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July 14, 2020
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Keeping California history alive

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
September 6, 2019

On Saturday, Sep 7 the Native Daughters of the Golden West (NDGW) will host an informative event about California’s Admission Day in front of the Rohnert Park Cotati library. California Admission Day, observed on September 9, is the celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the 1850 admission of California into the Union as the thirty-first state. 

The event, held from 10 a.m. until about noon, will offer a lot of information about our state and Admission Day, will have coloring pages for children, bookmarks and even cookies in the shape of California and our state bear. 

“We’re trying to spread the word and appreciate the state we live in,” says Mary-Rita Williamson, President of the Cotati chapter (called Parlors in the organization) of the NDGW. “We’re trying to do some fun things like this event at the library. We’re trying to make our presence known.”

The Native Daughters of the Golden West is a non-profit organization for women born in California that focuses on sharing and preserving California history. It was first founded on September 11, 1886 in Jackson, California. Their founding principles, which still continue to this day, include: “Love of Home, Devotion to the Flag of our Country, Veneration of the Pioneers of California, and an Abiding Faith in the Existence of God.” Today, the organization has 73 Parlors across the state of California, with a museum in San Francisco in a building designed by Architect Julia Morgan.

The organization focuses on many charitable projects that retain and support the heritage of California such as lighthouse preservation, historic mission restoration, the maintenance of the roster of California pioneers and the development of historical landmarks. It also contributes to projects that concern environmental issues, veteran’s and child welfare and education and scholarships.

“We also have a Children’s Foundation,” says Williamson.

A child in the state can apply for funds to help with medical assistance for things like hearing aids, preemie infant supplement formula, van lifts, etc. These are things not usually covered by insurance but can be cost prohibitive.”

The local Cotati group meets on the second Thursday of every month at the Native Sons of the Golden West Hall on 3318 Stony Point Road in Santa Rosa at 7p.m. 

“At our meetings we started sharing California and Sonoma County history tidbits,” says Williamson. “Someone will do some research, whether it’s about the history of Bohemian Grove, or some of the little towns in Sonoma County that are no longer towns, or about cults that used to live here. There are all kinds of interesting things. Someone did a story once about a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that was in Windsor. There are all kinds of history here.”

The only criteria to join the group is to be a woman born in the state of California. For more information, contact Mary-Rita Williamson at maryritawilliamson@gmail.com.