tom Dahl We moved to Tuolumne in 1917, and I started school here the next year. Mrs. Hill was my first-grade teacher. She was a pretty elderly woman, a good teacher but strict. A couple of boys would get

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Finding Your Roots: Names

Think about it. When you meet someone, what is the first thing you do?  You’re right – you exchange names. How about your pet? I’ll bet it has a name. The city you live in, the grocery store where you

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Chapters of life: Love and loss in the Throes of WWII

By Shirley Singley After graduating from high school, Bobby enlisted in the Army Air Force. When we met, he was just waiting to be called up. He had a good paying job, but his dream was to be a fighter

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