A local teacher will be the main speaker at this month’s Memories Day presentation by the Riverbank Historical Society, on Tuesday, April 12 at 11 a.m.
Bill Bucknam is a retired teacher who taught elementary school in Riverbank for 13 years. He went on to teach history at Modesto High and La Loma Junior High. After retiring, he became a docent at the McHenry Museum in Modesto and leads tours for elementary school groups there.
He’s giving a talk based on the book ‘The Stanislaus Indian Wars: the Last of the Northern Yokuts,’ written by Thorne B. Gray. His presentation covers the period between 1776, when the first Franciscan missionaries made contact, up to 1933, when the last Yokut died at Knights Ferry.
Bucknam says he plans to focus on events that took place near Riverbank, concentrating on Chief Estanislao, (for whom Stanislaus County is named) revolt against the missions and Mexican Army forces, in approximately 1828.
“I will also discuss the Yokut culture before contact, including how and why these seemingly docile and peaceful people were able to resist the efforts of the missions and Mexican military to subjugate them,” he said.
The Riverbank Historical Museum is at 3237 Santa Fe Street, next to and behind City Hall North. It is a Carnegie Library, constructed in 1921 with funds donated by Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and local contributions. The facility has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1997, when it was dedicated as a museum.
The museum is staffed by volunteer members of the Riverbank Historical Society. It is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to noon, and on Saturdays, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
New this year are expanded hours, with the museum also staffed from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The society recently began raising funds to build an annex building adjacent to the museum so that additional historical artifacts and materials that are now in storage can be displayed.