Sacramento is the capital city of California and we’re happy to announce that we’re adding The Sacramento Bee to our archives. The Bee is the longest-running newspaper in Sacramento’s history and the flagship paper of McClatchy, the second-largest local news company in the U.S. James McClatchy was an Irish immigrant and young journalist when the lure of the California Gold Rush brought him West. He became the second editor of TheBee, taking over just days after the paper began publication in 1857.
California was part of Mexican territory until the 1848
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo annexed California as part of the United States. In
1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, about 45 miles outside of
Sacramento, thousands converged
in the area. Many of them passed
through Sacramento and the city experienced tremendous growth.
Occasionally we come across an old newspaper story that is
so amazing, we can’t help but wonder if it’s really true. This
story about Civil War soldier Otis H. Burton seems to fall into that
category. After a little fact-checking, however, all available records seem to
support this sweet love story. With all the heavy news lately, sit back and enjoy
this 19th-century tale with miraculous twists and a happy ending!
Otis H. Burton was born in Bangor, Maine in 1837. As a young
man, he decided to move west and seek his fortune. He ended up in Missouri
where he fell in love with an accomplished young woman named Susan Mary Payne.
Before he had a chance to profess his love to her, she moved to another state.
They soon lost touch.
About this time, the Civil War broke out and Otis enlisted
in the 25th Missouri Regiment of the Union Army. While serving
in the war, he was severely wounded and not expected to survive. He wrote a farewell
letter to his mother but against all odds, he eventually recovered. After
feeling well enough to rejoin his regiment, Otis
joined them on a mission to transport supplies across the plains. During
the journey, a band of Native Americans attacked the party, killing everyone in
the company except for Otis, who received severe wounds.
Otis was taken prisoner and led back to the tribe’s mountain
home in the Southwest. He gradually recovered from his wounds, adapted to his
new surroundings, and started to gain the trust of his captors. All the while
he was looking for an opportunity to escape.
One day, after about six months in captivity, tribe members returned
to camp with several stolen ponies. Otis observed the horses and noticed
one that was of a high breed and showed promise for speed and endurance.
Otis cared for the horse, petting and feeding the animal. Eventually, they
allowed him to ride the horse.
During one ride, Otis ventured out further than usual. Seizing
the opportunity, he took off at top speed, riding furiously with his captors in
close pursuit. Finally evading them, Otis rode
hard for three days before finally clearing hostile territory.
In the distance, Otis saw smoke rising from the chimney of a
small house. He shouted for joy, glad to finally be free. He approached the house
and made his way to the door. After knocking, the door opened and there
stood Susan Mary Payne, his love from Missouri. After the initial shock,
Susan shared her story. She had married a Confederate
officer, Joseph L. Robey, who was killed during the war. She was now living
alone. Otis shared his story and the two happily reunited. They started to
rebuild the relationship began so many years earlier in Missouri.
When the residents of Frank went to bed the night of April
28, 1903, they had no idea of the power of nature about to be unleashed in
their town. At 4:10 a.m. on the morning of April 29th, a loud
rumbling awakened them. The sound was reportedly heard by residents living
nearly 100 miles away. An avalanche of rock broke free from the mountain and
careened down, traveling over 180 miles per hour. It
reached the valley floor in just 100 seconds.
Three young girls were among the survivors, dug out alive
hours after the slide. Sadly, their parents and brothers perished in the
disaster. The three sisters were adopted by separate families and reunited
for the first time in 41 years in 1944. The bodies of most of those killed
remain buried under tons of rock in Frank, and the scar from the rockslide serves
as a visible reminder of the tragedy that occurred 117 years ago this month.
We are pleased to announce that we’ve added the Breese
Journal to our archives! Breese, Illinois, is located in Clinton County
in South Central Illinois. We have issues dating back to 1923
when Breese had a population of around 2,000. The headlines back then announced
the installation of the town’s first
stop signs and plans to build
a sewer system (although according to this
clipping outhouses were still around for another 35 years!)
The city of Breese was founded in 1855 and settled in part
immigrants who were drawn to the area’s fertile farmland. It was named
after Sidney Breese, a senator and contemporary to Abraham Lincoln. The city is
located about 40 miles from downtown St. Louis, so if you have ancestors from
Eastern Missouri you might
find them mentioned in this paper.
Have you received your invitation
to complete the 2020 Census yet? In 1790, about one year after George
Washington was inaugurated, the United States conducted
its first census. Since that time, the government has conducted a census every
ten years. These decennial census records provide a historical snapshot of
families and are key records for genealogical research. Check out some of the
headlines surrounding the census over the years and find out what made each
1790: Enumerators gathered the name of head of
of free white males 16 years and older; number of free white males under 16;
number of free white females; number of all other free persons; number of
slaves; and sometimes town
or district of residence.
of head of household; number of free white males and females broken down
into age categories; number of free white persons except Indians not taxed
(Native Americans are referred to as Indians throughout these early records);
number of slaves; town or district
and county of residence.
1840: Name of head of household; number of free white
males and females broken down into age categories; the name of a slave owner
and the number of slaves owned by that person; the number of male and female
slaves and free “colored” persons by age categories; the number of foreigners
(not naturalized); the number of deaf, dumb, and blind persons within a
household; town or district, and county of residence. For
the first time, the 1840 census asked the ages of Revolutionary War
pensioners and the number of individuals
engaged in mining, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, trade, and the
navigation of oceans, lakes, and canals. Questions relating to education and
learned professionals were also included.
1850: For the first time in 1850, enumerators recorded
the name of every person in the household. Also included were: age; sex;
color; birthplace; occupation of males over 15; value of real estate; whether
married within the previous year; whether deaf-mute, blind, insane or
“idiotic”; whether able to read or write for individuals over age 20; and
whether the person attended school within the previous year. In addition, the
1850 and 1860 Federal Censuses included Slave
Schedules that recorded age, sex, and color, and whether the slave was a
fugitive, freed, deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic. However, the name of
the slave was often omitted.
1860: Names of every person in the household;
age; sex; color; birthplace; occupation of persons over age 15; value of real
estate; whether married in previous year; deaf, dumb, blind, insane, a pauper, or
a convict; whether able to read or speak English; whether the person attended
school within the previous year. As noted above, 1860 also included Slave
of every person in the household; age; sex; color; profession; occupation
or trade of every male and female; value of real estate; place of birth;
whether mother or father were of foreign birth; whether born or married within
the year and month; those who could not read or write; whether deaf, dumb,
blind, insane or “idiotic”.
address including name of street and house number; relation of each person to
head of household; sex; race; age; marital status; ability to read and write;
birthplace; birthplace of parents; occupation; whether blind, deaf, dumb, crippled,
maimed, idiotic, insane, bedridden, or disabled.
1890: Most of the 1890 census records were destroyed
in a fire. You can read about
it here. There are very few surviving fragments. If you’re lucky enough to
find your family, you’ll see that each family has an individual page. Enumerators
gathered information including name; surname; relationship; race; gender; age;
birthplace; birthplace of father and mother; and a Veterans
Schedule that included information about military service.
address; relationship to head of household; color or race; sex; month
and year of birth; age at last birthday; marital status; number of years
married; total number of children born of mother; the number of those children
living; places of birth of each person and parents of each person; if
individual is of foreign birth, the year of immigration and the number of years
in United States; citizenship status of foreign-born individuals over age 21;
occupation; whether person could read, write, and speak English; whether home
was owned or rented; whether the home was on a farm; whether the home was
1910: Name; name of street; house number or farm;
number of dwelling in order of visitation; number
of family in order of visitation; relationship to head of household; sex;
color or race; age; marital status; number of years married; for mothers,
number of children born and living; place of birth, place of birth of father
and mother; year of immigration; whether naturalized; whether able to speak
English, or if not, language spoken; trade or profession, industry, employer,
employee, or working on own account, whether person was out of work during
1909; whether able to read or write; farm or house, whether survivor of Union
or Confederate Army or Navy; whether blind, deaf, or dumb. There were also
separate Indian population schedules for 1910 in which the tribe and/or band
1920: Name; name of street; house
number or farm; number of dwelling in order of visitation; number of family
in order of visitation; relationship to head of household; whether home owned
or rented and mortgaged; sex, color or race; age; marital status; year of
immigration; whether naturalized or alien; near of naturalization; whether
attended school; whether able to read/write; place of birth; mother tongue;
father’s and mother’s place of birth; whether able to speak English; trade
or profession; industry or business; employer, salary or wage worker;
number of farm schedule.
1930: Name; address; home owned or rented and value;
whether home has a radio; sex; race; marital status; college attendance;
ability to read and write; birthplace,
birthplace of parents; language spoken before coming to the US; year of
immigration; naturalized or alien; ability to speak English;
occupation; military information.
1940: Name; address; home
value and rented or owned; relationship to head of household; sex; race;
age; marital status; education; place of birth; citizenship; residence
in 1935; employment status; occupation; income in 1939; birthplace of
father and mother; native language; veteran status; social security details;
occupation; industry; class of worker; marriage information; number of children.
Genealogists are eagerly awaiting the release of the 1950 census which is scheduled for April 2022. To learn more about each decennial census and to see how newspapers reported on the census over the years, search Newspapers.com today or visit our Topics Page!
In March 1942, 33-year-old Anne Miller lay
near death in a Connecticut hospital, her body ravaged with a burning fever
for weeks. She had developed septicemia, or blood poisoning, following a
miscarriage. Doctors tried every known treatment, and in a last-ditch effort to
save her life, decided to gamble
on a new experimental drug called penicillin. The government released
nearly half of its entire supply – roughly a tablespoon. Within a day, Anne’s
temperature returned to normal and she was on the road to recovery. Anne became
the first American treated with penicillin. This newly developed miracle drug
would ultimately save the lives of millions, including countless soldiers
When Erik and Sonni Bornmeier purchased Sonni’s great-grandmother’s
home several years ago, they had no idea that the military footlocker stored in
the basement would take them on an incredible journey of discovery to find the
remains of a WWII pilot shot down in France. The Bornmeiers’ used military
records from Fold3, newspaper articles
from Newspapers.com, numerous other
sources, and some ingenious detective work to piece together the story of
Sonni’s great uncle, 2nd Lt. George F. Wilson. He died in
France in 1944 and to this day his remains have not been identified. Erik
and Sonni are determined to bring him home. We share their journey in hopes
that the tips and strategies they’ve learned along the way can help someone
else in their research.
The journey to learn more about Uncle George began on Memorial
Day in 2018 when the Bornmeiers’ watched Band of Brothers. Touched by
the heroics of so many young soldiers, Erik and Sonni went to the basement and dusted
off George’s footlocker. Inside they found a stack of letters from George to
his mother. By the time they finished the last letter, they had come to know
George and wanted to know what happened to him.
Seven crew members were captured and taken POW, and one escaped
with the help of the French Resistance. All eight returned home after the war
and all reported that George was gravely injured, never bailed out, and went
down with the plane.
Using the witness statements from the MACR, Erik learned
that the German Army created a similar report to track all planes shot down.
Those reports, called Kampf Flugzeuge (KU) reports, were captured by the US
military after the war. Erik also learned French priests kept detailed reports
of what they witnessed during the war. Using the information in the MACR, the
KU report, and a French repository, Erik triangulated potential crash sites.
One witness in the MACR described that George avoided a
small town and a castle before crashing into a field. The next step for Erik
was to head to France and try to find the crash site.
Erik’s quest led him to the small town of Monchy-Cayeux. The
town matched the criteria in the witness statement (town, castle and nearby
fields). Erik met a local journalist and with his help, they started
questioning the town’s older residents. They found three eyewitnesses who were
young children during the war but remembered seeing a plane crash. One said, “I
remember it as if it were yesterday.” They guided Erik to a field and before
long Erik started to find pieces of debris. Word traveled and the town united
to help Erik. A young man showed up with a metal detector. Before long, they
found parts of a fuselage, gauges, bullets, and plexiglass from a windshield.
They found a crash site!
Erik’s time in France was short, but he has since returned
several more times. Each time he pieces together more of the story. The residents
of Monchy-Cayeux have rallied behind Erik and are anxious to help him find
answers. Two brothers who still live close to the crash site gave a detailed
account of locals gathering up weapons from the plane and throwing them in the
river. A local diver explored the river but failed to find anything. Another
report said George’s body was moved to a nearby family graveyard. A third
witness remembered a priest coming to bless a grave on the edge of the field. The
search to find George’s remains continues.
In the meantime, back home in the US, Erik and Sonni started
searching Newspapers.com to find
information on George’s crew. They found
clippings for many
of the crew
members, and before long, they learned that two of George’s crew members were
still alive! Erik hopped on a plane and had a wonderful meeting with them. They
provided Erik with personal accounts of that day and filled in many of the
The Bornmeiers’ are working with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), the
government agency charged with bringing home the remains of Americans
unaccounted for. They continue to research and are anxious to return to France.
Residents of Monchy-Cayeux have taken ownership of this project and have begun
holding town meetings to research the town’s history and the role it played in
WWII. George is one of more than 72,000 Americans that remain unaccounted for
from WWII. Each day, efforts are being made to bring those soldiers home. To
learn the story of your WWII soldier, start your search today using Fold3 and Newspapers.com!
In the early 1900s, Sarah Breedlove Walker’s dreams came
true – literally. She had a dream where a man appeared to her and told her what
ingredients to use to make a line of hair products for African-Americans. Her
hair products were wildly successful, and Walker became the first
African-American woman self-made millionaire and philanthropist.
Struggling to survive, Sarah and her daughter moved to St. Louis where she worked as a laundress. Sarah earned just enough to send her daughter to school and took evening classes whenever possible. She married a second time, but the marriage ended in divorce.
About that time, Walker developed a scalp condition that led to hair loss. She tried a variety of remedies to cure the condition without success. Sarah got a job selling hair products and moved to Denver, Colorado where she met Charles J. Walker, who would become her third husband. He worked in advertising and later helped promote her business.
One night, Sarah had a dream where a
man appeared to her and told her what products to use
to create a new hair product. When she woke up, she mixed up the concoction and
worked it into her scalp. After a few weeks, she noticed her hair was coming in
faster than it had ever fallen out. The scalp problems that had plagued her
cleared up. Sarah formed
her own company in 1903, calling it “Madam
C. J. Walker”.
The Madam C. J. Walker Company revolutionized hair care for African-American women. The company developed a system of hair care known as the Walker System and sold products directly to African-American customers. Sarah also hired a team of saleswomen, known as Walker Agents who used that direct sales model and worked door-to-door in their own black communities across the country. The company opened a beauty school in Pittsburgh followed by additional schools in other locations.
Do you have ancestors from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania?
You can now search the LNP
Always Lancaster along with 18 other related
Lancaster titles! The daily paper just celebrated its
225th anniversary and is one of the oldest newspapers still
publishing in the United States! We have issues that date back to 1796
when the paper was known as the Lancaster Journal.
Lancaster is one of the oldest
inland cities in the United States. It was originally
called ‘Hickory Town’ but later renamed ‘Lancaster’ after
a prominent citizen suggested naming the town after his former home in England.
Though first inhabited by Native American tribes, white immigrants including Germans,
English, and Ulster-Scots
moved into the area beginning in 1709.
At that time, Western Pennsylvania was wilderness inhabited
by Native American tribes that often
skirmished with the encroaching white settlers.
bear and wolf attacks were common threats. As more settlers arrived, a road was
needed to transport people and products to and from Philadelphia. The Great
Conestoga Road opened linking the two cities but
fell into disrepair during the decades around the Revolution. In the 1790s, the
Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Company sold shares to raise money to
construct a new road. When the turnpike opened, it was the first long-distance
paved road in the country. The first issue in our Lancaster collection is dated
June 17, 1796, and includes a notice
from the Philadelphia & Lancaster Turnpike Company
announcing shares were available to purchase.
The paper covered hostilities between the United States and
Great Britain during the War
of 1812 where some 800 men from Lancaster County served.
You can find some of their personal
accounts of battles in this collection. Lancaster also
served as an important munitions center during the war.
We had an incredible year in 2019 and we owe it all to you –
our amazing subscribers! Thank you for your passion and dedication to
preserving historical newspapers. Our loyal customers have created more than 14.3
million clippings this year alone.
Thanks to your support we’ve reached the following
milestones in 2019:
Added 100+ million new pages of content for
a total of 555 million pages of content
14.3 million clippings created in 2019
Added 5,000+ new newspapers to our
Updated nearly 7,000 existing titles with
We have newspapers from all 50 states and 10 countries,
territories, or districts
We also teamed
up with Ancestry® to develop a technology to scour every page in our archive
looking for death notices. You have already clipped more than 1.5 million
obituaries using this amazing technology.
The best is yet to come. What will you discover in 2020? We
promise to keep working hard with our publisher partners, historical societies,
and institutions to find new content so your subscription will continue to increase in value year after year. What did you discover using
Newspapers.com in 2019? Share your discoveries in the comments below. Thank
you! Together we will accomplish amazing things in 2020.