• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • April 27, 2014 in Columnists

    The true history of Winters, California

    I’ve already told you about what I found on Ancestry.com, so I won’t go into that again. Nobody wants to read about cannibals anyway. What I’d like to bring to your attention is along that line, but more relative to the people of Winters California. Everything you read about the history of Winters, California is wrong, and I’m here to set it straight.

    According to the history books, this area was named after Theodore Winters around about the mid 1850s. This may have some truth to it, but it was my family that was first to arrive in the area. You see my family and the Theodore Winters’ family hale from Central Illinois where the two families shared a freight hauling business. It must have been about 400 years ago when all of this occurred, but what I am about to relay to you is the gospel truth.

    The two families sold the business to some people who thought Illinois was “God’s Country.” That’s because no one had been to California yet except the Mexicans, but nobody could understand what they were saying, so as far as the white Anglo Saxon Protestants were concerned, California didn’t exist. Anyhow, to make a long story short, my family thought that Theodore Winters had swindled them out of half of the money acquired from the sale of their freight business.

    My family chased the other family all the way to California, where Theodore Winters was cornered in the area around where the city of Winters is now. Theodore Winters was caught hiding under the freeway bridge at 505 and Putah Creek Road. Strange things occurred at this point in the conflict between the two families.

    It was there that Theodore Winters fell upon his own knife, making 32 wounds in his upper torso. Theodore Winters was found stiff as a board, with his hands bound, a burlap bag tied neatly over his head, and his trousers pulled loosely around his ankles. Parts of his buttocks were eaten away by what is assumed to be an unknown furry creature. Parts of his flesh were found near a fire pit; still on sticks roasting near the fire.

    Since there were only two white men in the entire area, my ancestor became the only law for the region. The death of Theodore Winters was ruled a suicide. It is still unknown how and why he covered his head and tied his hands behind his back before falling upon his knife. It is a mystery that has yet to be solved. In the following days, my ancestor, Jeddarigha P. Sanders, became the first mayor of the town he named in honor of his best friend Theodore Winters.

    A year later, Jeddarigha P. Sanders cut the timber which he used to build the railroad bridge. Jeddarigha P. Sanders had the bridge ready for the first crossing 10 years before the first train ever arrived. He then proceeded to build the first school, a ten bed hospital, and the first house, which is no longer standing because of a fire in 1907. All of the records which would prove any of this was true were also destroyed.

    For nearly four hundred years, there was absolutely no record of my family ever living in this area. It is only in the last couple of weeks that proof of the Sanders family deeds was found. Though I have told this story many, many times, I could never prove any of it to anyone. They all thought I was a fool or a retard. I will now relay the proof of what I tell you now in the form of a picture of an item found within the walls of the old Winters Bridge as the slab was removed.

    For generations the proof lay inside the old bridge, and it is only now that this city will see the resemblance between my ancestor and me. No one can deny that my great-great grandfathers’ image upon an old bottle found inside the old bridge is from my family. See for yourself for here is the picture and the proof.


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