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Author's dream realized with Williams history book
WHEN: Noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Louie Cairo's, 558 7th St. Williams.
WHAT: Patricia Ash book signing of "Williams: Images of America."
COST: $21.95 for book, $26.95 for book and calendar. Proceeds donated to Citizens for a BetterWilliams.
Most authors are inspired to put pen and thoughts to paper.
For Patricia Ash, it is old photographs that make her heart skip a beat, because they tell viewers the true story of people and the world around them.
Ash's new book about Williams features a stunning collection of vintage photographs that she believes will provide readers a unique opportunity to reconnect with the history that shaped their community.
The book is new to Acardia Publishing's "Images of America" series.
"Ever since I started doing my column, it has been my dream to write a history book," Ash said.
Ash's "The News Back Then" column was published in the Colusa County Sun-Herald from 2005 to 2007 and in the Williams Pioneer Review the past five years.
Ash's experience and love of history was a good fit for Acardia, the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States.
She is also a fourth-generation Williams resident.
The Wallace and Hildreth families on her father's side settled in the Central Valley prior to 1873.
Her great-great-grandfather established the first school in Napa, before moving to Williams, which was called Central at the time.
Her mother was Melba Bashore and her family, the Bashores and Gobels, settled in Colusa County around 1850.
Ash's great-grandfather Obidiah Gobel was a local freight hauler who carried the first wagon loads of gravel to build the State Capitol building in Sacramento.
Ash is also from a long-line of story tellers.
"When my father walked into I.G. Zumwalt's, the men would put down their tools, because he always had a story to tell. I wish I had paid more attention."
Ash's father, Elbert "Tuffy" Gassaway died in 1991.
Her pictorial history book turned more than 200 images into a story of the town, the determination and hard work of its people and the resilience that helped make Williams what it is today.
It chronicles Williams from the 1850s to the 1950s as it set the stage for generations to come.
Highlights include the early settlers, schools, businessmen, professionals and volunteers, farming in the early days, the Mountain House, springs and quarries — and the Gibson Ranch.
Mostly, the book highlights the people of Williams.
"If people can do one thing to preserve history, it is writing names, dates and locations on the back of their photographs," Ash said.
Ash said she spent eight to 12 hours a day for several months sifting and scanning more than 2,000 photographs from cherished family collections and the Sacramento Valley Museum, and sought information from the Colusi Historical Society.
Ash selected only photographs she could document well, and those that could tell the story of the people who rolled up their sleeves and gave so much of themselves.
"They went the extra mile to support their troops, from saving their fruit pits during World War I to saving tin in World War II, and buying more war bonds than other towns in the area," noted Ash. "They gave unselfishly to improve the community and supported the schools and youth programs throughout the years."
Among her favorites photographs in the book are the World War I soldiers as they prepared to leave Williams to serve their country, and the photographs that remind her of her own childhood growing up in the 1950s.
Another favorite is her relative Buck Wallace in his trademark bib overalls, before he enlisted in World War I.
"He exuded what Williams was built on — hard work, giving until it hurts and respect for one another," Ash said.
Ash dedicated her book to Henry "Hank" Rhodes for what she said preserved her childhood in Williams through the eye of his camera.
Ash's book "Williams" is available at Shear Class in Williams, online book retailers or through Acardia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.