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Presentation will trace history of Tuolumne township through personal stories


Courtesy photo / Tuolumne City Memorial Museum Inc. Italian immigrant Beatrice Cimoli (left), came to Tuolumne in the early 1900's. She was widowed three times and lost a young son to diptheria, but provided room and board to West Side lumber mill orkers to raise her daughter, Rita (Feriani) and son, Tony Malgesini. She also invested in land in around Tuolumne where some of her descendants still live.

The stories of people who have populated the area now known as Tuolumne — from native Me-Wuk to gold miners, ranchers, lumber workers, merchants and educators — will be the subject of a program Oct. 21 at the Tuolumne City Memorial Museum.

The program will begin at 2 p.m.

Interwoven in the narratives will be the township’s history and its pivotal events.

The program, entitled “Tales of Tuolumne,” will be presented by Lynne Jerome, president of the museum board and a local resident for nearly 70 years. She said her inspiration came from researching and presenting programs on local families for the museum.

“Tuolumne is a microcosm of the story of this country,” she said. “The people who settled here often endured great personal hardship and tragedy. The local Me-Wuk had their way of life totally disrupted by the Gold Rush and immigrants who followed a dream here had the courage to leave everything familiar for a chance at a better way of life. They all helped build this community, and their stories and Tuolumne’s history should inspire us all.”

Included among the stories will be the history that shaped lives from the impact on native Me-Wuk of the Gold Rush, the rise and fall of the timber industry, the Great Depression and world wars, as well as disastrous fires. But, Jerome said, the focus will be on the strength, courage and perseverance of the townspeople who have made the area their home.

Women’s influence
helped build community

Part of the program will focus on the role women played in shaping the community.

“I don’t think we always appreciate how strongly women influenced the building of community nor the personal courage they displayed in their lives,” Jerome said.

The Gold Rush was male-dominated in its early history. It wasn’t until women began arriving that schools, churches and homes where families were raised established the bedrock of not just a town, but a community.

It was women who helped drive the founding of some of the township’s most iconic institutions, including its cemetery, as well as its schools, churches and the local museum.

Also included will be stories of young women widowed when their husbands were killed in dangerous occupations like mining, logging and railroading and the steps they took to support their families.

Admission is free and light refreshments will be served after the program.

The museum is at the corner of Carter and Bay streets in Tuolumne and is open weekends from 1 to 4 p.m.