As I mentioned before, my Mom found and gave me an old cedar box with a bunch of old newspaper clipping in it. Most of these clippings are just random ag related news stories from the 1950’s but I did find some treasures, including some obituaries and stories about the Ranch. One of the obituaries I found was for Helen May Wilson (aka Helen Lucas), my great great great grandmother.
Until I found this obituary, I had researched as far as I could go on the Wilson side of my family. I did not know her Parents’ names, or how she got to Chico, California. Helen’s obituary filled in some big holes I had in my family tree. It also created a lot more work for me! Now that I know who her Parents were and where they came from, I can continue on my crazy “where I come from” journey.
James and Julia both were born in New York State in 1832 and 1842, respectively. James served in an Illinois regiment in the Civil War. From Illinois, they found their way to Missouri. They traveled to California via a covered wagon. They had nine children, and out of those nine, seven lived. I know all the names of their seven living children, and when I have some free time (ha ha ha ha, free time), I plan on trying to plot out their family tree’s in hopes of finding more of my distant family members.
Turns out Helen’s Parents, James and Julia came to California when Helen was five years old from Missouri. From Missouri they moved to Ventura County where James ran a large dairy. From Ventura Country they moved to Chico and built and operated the Economy Store. In 1896, they bought 160 acres on the Doe Mill Ridge near Forest Ranch, California.
I’ve recently started visiting our local cemeteries to find my family members. It’s an incredible feeling to still be in the same town that my great, great, great, great grandparents helped settle and build. I’ve always felt very connected to this area, and I love my town. I guess this explains it.
I know a lot of my family intermarried with other old Chico families. There is no doubt in my mind that I have lot of family still in Chico that I have never met and don’t know about. Chances are high that I am related to some of my local friends and don’t even know it! I think because I am an only child, and I don’t have a relationship with most of my family (because of the Ranch, death, land, jealously, money, bitterness, and alcohol. Sounds fun, huh?) finding family members that don’t hate me, or want to kill me, is very important to me.