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Born in Evanston, Illinois in 1942
Married in 1968 to Jeannette Mahan Baumgardner

Married in 2021 to Kathleen Robards Baumgardner
Currently residing in Santa Rosa, California

Back in the 4th grade I read in our history book about settler families riding ox or horse-drawn covered wagons across the Great Plains to Oregon and California. I wondered what made them do it? What was the "American dream" all about? Why endure such loneliness, perils, and hardships just to get to places where life was such a hard struggle? What kinds of dreams did folks have? Deeply buried in my little preadolescent psyche, amidst notions of owning a T-bird or Corvette, one question persisted: what motivated settlers? Nothing I read really answered these questions.


After a dual career as a high school science and history teacher/practical nurse I finally had enough time to return to research. The mysteries of California history, like what happened to the region's Indians during the 1850s and 60- forced onto a journey that involved the federal government's policies,and the realities on the frontier, genocide and unplanned murders have always fascinated me. With the support of my wife Jeannette starting in about 1998 I began digging through archives, newspapers, letters, diaries-the records left by real settlers, Army personnel and Indians. As anyone who has done such work in the past will tell you, one fact or story led to another, to another, and so on.


Graduated college, BS- Chemistry & Biology, Davidson College, NC. Secondary Teaching Credential in Social Studies-Tulane University, New Orleans. Taught high school Physical Science and Social Studies, Bakersfield High School, CA. MA, San Jose State University in Recent US History (post Civil War). Post graduate studies, History, University of California at Santa Barbara, '70-'73. Also taught US History both at UCSB and in a private high school, Palo Alto, CA, LVN- practical nursing degree, CSM, staff nurse both acute and long term care hospitals in northern Calif.,returned as substitute teacher in secondary schools in Sonoma County, CA.

Since studying American and Latin American History while in graduate school at Tulane in the early ‘60s and at San Jose State for the MA Degree. Met wife Jeannette while both taught in Bakersfield, were married in 1968. First son Joel was born in 1969; second son William was born in 1972. I have wanted to research primary source, write and publish new works that contribute to our understanding. I have studied California history, both local and regional, on my own for many years, especially from 2000 to the present.

After over five years of research, I wrote "Killing for Land in Early California Indian Blood at Round Valley 1856-1863" in 2005. I wanted to find out about coastal exploration and settlement along the Mendocino Coast. Who founded the lumber industry? Where did the Oregon Trail end? How did California's founders get here? What other groups beside the Euro-Americans settled on the northern California coast?

"Killing for Land in Early California" was published in 2010

"Yanks in the Redwoods Carving Out a Life in Northern California" was published in 2012

"Blood Will Tell" was published in 2014

"Golden Dreams" was published in 2020


Hope you enjoy these as much as I did in researching and writing them!

"Bird in the hand is worth..." Author in wood carving class, March 2010