Carol Berry kept taking her mother to the monthly meetings of Martinez's Anne Loucks Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution but didn't think about joining until her mother died in 2007, even though the chapter was named after her great-great grandmother.
She said it wasn't until her mother's death that she got serious about becoming a DAR member. She had the right credentials. She was descended from Adam Loucks, a member of the Tryon County, N.Y., militia that fought in the bloody Battle of Oriskany.
The Anne Loucks Chapter is now in its 85th year. Berry's great-great aunt was Annie Loucks, a founding member of the chapter and the daughter of Anne Lieber Loucks, for whom the chapter is named. Annie, an active civic leader and Pacheco schoolteacher, served as the chapter's first chaplain and was its second regent.
"I have vague memories of Annie as a very old spinster lady. My grandparents had moved from Oakland to Pacheco to help care for Annie ... and we, in turn, moved in with my grandparents in their old age," remembers Berry.
The Louckses were pioneers in Pacheco, having moved there in 1856. George and Anne Lieber Loucks bought a house built out of the redwoods from Moraga.
George had come to California because of the Gold Rush. He first lived in San Francisco, but he didn't like it. He wanted to live in the country. So he bought 2,000 acres of the Las Juntas Ranch in Pacheco, and members of the
George built a warehouse. His friend William Hendrick bought a piece of land from him and built a flour mill. Small stern-wheelers would sail up Pacheco Creek, which at the time was navigable all the way to the Loucks' home.
Pacheco grew and became the commercial and industrial hub of Contra Costa County. Then disasters hit. Pacheco became plagued with floods and fires. The flood of 1862 carried Loucks' warehouse and its contents into the bay. The creek filled up with silt. The stern-wheelers could no longer sail up the creek.
George gave up his mill and concentrated on raising horses and sheep. Over the years, portions of the ranch were sold. By the time Berry moved there, 150 acres were left.
"My family moved to the Loucks ranch when I was going into the first grade. ... The ranch house was big and old and creaked in the wind. I was sure it was haunted," she says.
She loved hanging out in that old house. She and her girlfriends played in the attic and dressed up in old clothes from the 1800s that had belonged to Anne and Annie.
"We'd play around the outbuildings, catch polliwogs in the creek. ... Much of the land surrounding the ranch house was orchards of almonds and walnuts. I spent many a day with my grandfather shelling walnuts, our fingers turning dark from the walnut hulls."
In 1956 the house was sold and demolished a year later to make way for the Buchanan Industrial Park. The family moved to a smaller home on the south end of town on what is now Second Avenue.
Days Gone By appears on Sundays. Contact Nilda Rego at email@example.com.