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The Lyceum of Crescent Mills, Plumas County, California

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  • May Ann Leek (1862 - 1939)
    Mary had 5 children of which 3 were still living in 1910 when she lived in Pacific Grove CA. Mary's early years were in Sacramento but her father had made a small fortune in the gold rush in Plumas C...
  • Charles Hough, outlaw (1862 - 1886)
    Intrigue? The Coffee family lived quite near the Houghs. In the 1870 census, they are neighbors. What is even more interesting in this story of widespread mayhem is that the Coffees, Houghs, Hickerso...
  • Robert C. Young (1861 - 1938)
    Perhaps related to Robert William Young (nephew/uncle?) {MMvB 2019} perhaps the son of John Colin Young by an unknown earlier marriage after coming to the US he lived in Plumas and then Modoc Counties....
  • California State Congressman Ripley Kelley (1824 - 1884)
    Was in CA: California State Census, 1852 Sacramento Assemblyman of the State of California Ripley C. Kelley { Ripley Caton Kelley } (pp. 196-197) "Was the discoverer of the diggings on Willow bar, ...
  • Kate Hough (1840 - bef.1900)
    There were two newspapers of the day in Plumas, The Argus & The Feather River Bulletin. Rollin Hough shows up but not his wife Kate/Catherine. The rule of the day was not to say anything kind about loc...

Purpose of Project

A gathering place for the people of Plumas County who participated in these presentations organized for several years by William Howard Leek (at right), an educator. The Location was in Plumas County, California, in the gold-rush era.
Also include are other notable people who lived in this set of small, out-of-the-way Sierra Mtn. communities.

Documents have been assembled in this project to better understand the focus of this particular Lyceum and the spin-offs for its participants in later life. There are overtones of cultural themes.



Extra-curricular gatherings of young people (and adults) in the interest of developing many skills were widespread in this era. The Lyceum movement shows up across the nation. In a twist from common traveling shows, these were local productions.
Minstrel themes, singing, plays, debates... all were quite common. Topics are indicative on what was part of contemporary culture and value systems of the day.
Adult members of casts also belonged to the Masons. Witness Finley McLennan , for one. Finley married another player, Jennie Roedde.


footnote 1: Evidently the play was a perennial favorite. It was shown in the county many years before: Feather River Bulletin (Quincy, California) 06 Feb 1869, Sat., Page 2.
footnote 2: Blacks in CA, 1870 United States Census = 2,845 ; in Plumas Co. = 2 (Abba Fort (GA domestic), Stanton Johnson (Jamaican miner)
Blacks in CA 1880: 3,470 ; in Plumas Co, = 2 (Stephen Johnson; b. England (1829) miner; Stephen Josephes (SC) (1811) prospector
footnote 3: "Although anti-miscegenation amendments were proposed in United States Congress in 1871, 1912–1913 and 1928, a nationwide law against racially mixed marriages was never enacted. Prior to the California Supreme Court's ruling in Perez v. Sharp (1948), no court in the United States had ever struck down a ban on interracial marriage."
footnote 4: Native American miscegenation laws