Walnut Creek, California In the postwar era, Walnut Creek transformed itself from a pastoral small town into the wealthy enclave east of the Oakland Hills that it is today.
A few words regarding the inspiration for this website. My grandparents were not immigrants and my family did not live in a small walk-up apartment in some downtown borough in the middle of a busy, industrial metropolis. My parents moved to Walnut Creek in 1952. We were raised in the suburbs, away from big city concerns. We commuted. We were white, facing none of the barriers of prejudice and discrimination. I had the advantage of attending free public schools, where I had received the basics of a good education. I was just young enough to avoid being snared by the Vietnam War as the draft was discontinued the year of my high school graduation and the so-called "military action" was finally coming to an end.
Unlike earlier generations, I did not have to follow in the same trade of my father, grandfather or great-grandfathers. My parents generation was truly, the first fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of all the previous generations. Following World War II, America was now the leading industrial power and the G.I Bill provided new opportunities for vocational paths for millions, such as a trade, a craft, or as a technician. As compared to the earliest American generations, we have the freedom to choose our own path without a “by-your-leave request" for permission from the hierarchies of society. Furthermore, we we're never forced to carve out our family's very survival crossing a frontier wilderness, isolated, confronted by attacking hostiles and bearing their children along the way.. Hopefully, we'll never take their sacrifices for granted.
Growing up in Walnut Creek I remember my father hanging in the family den, a large 4’ x 8’ panel of plywood covered with a burnt orange-colored burlap stretched over the surface. He had glued old family photos on it along with a printed double page family tree posted right in the middle. This wall-sized family collage was peppered with various duotone images of long gone bearded patriarchs and turn of the century Oregon family farms. It planted within me a desire to learn more about my family history. Starting with my father’s Xerox copies, scrapbooks, letters and handwritten notes along with the endless megabytes of data provided by the Internet, I have been able to further his endeavor and continued this undertaking for most of my adult life. With great joy and admittedly great pride, I've come across some amazing stories, that I believe are worth sharing.
Davidson Farm, Williams Creek, Josephine County, Oregon circa 1870
In providing my Ancestor's narratives of notable events of their journeys and habitations from England, Scotland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Oregon and finally onto California, the obvious difficulty with such a immense volume of data, was trying to format it into an intelligent arrangement. Religious historians, vast church records and old church meeting minutes, battlefield diaries and wills provided a great number of details and they gives us valuable insight to lives, their beliefs and causes of motivation to break from traditions, family and migrate to a new homesteads.