Thursday, September 18, 2014

Historic Amador “Crazy Quilt” to be on Display at the Golden Threads Quilt Show October 4-5

The upcoming Golden Threads Quilt Show in Sutter Creek will have approximately 200 quilts on display, including a Crazy Quilt made in 1892 here in Amador!  This historic quilt, discovered by chance by one-time Sutter Creek resident Debbie O’Neill at a yard sale in Mokelumne Hill, was found crumpled up on a table, dusty and dirty, but comprised of colors that immediately appealed to Ms. O’Neill.  She purchased the quilt for about $10 and took it home to use as a Christmas Tree skirt. At a historic quilt show in Sacramento’s Crocker museum many years later, Ms. O’Neill enjoyed the museum-quality quilts on display, including the Crazy Quilts that were popular at that time. That’s when it occurred to her that the tree skirt may be a treasure. For the first time, she laid the quilt out and took a good look at it. The quilt was an authentic “Crazy Quilt” which were immensely popular in the late 1800’s as a result of the English embroidery and Japanese silks that were introduced at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Ms. O’Neill’s quilt was dated 1892 and there were 3 sets of initials all ending in “K.” 

With the help of Elaine Lackey at the Amador County Records, Ms. O’Neill determined that Z.K. was Zadie Kephart  and B.K. was Birdie Kephart, two teenage sisters from Plymouth, California.  Ms. O’Neill was hooked and continued her investigation on the creators of her quilt.  An 1896 a news article from the Amador Dispatch described the New Year’s Eve Masquerade ball that Zadie attended, wearing a chrysanthemum constume.  Ms. O’Neill continues to search out stories of Zadie and Birdie, giving more background to her marvelous historic quilt.

In addition to the many traditional, contemporary, and art quilts on display, the Golden Threads Quilt Show will also have a quilt appraiser, Nancy Bavor, an American Quilt Society certified Appraiser.  Ms. Bavor can provide written appraisal for both modern and antique quilts, something that is often required by insurance companies if a quilt is lost, damaged, or stolen.  She is also the Curator of Collections at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles.  Quilt appraisals are $50. Information on how to get your quilt appraised is described below.

The featured quilter is Marcia Harmening of Happy Stash Quilts. Originally from Alaska, Marcia uses bright and colorful fabrics to brighten the snowy and monochromatic days of the long Alaskan winters.  Her original designs are modern and take full advantage of the bright colors she uses. Marcia has devised a new quilting technique called Flip and Fuse which makes possible the intricate designs in her patterns so easy.  In addition to a book entitled Flip and Fuse, the Tahoe Collection, Marcia has also written I Love Color and Sew Red. She travels throughout the United States teaching her techniques and showing her beautiful quilts.  She now lives in Reno, Nevada, enjoying the abundance of sunshine.

The Mother Lode Quilt Guild (MLQG) was formed in 2003 by a group of quilters who were looking for a guild that met in the evenings.  After only 10 years, the MLQG has 55 members.  The guild meets at 6:30 at the Sutter Creek United Methodist Church on the 4th Monday of every month.

As a non-profit organization, MLQG is very active in Amador County.  Comfort quilts are made by guild members and include baby quilts, cradle quilts, pillow cases, and special quilts for seniors.  These quilts are made from scrap fabric donated to the guild.  The funds raised by the Golden Threads Quilt Show are used to support local charities, such as Foster Family Services, Half Way Ranch, Amador Humane Society, Amador Pregnancy Help Center, Amador STARS, Interfaith Food Bank, Sutter Amador Hospital, and Operation Care.

For more information about the Golden Threads Quilt Show, contact Anelie Belden at 209-296-7059.  For more information about the Mother Lode Quilter’s Guild, visit  To schedule an appraisal, contact Terrie van Syoc to make your appointment at or (209)296-5104
The Golden Threads Quilt Show will take place in Historic downtown Sutter Creek October 4-5, 2014.  The show hours are Saturday, October 4, 2014 10:00-5:00 and Sunday, October 5, 2014 10:00-5:00.
Admission is $6.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Expect traffic at "Wagon Train" speed on Highway 49 Friday Sept 26


(Jackson, CA) Motorists on Hwy 49 in northern Amador County should allow extra time for their morning commute on Friday, September 26.
The fifteen horse-drawn covered wagons of the Kit Carson Mountain Man Wagon Train will be traveling on Hwy 49 from the Plymouth Fairgrounds to the Old Highway 49 turnoff to Amador City, between 8 – 10 am.
The horses travel between two and three miles per hour. Vehicle traffic will be allowed to pass the wagon train where there are passing lanes on the highway.
Friday’s trip will be the second leg of a three-day journey for the Wagon Train that will start at Cooper Vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley, through Drytown, Amador City and Sutter Creek, and on to Jackson to celebrate Amador County’s 160th anniversary with a parade at 11 am on Sunday, Sept 28.

        For a full schedule of the Wagon Train route, go to

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Blast from the Past: Central Eureka Mine

Most of the ore at the Central Eureka Mine in its later years came from the Old Eureka property. The ore was mined and then trammed to the Central Eureka shaft, where it was hoisted and processed through the Central Eureka Mill. Early on the haulage tunnel was at the 1200 foot level and then later at the 3500 foot level.

Ed Erata

Headline of the article in Westway Magazine - Dec. 1952

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

“Days of 49” Covered Wagon Train Coming To Amador County - Sept 25-28

15-20 Covered Wagons are coming to Sutter Creek and Amador County September 25-28th! Come and join the excitement as we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the California Legislature creating Amador County in 1854 and the beginning of the Gold Rush Days!

Step back in time and witness over 15 actual covered wagons, accompanied by mounted horseback riders, as they make their way down the historic Highway 49, the original 49’r Gold Rush Trail. The wonderfully preserved historic Gold Rush towns of Amador County will make for a perfect backdrop for this Wagon Train. Lots of fun is planned along the way during this 4 day event, so come on up and spend the whole weekend! Experience what it might have been like to be a settler in a covered wagon adventuring west.
“The Days of ‘49” celebration will be held September 25 through 28, 2014. It will include a four-day wagon train traveling from the Shenandoah Valley to Jackson, Ca. The plan for the wagon train is to depict an authentic look back in time at the first arrival of settlers and miners to the Amador County region. Don’t miss this wonderful event.

Day 1 of the wagon train will begin at Cooper Vineyards, with the first night spent at the Amador County Fairgrounds, in Plymouth. Everyone is invited to come to the Fairgrounds to get a free close up look at the wagons and possibly enjoy some “Grub” with the pioneers.
Day 2 the wagon train will travel through Dry Town and Amador City to reach Sutter Creek and stop for lunch on Main Street for a few hours of entertainment there. The second night’s encampment will be at the Oneto brothers’ Slaughter House Ranch, on Ridge Road. The public is invited to come and view the wagons there too.
Day 3 the wagon train will travel from the Oneto Ranch to Jackson Gate Road and on to the city of Jackson, where they will encamp at the back side of the Kennedy Mine at the Amphitheater. The public is invited to come to the encampment for a free viewing of the wagons and entertainment by the Mountain Men in the Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre.
Day 4 in the morning attend “Cowboy Church” in the historic and tiny chapel at the Kennedy Mine Amphitheater. Then the wagon train will participate as the lead entry in “The Days of ‘49” parade, in Jackson. It is anticipated that nearly 20 covered wagons and approximately 150 men and women on horseback will participate. In addition to the parade, Main Street will be closed on Sunday to accommodate food concessions and several interpretive historic displays, such as gold panning, melodrama acts, collection of horse-drawn wagons, a costume contest and, possibly, a fast-draw competition.

John Queirolo, Ron Scofield and the Kit Carson Mountain Men Club are organizing the event. The thinking was that most of the towns of Amador were first settled by miners in 1849, leading to the title, “The Days of ‘49.”
“Days of 49” Wagon Train Chairman is John Queirolo who, in the past,  has coordinated such events as Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Sutter’s Fort in 1982 and horse drawn wagons and living history groups for the 1999 2nd Great Gold Rush in Old Sacramento. As chairman of the 1981 Highway 50 Wagon Train John rebuilt the caravan from 6 wagons in 1979 to 34 wagons in 1981.
Ron Scofield is the Wagon Master for the event.  In 1976 he took his family on a 6 month journey (in a covered wagon) across the United States in the Bicentennial Wagon Train from Southern California to Valley Forge and is a resident of Fiddletown. Ron owns The Red Mule Ranch which hosts the “Scofield’s Cowboy Campfire” on Saturday evenings, amidst a complete gold rush town that he built on his property in the Sierra Foothills, where he builds authentic stage coaches and wagons.

The discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley in early 1848 sparked the Gold Rush, one of the most significant events to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century. As news spread of the discovery, thousands of prospective gold miners traveled by sea or over land to San Francisco and the surrounding area; by the end of 1849, the non-native population of the California territory was some 100,000 (compared with the pre-1848 figure of less than 1,000). A total of $2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted from the area during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852.
Join the celebration of Amador County’s 160th anniversary, also known as the Centennial Diamond Jubilee,September 25th -28th. Get a glimpse of what it was like to cross America in a covered wagon in search of riches in the Gold Rush of California. Be a part of history.

All inquiries regarding the Wagon Train should be addressed to John Queirolo who can be reached at (916) 965-1136. You can also contact the Sutter Creek Visitor Center for additional information: 209-267-1344.

Ron Scofield

Kit Carson Mountain Men

Amador Transit is providing a free shuttle bus from three parking locations on Sunday, September 28th for the Days of 49 Celebration. Avoid the hassle of parking downtown and ride the shuttle bus for free. (Donations though are gladly accepted!) Shuttles run every 30 minutes from 9am to 5:30pm.
If you are coming from Ione or Plymouth directions or from Sutter Creek, park at the Sutter Hill Transit Center at 115 Valley View Way, Sutter Creek.
If you are heading down from Upcountry, park at the Amador County Administration Building (old hospital site) on Court St. in Jackson.
If you are travelling from So. Jackson or Calaveras park at the dirt lot on Broadway just off Hwy. 49.