What historic events happened in Sonoma County in early January?

On Jan. 3, 1981, President Jimmy Carter's nephew, William Carter Spann, married Susan Lynn Martinez at the Sonoma County Jail. Spann, 34, was the only child of the president’s sister Gloria Carter Spann. According to Press Democrat reports, he moved to Sebastopol in 1980 in search of “country ethics,” as Spann described it. The self-proclaimed “bad peanut” had been incarcerated many times for a list of crimes including robbery, pimping, drunken driving, methamphetamine use, wife beating and disturbing the peace.

This week in 1982, floodwaters up to 5 feet deep invaded hundreds of homes and businesses in the low-lying Payran area of Petaluma. In the town of Bodega, the flooding Salmon Creek soaked 15 homes and forced 50 families into emergency shelters. Countywide, the storm caused more than $15 million in damages to 1,571 homes and 51 businesses.

A decade later, another historic flood covered western Sonoma County. On Jan. 9, 1995, the Russian River crested at 48 feet in the worst area flood since 1986. In Guerneville, 90 people were airlifted and 300 more were evacuated as the Russian River rose within 1.5 feet of its historic high.

Click through the gallery above to explore other historic happenings in early January.

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