Familiar Faces: Betty January digs into history any time

By: Menka Belgal Telegraph Correspondent
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Betty January loves history. Ask her anything about the history of El Dorado Hills and she’ll tell you stories from more than 100 years ago. She’s the main organizer for Clarksville Day which will be held on May 7. For its fifth year, it takes place in the local ghost town and she said is fun for the whole family. Betty is retired from a career as a Clinical Lab Scientist. After graduating from college and training for a year, she worked for UC Davis Medical Center Laboratory in Special Chemistry. She’s been living in El Dorado Hills for 38 years. Her first home here was a ranch on Salmon Falls Road where she raised horses and her four children. James January, her husband, passed away Dec. 17 from cancer. They traveled together extensively visiting places in Australia, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. Tell me about your family. At the end of the 1980s I married a wonderful man, Jim January. (He was) a high school classmate (and) we rekindled a friendship after a class reunion. We had the most wonderful life traveling the world and just enjoying life together. It’s during this time I retired. What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my family and what they have accomplished. I have three sons and one daughter, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren. All have made me very proud. What types of music and movies do you like? I love different types of music from Brahms to Hank Williams Jr. and of course, the western movies. What hobbies do you enjoy? My hobbies are horses and stained glass. In the 1980s I was single and spent 10 years riding my horse in five western states, mostly in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona, with my friend Lloma and gals that wanted adventure. My horse, Sunny, was my great companion on these trips. For social events I enjoy bridge and eating out with wonderful friends here in El Dorado Hills. What causes are you passionate about? I became active in community projects. I joined Newcomers where I met so many wonderful ladies. From this group a “band” of us formed a Citizens for a Community Library and later joined up with the Friends of the Library to get a library built in El Dorado Hills. It took seven years but we got it built and it’s a beautiful library. My next project was preserving the history of our area through the forming of the Clarksville Region Historical Society. Our area is so rich in early history. Our society holds Clarksville Day every year at this time in the ghost town of Clarksville just behind the Town Center on White Rock Road. Clarksville dates back to the 1840s to the 1950s. When it died out in the 1960s, El Dorado Hills emerged. I belong to several community groups so you might say that my passions are my family, my friends and my community. What is one thing about you people might be surprised to learn? Some may be surprised that I played the violin in an all-youth orchestra in San Diego. I have given up my horses but plan a trip to the Sierras in June just to say that I’ve ridden until I was 80 years old.