History and Genealogy Research

(there are many more articles on this family to be found by using the search engine on the main page)

Photos from the collection of Carole Thomas- descendent of the Trabucco Family

                  LUIGI (Louis)  TRABUCCO                                                                                         ELENA (Eleanor) LAMBRUSCHINI TRABUCCO
The Daily Review- Hayward, California
August 31, 1972
by Arthur Ribbel- Crosley News Service
BEAR VALLEY, Calif- This little place by the side of the road was the
heart of and hub of Gen John Charles Fremont's country, his gold
treasury and his home.
It also is Trabucco county, and descendants of pioneer Louis Trabucco
still live here.
photo courtesy of Carole Thomas

Mrs. Doris Trabucco, wife of Harold Trabucco, the grandson of the
pioneer backed up to a fuel oil stove in the middle of the
Trabucco-Simpson store and identified the ruins of a once-throbbing town
where 3,000 miners; merchants and craftsmen thronged the streets on
Saturday nights in the 1850's.
DOWN MAIN STREET, which is Highway 49, the route of the '49ers, still
stand the thick stone wall remnants of Fremont's old store and offices,
a fire truck nestled against one section in contrast to an ancient
wooden wagon with rusty parts which seems to be waiting for an old horse
to pull it away.
If your imagination is lively, you might fancy booted, bearded and
shirt-sleeved clerks passing out flour beans, powder, shot, picks, pans,
red flannel shirts and "red-eye" over the roughhewn counters. And
Fremont, the restless, ambitious adventurer, listening to the gold
plunking on the boards.
His house, called "The White House,' was up a hill across the road from
the store nearby, but it burned to the ground, as did another house
built on the same spot. Here he lived in elegant luxury, with French
servants and rich furnishings, plus a vegetable garden, which was a
precious rarity in gold camps.
THIS WAS PART of Fremont's 44,000-acre empire he bought for $3,000
before the Gold Rush exploded.
Fremont ....the explored and map maker of the Far West; a leader in the
conquest of California; the husband of Jessie Benton, daughter of the
famous U.S. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton; Maj. Gen. Fremont in the Civil War;
unsuccessful candidate for president; a U. S. senator from California; a
captain in the Mexican war; man tempest; miner; landowner; flamboyant;
courageous; intrepid. His name is on more streets, peaks, towns,
landmarks, signs and structures probably than any other pioneer in Far
West history. Some folks here seem to speak of Fremont as if he had
just left.
The old Bon Ton Saloon is now a cafe of the same name, an old adobe and
slate structure with the traditional Gold Rush iron doors. The
population here is 75.
MRS. TRABUCCO said ruins across the street from her store were once a
general store and a wine tavern, where the songs of boozy miners must
have roared through the countryside. Her store building is also very
old, but intact. There were once 13 Trabucco stores serving the miners.

photo courtesy of Carole Thomas

(see earlier photo of this store)

Mrs. TRABUCCO, a small graying lady, excused herself and went outside
to pump some gas for a truck. Joseph Trabucco’s house is on one side of
Main Street and Harold Trabucco’s is on the other side. Louis Trabucco’s
old store, now a warehouse, is a reminder of boom days. It is peaceful
, quiet and natural at Bear Valley. There are other "Bear Valleys" in
California and the West, but this one is in Mariposa County, 11 miles
northwest of the town of Mariposa, which also is Fremont country.
There is the Odd Fellow's Hall (and what gold town didn't have one?)
which serves as a museum, helping gold town prowlers to bring to mind
level some of the drama, excitement and rustic history of gold and
hard men.
LIKE SO MANY other towns, Bear Valley settled back into virtual
retirement when the metal dwindled and richer diggings rose on the horizon.
Justice was speedy and harsh in those days and their jails were rugged,
certainly no pleasure palaces. Her, on a hill above town, is the Bear
Valley pokey, a stern slate and adobe dungeon with thick walls and an
iron ring in the middle to which leg irons of criminals were attached.
That calaboose must have been a crime deterrent. An 1880 school house is
nearby but unused.

Fremont also had a famous hotel here, the Oso (Bear) House, across the
street from his big store, a hostelry, whose register sparkled with the
names of many famous persons, including Ulysses S Grant.. Horace Greeley
also was prominent hereabouts, and Bandit Joaquin Murietta.

photo courtesy of Carole Thomas

One historian wrote:
"though out the county a tee-totaler was a curiosity."
Bear Valley had its moments of high glory and bags of gold. Now retired
persons and ranchers enjoy the riches of a lovely and untrammeled land.