The California-Nevada Chapter of the Oregon- California Trails Association held a Spring Symposium in Quincy, CA on April 29, 30 and May 1, 2011.
The Chapter Board of Directors met on Friday afternoon from 1:00 to 4:30. This was followed by a hospitality reception at the Plumas County Museum from 5:00 to 6:00.
The Saturday Symposium was at the Plumas County Fairgrounds, Mineral Room. It started off with a continental breakfast followed by a Chapter General Membership Meeting, lunch and speakers featuring the Beckwourth Trail and early history of the railroad. Dinner was also provided along with an evening program, awards presentation and silent auction.
SCOTT LAWSON, Director Plumas County Museum
Scott J. Lawson is a fifth generation native of Plumas County, California, his ancestors finding roots here in the 1850’s. Scott’s life-long love of the outdoors and local and regional history is a perfect fit for his position as Director of the Plumas County Museum in Quincy, California. He enjoys hiking, especially when it involves locating and tracing out mining ditches, old trails and wagon roads. A graduate of California State University, Chico, Lawson has also spent time gold mining, working as a logger, edited four books and authored five. He has had articles printed in a number of publications, including California Territorial and California Historian. In the early 1990’s he assisted Andy and Joanne Hammond with their efforts to map the Beckwourth Emigrant Trail and working on several more books on local history.
TOM DeMUND, Author
Tom DeMund heard of Jim Beckwourth from hiking in the Sierra Mountains of California. Tom and his wife spend summers in the Sierra living in a log house not far from Beckwourth’s old ranch. In Tom’s award winning hiking book, Feather River Country Adventure Trails, some of the 101 hikes he describes are to places named for Jim ( a peak, a valley, and a trail). Because four of the hikes in his book were along portions of the Beckwourth Emigrant Trail, Tom got to know a little bit about Jim’s inspirational life. It had been many years since anyone had written much about Beckwourth so Tom decided to do a modern version of Jim’s biography. To do so, he followed Jim’s footsteps throughout the country, first to Virginia to the plantation where Jim was born, then to St. Louis where he spent his young adult years, and finally to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada and various parts of California, all of which were places Jim had once lived. In each location Tom visited historical libraries and museums doing biographical research. Tom’s biography on Jim Beckwourth, From Slave to Superstar of the Wild West, has won eleven awards including the bronze award for “Book of the Year” from Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. After graduating from Stanford University, Tom worked in commercial real estate for many years. Now retired, he has been able to spend lots of time doing the research and writing about this Wild West superstar.
DAN ELLIOTT, Forest Archaeologist/Heritage Program Manager – Plumas National Forest
Dan Elliott is a professional archaeologist with 30 years of experience in the field and holds a BA and MA from California State University, Chico. He has particularly strong interest in California Gold Rush archaeology and railroad logging systems. Dan has worked for the US Forest Service for nearly 25 years including time on the Shasta-Trinity, Stanislaus and the Plumas National Forests. He has served as an Archaeologist, Historian and Tribal Relations Program Manager for the Forest Service and is currently the lead Forest Archaeologist for the Plumas National Forest. For hobbies he enjoys classical music, riding his Harley Davidson, and terrorizing small children and the elderly.
WAYNE MONGER, Feather River Rail Society
Wayne Monger is a 3rd. generation Californian who lives with his wife Lynda in Suisun City. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Wayne graduated with a B.A. in Geology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1980 then got his California Teaching Credentials in Math and Physical Science from California State University, Chico in 1988. Wayne’s life-long interest in California and Western U.S. (mining, transportation, and native peoples) History – and especially the Feather River Country – is thanks to his dad Ivor J. Monger, who worked for the Western Pacific Railroad in the Feather River Canyon after WWII. Wayne is a charter life member of the Feather River Rail Society, parent organization to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California and the Western Pacific Railroad Historical Society. Wayne has had six separate multi-media presentations at the annual Winterail Photography Exposition in Stockton, California. Wayne has also served as editor of the monthly Western Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad news columns for news magazines CTC Board and Pacific Rail News over a span of 15 years.
Sunday morning included a special opening for symposium attendees at the Plumas County Museum and an auto tour of historical significance in the Quincy area.