It's a land in which we often impose our dreams. This notion of vastness, . . . this notion of unknown empty spaces in which you can project then all kinds of images, all kinds of dreams and aspirations onto the land.

~ Alex Sargoza, A Land Between Rivers, 2006

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Featured Story from the Archives

Carrie and John Sage soon after their marriage, 1882 - Selma Library, Centennial Selma by J. Randal McFarland, 1980
First page of Carrie Robinson Sage's diary, April 11, 1882

The Diary of Carrie Robinson Sage

Hidden in the small Robinson Family Collection is a treasure of California history; a diary of a pleasure trip through the southern San Joaquin Valley and along the coast from the spring of 1882. The diary of Caroline Knowles Robinson Sage documents a six week trip by wagon from Parlier, California south to San Juan Capistrano Mission and back along the coast via Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. It was a rare pleasure trip to see the ocean for the first time at a time when travel was not easy.

Twenty-three year old Carrie Sage traveled with her newlywed husband, John Epler Sage, and her parents, aunt and uncle. Carrie had migrated to central California with her family in 1874 at the age of fifteen. She was the only daughter of Union veteran Charles H. Robinson who served with the 47th Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Carrie’s family settled in Parlier, California, while Carrie attended boarding school and wrote letters to her parents. She grew to adulthood in Fresno County where she was issued a teaching certificate in November 1879. Before her marriage, Carrie taught at a secondary grade school in Parlier. Carrie married John Sage on April 6, 1882.

Just five days later, on April 11, 1882, they left on their “long talked of trip to the coast.” Throughout her journal of the trip, Carrie carefully describes her surroundings, particularly the quality of the homes and gardens that she saw along the way. She gave detailed descriptions of plant life and liberally commented on the apparent thriftiness of the ranches and settlements they passed on their journey. The diary ends when the family returns to the San Joaquin Valley on May 19, 1882.

Upon their return Carrie and John Sage settled in Selma, California. Carrie had four children, however only two daughters survived to adulthood. Mary Sage was born in August 1885 and Lucille Sage was born in January 1887. John was a capable mountain man who spent time exploring Yosemite Valley and Kings Canyon. From 1887 to 1915, he owned and operated a sawmill near Pine Ridge southwest of Shaver Lake. Throughout their lives together, John and Carrie enjoyed experiencing the joys of nature together. In 1892, Carrie joined her husband in a group that climbed Mount Whitney.

On April 6, 1932, Carrie and John celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary at their home in Selma joined by over one hundred friends and relatives. In an article in the Selma Enterprise, they were celebrated as one of Selma’s leading pioneer families.

To view our digital exhibit about The Diary of Carrie Robinson Sage, click here.

Read the diary of Carrie Robinson Sage to learn about the San Joaquin Valley and southern California in 1882.

Additional Resources
Diary of Carrie Robinson Sage, April 11 - May 19, 1882.
Transcript of the diary of Carrie Robinson Sage, April
Last Updated Sunday, February 16, 2020 - 05:59 PM.