California History

My great grandmother, Ida Ella Roberts Jones, was a member of the exclusive Covered Wagon Babies’ Club organized in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel during California’s Diamond (75th) Jubilee in 1925.

She was born in a covered wagon June 5, 1861, at Sweetwater, Montana Territory (now Wyoming) after her parents left Missouri in a train of 60 ox-drawn wagons.

The family settled in Butte County, California. In 1883 she married Davis R. Jones of Cherokee and they established a cattle ranch at Pentz where they reared 10 children. Their first born was my grandmother Laura. (Davis Jones died at age 33 in 1916.)

The administration building of Butte College (California) stands on the site of their farmhouse.

The covered wagon baby, Ida Roberts Jones, died at age 89 on July 17, 1950. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Pioneer Cemetery in Cherokee, California.

Laura Jones Richards’ first born was my father, A.M. Richards Jr., who introduced me to California history. Eventually, I compiled and published A Traveler’s Guide to Historic California. This 800-page book includes an index and 183 photos.

WhatHistoric California sets my book apart from others is that it groups historical plaques in neighboring areas giving directions, addresses, and for remote sites, Global Positioning System (GPS) locations. I personally visited each site to verify its location.

Part I guides you to historical plaques in 58 counties and includes 138 maps and translation of Spanish place names.

Part II, an introduction to California history, offers a California quiz, state symbols, and chronological lists of flags flown over California, capitals and governors, explorers and expeditions; pueblos and missions; pioneer trails, major wagon train parties, profiles of prominent pioneers; gold discoveries and mining camps, and 1849 Constitutional Convention delegates.

Test your knowledge of California geography on my next post.


About Lynne Schaefer

Lynne Schaefer has written two newspaper columns ("The Schussboomer" about skiing in California, and "Notes from Lynne's Journal" about Oregon wildlife); travel and garden articles for regional magazines copy for DVD tours of the High Desert Museum and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, both in Bend, Oregon. She has published three non-fiction books, A Traveler's Guide to Historic California, Christmas Trivia Quiz, and His Daughter's Remembrance.
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