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Disaster and Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush through the Civil War Paperback – March 1, 2012
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Such dauntless women played significant roles in California history even before Mexico ceded it to the United States in 1848. Now Cheryl Anne Stapp, a fine historian and gifted writer, has given them deserved remembrance in this highly readable new book on six women who left examples of courage, independence and survivability that are little known and worthy of practice today. She writes about the people and events of early California as if she were there in a former life.
The author's stories of exceptional women begin with Elizabeth Jane Cloud Baiz Wimmer, better known as "Jennie," the camp cook and laundress at Coloma, site of the 1848 gold discovery. Jennie later laid claim to being the true finder because she boiled in her soap kettle the nugget Marshall found and pronounced it gold. Her declaration touched off the human tsunami known as the Gold Rush.
To keep the reader's attention, the author follows with Donner Party survivor Dorothea Wilfinger Zins who withstood months of sub-freezing temperatures and starvation in the high Sierra Nevada after her husband was allegedly killed by Indians. Soon after her rescue, the undaunted Dorothea found a new husband and together they created several enterprises, including the production of 40,000 bricks for structures at Sutter's Fort and the new city of Sacramento. On her headstone are the words "She is not dead but sleepeth.Read more ›
I was struck by these strong risk takers, the hardships endured, their constant pregnancies, their children who didn't survive or who died way too young such as Nellie Waterhouse Councilman, age 24, who died five days after giving birth to her first child-the irony being that her mother was a successful midwife. However, Nellie was in the Nevada Territory and her mother was in Sacramento. It was fascinating to see how they adapted to the rough and tumble world of early Sacramento, and how they helped their men make a living whether running a borarding house or making bricks. Sacramento had a history of burning down, being flooded out, and yet these women would rebuild their lives, reinvent themselves, and keep contributing to the building of society.
Ms. Stapp's writing makes these women and their times come alive and greatly adds to the reader's understanding of this important period of CA history.Read more ›
Cheryl Anne Stapp's Sacramento history, Disaster and Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush Through the Civil War, provides us many well-detailed insights into the lives of women in Gold Rush Sacramento. We watch the discovery of gold with Jennie Wimmer and James Marshall. We follow the path of German-born Dorothea Zins as she and husband George battle the devastating flood of 1850 which put most of the new city under water. We track Mary Zabriskie Johnson's life as she sees her husband, J. Neely Johnson, inaugurated as the fourth governor of California. Together with her husband, Margaret Frink comes to California from Indiana on the Overland Trail. She develops a successful life of real estate and agricultural development. Lavinia Waterhouse plays a dual role as a water cure practitioner and a midwife. We observe Margaret Crocker, the wife of Edwin Crocker, the railroad lawyer, involved in many philanthropic works, including the founding of the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento.
Ms. Stapp gives women a voice and place in the male-dominated world of Gold Rush California. Through her careful narration we follow these women as they overcome pestilence, disaster and hardship to found the most dynamic state in the American West. Cheryl Stapp weaves the important legacies of these women into the everyday life of Sacramento in the 1850's. This book fascinates on many levels. We experience and appreciate the woman's world of the California Gold Rush.
-Virginia Grossenbacher also writes historical fiction and book reviews as Liz Allenby
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved it. Good for research.about the Sacramento area during the civil war. Lots of well known names in the areaPublished on December 6, 2013 by Maryann Allen
This book makes history come alive, particularly on a subject rarely written about. Women were not the subject of everyday reporting in the lat 1800's and their contributions to... Read morePublished on November 25, 2013 by Mury2598
Thank you, Cheryl Stapp, for a detailed book that includes not only well-researched historical facts, but the human element as well. Read morePublished on February 15, 2013 by Reba Dean