Jim Gregory's Blog (10)

The Part of Me That's Irish...

...is in love with words. I retired as a high-school history teacher in June, but I finally wrote a book, about my California home town, which made a year's work a true labor of love. In 1941, it was a farm town, near the sea, of 1,090 souls. It was also a town of immigrants, people who very much like my ancestors--they were from the Azores, Japan, and the Philippines--and the book is largely about their children, who would carry the burden of the war. I think the writing is something I got…


Added by Jim Gregory on November 26, 2015 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

Family Secrets


The Breed Act forbade borrowing another California driver’s vehicle without permission, but neglected to assess a penalty for its violation. This old article points out the folly of such a law by spinning this story:

The Bakersfield Californian

April 10, 1925

Keefe Arrested

Now comes Ed Keefe of Taft into the story. Not so long ago Keefe. a young man, became…


Added by Jim Gregory on April 16, 2015 at 2:15pm — No Comments

How Dad Won the War (Despite Almost Being Arrested for Sedition)

The 2012 Olympic Games in London reminded me of my Dad (photo left, during World War 2). He lived in the great battered city during World War II, part of a colorful U.S. Army career that included:

* Discovering that the cook at Gardner Field in Taft, just over the county line of my Central California home, was…


Added by Jim Gregory on February 4, 2015 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Wicklow's Daughter, Beloved Mother: To the Girl on the Lawn at Cal

This year AVID students -- kids whose family backgrounds do not include a college experience -- invited me, their AP European History teacher, to go on the Northern California college tour, and I was honored. I had never visited Cal until a few years ago, with another…


Added by Jim Gregory on January 23, 2015 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

Grandma Gregory and the Pendergast Machine

Somewhere we have a penciled thank-you note from John W. Davis, who is about as famous as whichever team finished third in the National League pennant race in 1939. (It was the Dodgers, 12 1/2 games out.) Davis was the Democratic nominee for President in 1924, and he…


Added by Jim Gregory on January 21, 2015 at 12:30am — 2 Comments

The Woman Who Married Irishmen

What’s hard about doing your family tree is finding some branches you’d rather break off, and one that comes to mind is a Kentuckian, a Gregory, whose 19 slaves were identified only by gender and age in the 1850 census, as if they were machine parts rather than human beings. That’s…


Added by Jim Gregory on January 10, 2015 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

John F. Kennedy: A Very Personal Retrospective

From November 2013

*    *    *

I’ve been thinking about the assassination of President Kennedy a lot the last two weeks. I will be…


Added by Jim Gregory on January 7, 2015 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

The Irish in Early San Francisco

A visit to the cemetery next to little Mission Dolores reveals how important the Irish influence was on the city, and how brief life could be on the Gold Rush frontier.…


Added by Jim Gregory on January 6, 2015 at 10:44am — No Comments

The Wolfe Tone Guard in Civil War California

Kudos to the California State Department of Military History for posting this on their Facebook Page. 

Historic California Militia

and National Guard Units:

The Wolfe Tone Guard

Military Unit…


Added by Jim Gregory on January 5, 2015 at 5:00pm — 2 Comments

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