VACAVILLE — The Vacaville Museum held its annual Sallie Fox Day on Sunday.
The free event drew people of all ages to learn about early pioneer life and Sallie Fox.
The 12-year-old girl traveled from Iowa to California with her family during the 1850s. Sallie came to the Vacaville area after recovering from a wound when she was shot with an arrow by an Indian. She brought walnuts – that she picked from somewhere along the way – in her pocket and planted them where the Nut Tree is today. The original tree is gone, torn down to make way for the freeway in the 1950s.
Her story can be read in “Sallie Fox, The Story of a Pioneer Girl” by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, a local author who was on hand to sign her book at the museum.
“I was interested in the story of Sallie when I was very young. My family went to the Nut Tree and there was this information on the menu at the restaurant about the original Nut Tree stand. It told the story of Sallie and I was hooked,” Leland said.
She gathered historical information, including a diary by one of the men that came with Sallie on the wagon train, to create a historical fiction book.
“It’s not exact, in that I didn’t know what she did day by day but because of the diary, I was able to kind of figure out what people ate and how they lived,” she said.
Outside the museum were booths with games for children, like how to make a whirligig toy or how to pack a wagon. The Limberjim Bartz Band played old-fashioned music in the cool shade of the building while a small group of children made toys.
Inside the museum was a display, “In Her Shoes, Women Who Walked West 1841-1865,” which incorporated the story of Sallie. Included in the exhibit are two original dresses from the 1850s, along with the dress that Sallie wore with a hole in it from where the arrow was lodged in her ribs.
Anna Lee Binder, a historian who works as a historical fashion instructor at the College of Alameda, was on hand to demonstrate how the dresses were made.
“The women had to wear three layers of clothing, including a chemise, pantalettes, petticoat, pockets, cotton dress and then an apron over the top. The fabric was a lightweight wool. They didn’t wear cotton because it caught fire too easily,” she said.
The exhibit runs through May 18. More information is available at 447-4513 or www.vacavillemuseum.org.
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or [email protected]