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Full text of "The Negro trail blazers of California [microform] : a compilation of records from the California archives in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, in Berkeley; and from the diaries, old papers, and conversations of old pioneers in the State of California ..."

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THE 

NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

OF CALIFORNIA 



A Compilation of Records from the California Archives in the Bancroft 

Library at the University of California, in Berkeley; and from the 

Diaries, Old Papers and Conversations of Old Pioneers in < 

the State of California. It is a True Record of 

Facts, as They Pertain to the History of 

the Pioneer and Present Day 

Negroes of California 



BY 

DELILAH L. BEASLEY 



1 



Los Angeles, California 
1919 



Qi^U 



^ 



Copyright 1919 

by 

Delilah L. Beasley 



FOREWORD 

The author's reason for presenting a book of this kind to the public at this time is 
not due to the fact that she is not cognizant of the fact that, within the past fifty-four 
years, much has been written regarding the Negro, but to our knowledge, practically no 
attempt has been made to put into permanent form a record of the remarkable progress 
made by Negroes in the State of California. 

For eight years the author of the ' ' Negro Trail Blazers ' ' has worked incessantly. At 
her own expense she has covered the great State of California, visiting small towns and 
villages, with like zeal with which she visited the larger cities, gathering facts concerning 
the early pioneers of the race in the State. In gathering the data for this most unique 
volume, she has sacrificed money, and health. She, however, shall feel well repaid for her 
labor, if, through the perusal of these pages, there shall be an incentive to even greater 
efforts by the Negro Race in this State in the future. 

Miss Delilah L. Beasley, author of this volume, has contributed many articles of inter- 
est to the race, published in some of the leading journals and magazines of this country. 
This volume is her greatest effort, and it is without a doubt her greatest contribution to 
the literary world. It is hoped that the appreciation of her people for these earnest efforts 
for their uplift and general enlightenment, will place this book in a conspicuous place in 
the home of every Negro, and that as a work of literary and historical value, it will occupy 
its place upon the shelf in every Public Library. In writing this little foreword I consider 
it a very special privilege and favor to be permitted to recommend Miss Beasley and this 
work. 

CHARLOTTE A. BASS, 
Managing Editor of the California Eagle, Los Angeles, October 30, 1918. 

(The author is especially proud of this foreword, for it was dictated from the heart of a great and 
noble woman.) 



DEDICATION 

The author is aware of the fact it is the custom to dedicate a work of this kind to 
one person, and yet, few writers have been as heavily indebted to a group of persons as is 
the author of this work, owing to her long and almost fatal illness during the past year. 
Hence she feels that the highest appreciation she can render these sincere friends is to ded- 
icate this work to them ; for, had it not been for their devotion and many acts of kindness, 
it would have been impossible for the author to have had the courage to finish the book. 

These friends are: 

Dr. Wilbur Clarence Gordon, of Los Angeles, for careful medical attention and words 
of cheer. 

Miss Mary O. Phillips, of Berkeley, who, besides her financial aid, contributed much 
in her constant letters of cheer and hope to the author's final recovery and publication of 
this book. 

Mrs. Undine Bradley, of Pasadena, who, aside from her financial aid, by \dsits and let- 
ters of hope and cheer never allowed many weeks to pass without sending assistance in 
some form or other. 

Mr. and Mrs. Ernest A. Coons, of Los Angeles, who, especially after her relapse, did 
all they could to aid the author to regain her strength by long auto rides, afterward furnish- 
ing her with a home, typewriter and paper that the book might be completed. 

Last but not least, the sacred memory of her mother, who would have been her greatest 
reader, and kindest critic. 

To these, "The Negro Trail Blazers of California" is most sincerely dedicated. 



PREFACE 

In presenting to the public this history, the author will state that she had spent eight 
years and, six months to the very day it was ready for the publishers; notwithstanding 
fully ten years was previously given over to the reading and study of the subject, before 
actual work was begun. This reading was done while a resident of Springfield, Ohio, and 
through the courtesy and use of the private libraries of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Heffelfinger, 
Dr. and Mrs. Henry Dimond, Mrs. Asa Bushnell, Mrs. J. S. Orowell, Capt. and the late 
Mrs. E. L. Bushwalter, and many others, who, together with Mr. and the late Mrs. E. C. 
Dyer, of Berkeley, encouraged the author to go to California and write a book on the 
' ' Negro. ' ' 

The research work, covering years, has included the careful examination of many rec- 
ords of interest to the Negro contained in the California Archives and the Bancroft Library 
at the University of California in Berkeley; interviewing old pioneers of the Negro Race 
in every section of the State wherever a railroad or horse and buggy could go; carefully 
examining all old newspapers contained in the Bancroft Library from the first one pub- 
lished in 1848 to the late nineties and every Negro weekly paper published in the State 
from the first one in 1855 to the present date; examining the files and records of county 
hospitals and poor farms, and many old papers in the hands of pioneer families, and send- 
ing letters of inquiry to every board of supervisors in every county in the great State of 
California seeking data concerning old pioneer Negroes, the property holdings, business 
and other questions of vital interest to the history of the Negro Race in California. The 
author will state that the boards in Los Angeles and Marysville were the only ones who 
knew or took the trouble to send any reply of value ; the others usually dismissed the sub- 
ject by stating "They knew nothing concerning the condition or history of the Negroes 
in that county." The author has spent much time in Boalt Hall of Law at the University 
of California in research work in the California Reports, statutes, Assembly and Senate 
journals. 

After securing sufficient data, the author by chance read to Father David R. Wallace, 
of Oakland, a short description of ' ' My City of Inspiration— San Francisco. ' ' It was the 
original intention of the author to write a series of lectures, and not a history. Father 
Wallace immediately suggested that she include the Pioneer Negro, and gave her a letter 
of introduction to a pioneer lady by the name of Mrs. Annie Peters in Oakland. After 
spending a day in talking over the pioneer history of the State with Mrs. Peters, the author 
decided to write a history, and has spent five additional years in producing this work. 

The author is not only grateful to Father David R. Wallace, who afterward gave her 
several additional names 'for the pioneer list, but to Captain Floyd Crumbly, who has 
loaned her books, and furnished the names of Negro United States army officers, and 
offered many helpful suggestions including the criticism of the chapter on "The Negro 
Soldier." The author is grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wilson (deceased), who per- 
mitted her to quote from many old records in their possession, and to Mrs. Mary Grasses, 
and brother, Mr. Sanderson, for permission to quote from the diaries of their father, the 
late Rev. J. B. Sanderson. The author is also grateful to the late Col. Allensworth and 
wife for many helpful suggestions, and to Mr. and Mrs. Levi Booth, Mrs. Lois Voswinkle- 
Stovens, Mrs. C. M. Kinnie, Mr. and Mrs. Bert W. Perks, Mrs. Emma Voswinkle, of Berke- 
ley, Mr. B. A. Johnson, of Sacramento, California, for data, and to Miss Ruth Masengale, 
of Oakland, for translating Spanish documents for use in this work. The author is grate- 
ful to Prof. Charles Edward Chapman, of the History Department of the University of 
California, for calling her attention to data concerning the California Negroes in the 
Spanish Archives, and to Professor Herbert Priestly, Assistant Curator of the Bancroft 
Library for criticism of the creative work, and to the memory and relatives of the late 
Hon. Theo. Hittell, who assisted the writer in verifying the creative work. The author's 
last visit to this grand historian was just one month before his passing, when, owing to 
his advanced age, she read to him from her manuscript. He paced the floor of his library 
and exclaimed: "Oh, that I could live to see your book published. Every Negro in the 
United States ought to buy a copy and more than one white person will buy one." 

The author also wishes to sincerely thank the Hon. Frances B. Loomis, who, while 
managing the Oakland Tribune, accepted articles from her pen that she might have confi- 
dence in herself and complete the book. She is sincerely grateful to Mr. Owen C. Coy, 
Archivest of California, for furnishing her copies of the "Freedom Papers" contained 
in the California Archives, and in a very great measure she is thankful to the Hon. John 
Steven McGroarty, author of the "Mission Play," who so very kindly criticized the his- 



torical part of the book, and gave the author very many helpful suggestions which have 
made it po^ible for her to give the public a better history. The author cannot say too 
much for the tremendous value of a letter Mr. McGroarty gave her after his review of 
the creative work. This letter was the direct means of creating confidence in the mem- 
bers of the Negro Race that the work promised to be worth while. 

During the past year the author has been in very serious ill health and all during the 
long months of illness there were a few good, staunch friends who voluntarily sent money 
whenever they wrote and never allowed her for one moment to entertain a. thought that 
she would not get well nor complete the book. These ladies have the author's sincere 
thanks: Mrs. Frances B. Loomis, Mrs. D. Gordon, the late Mrs. Alice Kinnie-Burnham, 
Mrs. Yeazell, Mrs. Undine Bradley, Miss Mary O. Phillips, Mrs. C. C. Bliss, and Mrs. Maude 
Warmington Coons. They stood by in many dark hours, and threw around the author a 
mantle of love that would not let her sink. There was another group of ladies who did 
many comforting things during these long months of illness, to whom sincere thanks are 
given. They are especially: Mrs. Alice Harvey-Patton, whose true devotion and constant 
attention did much to aid the author's recovery, and Mesdames Scott and Slayton and Miss 
Ellen Prowd. So, dear reader, this book has been made possible by friends ever helping 
on up the hill with the load, and ' ' May God never let me be unmindful or ungrateful of 
my friends." 

DELILAH L. BEASLEY. 



AUTHORITIES CONSULTED 

Afro- American Press (I. Garland Pen). 

History of California (Howe Hubert Bancroft) ; Bancroft Co., San Francisco. 

History of California (Theo. Hittell) ; published in San Francisco, 1888. 

History of California (Friar Z. Engelhardt). 

History of California (Frankliu Tuthill) ; published in San Francisco, 1878. 

History and Eomance of California (John Steven McGroarty). 

National and Civil History of California, from the original Spanish of Miguel Venegas, a 

Mexican Jesuit; published at Madrid, 1758. 
History of California (Venegas) ; published in London, 1759. 
History of California (Norton). 
Palou's Notices de la Neva (Alexander Forbs). 
The Approach to California (Frederick J. Taggart) ; published in the Reports of the 

Southwest Historical Quarterly, July, 1912, vol. I. 
Spanish California (Prof. Charles Edward Chapman). 
California Historical Papers, in Bancroft Library. 
California, an Intimate History of (Gertrude Atherton). 
California of the Padres (Helen Hunt Jackson). 
California, What I saw in; being the journal of a tour by the immigrant route and South 

Pass of the Rocky Mountains across the continent of North America, the Great Desert 

Basin and through California, in the year 1846-7 (Edward Bryant) ; Appleton & Co., 

New York-Philadelphia, 1848. 
California, The Transition Period of, from 1846 to a State of the American Union, 1850 

(Samuel Willey). 
California, Three Years in (Rev. "Walter Colton, U. S. N.) ; A. S. Barnes & Co., New York, 

1850; H. W. Derby & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, 1850. 
California from the Conquest 1846 to the Second Vigilante Committee (Josiah Royce). 
California, Douglas' voyages from the Columbia river to, in 1840. 
California (Bennett Papers) ; published by the General Association in Sacramento Union, 

1869. 
California, Who Conquered (Ide's Biographical Sketch). 
California in Pioneer Times (Gray). 
California, Sixty Years in (W. H. David). 

California State Register and Year Book of Facts for the Year 1857. 
California Records of Men in the War of the Rebellion (Richard Arton) 
California, Overland Stage to (Frank Root, M. E. Connely, Sam Clemmens). 
California, First Steamship Pioneers; edited by a committee of the Association of Pioneers 

(George Gorman). 
California, Early Days in; an attempt to assassinate Justice Fields (Stephen Fields). 
California Supreme Court Records on the Public School question of 1872. 
California Statutes for 1863 to 1869; Assembly Journals 1863. 
California Reports, Number 56 (Forbs) "People vs. McGuire. " 
California, Romantic (Ernest Pexiotte). 

The following books have been consulted concerning Slavery in California: 
Catholic Kings (Prescott). 
Christianity and Humanity (Thomas Starr King) ; edited with Memories (Edward P. 

Whipple). 
Congressional Globe, 446, of the First Session and Thirty-First Congress, April 8, 1850, 

and Congressional Globe, March 11, 1850; Thirty-First Session, "California, Union and 

Freedom. ' ' 
Conquerors of the New World, and their Bondsman (Sir Arthur Helps) ; published in 

London, 1848-52, volume 2. 
Contact of Races (John Archibald). 
Colton 's Independence on the Pacific Coast before 1850. 
Conquerors of the New World and their Bondsman, being a narrative of the principal 

events which led to Negro Slavery in the West Indies and America (Sir Arthur Helps) ; 

published in London, 1848. 
California under Spain and Mexico (Irvin B. Richmond) ; Houghton and Mifflin. 
California from 1846 to 1888 (Jacob Wright Harlan). 

California Society of Pioneers and their celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of Admis- 
sion to the Union, September 10, 1860 (Edward Randolph) ; published in San Fran- 



California Pioneers of New England; Nicollas and Brown, San Francisco. 

California by Oxteam, a narrative of crossing the plains in 1860 (Mrs. Lavina Honevman 

Porter) ; published in Oakland 'Enquirer, Oakland, California, 1910. 
California Reports, Number .51, "Slavery in California." 
California Reports, Number 9, "Ex-Partra Archy." 
California Reports, Number 2, "Carter and Robert Perkins." 
California State Assembly and Senate Journals for 1850 to 1906. 
California Debates in Convention on the founding of the State Constitution, September to 

October, 1849 (J. Ross Brown). 
Conquest for California (Eligar Kennedy) ; Houghton & Mifflin, New York, 1912. 
History of Santa Clara County, California (J. P. Monroe). 

History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, Ancient and Modern, the African Slave Trade 
and the Political Slavery in the United States (W. O. Blake) ; J. & H. Miller, Colum- 
bus, Ohio, 1858. 
History of the Negro Race from 1619 to 1880 (George W. Williams). 
History of the Pacific Northwest (Joseph Schafer) ; McMillan Co., New York. 
Historical Papers in Bancroft Library, Berkeley. 
John Brown (Herman von Host). 

Journey of Alva Nuez Cabeza de Vaca, and his companions, from the Floridas to the Pacific, 
1526-36. Translated from his own narrative (Fanny Bandilier) together with the 
Report of Friar Marco of Nizza (Edited with an introduction by Adlf. Bandilier). 
Junipero Serra (A. H. Fitch). 
Mining Camps, a Study in American Frontier Government (Charles Edward Shinn) ; 

Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1885. 
Memories (Cornelius Cole). 

Negro in the New World (Sir Harry Johnston) ; The McMillan Co., New York, 1910. 
Negro Problems (Seig). 

Palaces and Courts of the P. P. I. E. (Julett James), San Francisco, 1915. 
The Negro and His Needs (Raymond Patterson, with a Foreword by Hon. William Howard 

Taft) ; Fleming H. Revells, New York and Chicago. 
Spain in America (Edward Gaylor Bourne) ; 1450-1580, published in New York and Lon- 
don, Harper & Brothers, 1904. 
Spanish Conquest in America and its relation to the history of Slavery and the Govern- 
ment of Colonies (Sir Arthur Helps) ; Harper & Co., New York, 1856-1868. 
Story of the Pony Express (Glenn D. Bradley) ; McClurg & Co., Chicago, 1913. 
Slavery in California after 1848 (C. A. Dunaway) ; before the American Historical Society, 

1910, in Bancroft Library, Berkeley. 
Slavery in California (Marion Reynolds) ; Boston Transcript. 
Establishment of Government in California (Cardinal Goodman). 

The following books have been consulted concerning San Francisco, California: 
The Beginning of San Francisco, from the expedition of Anza, 1774, to the City Charter 
of April 15, 1850, with biographical and other notes (Eldridge-Zoe Skinner) ; pub- 
lished by Z. S. Eldridge, San Francisco, 1912. 
San Francisco Great Register of the City and County up to 1872 (in Bancroft Library) ; 

A. S. Bancroft, San Francisco, 1872. 
San Francisco Directories, regarding San Francisco, Sacramento and Marysville, July, 

1850 (Bancroft Library) ; W. B. Cook & Co., Portsmouth Square, San Francisco. 
San Francisco, As it Was, As it Is, and How to see it (Helen Throop Purdy) ; Eldridge 

& Co., San Francisco, 1912. 
San Francisco, a History of (John Hittell) ; San Francisco, 1878. 
San Francisco, a History of the Vigilante Committee of. 
San Francisco, Discovery of San Francisco Bay (George Davidson). 

San Francisco, The Fogs and Sky of, (A. George McAdie) ; A. M. Robertson, San Fran- 
cisco, 1912. 
San Francisco, Pioneer Times in. 

San Francisco, Martin Monahan's Recollections narrated (Edward S. Meeny) ; pub- 
lished in Seattle Newspaper for January 28, 1906. 
San Francisco, Annals of, 1852. 
San Francisco (Helen Lockman Coff). 
San Francisco, Colonial History of. 
A Senator of the Fifties (Lynch). 

A Tribute of Thomas Starr King (Richard Frothington) . 

A New Light on Sir Frances Drake (Mrs. Zelia Nuttall) Hackluyt Society, London. 
American Digest, 1906. 
History of Hayti and Life of Toussaint I'Ouverture (Charles Mossell). 



CONTENTS 

Foreword— Charlotte A. Bass, Managing Editor of the California Eagle, Los Angeles. 

Dedication. 

Preface. 

Authorities Consulted. 

PART I. 

Historical Section 

Chapter I. — Discovery of the Name California. 

Chapter II. — Beginning of the Discovery of California, with Friar Marco, and the 

Negro Guide, Estevancio, together with Coronado and the Negro Priest, 
and the final discovery by Cortez, the ex-Viceroy of Mexico. 

Chapter III. — End of the Spanish Rule in California. 

Chapter IV.— Bear Flag Party. 

Chapter V. — Landing of Commodore John D. Sloate. 

Chapter VI. — Admission of California to the Union. 

Chapter VII. — Pony Express. 

Chapter VIII. — Right of Testimony, Homestead Law, Elective Franchise. 

Chapter IX. — Slavery in California, together with Freedom Papers. 

PART II. 

The Chronicles of the Trail Blazers— a biographical Section. This section will appeal to 
the reader in that it contains a chapter on The First Colored Settlers on the Pacific 
Coast, a Pioneer List, and Negro Forty-Niners who were Miners. 

Chapter X. — First Colored Settlers and Pioneer List. 

Chapter XI.— Negro Miners, and Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People, at Beulah. 

Chapter XII. — Biographical Sketches. 

PART III. 

Present Day Negro of California. 
Chapter XIII. — Just California. 
Chapter XIV. — Something of the Negro Churches. 
Chapter XV. — Education. 
Chapter XVI. — Law. 
Chapter XVII. — Music. 
Chapter XVIII. — Distinguished Women. 
Chapter XIX. — Doctors, and Dentists. 
Chapter XX. — Literary, comprizing a full account of all the Negro Newspapers ever 

published in California and which were a factor in the development of 

the race. 
Chapter XXI. — United States Negro Army Officers, both retired, and living in the State, 

and those who served in the National Army in France. 
Chapter XXII. — The Negro at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Fran- 
cisco. (This chapter has been published in a series of articles in the 

Oakland Tribune by the author). 
Chapter XXIII.— The End of the Trail. 
Chapter XXIV — Notes on the Text; which will serve the place of foot-notes and is much 

easier to read. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Beasley, Delilah L. Frontispiece 

Allensworth, Lieut.-Col. Allen PAGE 

(deceased) 21 

Alexander, Prof. Charles 58 

Alexander, Hon. James M. 75 

Ballard, Dr. Claudius 57 

Ball, Dr. Joseph W 220 

Bartlett, Prof. Elmer 184 

Bass, Editor Joseph B 58 

Bilbrew, Mrs. A. C. Harris 166 

Brooks, Sergt. Henry M 270B 

Browning, Dr. Henry W 219 

Buckner, Mrs. Eva Carter 130 

Butler, Mrs. Ardella C 165 

Butler, Hon. Walter A 165 

Bynum, Mrs. Owens 201 

Ceruti, Attorney E. Burton 93 

Chrisman, Miss Gertrude 148 

Chrisman, Mrs. Louise 148 

Cleghorn, Eev. W. T 254A 

Cole, Mrs. Sadie Chandler 94 

Coleman' Hon. John Wesley 238 

Crumbly, Capt. Floyd H 39 

Easton, Hon. Wm. E. 22 

Darden, Attorney Charles 58 

Dones, Sidney P 58 

Garrott, Dr. Alva C 219 

Gordon, Dr. Wilbur Clarence 220 

Greggs, Eev. N. P 254A 

Harris, Miss Gladys Eeo 112 

Huddelston, Mrs. Ellen 147 

Hughley, Mme. Ella Bradley 

(deceased) 183 

Isum, First Sergt. Charles Eaymond 270A 

Jackson, Mme. Lydia Flood -. 112 

Johnson, S. P 219 

Jones, Eev. Charles Price 254B 

Kimbrough, Lieut. Jesse 21 

Logan, Mrs. Albert 166 



PAGE 

Lucas, Lieut. Eugene 270B 

Macbeth, Attorney Hugh E. 202 

McKinney, Capt. T. Nimrod 39 

Mason, Mrs. Biddy (deceased) Ill 

Outlaw, Dr. John S 219 

Patton, Mrs. Juanita Alice 94 

Patton, Malcolm Harvey (Junior).... 184 

Reynolds, Capt. Wm 22 

Eeynolds, Sergt. Eaoul 22 

Richardson, Mrs. Sallie 148 

Eicks, William Nauns 39 

Roberts, Hon. Frederick Madison.... 40 

Saddler, Sergt. Milton 286B 

Scott, Mrs. J. M 166 

Shackleford, Mr. and Mrs. J. H 112 

Somerville, Dr. John Alexander 220 

Somerville, Dr. Vada 220 

Stephens, Miss Virginia 76 

Stevens, Mrs. Willa 130 

Stovall, Mme. Kate Bradley 

(deceased) 129 

Stovall, Dr. Leonard 21 

Sul-Te-Wan, Madam -. 237 

Talbert, Mme. Florence Cole 94 

Temple, Dr. Ruth J 94 

Thompson, Mrs. Beatrice Sumner 130 

Thompson, Mrs. Eloise Bibb -. 130 

Thompson, Hon. Noah D 254A 

Tilghman, Mrs. Hettie B 166 

Troy, Hon. Theodore W 202 

Tyler, Attorney Willis O. 22 

Wall, Mrs. A. H 112 

Wallace, Father David R , 254A 

White, Mrs. Mamie Cunningham 148 

White, Lieut. Journee W 286A 

Wilkins, Prof. Wm. T 184 

Wrestacres, suburban home of Hon. 
Walter A. Butler 165 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

OF CALIFORNIA 



CHAPTER I 
Discovery of the Name op California 

We are told by historians that for centuries before California was discovered every 
explorer started out to find the Northwest Passage to the Indies, and the seven cities of 
Cibolia. These cities were reputed to be rich in turquoise and gold. I think even in this 
day if explorers were told that somewhere, undiscovered, there were cities with houses of 
gold and pillars of turquoise, they would sacrifice every thing, even life if necessary, that 
they might behold such beautiful cities on earth. 

Consequently, when Columbus sailed on his fourth voyage of discovery he wrote a 
letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (original note in "His Level Best" by Hale). 
This letter contained the following in regard to the South Seas, then undiscovered, and 
known to us as the Pacific Ocean: "I believe if I should pass under the Equator in arriv- 
ing at this high region of which I speak, I should find a milder temperature and a diver- 
sity in the stars and in the waters. Not that I believe that the highest point is navigable, 
whence these currents flow, nor that we can mount them, because I am convinced that 
there is the Terrestrial Paradise, which none can enter but by the will of God. ' ' 

Immediately following Columbus's letter, Mr. Hale quotes from Dante's "Divina 
Comedia," and Longfellow's Notes to the "Purgatories" to prove that Columbus had 
these writings in mind when he made use of the passage referring to the ' ' Terrestrial Para- 
dise, which none can enter but by the will of God." The writer would not attempt to say 
these writings influenced his words or his great, though unsuccessful, attempt to discover 
the Northwest Passage or were the cause of his speaking thus, but if we follow the trend 
of discovery and occupation on this coast we will find Columbus's words like the notes of 
a beautiful symphony ringing through it all — "None can enter but by the will of God." 
This letter was written by Columbus in the year 1503, and in the year of 1510, there was 
published in Spain a romance called "La Sergas de Espladian" by Garcia Ordonez de 
Montalvo, translator of Amadis of Gaul. In this novel the author speaks of the "Island 
of California." The name is spelled the same as it is today. It has been said that Cortez 
had the romance in mind when he discovered and named the peninsula in 1535. For this 
statement we have the authority of the historian Herrera. 

California! What a charm the name carries with it! There seems to be a romantic 
inspiration in the very pronunciation, but whence did it originate? We are told that for 
years scholars debated its origin; one tracing it to the Latin, another to the Greek, others 
claiming that it was given by the natives. 

The reading public refused to accept as satisfactory any of the statements offered 
until after Mr. Edward Everett Hale read a paper before the American Antiquarian So- 
ciety at a meeting held in Boston, April, 1862. In this paper Mr. Hale told of having 
read a Spanish romance called "La Sergas de Espladian" by Garcia de Montalvo. In this 
book the author speaks of the ' ' Island of California, ' ' with the same spelling for the name 
"California." Mr. Hale explained that the failure of the great authors to find the origin 
of the name "California" was because that "after 1542, no edition of the 'Sergas of 
Espladian' was printed in Spain so far as we know until 1575, and after that in 1587, 
and none for two hundred and seventy years more. The reaction had come when the Curate 
burned the books of Don Quixote. He burned this among the rest. He saved Amadis of 
Gaul, but he burned Espladian. We will not spare the son for the virtues of the father." 
These words show Cervante's estimate of it as early as 1605. 

Mr. Hale further stated that when he read this romance pertaining to the Island of 
California, and noted the similarity of spelling, there were only two copies in the world, 
one copy in Mr. Ticknor's collection in the Public Library of Boston, Mass., and another 
copy in the Congressional Library in Washington, D. C. Mr. Hale, in "His Level Best," 
gives a chapter from this romance, an extract of which is now quoted: 



18 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

CHAPTER CLVII. LA SERGAS DE ESPLADIAN 

"Know ye that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, 
very near the Terrestrial Paradise which is peopled with black women without any men 
among them, because they were accustomed to live after the fashion of the Amazons. They 
were of strong and hardy bodies, of ardent courage and of great force. The island was 
the strongest in the world from its steep rocks and great cliffs* **Their arms were all of 
gold and so were the caparisons of the wild beasts which they rode after having tamed 
them, for in all the island there is no other metal but gold. 

' ' They lived in caves very well worked out of the rocks with much labor. They had 
many ships in which they sailed to other climes to carry on their forage to obtain 
booty***The various Christian knights assembled to defend the Emperor of the Greeks 
and the city of Constantinople against the attacks of the Turks and the Infidels and on 
this occasion the Queen of California and her court entered this war." 

The discovery of the name is equally as interesting as the land of California. The 
story of the ox-team and prairie schooner to California after the discovery of gold readily 
recalls to mind the words of Columbus, ' * None can enter but by the will of God. ' ' It has 
been said that in the trail of the ox-team to California or ' ' The Eldorado, ' ' meaning ' ' the 
home of the Gilded One," were strewn with the bleaching bones of persons who lost their 
lives trying to reach the land of California. 

Columbus longed to discover what he thought must be a land very near the Terrestrial 
Paradise. Let the reader compare his wish to the oft repeated expression that ' ' California 
is next door to heaven;" an expression frequently made by eastern tourists after their 
first winter in California. The modern writers speak of the land of California as the 
"Land of Heart's Desire." It is so generous to mankind. It can supply almost the entire 
United States with its deciduous and citrus fruits, its cotton, rice, gold, silver and quick- 
silver. Any time of the year, somewhere in California there are fresh vegetables growing. 
Nature seems to be inexhaustible in its desire to please mankind and supply his every wish. 

If one is of an artistic temperament he can have that instinct developed without the 
aid of any other teacher save a constant view of the beautiful valleys, lofty mountains, 
and glorious and bewitching sunsets. The great variety of wild flowers which in the spring 
time cover like a carpet the foothills and valleys of the high Sierras, scattered with the 
gold of the poppies, the blue of the Lupin, wild violets and buttercups make a picture of 
perfect harmony. Few artists can paint a picture of spring in California and tell with 
the brush half of its inspiring beauty. It has been said that following the rainy season, 
the wild flowers on Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco are of so many varieties that it 
is given for a fact that three hundred and twenty-five different kinds and colors adorn its 
dells and canyons. 

Aside from wild flowers, California abounds in majestic palms, and magnolias, crepe 
myrtle and pepper trees. The shrubbery and small flowering trees of every species known 
to civilized man from all parts of the United States, Japan and Australia grow in Cali- 
fornia in all their beauty as they would in their native land. 

The part of Columbus 's wish in the letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella : "I 
believe that if I should pass under the Equator in arriving at this high point of which 
I speak, I should find a milder temperature and a diversity in the stars and in the waters; 
Not that I believe that the highest point is navigable whence these currents flow, nor that 
we can mount them, because I am convinced that there is the Terrestrial Paradise, which 
none can enter but by the will of God. ' ' The people of the entire world are realizing this 
wish now that the Panama Canal has been completed and vessels are thereby enabled to 
pass through the Equator and not under in passing through the locks and waters of the 
canal. 

The repeated and unsuccessful attempt of the French Government to cut the canal, 
and the difficulty the American Government encountered in the terrible battles between the 
forces of nature and the engineering skill of the American civil engineers, however, led as 
if by the will of God to a final completion of a navigable canal. Note Columbus's words, 
"None can enter but by the will of God." 

Let the reader compare the fictitious California as given in the Spanish romance, and 
the present-day American State of California. The fictitious California was supposed to 
be rich in gold and so is the real California. The fictitious supposed to have been the 
home of beautiful black women with strong and hearty bodies. The writer challenges the 
world to produce more beautiful women than the State of California. They are strong 
and hearty, because they engage in almost every kind of outdoor exercise often acquiring 
a heavy coat of tan. This does not worry them in the least, for they immediately proceed 
to sleep out of doors by night, confident in the fact that if too much golf and tennis has 
produced this tan, the glorious fog comes in through the Golden Gate and down the valley 



OF CALIFORNIA 19 

and kisses roses into their cheeks making them the most beautiful and healthy appearing 
women in all the world. 

If Columbus had ever reached California he would not only have thought it was very 
near the "Terrestrial Paradise," but he would have said with Joaquin Miller: 

"Be this my home till some fair star 

Stoop earth-ward and shall beckon me, 
For surely God-land lies not far 

From these Greek heights and this great sea. 
My friend, my lover trend this way 

Not far along lies Arcady. " 



CHAPTER II 

Beginning op the Discovery of California with Friar Marco, and the 

Negro Guide Estevancio, together with Coronado and the Negro 

Priest and the Final Discovery by Cortez, the 

Ex- Viceroy of Mexico, in 1535 

The reader in the preceding chapter has been given the tracing of the discovery of the 
name ''California" to a Spanish novel published in 1510, while California was not dis- 
covered by Cortez until 1535. Nine years previous to its discovery there started from 
Spain an exploring expedition "under the direction of Governor Panfilo de Narvaez, who 
departed from the port of San Lucar de Barameda with authorities and orders from your 
majesties to conquer and govern the provinces that extend from the river of the Palms to 
the cape of the Floridas, these provinces being on the mainland. The fleet he took with 
him consisted of five vessels in which went six hundred souls." (From the translation by 
Fanny Bandelier of the Journey of Alva Nuez Cabeza de Vaca, and his companions). 
This translation further states that "The expedition met with many hardships. Several 
ships were destroyed by a West Indian hurricane and hostile Indians killed a large number 
of the remaining members of the party; and at one time the party was so reduced that it 
seemed they were all doomed. It was then a thought occurred to Cabeza de Vaca, who 
in the beginning of the expedition acted as treasurer of the company; he decided to act as 
leader in an effort to save the lives of the remaining members of the party, turned 'Medi- 
cine Man,' saying the 'Eosary' and making the 'Sign of the Cross' on the sick Indians." 
This pleased the Indians, who afterward passed the party in safety from one tribe to 
another. 

"Nevertheless the party grew smaller every year until at the end of nine years, when 
they reached Culiacan, out of six hundred souls there were only a party of three Spaniards 
and one Negro remaining." This translation also gives a graphic account of the niae 
years of exploring by Cabeza de Vaca and his companions before they reached Culiacan, 
and how they would pass tents which showed that civilized men had spent the previous 
night. Cabeza de Vaca said that, "Having positive traces of Christians and becoming 
satisfied they were very near, we gave thanks to God our Lord for redeeming us from our 
sad and gloomy condition***That night I entreated one of my companions to go after the 
Christians who were moving through that part of the country.'***Seeing their reluctance in 
the morning, I took vrith me the Negro and eleven Indians, and, following the trail, went 
in search of the Christians. ' ' 

He then tells how he and the Negro were the first to meet Diego de Alcaraza, who was 
an officer of Nueno de Guzman, and that he asked for a "certified statement of the year, 
month, and day when he met them, also the condition in which he came. ' ' To which request 
this officer complied. Cabeza de Vaca then tells how that, afterward, he sent the Negro 
as guide with a party of horsemen and fifty Indians after Dorantes and Castillo, who were 
the remaining members of the party. He stated that "Five days afterward they joined 
him, returning in company with the Negro and those sent after them." 

Cabeza de Vaca then decides that it will be well to give the names ol those who after 
nine years of exploring should be fortunate in reaching the Pacific Coast and said, "And 
now that I have given an account of the ship, it may be well to record also who those are 
and where from, whom it pleased God to rescue from all those dangers and hardships. The 
first is: Alonzo de Castillo Maldonado, a native of Salamanca, a son of Dr. Castillo Mal- 
donado, and Dona Alonza Maldonado. The second is Andrew Dorantes, son of Pablo Do- 
rantes, born at Benjar, but a resident of Gilraleon. The third is Alvar Nuez Cabeza de 
Vaca, son of Frances de Vera and grandson of Pedro de Vera, who conquered the Canary 
Islands. His mother was called Dona Teresa Cabeza de Vaca and she was a native of 
Xerez de la Frontera. The fourth is Estevanico, an Arab Negro from Azamore on the 
Atlantic Coast of Morocco." The writer has quoted the four names to show that the 
Negro was in the original party when they started from Spain, and that he came from 
Azamore on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco. 

Through this translation the reader is given the knowledge that the first two persons 
to reach the west coast of Mexico in an exploring overland expedition from Florida to the 
Pacific Coast were one Spaniard and a Negro, and that in five days afterward they were 
joined by two other Spaniards and a number of Indians. 

In another translation by the same author of the "Eeport of Father Marco of Nissa 
and his expedition to Cibolia in which Estevanico, the Negro, acted as guide and perished. 



OF CALIFORNIA 



21 




LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ALLEN ALLENSWORTH (deceased) 




DR. LEONARD STOVALL 
First Lieutenant Medical Reserve Corps. 
Served in National Army in France. 




LIEUT. JESSE KIMBROUGH 
365th Infantry (The Buffaloes). 



22 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 





ATToRXKY WILLIS O. TYLEII 

Corp. 8th Indiana U. S. Volunteers, 

Spanish-American War. 



HON. WM. EASTON 
War Historian. 





CAPT. WILLIAM T. REYNOLDS 
Spanish-American War Veteran. 



SERGT. RAOUL T. REYNOLDS 

Promoted for efficiency to Platoon 

Sergeant, Co. I, 365th Infantry, 

U. S. A., in France. 



OF CALIFORNIA 2:3 

is given an interesting account of the part Estevanico, the Negro, took in the discovery 
of the Southwestern part of this continent, which eventually led to the discovery of Cali- 
fornia, as the following will show: 

"Soon after these threq Spaniards and the Negro reached Mexico City and told of 
their strange experiences and the many cities they had passed through during the nine 
years of travel across the continent, Cortez. who had been deposed as Viceroy of Nueva 
Espana, but at the same time was given permission by the King of Spain to explore and 
discover at his own expense, whereupon after hearing of the arrival in Mexico City of these 
three Spaniards and the Negro and their experiences in exploring, decided to use the power 
given to him by the King to explore. He then proceeded to build some ships to be used 
bv him in an expedition of discovery, and started out. He sailed into the Gulf of Lower 
California and hence into the Pacific Ocean, where he discovered the Santa Cruz Islands, 
which he named "California." 

In the meantime Cabeza de Vaca and his party decided to return to Spain. They 
embarked in separate boats; Cabeza de Vaca and Castillo in one boat, and Dorantes and 
the Negro in another. A terrible storm drove them back to port. Soon afterward they 
again set sail, when a more severe storm again overtook them, and Dorantes and the Negro 
returned to shore. They did not attempt again to leave. Since there was no "Wireless" 
in those days, Cabeza de Vaca did not know that the boat with Dorantes and the Negro 
was not following him until he reached Habana, Cuba. After waiting for the boat a reason- 
able time he sailed for Spain. "Upon his arrival, he was made Governor of a province as 
a reward for his nine years of hardship while exploring in the interest of the Crown of 
Castile. ' ' 

Viceroy Mendoza, the then ruler of Nueva Espana, being anxious to explore in the 
interest of the King of Spain, hearing that the Negro and Dorantes were still in Mexico 
City, sent for Dorantes and told him he would fit out the necessary outfit for an expedition 
of exploring. Dorantes consented, but afterward decided not to undertake the task. He 
had not forgotten the nine years of exploration with Cabeza de Vaca. 

Viceroy Mendoza was not discouraged and determined to send out a party and to 
that end employed the Negro. His success at this is told in a letter to the King of Spain. 
It has been translated by Fanny Bandelier and says: "A letter written by the most 
Honorable Lord Don Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of Nueva Espana, to discover the end 
of the Firmeland of Nuena Espana toward the north. The arrival of Vasquez de Coro- 
nado with Friar Marco at Saint Michael of Culiacan with commissions to the governors 
of those parts to pacify the Indians, and not make slaves of them any more." Mendoza 
then tells at great length of fitting up an expedition for Dorantes which was given up 
' ' and he still had in hand the Negro who returned from the aforesaid voyage who, together 
with certain Indians born in these parts, whom I sent with Friar Marco de Mica and his 
companions, a Franciscan Friar because they had long traveled and exercised in these 
parts and had great experience with the Indians and were men of good affairs and con- 
sciences — for whom I obtained leave of their Superiors. So they went with Friar Vasquez 
de Coronado, Governor of Nueva Galicia, unto the city of Saint Michael of Culiacan." 

Mendoza, then speaking of Governor Coronado, says : ' ' Because I had likewise ad- 
vertisement of a certain province called Topria situated in the mountains, I had appointed 
the Governor Vasquez de Coronado that he should use means to learn the state thereof. 
He, supposing this to be a matter of great moment, determined himself to go and search 
it, having agreed with the said Friar that he should return by that part of the mountain 
to meet with him in a certain valley called Valle de Coracones, being 120 leagues distant 
from Culiacan. ' ' Mendoza closes the letter by saying : * ' The Governor, traveling in those 
provinces, found great scarcity of victuals there and the mountains so scraggy that he was 
forced to return home to Saint Michael. So that as well as in the choosing of the entrance 
as in not being able to find the way it seemed unto all means that God would shut up the 
gate to all those which, by strength of human force, have gone about to attempt this enter- 
prise and hath revealed it to a poor and barefoot Friar and so the Friar began to enter 
into the land." 

Hittell's History of California (p. 69), in speaking of Coronado, says: "Coronado, 
believing that the approaching winter would seriously embarrass his movements, deter- 
mined to hasten back. He therefore hurriedly set up a cross with an inscription commem- 
orating his progress thus far and then as rapidly as possible retraced his steps. A few 
of the people, however, including Father Juan de Padilla, Father Luis de Escabona and a 
Negro Priest, were so fascinated with the beautiful diversity of river, hill and plains at 
Quivera that they determined to remain there. ' ' Mr. Hittell gives Herrera as his authority. 
The writer called on this author and asked if his reference referred to the Negro Priest or 
other members of the party. He frankly said that it referred to the Negro Priest, and 
because of his interest in the Negro Eace he made note of it in his history. 



24 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

However, in a desire to remove any possible doubt as to the Negro Priest being with 
Coronado's expedition of exploration in an effort to discover California, the writer has been 
fortunate in having a friend, Miss Ruth Masengale, voluntarily to offer to translate some 
Spanish documents, among which was the one given by the historian, Hon. Theodore Hit- 
tell. This translation, as found by Miss Masengale, read that "Francis Vasquez de Coro- 
nado returned to New Galicia pleased with this land. Many would have populated it but 
they could not. The Friar Luis de Escalone of Saint Vida wished to stay in this land to 
watch over the service of God and to see if preaching could possibly save them, and more- 
over, if necessary, he would suffer martyrdom and not wish another thing but a perfect 
slave of a captain for his consolation, and to learn the language and change the love of 
religion. They would stay with him in this land of the Recorteas some Christian Indians 
of Melchoacan, and two Negroes, one with his wife and children; beside, the Friar Juan 
disputed the return to Quivera and after the declaration there went with him, Andres de 
Campo, a Portuguese, and another Negro that took the habit of a friar. He carried sheep, 
chickens, a horse with embellishments, mules and other things. Some that were with him 
killed him when they came to the cape. If it were to take what he had brought from him 
or for other reasons is not known. A Mexican Indian called Sebastian and a Portuguese 
brought the news." It seems passing strange that after hundreds of years, a colored girl 
and a native daughter of California should be the one to translate this document for its 
use in the history of the Pioneer and Present Day Negro of California, thereby giving the 
reading public the knowledge that Governor Coronado on his trip of exploration in an 
effort to discover in the interest of the Crown of Castile, should have in his expedition 
several Negroes and even a * ' Negro Priest. ' ' 

Let us continue the tracing of the journey of Friar Marco and the Negro, Estevancio. 
The translation by Fanny Bandillier which said "Friar Marco rested on Palm Sunday, 
sending the Negro and certain Indians who, if he thought it worth while, would send back 
messengers. The Negro always marked his own journey by large wooden crosses. After 
Easter, Friar Marco proceeded to follow the 'journey* of the Negro in an effort to reach 
the Seven Cities of Cibolia. " In another passage this translation says, "Friar Marco 
traveled thus nearly two weeks and traversed several deserts, guiding his course by the 
wooden crosses which Estevancio had erected to direct the road. But before he reached 
Cibolia, he met an Indian messenger who told him that the Negro had reached Cibolia and 
when he entered the city he found hostile Indians, who killed him. ' ' Friar Marco of Nissa 
iu his report says, ' ' Having seen the disposition and situation of the place, I thought it 
good to name that country, ' El Nueva Reyno de San Francisco. ' ' ' 

In an effort to give the reader all the knowledge possible concerning the Negro, Este- 
vancio, and the cause for which the Indian killed him upon his entering the city of Cibolia, 
the writer had Ruth Masengale translate Friar Marco's report as given by Antonio Her- 
rera "dec. 6, libro 7, cap. 7", which she found as follows; "First upon arriving at the 
villa of Saint Michael in Culiacan, as advised by the Castillano, that they should assure 
the Indians that the King had been concerned about the bad treatment they had had and 
that there will be none henceforth and those who do contrary will be punished and they 
will not become slaves any more; nor will they be drawn out of their country and they 
will lose fear and serve God that is in the heavens, and the King in whose hand the country 
has been placed to rule and govern it temporarily, that notice as decreed by Francis Vas- 
quez de Coronado, the conversion and good treatment of the natives. Upon finding a com- 
mand to enter into the country, we carried with us Estevancio, who was called Dorantes, 
he that went out with Cabeza de Vaca, Castillano and Orantes of the Floridas, he that was 
the good companion of the Indians which went with the above mentioned and the rest of 
Petaland and in this made the best of that which presented itself. ' ' 

In the portion of the letter pertaining to the death of Estevancio, Ruth Masengale 's 
translation says: "Your fathers, sons, and brothers are dead, more than three hundred 
men, and cannot come from Cibolia; and Estevancio sent his gourd and told the governor 
that he was to head (or save) and gave peace and the governor flung the gourd to the 
ground and said they were not his own***The other day Estevancio went out of the house 
and some principals with him and many from the city fell upon them and they, fleeing, 
tumbled over one another, being more than three hundred, beside women, and when they 
themselves were shot with arrows and wounded as it seemed they fell down among the dead 
until night***that they had not seen Estevancio any more; but believed that he had been 
shot with the others. Friar Marco prayed for some to go and see what was become of 
Estevancio, which none would." This translation has given to the reader the words of 
praise the Friar Marco wrote to the King of Spain in regard to the "Negro guide, Este- 
vancio. ' ' 

The following ia quoted from another account of the death of Estevancio as given by 



OF CALIFORNIA 25 

Hackluyt's collection of voyages of early English Nations, (1600 edition), which says: 
<'The cause, therefore, Stephen Dorantes was slain I demand upon what occasion he was 
killed, and he answered me that the Lord of Cibolia, inquiring of him whether he had other 
brethren, he had answered that he had an infinite number and that they had a great store 
of weapons with them and that they were not very far from thence. When they heard 
this, many of the chief men consulted together and resolved to kill him that he might not 
give news unto these brethren where they dwelt and that for this cause they slew him and 
cut him into many pieces, which were divided among all the chief Lords that they might 
know assuredly that he was dead, and also that he had a dog, like mine, which they likewise 
killed a great while afterward." 

The following is quoted from another edition of Hackluyt's discoveries, which says: 
"And going on our way in a day's journey of Ceuola we met two other Indians of those 
which went with Stephen, which were bloody and wounded in many places, and soon as 
they came to us, they which were with me began to make great lamentation. These wounded 
Indians I asked for Stephen and they all agreed in all points with the first Indians, saying 
that after they had put him into the aforesyd great house without giving him meat or drink 
all that day and all night, they took from Stephen all the things which he carried with 
him. The next day when the sun was a lance high, Stephen went out of the house and 
some of the chief men with him and suddenly came a score of people from the citie. Whom, 
as soon as he saw, he began to run away and we likewise, and forthwith they shot at us 
and wounded us, and so we lay till night and durst not stirre and we heard great rumors 
in the citie and saw many men and women keep watch and ward upon the walls thereof 
and after this we could not see Stephen any more and we think they have shot him to 
death as they have done all the rest which went with him, so that none escaped but we 
only. ' ' 

It gives the writer great pleasure to quote the following from the Negro Year Book 
by the Hon. Monroe N. Work, in which he says in regard to Estevancio: "A number of 
Negro slaves were in the expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez to conquer the Floridas. Among 
them was Estevancio***This expedition was unsuccessful. Estevancio (Little Steve), a 
Negro, was a member of this expedition***In 1538 he led an expedition from Mexico in 
search of the fabled 'Seven Cities of Cibolia' and discovered Arizona and New Mexico. 
He was killed at Cibolia in what is now New Mexico. He was the first member of an alien 
race to visit the North Mexican pueblos. After a lapse of three and a half centuries the 
tradition of the killing of Estevancio still lingers in a Zuni Indian Legend which, among 
other things, says: 'It is to be believed that a long time ago when the roofs lay over 
the walls of Kya-Ki-Me, when smoke hung over the housetops, Mexicans came from their 
abodes in Everlasting Summerland. These Indians So-No-Li, set up a great howl and thus 
they and our ancients did much ill to one another. Then and thus was kUled by our 
ancients right where the stone stands down by the arroyo of Kya-Ki-Me, one of the Black 
Mexicans, a large man with chili lips, (lips swelled from eating Chili pepper).' " 

The Honorable Monroe Works is the director of research work at the Tuskegee Insti- 
tute, which was founded by the late Hon. Booker T. Washington, and is not only an author 
of note, but is thoroughly reliable. 



CHAPTER III 
End of the Spanish Rule in California 

To give the reader a clear understanding of conditions prior to the coming of the 
Franciscan Missionaries and afterward the occupation by the American Government of 
California, would require considerable time. Hence in an effort to give the facts in a short 
chapter the writer is quoting from a paper by Mr. John T. Doyle in which he gives an 
accurate history of the "Pious Fund of the California Missions," which really is a short 
history of the "Spanish rule" up to the time of the occupation of the territory by the 
Americans. 

In this paper the writer says: "From the time of the discovery of California, in 
1534, by the expedition fitted out by Cortez, the colonization of that country and the con- 
version of its inhabitants to the Catholic Faith vras a cherished object with the Spanish 
Monarchs. Many expeditions for the purpose were set on foot at the expense of the Crown 
during the century and a half succeeding the discovery, but, though attended with enor- 
mous expense, none of them were productive of the slightest good results. Down to the 
year 1697 the Spanish Monarch had failed to acquire any permanent foothold in the vast 
territory which they claimed under the name of California. 

' * The success of the Jesuit Fathers in the Mission on the northwest frontier of Mexico 
and elsewhere induced the Spanish Government, as early as 1645, (on the occasion of fitting 
out an expedition for California under Admiral Pedro Portal de Casanti), to invite that 
religious order to take charge of the spiritual ministration of it and the country for which 
it was destined, and they accepted the charge. But that expedition failed like all its prede- 
cessors. 

"The last expedition undertaken by the Crown was equipped in pursuance of a Eoyal 
Cedula of December 29th, 1679. It was confided to the command of Admiral Isidro Otondo, 
and the spiritual administration of the country was again entrusted to the Jesuits, the 
celebrated Father Kino being appointed Cosmograph Mayor of the expedition which sailed 
on the 18th of March, 1683.***Many precautions had been taken to ensure its success, but, 
after three years of ineffectual effort and expenditure of over $225,000, it was also aban- 
doned as a failure, and at a junta general assembled in the City of Mexico, under the 
auspices of the Viceroy, when the whole subject was carefully reviewed, it was determined 
that the reduction of California by the means heretofore relied upon was a simple impos- 
sibility, and that the only mode of occupying it was to invite the Jesuits to undertake its 
whole charge at the expense of the Crown. ***It was declined by the society.** *Individual 
members of the society, however, animated by a zeal for the spread of the Christian Faith 
in California, proposed to undertake the whole charge of the conversion of the country and 
its reduction to Christianity and civilization and without expense to the Crown, on condi- 
tion that they might themselves select the civil and military officers to be employed.*** 
This plan was finally agreed to and on the fifth of February, 1697, the necessary authority 
was conferred on Father Juan Maria Salvatierra and Father Francisco Eusebro Kino to 
undertake the reduction of California on the express conditions: First, that possession of 
the country was to be taken in the name of the Spanish Crown, and second, that the Eoyal 
Treasury was not to be called on for any of the expense of the enterprise." 

This paper then at length tells how that Father Kino and Salvatierra, realizing that 
they would need money to carry on the enterprise, raised through private subscription and 
religious societies a fund to conduct the work of advancing Christianity according to the 
faith of the Catholic Church by establishing Missions, preaching, teaching and adminis- 
tering the sacraments of the Church. The funds collected were placed in a trust fund, 
and then invested at a safe rate of interest, the income to be used for the purpose for 
which it was collected. This fund was given the name of ' ' The Pious Fund of the Mis- 
sions of California. ' ' The paper then gives the names of the first and subsequent donors 
to the fund, and the Missions established in Lower California through the income derived 
from the Pious Fund. 

The paper further states : ' ' The Pious Fund continued to be managed by the Jesuits 
and its income applied according to the will of its founders, and the Missions of Cali- 
fornia remained under their charge down to 1768, in which year they were expelled from 
Mexico in pursuance of the order of the Crown or pragmatic sanction of February 27, 
1767. The Missions of California were directed by the Viceroy to be placed in charge of 
the Franciscan Order. Subsequently a Eoyal Cedula April 8, 1770, was issued directing 
that one-half of their Missions should be confided to the Dominican Friars; in pursuance 



OF CALIFORNIA 27 

of which and a Concordate of April 7, 1772, between the authorities of the two orders 
sanctioned by the Viceroy, the Missions of Lower California were confided to the Domin- 
icans and those of Upper California to the Franciscans. 

"The income and product of the Pious Fund were hereafter applied to the Missions 
of both orders. The Church, when first established in Upper California, was purely mis- 
sionary in its character. It first dates from 1769, in July of which year Fr. Junipero 
Serra, a Franciscan Friar, and his companions reached the port of San Diego overland 
from the frontier Missions of Lower California and then foundeil the first Christian Mission 
and the first settlement of civilized men within the territory comprising what is now the 
State of California. The Missions were designed so that, when the population should be 
sufficiently instructed, to be converted into parish churches and maintained as such, as had 
already been done in other parts of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. 

"But in the meantime and while the necessary missionary character continued, they 
were under the ecclesiastical government of a President of the Mission. Fr. Junipero 
Serra was the first who occupied that office and the Missions were governed and directed 
by him and his successors as such down to the year 1836, when the authority of this office 
was superseded by the appointment of a bishopric or diocese. Francis Garcia Diego, the 
last President of the Missions, was the first bishop of the new diocese of Upper California. 

"The text of the decree of pragmatic sanction expelling the Jesuits from the Spanish 
domain is very brief. Under this provision the Crown took all the estate of the order into 
its possession, including those of the Pious Fund, but later constituting a trust estate,*** 
charged with this trust. This was fully recognized by the Crown, and the property of the 
Pious Fund, so held in trust, was afterwards managed in its name by officers appointed 
for the purpose, called a Junta Directive. 

"This income and product continued to be devoted through the instrumentality of 
the ecclesiastical authorities to the religious uses for which they were dedicated by the 
donors.***On the declaration of Mexican Independence, Mexico succeeded to the Crown 
of Spain as trustee of the Pious Fund, and it continued to be managed and its income 
applied as before down to September 19, 1836, when the condition of the Church and the 
Missions established in California seemed to render desirable the erection of the country 
into a diocese or bishopric for its government.*** 

"The two Calif ornias. Upper and Lower, were erected by His Holiness, Pope Gregory 
XVI into a diocese and Francis Garcia Diego, who until that time had been President of 
the Missions of Upper California, was made bishop of the newly constituted See. As 
such he became entitled to the administration, management and investment of the Pious 
Fund as a trust. 

***"0n February 8, 1840, so much of the law of September 19, 1836, as confided the 
management and investment of the fund to the bishop was abrogated by a decree of Santa 
Ana, the President of the Eepublic, and the trust was again devolved on the State, but 
that decree did not purport in any way to impair or alter the rights of the trust. On the 
contrary, it merely devolved on the Government the investment and money of the Pious 
Fund.***On October 24, 1842, another decree was made by the same President,*** direct- 
ing that the property belonging to the Pious Fund should be sold for the sum represented 
by its income capitalized on the basis of 6% per annum,*** and that the proceeds of the 
sale as well as the cash investment of the funds should be paid into the public treasury 
and recognized as an obligation on the part of the Government to pay annually thereof 
thenceforth. ' ' 

The reader has learned from the quotation of extracts from the paper by Mr.^ Doyle 
that the missionary fathers financed their own establishment of the California Missions, 
through the income derived from the Pious Fund. This paper fully stated the banishment 
from Mexico of the Jesuit Order of missionaries. The reason for allowing the Franciscan 
Order to do such wonderful work in laying the foundation for civilizing the Californians 
is explained by Father Engelhardt, who says: "When the royal decree expelling the 
Jesuits from New Spain had been executed, Viceroy de Croix and Inspector General Jose 
de Galvez resolved to place the California Missions in charge of the Franciscan Mission 
College of San Fernando, in the City of Mexico. ***There were still some Jesuit Friars in 
the Missions of Lower California. The Crown sent Captain Gaspar de Portolo, a Cas- 
tilian, to execute the Koyal decree in California. He was at the same time made Gov- 
ernor of the Peninsula of California. Don Gaspar de Portolo sailed from Spain with 
fifty soldiers and fourteen Franciscans." 

Seven years previous there also had sailed from "Spain August 28, 1749, Fr. Juni- 
pero Serra, a Franciscan, and Francisco Palou, who came to the College of San Fernando, 
in Mexico City, arriving in January, 1750." These two Friars were anxious to Christian- 
ize the heathen in California. 



28 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Fr. Serra immediately engaged in missionary work in Mexico. After Portolo had 
seen to the return to Spain of all the Jesuit Friars in Lower California, by virtue of his 
office or appointment as Governor of the Peninsula of California, he and his soldiers 
formed the military part of the expedition of the conquest to civilize and Christianize 
Upper California. It was necessary to have the Holy Fathers accompanied by a military 
escort for their protection, and because, in an effort to secure the country for the Crown 
of Castile, the government requested that every expedition should be accompanied by a 
military escort. 

The college at San Fernando, Mexico City, selected to head the religious part of the 
expedition Friar Junipero Serra, who at the time of the selection was in the interior of 
Mexico engaged in his missionary labors among the Indians, and hence was not consulted 
as to his wishes in the selection. ^\Tien he arrived in Mexico City and was told about the 
selection, he was very happy, saying that all his life he had wanted to go to California — 
to save souls for the glory of Christ, our Lord. There could not have been a better selec- 
tion made for the office of President of the missionary part of the expedition. He was a 
strong character and had unshakeable faith in God and his blessing on his work of saving 
souls in California. 

During his nine years of missionary work in Mexico, at the very beginning of his 
duties, he was shot in one leg and it never healed. Wliile making the trip overland to 
San Diego he suffered great pain and Portolo desired a litter made that they might carry 
him. Whereupon he replied: "Do not speak of this dear sir: for I trust in God. He 
must give me strength to reach San Diego, as he has granted me so far, and, in case that 
it is impossible, I conform myself to his Holy Will, but though I die on the road, I will 
not go back. They may bury me and I shall gladly rest among the pagans if it be the 
will of God. ' ' 

Inspector Jose de Galvez gave the Friars orders to establish Missions in honor of cer- 
tain saints. They were to first find the ports named in honor of these saints. When Juni- 
pero Serra asked if they were not to establish a Mission in honor of Saint Francis, Galvez 
replied : " If Saint Francis wants a Mission, let him cause his port to be discovered. ' ' 

After the establishing of a Mission at San Diego, Don Gaspar de Portolo and his 
soldiers decided to go on up the coast by land and locate the Bay of Monterey. It had 
been recorded that Ascension had said Mass in Monterey under a tree in 1602. The expe- 
dition decided to divide; part remaining with the President, Father Junipero Serra, at 
San Diego, until the arrival of the ship that was to follow with supplies from Mexico City. 
The ships named in the expedition were the San Antonio and the San Carlos. 

Portolo and his party were gone a long time. A number of the party died from 
scurvy, and they were unable to locate the Bay of Monterey. In an effort to do so they 
proceeded to walk on up and through the valley of Santa Clara and over to where "they 
viewed from the Berkeley Hills the most beautiful, large, land-locked bay they had ever 
seen." Even so they were discouraged because this bay did not correspond to the descrip- 
tion given them of the Bay of Monterey. Sick at heart, discouraged and disappointed 
they decided to return to San Diego, which meant another long walk, but they finally 
reached there and were welcomed by President Father Junipero Serra and the remaining 
members of the expedition. 

Junipero Serra and his band also were discouraged, because the ship that was to bring 
the supplies was months over-due, and there had not been any conversions among the 
Indians. Rations were getting short and they had told Serra that they would like to 
return to Mexico and abandon California as a hopeless place. Portolo and his party were 
hurrying as best they could to reach San Diego. Not wishing to hastily decide the best 
course to pursue, the President, Father Junipero Serra, ordered a Novena said to deter- 
mine the problem. He had much faith in God and believed that he would save California, 
and bless the efforts of the missionary fathers to save California to the glory of God, our 
Lord, and the Holy Catholic Church. 

A Novena is devoted prayers said for nine consecutive days asking God's blessing 
on any thing desired by you or any number of people who may be making the Novena, 
The Catholic and Episcopalian churches often have a Novena when they wish a special 
blessing from God. The missionaries and other members of the expedition said their 
prayers in the Mission, but Junipero Serra was so sincere that he climbed the hill near the 
Mission, and aFone he poured out his soul in prayer to God to send him guidance. Before 
the end of the Novena, Portolo and his part of the expedition returned to San Diego and 
told of their trip, and the beautiful large, land-locked bay they had discovered from the 
Berkeley Hills. They also added that it could not be the Bay of Monterey because it was 
too large. The President Father immediately recognized from their description that they 
had discovered the Bay of San Francisco. Its discovery made him more than happy because 



OF CALIFORNIA 29 

Galvaz had said to Junipero Serra : " If Saint Francis wants a Mission let him cause his 
port to be discovered." 

Portolo was told of the unsuccessful efforts to convert the heathen and that the ship 
with the supplies was months overdue. He, too, wanted to return to Mexico City before 
they were out of supplies, and could see no reason for longer remaining in California. 
He tells Serra that he is an old man and that they will take him back by force, whereupon 
Junipero Serra ran up on to the hill back of the Mission and said: "Though you all 
return, I will remain alone with God to save California." 

Let the reader for a moment think of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and this 
saint of the order of Saint Francis climbing the hills of San Diego that he might be alone 
to talk and plead with God and finish his Novena. He prayed all day, wrestling as it 
were with God to send him help that the expedition would not abandon California, and 
that the Missionary Fathers would yet win many souls to the glory of God, our Lord. He 
had been sending his petitions to the court of heaven for nine days. The entire party 
were packing and making ready to sail back to Mexico with the setting of the sun. Even 
so, Serra continued to pray, unheeding their working. The sun was fast setting, no relief 
ship in sight, no baptism, no conversion. The party said that they would sail at the set- 
ting of the sun. Portolo ordered the sails unfurled and they began to embark (so his- 
torians tell us), but behold, there is nothing impossible with God, and just as the sun was 
almost setting over the beautiful Bay of San Diego, just around what is now known as 
Point Loma appeared a white sail. In a few moments the full view of the San Antonio 
loomed in sight. On the shore there were Monks and the rest of the party unfurling the 
sails of the San Carlos and embarking ready to sail at the setting of the sun, abandoning 
California, while only one member of the party was willing to trust God to answer his 
prayers in his own way and time. 

The land party was convinced that they had sighted the San Antonio and ran to tell 
Junipero Serra that California was saved. The day before the ship reached port, the first 
Christian baptism according to the Holy Catholic Church was performed. Serra did not care 
if they did return to either Spain or Mexico. He did not care if they reported their efforts 
to the King of Spain or the Euler of Mexico, he had come to California to wage war 
against sin under the leadership of a captain who had never lost a battle, the Captain and 
King of Glory, Christ our Lord, who heard his prayers. The ship San Antonio was so much 
overdue, they supposed the party had all gone to Monterey and did not stop at San Diego. 
But, just before she reached Santa Barbara, we are told, she broke a rudder and went 
into port to repair it, and while there the natives told them of the land expedition going 
south, resulting in the San Antonio reversing her course and returning to San Diego. Juni- 
pero Serra 's prayers were answered. Portolo and the expedition did not abandon Cali- 
fornia. 

Mr. John Steven McGroarty, in the "Mission Play," and also in his "History of 
California," pays a beautiful tribute to the Bay of San Diego, calling it the "Harbor 
of the sun and the bright shores of glory." The writer read his description before fully 
studying the history of California, but she is convinced, since reading the life of Junipero 
Serra by his lifelong friend Palou, and taking into consideration the beauty of the Bay 
of San Diego, the answer to the earnest prayers of Serra, resulting in the Missionary 
Fathers remaining and not abandoning California, that many tributes have been paid to 
this State which at first may seem overdrawn, but afterwards prove fitting. 

The San Antonio was sighted off Point Loma in San Diego Bay, returning from 
Santa Barbara, while, in sight of the shore, that saint of God, Junipero Serra, was on the 
hill talking alone to his Maker. Through the anxious prayers and labor of the President 
Father Junipero Serra, Crespi, Palou and the other Franciscan Friars composing the com- 
pany of missionaries, we find in a few years the shores of California which, during the 
previous hundreds of years had lain a barren waste, dotted with successfully managed Mis- 
sions. George Wharton James says of their work in "The old Franciscan Missions" (p. 
65) : "Personally, I regard the education given by the Padres as exemplary, even though I 
materially differ from them as to some of the things they regarded as religious essentials, 
yet, in honor it must be said that if I, or the church to which I belong, or you, and the 
church to which you belong, reader, had been in California in those days, your religious 
teachings or mine would have been entitled justly to as much criticism and censure as 
have been visited upon the Padres. They did the best they knew how and, as I shall show, 
they did most wonderfully well, far better than the enlightened government to which we 
belong has ever done." 

It was the aim of the Holy Fathers to establish Missions about a day's journey apart 
on California's coast, and they established twenty-four Missions to the glory of God, our 
Lord, and the Catholic Church. The Padres also taught the Indians how to farm, and do 
all kinds of labor intelligently. In a measure they mastered the manual arts. They were 



30 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

also taught music and painting. Specimens of their handiwork can still be seen in the 
Santa Barbara Mission, which has never been abandoned or allowed to go to ruin. The 
writer once visited it and was surprised to hear the monk who was acting as guide sav 
that in an effort to teach the Indians music, not being able to make them understand in 
any other way, the Padres resorted to painting the notes on the scale different colors. In 
explaining the effort to teach them art, he pointed to the ceiling of the Mission, saying 
that, even in this day, its decoration after a hundred years would compare favorably with 
the art in mural decoration of today, unquestionably showing that the California Indians 
were capable of being civilized even if they had been enslaved by the Mexican people for 
untold generations. 

The greatest thing the Padres taught the Indians was the value of virtue and the 
sacred duty of the male to protect the virtue of the female. Judging from the different 
reports submitted at the annual meetings of the Friars, the Missions were in a prosperous 
condition up to the death of Friar Junipero Serra, and had they been unmolested in the 
work they no doubt would, in a few more years, have taught the Indian the value of becom- 
ing self-sustaining and other necessary steps to a true civilization. Friar Engelhardt says: 
' ' The secularization was like taking children from their parents and turning them over 
to selfish strangers. ' ' 

The last Mission was established in 1823, and shortly afterward President Father 
Junipero Serra passed to his reward, which was a great loss to the Missions and also to 
California. 

The Crown appointed .lose Maria de Echeandia as Governor of both the Californias, 
February 1, 1825. He was very indifferent to the Missions and immediately began planning 
to secularize them. The plan was adopted by the Mexican Congress on August 17, 1835. 
Mexico declared her independence and assumed trusteeship over the Pious Fund, and it 
was still managed in the interest of the Missions. Governor Micheltorena, the first Gov- 
ernor appointed by Mexico for Upper California, ordered the restoration of all the prop- 
erty taken from the Mission Fathers, but the order came too late to benefit the neophytes. 

The Missions of the Jesuits passed from their control to the Franciscan Order in 
1767, which was about a hundred years from the discovery of San Diego and California. 
During this period there were many ships sailing the Pacific Ocean and touching Califor- 
nia 's coast. Some were explorers ; others were pirate ships, but the greater number were 
ships sent out by Russia to procure fur. 

In early days this coast was rich in fur-bearing animals, such as seal and otter. The 
news reached Spain in regard to the Eussian adventure on the Pacific Coast. The Spanish 
Crown was anxious to discover the Northwest Passage to the Indies, which they supposed 
led through the Straits of Anin, and which, if discovered, would open another avenue of 
trade whereby their ships could extend the possessions of the Crown of Castile. In view 
of this fact, the Crown of Castile) fitted out expedition after expedition, in an effort to 
establish a claim to the country. The historian H. H. Bancroft says: "For sixty years 
or since Sebastian Viscano, in 1602, as much had been known of the country as now, the 
general trend and appearance of the coast, the fertility of the country was known, also 
the general description of the ports of San Diego, Monterey and under Point Eeys called 
San Francisco, with a tolerable accurate knowledge of Santa Barbara Channel and Islands. 
Thus it was no new information about the country that prompted the California Conquest. ' ' 
Note Columbus' words: "None can enter but by the will of God." 

California was not civilized until the Church was given comparatively unlimited and 
practically unmolested authority to civilize and Christianize by establishing Missions. Then 
the military part of the expedition completed the plans for the execution of the civilization 
and for holding the country for the Spanish Crown. Presidios established then are still 
in use, namely, San Diego, Monterey and San Francisco. 



CHAPTER IV 
Bear Flag Party 

During this unsettled period in California's early government by Mexico, the United 
States government sent out an expedition under Captain John C. Fremont, topographical 
engineer, to survey the interior of the continent and the Pacific Coast. This expedition 
left Washington City uu<ler orders of Col. J. J. Albert, Chief of the Topographical Bu- 
reau. In Captain Fremont 's narrative he speaks of his party, which was composed of 
about thirty-nine persons, consisting of Creole, Canadian, French and American, leaving 
for the West in the early spring of 1843. Captain Fremont spent several years in survey- 
ing the interior of the continent and California, also Oregon. He afterward returned to 
Washington City and both wrote and talked in glowing terms of California. He had sev- 
eral talks with his father-in-law, Senator Benton, and they arranged a set of secret codes 
with which Senator Benton promised to send secret messages to Captain Fremont when he 
returned to California. 

Senator Benton saw a possibility for his son-in-law to distinguish himself as a United 
States army officer in California, if he could in some way seize the Territory of California, 
in the interest of the United States Government. The United States Government was 
supposed to be then preparing to go to war with Mexico in regard to the boundary which 
involved the territory of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Senator Benton decided that 
in the event of war, he would let Captain Fremont know when the time was right to act 
by sending a secret message which would be perfectly plain to him through the pre- 
arranged set of codes. 

The year previous to Captain Fremont's first visit to the Pacific Coast, a United States 
navy officer, Thomas Catesby Jones, seized the port of Monterey, California, and raised 
the Stars and Stripes. But on the following day, finding that war had not been declared 
by the United States Government, immediately lowered "Old Glory" and hastily paid a 
visit to Governor Mieheltorena, who was located in Los Angeles. . This United States officer 
offered the Mexican Governor an apology. 

The country on the other side of the Rocky Mountains was full of rumors of the 
approaching war with Mexico, and the possibilities of the United States Government owning 
California. Royce says: "As the reader will know from the foregoing, our hearts were 
set upon California as the one prize that made the Mexican war worth fighting. The Bay 
of San Francisco, the future commerce of the Pacific, the fair and sunny land beyond the 
Sierras, the full and even boundary westward, the possible new field for the extension of 
slavery; such matters were powerful with some or all of our leaders. The hasty seizure 
of Monterey in 1842, although disavowed by our government, was a betrayal of our 
national feelings to say the least, if not of our national plans, which no apology could 
withdraw from plain history. Meanwhile with more or less good foundation we had strong 
fears of both England and France as dangerous rivals in the acquisition of the western 
land. " 

Royce then cites the disorganized condition of the Mexican rule in California and to 
prove his statements of the United States' intentions in regard to California he has drawn 
his evidence from the correspondence of the Department of State with Council Thomas O. 
Larkin, who at the time was located in Monterey, California. Professor Royce then tells 
of plans that the government of the United States would try to use in acquiring peace- 
fully the Territory of California. He says: "To wait until war had been forced upon 
Mexico and actually begun and thereupon to seize the Department of California as an act 
of war, to undertake with semi-official support of some sort the colonization of the country 
by an unnatural rapid immigration of Americans into it, and to take advantage of the 
strained relations already existing between Californians and the mother country, and by 
means of intrigue, to get the land through the acts of its own native inhabitants." 

It was under such exciting rumors that Captain Fremont returned to California with 
another surveying expedition and after completing his surveying he continued to linger in 
California. "He marched his little band of thirty-nine souls as far north as Sutter's 
Fort, when he left them and personally returned to Monterey to ask permission from Gen- 
eral Castro to spend the winter in the valley of the San Joaquin. ' ' The news soon reached 
General Castro that Captain Fremont and his men were in the valley of the Salinas. They 
had already stayed on California's soil longer than they could give a satisfactory excuse 
for doing, and as the Mexican rule was still in force in California, acting upon his author- 
ity, "General Castro ordered all Americans to leave California." He was then having 



32 THE NEGEO TRAIL BLAZERS 

trouble enough with his own countrymen. General Pio Pico wanted to be ruler and so did 
General Castro. A former ruler, General Mariana Vallejo, withdrew from the quarrel, 
believing that sooner or later the Americans would take possession of the country and that 
it would be the best for everyone if they did. 

Captain Fremont insisted upon wintering in the Salinas Valley with his men, and when 
told to move, raised the Stars and Stripes and invited anyone to dare lower them. Finding 
that the Mexican General did not attempt to molest the Stars and Stripes, he then pro- 
ceeded to march his expedition, slowly northward, passing Sutter's Fort and reached the 
Oregon boundary on the banks of Klamath Lake, when a messenger overtook him telling 
him that Lieutenant Archibald Gillespy was riding post haste to overtake Captain Fre- 
mont, and that he carried important messages from the United States Government for Cap- 
tain Fremont. It seems that Senator Benton, learning that both the English and the 
French were planning to seize California, decided to send a secret message to Captain 
Fremont telling him to seize the territory in the name of the United States Government. 
There being neither a rapid mail service nor telegraphic communication between Wash- 
ington City and California, the opportunity presented itself to Senator Benton when the 
United States Government selected Lieutenant Gillespy to go to California with important 
messages to Consul Thomas O. Larkin, who was then stationed at Monterey, California. 

Professor Eoyce, who had personal talks with Captain Fremont in after years, says 
that "Gillespy had left "Wlashington City with a secret dispatch early iu November, 1845, 
and met Fremont May, 1846. But the really important official part of his mission, namely, 
his secret dispatch, had been committed to memory by the Lieutenant and destroyed before 
he landed in Mexico. In California he repeated its contents to Captain Fremont, who was 
a United States army officer engaged in official duty in California." 

Upon the receipt of this secret code letter. Captain Fremont and his expedition 
returned to California and to Sutter's Fort. In the meantime the news reached General 
Castro of Lieutenant Gillespy 's ride in quest of Captain Fremont with important dis- 
patches from the United States Government. General Castro could not understand the 
motives of either Captain Fremont and his soldiers again coming on California 's soil and 
this visit of Lieutenant Gillespy. He ordered all Americans to leave California imme- 
diately. Unfortunately about this time General Pio Pico had declared himself ruler of 
California, and General Castro was gathering his forces to go to the southern part of the 
territory to battle with Pico. All was excitement among the Spaniards and also the 
American settlers. Neither understood the motives of the other. 

Upon the return of Captain Fremont and his men to Sutter's Fort the American set- 
tlers went to him to talk over the numerous proclamations issued by the Mexican ruler, 
General Castro. Whereupon Captain Fremont told them that he could not start a revolt 
without receiving permission from his home government in Washington, D. C, but that if 
they got into trouble with the natives of California, he could come to their assistance. 
The Californians were rounding up horses for General Castro to use in his campaign in 
Los Angeles against Pio Pico. These horses were seized by "Lieutenant Arce and a Mr. 
Merritt, and sent to Captain Fremont. The men with the horses were told to carry the 
news to General Castro. The Americans then proceeded to Sonoma, California, where they 
made prisoners of General Vallejo and his brother Salvador and a Mr. Leese, also Mr. 
Pruden" — (Eoyce). They were not organized, but after some parley they selected Dr. 
Semple and William Ide and then formed or drafted a constitution of the Republic of 
California. Afterward they decided that they needed a flag. Space will not permit giving 
the constitution of this Independent California Republic. It was one that they need not 
be ashamed of and neither should any loyal Calif ornian of today; in fact, it has the ring 
of independence and justice so characteristic of the Native Sons and Daughters of the 
Golden West. 

But this chapter would not be complete were the writer to fail to give a description 
of the Bear Flag. The following is quoted from Hon. John Steven McGroarty's "Cali- 
fornia, Its History and Romance" (page 195), which says that "As there has been con- 
siderable controversy and dispute concerning this flag, it is obviously proper to give the 
statement of the man who made the flag. It is he, it any one, who ought to know all 
about it. Mr. Todd published in June, 1872, the following: 'At a company meeting it 
was determined that we should raise a flag; and it should be a bear enpassant with one 
star. One of the ladies at the garrison gave us a piece of brown domestic and Mrs. Cap- 
tain Sears gave us some strips of red flannel about four inches wide. The domestic was 
new, but the flannel was said to have been part of a petticoat worn by Mrs. Sears across 
the mountains. For corroboration of these facts, I refer to G. P. Swift and Pat Mc- 
Christian. I took a pen and with ink drew the outlines of a bear, and a star upon the 
white cotton cloth. Linseed oil and Venetian red were found in the garrison and I painted 



OF CALIFORNIA 33 

the bear and the star. To the best of my recollection, Peter Storm was asked to paint it 
but declined, and as no other person would undertake to do it, I did it. But Mr. Storm 
and several others assisted in getting the material and I believe mixed the paint. Under- 
neath the bear and star were printed with a pen the words "California Republic" in 
Roman letters. In painting the words I first outlined the letters with a pen, leaving out 
the letter i and putting c where i should have been and afterward the i over the c. It 
was made with ink and as we had nothing to remove the marks of the letters it is now 
on the flag.' " It is the writer's delight to state that a colored man secured the paint 
with which the bear was painted. 

In speaking of the Bear Flag in the history of the Negro in California, the question 
will occur to the reader, were there any colored people in the party? Yes, there were sev- 
eral, and the following is a record of them : First, the writer has found in the account of 
the expedition of Brevet Captain Fremont, topographical engineer, who, in writing the 
narrative of his expedition in the early spring of 1843 (page 123-4) speaks of the per- 
sonnel of the party, which was composed of Creole, Canadian, French and American. He 
then gives the names of the different men in the party, and at the end of the list the fol- 
lowing appears: "Jacob Dodson, a free colored man of Washington, D. C, volunteered 
to accompany the expedition and performed his duties manfully through the voyage." 
Bancroft, in his history of California, speaks of Jacob Dodson among the twenty-five per- 
sons selected by Captain Fremont to accompany him in the discovery of Klamath Lake, 
and he was also with Fremont on his famous ride from Los Angeles to Monterey. 

Through the courtesy of Miss Ward, of San Jose, the writer has learned of another 
colored man who was with Captain Fremont on his trip to California, by name James Duff, 
of Mariposa county, California, the lady's former home. Judging from the picture shown 
the writer, he was one with only a dash of Negro blood. He recently died at the advanced 
age of ninety-three years. Lieutenant Gillespy had a bodyguard or servant with him, a 
colored man known as ' ' Ben. ' ' The writer 's authority for stating that these colored men 
were in the Bear Flag Party is established by the following quotation from the Wefilern 
Outlook of San Francisco, October 7, 1914: "Recalling memories of 'Forty-nine' John 
Grider, the only survivor of the Bear Flag Party, rode in solitary state in an automobile, 
a vehicle his wildest imagination never pictured in the strenuous days of California's fight 
for membership into the Union. Those who read this item in the daily papers about the 
Admission Day parade in Vallejo did not know that the pioneer was a colored man. From 
a letter from Mr. George Van Blake, of Vallejo, we learn that Mr. Grider was treated roy- 
ally and accorded every honor pertaining to the hospitality of the city." After reading the 
above the writer hastened to visit Vallejo and have a talk with the gentleman. He was 
highly interesting and, although he came to California in 1841, the facts in regard to the 
Bear Flag Party were as fresh in his mind as if of recent date. When questioned/ con- 
cerning the forming of the Bear Flag Party he replied: "Yes, it was formed in Sonoma 
City, but it did not amount to much, ' ' also adding that he found the paint in the loft of 
an old barn nearby. This paint was used to paint the bear and star on the flag. He was 
then asked if there were any other colored men in the Bear Flag Party. The writer gave 
the names of the colored men with Captain Fremont already mentioned, whereupon Mr. 
Grider replied that they were all present in the forming of the Bear Flag and that I 
might add the names of Joe McAfee, Charles G. Gains and Billy Gaston. 

While in Vallejo the writer interviewed Dr. Vallejo, the son of the late General 
Marianna Vallejo. After stating her mission, the writer asked the doctor if he could tell 
her anything concerning the Bear Flag Party. He replied that he was a mere lad, but 
that he remembered when the men came to his father's house in the early morning hours 
demanding a surrender. His father was so friendly with the Americans that he had with- 
drawn from the quarrel between Generals Pico and Castro, and had retired to his home at 
Sonoma as a private citizen, believing that sooner or later the Americans would take pos- 
session of California, and feeling that it would be a good thing for all concerned. His 
friendliness was so well known that when this band of Americans came to his house de- 
manding a surrender, he invited them in and, according to Spanish hospitality, ordered 
breakfast for them, and while drinking a friendly glass of wine, they talked over the 
terms of peace. As well as he could remember his father's object in talking over terms 
of surrender was, that he wished to protect his own interest with the Americans, and also 
■keep friends with the Spaniards, since he was a wealthy man. Dr. Vallejo stated that 
after the Bear Flag Party had partaken of his father's hospitality they ordered his arrest. 
Some of the party insisted that he was a friend to the Americans, the leader then said : 
' ' Take him to Sutter 's Fort that he may not change his mind. ' ' The party then ransacked 
the home of General Vallejo, and when they were leaving with a gun of his father's, an 
heirloom brought from Spain, his brother, who was older than the Doctor and yet only a 



34 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

mere lad, interfered saying: "The one who proves the best shot can have the gun." The 
challenge was accepted and the lad took turns shooting at a target. The boy proved the 
best shot, and the gun remained in the Vallejo family. Doctor Vallejo then called a ser- 
vant and had the gun brought to him and the writer had the pleasure of closely examining 
it. The gun was inlaid vrith a beautiful scroll of silver. 

Doctor Vallejo then spoke of his father's rule in California, showing the writer a 
report sent to the home government by General Figueroa, in which he spoke in the highest 
terms of General Marianua Vallejo 's rule in California. The home government was so 
delighted over the report sent concerning this ruler in California they had the report printed 
in a pamphlet form and forwarded a copy to General Marianna Vallejo. After his death 
the report fell to Doctor Vallejo, together with other valuable books and papers. A num- 
ber of these books were shown the writer. The Vallejo family had one priest who was a 
great historian. One of whose books had been published in Spain. 

Bancroft in his Pioneer Index has the following to say of Marianna Vallejo: "From 
18'35 he was the most independent and in some respects the most powerful man in Cali- 
fornia***The year '36 brought new advancement, for though Lieutenant Vallejo took no 
active part in the Eevolution, yet after the first success had been achieved such was the 
weight of his name that under Alvarado's new government he was made Commander Gen- 
eral of California, taking office on November 29, and was advanced to the rank of Colonel 
by the California authorities. In the sectional strife of 37-9, although not personally 
taking part in military operations, he had more influence than any other man in sustaining 
Alvarado***I have found none among the Californians whose public record in respect of 
honorable and patriotic conduct, executive ability, and freedom from petty prejudices of 
race, religion or sectional politics is more favorable than his. As a citizen, he was always 
generous, and kindhearted, maintaining his self-respect as a gentleman and commanding 
respect of others; never a gambler or addicted to strong drink. He is a man of some 
literary cultivation and has always taken a deep interest in his country's history. Many 
of his writings are named in my list of authorities. His service to me in this connection 
has been often and most gladly acknowledged. His collection of Documentary History 
of California is a contribution of original data that has never been equaled in this or any 
other State." 

Historian Bancroft personally knew General Vallejo. The Spanish people in that 
period of California 's history were constantly being misunderstood, which can be explained 
because the life of any nation or race is not an easy one when another nation invades their 
shores, whether for conquest or peaceful pursuits; if they come in large numbers, they 
cannot learn the customs and language of the resident in a short time, neither can the 
natives learn or grasp the meaning of their presence or understand the language readily, 
hence both sides suffer. The reader can perhaps more fully understand the position in 
which the California Spaniards were placed if they will read the "Rose of the Rancho," 
which has also been dramatized. This book shows the difficulty and disadvantage in which 
the Spanish people were placed by not being able to understand the American language 
and laws. It also shows how unscrupulous men, bent on taking adx^antage of their igno- 
rance in such matters, robbed the California Spaniards of vast tracts of land in pioneer 
days in California. 

General Vallejo should be highly commended because of his attitude toward the Negro 
in the constitutional convention of 1849. As a member of that body he voted against 
every amendment put before that body that was intended to bar from the State the admis- 
sion of Free Negroes. He always voted for the best interest of the Negro while a mem- 
ber of the First California Legislature. He was personally acquainted with the immortal 
Lincoln, and often visited him in Washington City and discussed the advisability of freeing 
the Negroes, and paying them to buUd a railroad from Mexico City to Washington City. 
His last visit to President Lincoln was after entering his son, who is now Doctor Vallejo, 
in Columbia College. Before his return to California he stopped to visit and entreat the 
President to set the Negroes free. The President replied to him, so the son told the 
writer: "Well, suppose, Mr. Vallejo, I did set the Negroes free and send them to Mexico 
to build a railroad to Washington City, I have been told that Mexico is not a very healthy 
place for white people, and the Negroes would have to be accompanied by white people 
to teach them how to build a railroad." After listening to the President's remarks Gen- 
eral Vallejo replied: "Well, Mr. President, suppose a few Yankees did die and go below; 
they always change things so wherever they go, that by the time you and I arrive they will 
be serving ice cream on marble top tables." 

Dr. Vallejo told the writer that the freedom of the Negroes had been a familiar sub- 
ject at their fireside; when the War of the Rebellion started he enlisted in the hospital 
corps. After the close of the war he returned to college and graduated as valedictorian 



OF CALIFORNIA 35 

of his class, and is proud of having served in the Union Army. In Rose MeKedzie Wood's 
book, "Tourist California," is given an account of the large tract of land Vallejo gave 
to the United States Government in California. 

Returning to the Bear Flag Party and Captain Fremont, it has been proven that he 
was not present at the launching into history of that memorable party, but that he came 
afterward and claimed the Territory of California in the interest of the United States 
Government for fear the English would seize the territory. His fears were well sustained 
by future events. A few months afterward Commodore Sloate raised the Stars and Stripes 
at Monterey, claiming the Territory in the name of the United States Government. He 
afterward told how an English vessel raced him up the coast from Mexico, but Commo- 
dore Sloate 's boat being the faster, he reached Monterey first and the Stars and Stripes 
were waving over the land when the Englishmen landed. Mrs. Nuttall has just published 
a book covering years of research work in which she tells that Sir Francis Drake had 
sailed up the Pacific Coast and had drawn a map of all the harbors of the western coast 
in the interest of the English Crown. 

Senator Benton had inspired Captain Fremont, but the task was too great to be suc- 
cessful in any other way than the right way, the way that Commodore Sloate used by rais- 
ing the Stars and Stripes, the emblem of a government able to sustain its position on any 
coast in any land. If the revolters at Sonoma had raised the American Flag instead^ of 
the Bear Flag, they would have registered their names among the immortals of America, 
but what they did, while noble and perhaps inspiring to those then in California, still the 
United States Government never recognized the Bear Flag Party. 

Father Zephelian Engelhardt, of Santa Barbara Franciscan Mission, in delivering an 
address before the American Historian Society at their annual meeting in Berkeley, 1915, 
among other things said: "Bishop Nichols remarked after the fire of 1906, that there 
should be erected a statue of Saint Francis at the Golden Gate, the same as the entrance 
to New York Harbor, and to act as a beacon light representing 'Union with God.' The 
Franciscan missionaries came to California to possess nothing, but to convert the Indians, 
and had the American Flag been raised in California fifteen years before it was it would 
have been the best for aU concerned." 



CHAPTER V 

Landing of Commodore John D. Sloate— Constitutional 
Convention, 1849 

The Bear Flag Party was formed in May, 1846, and in July, 1846, Commodore John 
D. Sloate entered the harbor of Monterey on the United States frigate Savanna, and by his 
orders on July 7th, 1846, the Stars and the Stripes were raised over the custom-house at 
Monterey, California, in the name of the United States Government. 

The Congress of the United States in 1847 appropriated three million dollars for the 
purchase of California, and the Treaty of Peace was signed in 1848, when California was 
annexed to the United States. Commodore John D. Sloate, after raising the flag at Monte- 
rey, immediately ordered Captain Montgomery to raise it in San Francisco. He never rec- 
ognized the Bear Flag Party, and neither did the United States Government. 

The United States Government having purchased California from Mexico, the Mexican 
rule in California was at an end, and it was expected that the United States Government 
would soon send the citizens of California a territorial form of government. In 1848 gold 
was discovered and the news soon spread to the East. Brevet Mason, then Commander of 
the Department of the Pacific, finding men deserting the army to go to the mines, decided 
to investigate conditions. He visited the mines in company with Lieutenant W. T. Sher- 
man and others, and sent a report to his government. His report as to conditions was so 
clear, giving the amount of gold procured by the miners, that after the report was read 
before the Congress of the United States it was published through the entire civilized 
world. As a result men were coming by the thousands to California during the early part 
and after 1849. The trip was difficult, long and full of dangers, but it did not matter, 
for at the end of the trail was the Eldorado, or the land of gold and plenty. As a result 
of this great influx of people the Alcaldes found it difficult to control the situation. The 
people were anxious and needed a stable form of government. 

In regard to California at the period following the report of Brevet Governor Mason, 
Eev. Willey, who at the time was a resident and active in the affairs of California, has 
said in his book, "Transition Period in California," (p. 77): "Governor Mason made 
known to the people of California that the Mexican rule having come to an end, he be- 
lieved that the civil government was now on the way to this country to replace that which 
had been organized under the right of conquest, but the looked-for government was 
waited for in vain. ' ' 

The question of the admission of slavery in this newly acquired territory divided Con- 
gress; they could not agree upon legislation replacing the Mexican rule. The President 
of the United States in his message to Congress in July of that year had said that "since 
the cession of California to the United States the Mexican rule has no longer any power, 
and since the law resulting from our military occupation has come to an end by ratifica- 
tion of the treaty of peace, the country is without any organized government and will be 
until Congress acts." 

The Territory of California was added to the United States in 1848' and session after 
session of Congress adjourned without giving to California any form of government. The 
large number of people of all descriptions then coming to California to hunt gold were 
not all peaceful, and it has been stated that their actions were lawless because they knew 
that there was no law to suppress them. Under the distressing state of affairs Brevet 
Governor Mason asked to be relieved from his post of duty. The United States Govern- 
ment then sent as Commander of the Pacific, Brevet Riley, Brigadier-General of the United 
States Army, to act as Governor of the Territory of California. The newly appointed 
Governor retained as his secretary the former secretary to Governor Mason, a well edu- 
cated gentleman, who fully understood the situation in California. 

Mr. Hallack, as secretary to the Governor, and at his command as the representative 
head of affairs for the United States Government in California, issued a proclamation 
recommending the formation of a State constitution or plan of a Territorial form of 
government. The proclamation was issued in June, but the convention did not convene 
until September 1, 1849. 

FIEST CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION 

"In pursuance of Governor Eiley's proclamation of June 1st last, the convention for 
the formation of a State constitution for California meU in Colton Hall, in the town of 
Monterey, at 12:00 M. on Saturday, September 1, 1849. The minutes; prayer by Rev. 
Willey; a quorum was not present; on motion of Mr. Hallack the convention met in pur- 



OF CALIFORNIA 37 

suance to adjournment; prayer by Rev. Willey; the minutes of Saturday's meeting were 
read and approved; the chairman announced the receipt of a communication from the 
Governor through the Secretary of State, transmitting the election returns from the various 
districts of California, together with the names of the delegates elected." 

The convention being duly organized, let us see how it dealt with the Negro question 
in the formation of its constitution. In the debates in the convention of California, in 
the formation of the State constitution, September to October, 1849, by J. Ross Brown, 
the following appears: "The 15th Section ofi the report of the committee being under 
consideration, 'Foreigners who are, or may hereafter become resiilents of this State, shall 
enjoy the same rights in respect to the possession and enjoyment of property as native- 
born citizens.' Mr. Shannon moved to insert as an additional section the following: 
'Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crime, shall ever 
be tolerated in this State.' Mr. Garver moved to amend the amendment by adding thereto 
the following: 'Nor shall the introduction of Free Negroes under indenture, or other- 
wise, be allowed.' Mr. Hallack moved that a declaration against the introduction of 
slavery into California should be inserted in the 'Bill of Rights.' The motion was unan- 
imously adopted. Mr. Garver had an amendment which he desired to offer as an addi- 
tional section. 

' ' ' Section 19. The Legislature shall at its first session pass such laws as will effect- 
ually prohibit Free persons of color from immigrating to and settling in this State, and to 
eventually prevent the owners of slaves from bringing them into the State for the purpose 
of setting them free.' He deemed this necessary because the house had already made 
provision prohibiting the introduction of slavery, the object of which he thought would 
be defeated by a system already in practice. He had heard of some gentlemen, having 
sent to the States for their Negroes to bring them here on condition that they should 
serve for a specific length of time. He was informed that many had been liberated with 
the understanding after serving a few years they were to be set loose in the community. 
He protested against this. ' If the people of this Territory are to be free from the herds 
of slaves who are to be set at liberty within its borders.***The slave owners possessed of 
a hundred Negroes can well afford to liberate them if afterward they engage to serve 
them for three years. What is to support them after that? Are they to be thrown upon 
the community?' " 

This address wag followed by a lengthy appeal by another member of the Constitu- 
tional Convention, a Mr. Wozencraft, who said among other things: "Mr. President, the 
capitalist will fill the land with these living labor machines with all their attending evils. 
Their labor will go to enrich the few, and impoverish the many.***The Legislature may, 
and doubtless will, pass laws effectual in preventing blacks from coming to or being 
brought here, but it will be an extended evil even at that date when this constitution goes 
forth without a prohibitory clause relating to the blacks." 

This address was followed at length by Mr. Jones, who spoke as follows : "I stand 
upon the floor as a representative of a community of California which has a right to be 
heard upon the question; a part of California that is determined to carry this provision 
into effect. It is a question of immense importance to the mining district of California; 
it is to these districts that are threatened ; it is not to the South, but it is to these mining 
districts where the money is to be made that these persons will go.***The danger is this: 
the citizen of the southern States whose slaves are gaining nothing will emancipate them 
under certain contracts of servitude. Slaves are worth from $300 to $400 in Mississippi; 
it would be a very good speculation to bring them herq to serve either in the mines or 
for a certain time as servants. We know that such is the intentions and it has been 
manifested to members of this house by private letters received from the States." 

This gentleman was immediately followed by Mr. Snyder: "Let us make a calcula- 
tion about the matter for the Yankees are a calculating nation and they are making cal- 
culations every day on the other side of the sunny ridge. Wlhat is a Negro worth in Mis- 
souri? That is, take the average value, say $600; well, what is the clear profit that a 
slave holder in Missouri or Kentucky calculates to derive from the labor of each able- 
bodied man per year? $160 to $200. Then the slave will yield $200 a year from the time 
he is 16 years of age until he is 50 years of age, which will net the owner $6800 up to 
the time that he may be considered useless, to say nothing of sickness or death. Then 
we can see that if the owner makes $6800 from the labor of each slave he is doing as much 
as can be expected in a general way. Now supj)ose that the slave holder will say: 'Mose, 
if you will go with me to California, I will give you your freedom, after working there four 
years, or I will give you your freedom now, and have indentures made for the fulfillment 
of this agreement.' Do you suppose, Mr. President, Mose would object? No, never. 



38 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Now what would the slaveholder make by the operation in three years? A working man 
by one year's labor will procure $4000 at least in gold dust, which, at the same rate for 
four years, will be $16,000, leaving the handsome sum of $9,200 more by one-half thousand 
than what the Negro would have paid by working his whole life in Missouri, and this is 
accomplished in the short space of four years. Do you suppose that this will not be tried?" 

There were a number of gentlemen who delivered lengthy addresses upon the admis- 
sion of slavery into the State of California, and while some were intended to excite the 
passions against the introduction of slavery, the fear of placing the slave on equal footing 
with the miners was just like men of today when, wishing to close the door in the face of 
the Negro laborer, they cry "social equality," when in truth all the Negro has asked for 
or wants is an equal chance to make a living and will seek his social life among his kind. 
Hence, men in the Constitutional Convention, in the battle against the admission of slavery 
into California, resorted to first inflaming the minds of the members of the convention 
by speaking of "equality of the races. "***The Negro slave laborer would be the equal of 
the white miners. They usually ended their addresses in nine cases out of ten as Mr. 
Wolzencraft, Jones and Snyder, showing very clearly that the supreme reason they wished 
to keep the Negro slave or Free Negroes out of the State of California was because one 
of the gentlemen said they would all go to the mines and that ' ' their labor would go to 
enrich the few and impoverish the many." Whom did the speaker refer to when he said 
* ' enrich the few ; ' ' No other than the slaveholder ; and in a few years there would be 
an aristocracy of capital upon this coast in which the slaveholder would hold the full hand 
or balance of power. 

Mr. Snyder's address was very clear on the subject, for he made a calculation, show- 
ing how the slaveholder would be willing to take the chance in bringing his slaves here, 
because his gain derived from the labor of his slaves in the mines would yield him more 
in California in a few years than a whole life of labor of the average slave in the South- 
land. He was perfectly right, as the reader will learn in another chapter on ' ' Slavery in 
California," in which is recorded the lives of slaves who paid for their freedom by work- 
ing in the mines in California, paying often thrice the price asked on the other side of 
the Eocky Mountains. Nobody paid any especial attention to the Negro until after the 
Constitutional Convention. The year previous there was appointed by the government 
agent a Negro to prevent illegal otter hunting in the Pacific Ocean, especially along the 
California coast. The writer refers to Allen B. Light, mentioned in Bancroft's History 
of California. This case is recalled to prove the statement that the color of the skin was 
no bar to recognition before the "Constitutional Convention of 1849." 

Some of the gentlemen wished to know what was to become of the slaves after they 
had been brought to California and had been set free. Who was to take care of them, 
They said that the slaves would corrupt society. The pioneer Negro was neither shiftless 
nor immoral at the period of California 's history when this convention was debating his 
admission either as a Slave or Free Negro. In the chapter treating on the industrial and 
moral status of the Negro at that period the reader will learn that the only shoe store, 
either retail or wholesale, in the city of San Francisco was owned by a Negro by the name 
of Miffin Gibbs. The Negroes there had a private school and also a church. The best 
miner, either as a mining engineer or metallurgist on this coast, at that period, was Moses 
Rodgers, a colored man who was located at Horneitus, and he also owned a group of mines 
at Quartzburg. In after years he had a daughter graduate at the University of California 
in Berkeley. 

Mr. Edwin Booth came to California in the early forties and mined enough gold 
before the rush to return to Baltimore and pay for the passage to California of his sis- 
ters and two brothers, and also to pay for the education of the widow sister's son, sending 
him to Oberlin College, located in Ohio. If the reader will consider the diflSculties of 
travel at that period and the expense of a trip to California, Mr. Booth's case is a befit- 
ting answer to the question as to whether the Negro pioneer was either shiftless or capable 
of taking care of himself. 

The writer had the pleasure of meeting in Sacramento the surviving brother, Mr. 
Elige Booth, a dignified and stately gentleman with a delightful personality. His mind 
was fresh in regard to the history of mining conditions in early California and in regard 
to the treatment accorded to colored miners. He said that while the miners had laws of 
their own, a Negro miner was a man even for all that. He recited an instance in which 
some miners were attempting to jump his claim and how the white miners immediately 
came to his rescue. The writer has talked with other Negro miners who were in the Cali- 
fornia mines during pioneer days who spoke of fair treatment by the white miners, espe- 
cially those mining upon Mokelumn Hill. 



OF CALIFORNIA 



39. 





CAl'T. (.H'ARTKR-MASTEK 

T. NIMKOD McKIXNEY 

Served with U. S. Army in Philippine 

Insurrection. 



^\^LLIA^I nauns ricks 

Spanish-American War Veteran 
and Poet. 




CAPTAIN FLOYD H. CRUMBLY 
Past Department Commander United Spanish War Veterans. 



40 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 




HON. FREDERICK MADISON ROBERTS 
First Negro elected to the California State Legislature. 



OF CALIFORNIA 41 

The true reason they did not wish either slave or free Negroes in California was 
because the question of slavery was then prominent before the public against the exten- 
sion of the slave territory, and it was necessary to have a definite clause in their consti- 
tution deciding the issue before going before Congress to ask for Statehood for the Terri- . 
tory of California. If the question was not decided in California the probability of 
Congress debating the issue or else ignoring their request, would have delayed the 
admission of the Territory into the Union. The settlers were anxious to secure a speedy 
admission and prevent the slaveholders from becoming rich in California's gold through | 
the importation of, as one speaker said, these "living labor machines." They were just 
like the citizen of today living in California, when they see some of the best vineyards 
in the State cultivated by a foreign race of people, they legislate to prevent the immigra- 
tion of any more of their kind into the State. The question was the same and created the 
same kind of an issue. 

To prove the writer's statement that no one paid any attention to the Negro miner in 
California until after the Constitutional Convention, the following is quoted from Charles 
Shinn who, in his book on "Mining Camps," presents in an impartial way a study in 
American frontier government. He is considered an authority on the subject as there 
were a number of Negro miners at the time working at Placerville, Grass Valley, Negro f 
Bar and Mokelumn Hill, his statements can be safely considered as including the Negro, 
as well as others of whom he speaks. Mr. Shinn says that ' ' The vast body of gold seekers 
known afterwards as the Argonauts, did not reach the Pacific Coast until early in Forty- 
nine (1849). The organization of the smaller mining communities of 1848 must be con- 
sidered before we can discuss the more complex element of later camps. When, early 
in 1849, mining began at Coloma, near Sutter's Mill, Captain Sutter himself had alcalde 
powers over the region. That autumn Mr. Belt was elected Alcalde at Stockton. The 
nearly two thousand Americans who were in the mines before the end of June, and most 
of them knew what an alcalde was, knew that he had no legal right to elect an officer and 
knew, also, that Col. Mason, the de facto Governor, was the only other authority. But 
there was no general acceptance of Sutter as Alcalde. Some of the very first miners 
attempted to own, hold, control and rent to others a large and valuable mineral bearing 
tract. After paying rent for a short time the newcomers, who were in the majority, began 
to equalize matters and adopt laws respecting the size of claims. 

Nothing in the early history of these camps is more evident than the unpremeditated 
and unsystematic nature of their first proceedings; officers were never elected until they 
were needed to give an immediate decision and, as we have said, local customs in rgeard 
to the amount of ground a man could mine took form before officers were formally chosen. 
Everyone knew that most of the land on which they worked was government land, and the 
use of it belonged to all alike until such time as the government made other regulations. 
Equality of ownership was the only logical conclusion. Here the laws of the camps had 
their beginning. Long before the first California gold had reached New York, claims of 
a definite size were being measured out in the mining camps for each gold seeker. The 
ownership of land was the beginning of organization. Its ownership in equal parts is 
significant of the form of society that prevailed, for an unconscious socialism it certainly 
was. The miners put all men for once on a level. Clothes, money, manners, family con- 
nections, letters of introduction, never before counted for so little. The whole community 
was substantially given an even start in the race. Gold was for a time so inexhaustible 
that the power of wealth was momentarily annihilated. Social and financial inequality 
between man and man were swept out of sight. Each stranger was welcome, told to take 
a pan and pick and go to work for himself. The richest miner in the camp was seldom 
able to hire a servant; those who had formerly been glad to serve others were digging on 
their own claims. The veriest greenhorn was likely to uncover the richest mine on the 
gulch as was the wisest ex-professor of geology, and on the other hand the best claim on 
the river might suddenly "give out" and never again yield a dollar, the poorest man in 
camp could have a handful of gold dust for the asking from a more successful neighbor. > 
The early camps of California did more than to merely destroy all fictitious standards; 
they began at once to create new bonds of human fellowships." Mr. Shinn 's estimate 
can be relied upon because he was on the ground and studied conditions at first hand. 

There were not a great number of Negroes at that period in the State, and yet there 
were enough to have caused a difference had there been any desire on the part of the 
mining camps to have a difference, if we are to believe that the census was correctly 
reported. Goodwin, in his "Establishment of Government in California," gives the fol- 
lowing in regard to the Negro population of California at that period, in which he says: 
"The seventh Census, 1850; total population in the State, 92,597; white inhabitants, 



42 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

91,635; colored, 962. Men, colored, 872; women, colored, 90. Six counties, containing 
the largest colored population: Sacramento, 212; Mariposa, 195; El Dorado, 149; Cala- 
veras, 182; Yuba, 66; Tuolumne, 66. Sixty-nine of the colored population were born in 
the State, 709 other sections of the United States and 175 foreign countries." These 
figures prove that the majority of the Negro population then living in California were in 
the counties in which were located the mining camps. Elsewhere in this book will be 
found copies of Freedom Papers recorded in these counties, some of which give the price 
the Negroes paid by working in the mines after night for themselves in an effort to earn 
the price of their freedom. In the chapter on ' ' Slavery ' ' will be found other slave records 
and the price they paid and the sections of the State where they earned the money working 
in the mines; these places can be located in some one of these counties. 

If one will study in an impartial manner the debates on the boundary and also slavery, 
as it was debated in the Constitutional Convention, they can readily see that they were 
intensified through the great desire for admission as a State into the Union. Mr. Norton, 
in his address before the Constitutional Convention, in speaking on Mr. McDougall's sub- 
stitute amendment, said : "I am opposed to this reconsideration for the simple reason 
that I want this whole matter submitted to the Legislature. If the people desire such a 
clause they can instruct their representatives and then an enactment of the Legislature 
can be made that wUl prevent any discussion of this question in Congress and the possi- 
bility of our being thrown out of the Union. ' ' 

The California constitution was finally formed with a clause preventing slavery in the 
State, and in due time a Governor and Legislature were elected. In the first message the 
Governor sent to the Legislature he recommended the exclusion of Free Negroes from 
coming to or residing in the State. He could not have done differently after the numerous 
amendments offered on the subject of slavery in the Constitutional Convention. 

The Senate and Legislature of California at that period formed joint resolutions on 
the subject and intended to send them to the Congress of the United States, but were 
prevented from so doing by the parliamentary tactics of Senator Broderick, a splendid 
friend to the Negro. An amendment being offered against the Negro, Mr. Broderick would 
amend the amendment and then his amendment would be amended. At this point Senator 
Broderick would invariably move to indefinitely postpone the same. In this way be clev- 
erly killed a set of resolutions which would have no doubt delayed the admission of Cali- 
fornia into the Union. 



CHAPTER VI 

Admission of California into the Union 

In Bancroft's political history the following appears: "Early in 1848 the editor of 
the Californian in May of that year declared that he echoed the sentiment of the people 
of California in saying that slavery is not desired here and if their voices could be heard 
in the halls of our National Legislature, "it would be as one man, rather than place this 
blighting curse upon us. Let us remain as we are, unacknowledged and unaided." 

The slavery question was so prominent that California never passed through a Terri- 
torial form of government. The citizens held a convention, formed their constitution and 
elected a Legislature without the permission of the Congress of the United States Their 
object was to be admitted to the Union of the United States Government as a Free State, 
before the slaveholders could locate their slaves in California. 

There was no transcontinental railroads in pioneer days coming into California. The 
trip was dangerous, long and at the best it was not an easy matter to communicate with 
the government in Washington or locate in California. The majority of the citizens of 
the State at that date were people from the South and yet they were bitterly opposed to 
the slave traffic in California. Their position is better explained with, a quotation from 
"General U. S. Grant's Memories" (p. 39): "The labor of the country was not skilled, 
nor allowed to become so. The whites could not toil without becoming degraded and those 
who did were denominated 'poor white trash.' The system of labor would have soon 
exhausted the soil, and the non-slaveholder would have left the country and the small 
slaveholder must have sold out to his more fortunate neighbor." 

This quotation fully explains to the reader that the majority of the white settlers at 
that period in California belonged to either the northern element who were opposed to 
slavery from principle, or they were opposed to it because they were too poor to own 
slaves, while the other half of the white settlers in the Territory of California were for 
bringing their slaves because they saw a possibility of working the mines and reaping a 
fortune through slave labor. 

The opposition to slave labor in California by those who did not own slaves in the 
Southland previous to coming west, was because of the terrible caste of being called "poor 
white trash" if they attempted to make their own living. There was among the settlers 
in California during pioneer days good material for the making of good humanitarians. 
They were sincere and believed, like Columbus, that California, with its balmy atmosphere 
and beauty, was too near the "Terrestrial Paradise" to blight it with human slavery. 
And to add an insult to their efforts to make their living by the sweat of their own brow, 
or be called for so doing ' ' poor white trash. ' ' The caste in a place as beautiful and rich 
with gold as California would have been thrice as hard as in the other parts of the United 
States. 

If the Negro slaveholders could bring their slaves to work the mines they would soon 
have all the gold and the poor white people would be poorer than ever. They realized that 
no country can continue long beautiful that has for its object the oppression of mankind, 
whether black, red, yellow or white. The course these early Californians took at that early 
date in California's history is the same today. They may some time make mistakes, but 
they are not afraid to do the right thing as it appears to them, whether anyone else ap- 
proves or not. 

Long before the United States Congress met again California had formed its consti- 
tution, held one session of the Legislature and sent a representative to the United States 
Congress to ask admission into the Union, which was the beginning of the greatest chapter 
in American History. Congress, owing to the slave question, had been unable to agree on 
a Territorial form of government for California. There were some very eloquent addresses 
delivered for and against its admission. Both sides presenting arguments in defense of 
their views and rights. A few years previous the House passed the Missouri Compromise 
which was intended to limit the extension of slavery. It was afterward amended so that 
two States, Nebraska and Kansas, were admitted into the Union and without restricting 
slavery. Afterward the "Wilmot Proviso" was passed by Congress, which said that "No 
part of the territory acquired from Mexico shall be open to the introduction of slavery." 
The southern members of Congress deemed it just that the newly acquired Territory 
of California should either admit slavery in all or part. There were at the time fifteen 
Free States and fifteen Slave States in the United States. Some of the members of the 
California Constitutional Convention who were friendly to the South had tried to have 



44 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

the convention adopt for California the entire territory recently purchased from Mexico. 
The eastern boundary of California would have reached to the Eocky Mountains, making 
a State so unwieldy and out of proportion that the Congress of the United States would 
either have thrown it out or divided it into two States, Northern and Southern California. 
The South would then have had another Slave State in the southern part of California and 
the North another Free State in Northern California. The statesmen debated the question 
of the admission of California for months, and for a while it seemed that it would not be 
admitted. Public opinion and conscience for years previous had been aroused through the 
work of such men and humanitarians as William Lloyd-Garrison, Charles Sumner, and a 
long list of advocates of human freedom and justice, that a few of the Congressmen raised 
their voices in speech and won others to think as they did, which resulted in the final 
voting in of California as a Free State, or without permitting slavery in her domain. 

Space does not permit quoting from many of these masterful addresses. The follow- 
ing quotation is from the address delivered by Senator Benton, who was the father-in-law 
of General Fremont. His address will give the reader* some idea of the justice of Cali- 
fornia's claim to admission into the Union. Among other things he said: "It is pro- 
posed to make the admission of California a part of a system of measures for the settle- 
ment of the whole slavery question in the United States. I am opposed to this mixing of 
subjects which have no aflSnities and am in favor of giving to the application of California 
for admission into the Union a separate consideration and an independent decision upon 
its own merits. She is a State and should not be mixed up with anything below the dig- 
nity of a State. She has washed her hands of slavery at home and should not be mixed 
up with it abroad. She presents a single application and should not be coupled with other 
subjects. Yet it is proposed to mix up the question of admitting California with all the 
questions which the slave agitation has produced in the United States, and to make one 
general settlement of the whole somewhat in the nature of a compact or compromise. Now 
I am opposed to all this. I ask for California a separate consideration and object to mix- 
ing her up any more with the whole of the angry and distracting subject of difference 
which has grown out of slavery in the United States***What are these subjects? They 
are: the creation of territorial government for New Mexico and in the remaining part of 
California; the creating of a new State in Texas, reducing of her boundaries, settlement 
of her dispute with Mexico — and cession of her surplus territory to the United States; 
recapture of fugitive slaves; suppression of the slave trade in the District of Columbia; 
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia***forts, arsenals, navy yards and dock 
yards of the United States; abolition of the slavery within the State and a catalogue of 
oppression, aggression and encroachment upon the South. This is the list of subjects to 
be mixed up with the question of admitting the State of California into the Union; and I 
am opposed to the mixture and that for the reasons which apply to the whole in a lump 
and to each separate ingredient in the detail. I am against it in a lump. California is a 
State and has a right to be treated as other States have been treated asking for admission 
into the Union, and none of which have been subject to the indignity of having their appli- 
cation coupled with the decision of other inferior and to them foreign questions. I object 
to it upon principle* **that principle of fair legislation which requires every measure, unim- 
peded by weaker ones***on account of the subjects to be coupled with California all angry, 
distracting and threatening the Union with dissolution, while her application is calm, con- 
ciliatory, national and promises to strengthen the Union. I object because California her- 
self has objected to it. Her constitution contains this provision: 'Every law enacted by the 
Legislature shall contain but one object and that shall be expressed in the title.' This is 
the opinion of California about mixing different subjects together in the process of legis- 
lation and a wise provision it is to be put into all constitutions. The Senator from Ken- 
tucky is in favor of the proposition to couple the admission of California with some other 
subjects. I think he limited himself to the territorial government and recommended that 
conjunction as the most speedy way of accomplishing the admission of the young State. 
Sir, I say honor first, speed afterward. I say honorable admission no matter upon what 
time, in preference to dishonorable one no matter how speedy. 

"The subjects proposed to be coupled with California under the motion from which 
we move to except are all subjects impending in the Senate and which grew out of the 
institution of slavery in the United States. If she goes to the intended grand committee 
of thirteen under the proposition, she goes there to be coupled in the consideration and 
weighed in the balance and mixed up in the concoction and brought out in the product of 
all these subjects moulded and amalgamated in a compromise. I qualify this as dishon- 
orable to California, and say that the latest admission is doubtless desirable to California, 
her position is anomalous and disadvantageous, a young government without the means of 



OF CALIFORNIA 45 

living, without character to borrow, soliciting loans and that in vain at three per cent a 
month. If she were a State of the Union. Wall Street would relieve her of her bonds. 
But being as she is without acknowledged legal existence, the capitalist eschews her and 
this young State, rich in ipherent resources, and sitting upon gold, is driven to the resource 
of State bonds and a paper medium, which nobody will touch. All her operations are car- 
ried on at disadvantage, for want of a fixed legal character***Want of a branch mint and 
before that could be gotten ready an assayer to fix the value of gold in a lump is another 
want of California, neglected because she is not a State: The laborer loses largely on 
all his diggings for the want of this test of value. All the gold that is used in the country 
is used at a great loss of two dollars in the ounce, as I have been told, equal to twelve per 
cent on the amount dug. That is an enormous tax upon labor, such as no country ever 
beheld. Yet it has to be endured until the State is admitted, and even after that until 
Congress legislates for her. Those are some of the reasons for the speedy admission of 
California. They are great and many remain untold. But great as they are. dishonorable 
admission is worse than these. ***Let us vote upon the measure before us beginning with 
the admission of California. Let us vote her in. Let us vote after four months' talk. 
The people who have gone there have done honor to the American, name. ' ' 

The extract from the speech just quoted clearly explains the different objections offered 
by the Southern Senators in au effort to keep California out of the Union. 

Mr. Benton in his address spoke of California's insecure banking or credit system 
due to lack of recognition as a State. I would that I could give the reader a few instances 
of the wild financial deals in pioneer times in California. But my history is concerning the 
Negro in California, hence will have to confine the subject to the effect upon the Negro 
and his interest. Speaking of banking in pioneer days in California recalls a remark made 
by the daughter of a colored pioneer who said that when, the rumor that the banking firm 
of Page & Bacon, of San Francisco, had failed or was about to fail, her father, who was 
a depositor, immediately withdrew his deposit. He filled a champagne basket with the 
gold he drew from the bank, loaded the basket on a wheelbarrow and carted it home. She 
said that some time afterward the bank did fail. The name of this colored pioneer was 
Samuel Shelton, a fair representative of the class of colored people living at the time in 
California. Such could not be either a menace or a burden to society. 

We will proceed with the address in favor of the admission of California into the 
Union, delivered by Senator Seward, in which he said: 

''Let, then, those who distrust the Union make compromises to save it. I shall not 
impeach their wisdom as I certainly cannot their patriotism. But indulging in no such 
apprehension myself, I shall vote for the admission of California directly without condi- 
tions, without qualifications, and without compromise. For the vindication of that vote, I 
look not at the verdict of the passing hour, disturbed as the public mind now is by con- 
flicting interest and passion, but to that period happily not far distant when the vast 
region over which we are now legislating shall have received their destined inhabitants, 
wfiile looking forward to that day its countless generations seem to me to be rising up 
and passing in dim and shadowy review before me and a voice comes forth from their 
serried ranks saying: 'Waste your treasures and your armies, if you will; raze your for- 
tifications to the ground; sink your na\'y into the sea; transmit to us even a dishonored 
name if you must, but the soil you hold in trust for us give it to us free. You found it 
free and conquered it to extend a better and surer freedom over it. Whatever choice you 
have made for yourselves, let us have no partial freedom. Let us all be free; let the rever- 
sion of your broad domain descend to us unincumbered and free from the calamities and 
sorrows of human bondage.' 

"It is the part of the eternal conflict between mind and physical forces, the conflict 
of man against the obstacles which oppose his way to an ultimate and glorious destiny. 
It will go on until you shall terminate it by yielding in your own way and in your own 
manner indeed, but nevertheless yielding, to the progress of 'Emancipation.' You will 
do this sooner or later, whatever may be your opinion now, because nations which were 
prudent, and human, and wise, as you are, have done so already." 

This address was the most effectual one delivered in Congress in behalf of the admis- 
sion of California into the Union. The reader will agree that it is grand, human and so 
much like a prophecy. A vote was taken in the Senate, and California was admitted to 
the Union. 

Almost immediately after its admission a protest was framed and signed by ten 
southern Senators, members of the United States Congress. They protested against the 
admission of California as a Free State. There was considerable debate as to whether the 
secretary should read the protest, and then a lot more talk as to the advisability of it being 



46 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

entered on the Senate Journal. Finally, Jefferson Davis, from Mississippi, who at the 
time was a member of the Senate, addressed that body, and said that so much talk was 
creating outside criticism, and the newspapers were spreading alarming reports, which 
were doing more to create a sentiment to dissolve the Union than it would to enter the 
protest on the Senate Journal. The names of the Senators signed to the protest were as 
follows: J. M. Mason, E. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia; A. P. Butler, E. B. Barnwell, of 
South Carolina; H. L. Tunney, of Tennessee; Pierce Soule, Louisiana; Jefferson Davis, 
of Mississippi; David E. Atchison, Missouri; Jackson Morton, D. L. Yulee, Florida. Sen- 
ate Chamber, August 13, 1850. 

Senator Seward 's address, appealing to a higher consciousness, caused the Senators 
to vote California as a Free State. Their actions proved that justice was about to rule, 
even if the Negro slaves had been held in darkness, ignorance, and cruelly treated in a 
land where people had come to escape oppression and had declared their independence. 
They allowed another class of people to come to America and for hundreds of years carry 
on human slavery, forgetting that the first human blood shed in the Eevolutionary War 
was that of a Negro man by the name of Crispus Attucks. Still even this sacrifice was 
not suflScient to arouse the conscience of the masses against the enslaving of the Africans 
brought to America. The statesmen in those days could not see nor believe that it was 
right to allow California to become a Free State. 

If the reader will review in an impartial manner the facts in the case and consider 
that for hundreds of years these southern Senators' ancestors had been dealing in human 
slaves, that some of their fortunes had been handed down to them in the form of human 
slaves, it would be more than human for them to give up the institution of slavery vrith- 
out a struggle. They were true to what they believed to be right. 

There were others who did not believe in human slavery, and still others who, while 
believing in it, were too poor to own slaves, and wished California admitted as a Free 
State for fear that if the southern whites were permitted to bring their slaves and work 
the mines there would soon be an aristocracy of southerners in beautiful California. The 
latter legislated to keep the Negro out of California, whether either slave or free. They 
were afraid to be even kind to the Free Negroes, lest they would lose by that kindness. 
"Kindness is a perfume you cannot pour upon others without getting a few drops your- 
self. ' ' The admission of California as a Free State, a land very near the ' ' Terrestrial 
Paradise" was as an opening wedge, an awakening of the public conscience and a call from 
the God of Justice. The poor slaves had no way of being heard or changing the laws 
against them, for their human bondage was so complete it was held a crime to teach them 
their letters. But somehow the Negroes learned to pray and they poured out their souls 
in prayer and songs, in their plantation melodies, and God was not deaf. The great 
Negro, Fred Douglass, at one time was addressing an audience and his heart was so op- 
pressed at the cruelties of slavery that in the anguish of his soul, in a heart-rending, 
plaintive tone, he said : ' ' Oh, God surely must be dead ; he does not answer our prayers. ' ' 
In the audience sat a colored woman by the name of Sojourner Truth, who arose and said: 
"Fred Douglass, God is not dead! To your knees, oh ye benighted sons of Africa; to 
your knees; and remain there. There, if nowhere else, the colored man can meet the 
white man as an equal and be heard. ' ' 

The effect of the protest of these southern Senators against the admission of Cali- 
fornia as a Free State was as an answer to the prayers of the Negro slaves sent to the 
■> Court of Heaven, for hundreds of years asking to be given their liberty. The abolitionists 
and humanitarians had been constantly campaigning against the system of human slavery. 
Like drops of water they had finally worn an impression upon human conscience. People 
were beginning to think. The battle was not won by the admission of California into the 
Union as a Free State, but the protest of the southern Senators was effective and the 
South began to realize that the time was coming when the country would no longer remain 
"one-half free and one-half slave." It really was the beginning of the end of human 
slavery in the United States. 

There were many white persons living in the South who were too poor to own slaves, 
and yet too proud to work for a living; too much like a slave, the performance of common 
labor. All over the country there was fast developing a class of white people who were 
"shabby genteel." Their children, however, grew tired of the custom, especially when 
coming into contact with the northern whites who worked and earned their living by the 
sweat of their own brows and were happy and healthy. 

This was demonstrated in a speech in the California Constitutional Convention when 
one gentleman, a member of the convention, said: "We left the South because we did 
not care to bring up a family in a half dependent sort of a fashion." In other words. 



OF CALIFORNIA 47 

they came to California because they wished to earn their own living without the aid of 
Negro slaves, and not be considered "common, or poor white trash" for so doing. He 
opposed the admission of the Negro either as a slave or freeman. Coming as he did from 
the South, he knew the tricks the southern slaveholders would resort to in an effort to retain 
their slaves in California and would soon become wealthy in California gold through the 
labor of the Negro slaves. 

In an address given by Abraham Lincoln at Peoria, HI., October 16, 1856, among 
other things the speaker said: "Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature; 
opposition to it in his love of justice. These principles are in eternal antagonism, and 
when brought into collision so" fiercely as slavery extension brings them, shocks and 
throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow. Repeal the Declaration of Independence; 
repeal all history; you cannot repeal human nature. It still will be the conviction of man^s 
heart that the extension of slavery is wrong and out of the abundance of his heart his 
mouth will continue to speak." 

While this speech was delivered after the admission of California into the Union, 
still it is typical of the spirit that was dominating the minds of a large number of people 
at that period through the United States. The human heart of mankind that loved justice 
was crying out either in spirit or otherwise, to be delivered from the cause of slavery. The 
prayers of the Negro slave, his groanings and anguish for hundreds of years had to be 
heard and answered. In the language of the Honorable John Steven McGroarty: — 

"So through the centuries he has borne, 

With shoulders bowed to the wheel. 
The whole world's burden and its scorn; — 

Its bloodhounds at his heels. 
Bound, he stood in the palace hall, 

He was chained in the galleyed ships. 
Yet with deathless courage he braved it all 

With a challenge upon his lips." 

Thus the Negro coming to California in pioneer days, with all the disadvantages and 
obstacles, ever kept the challenge on his lips which in time opened to him the door of 
hope. The records will show the wonderful strength of character and energy possessed by 
the pioneer Negroes of California. The writer is allowing them to tell their own story. 
So come visit with me to the aged pioneer Negroes all over the State. Listen to the tales 
from their memory of the days when California was young; gather from them the con- 
necting links and trace the threads of the story of their struggles to obtain a right to live 
in California. 

The Honorable John Hay has said: "Real history is not to be found in books, but 
in the personal anecdotes and private letters of those who make history. These reveal the 
men themselves and the motives that actuated them and also their estimate of those who 
are associated with them." 



CHAPTER VII 
Pony Express 

It may be a great surprise to some people to learn that in January, 1855, Senator 
Gwin introduced in the United States Senate a bill which proposed to establish a weekly 
letter express service between St. Louis, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. The 
express was to operate on a ten days' schedule following the Central route and was to 
receive a compensation not exceeding $500 for each round trip. 

This information has been obtained from Glen D. Bradley's "Story of the Pony Ex- 
press." In this highly interesting book the author tells how Senator Gwin, while en route 
to Washington City from San Francisco to take his seat in the United States Senate, made 
the trip on horseback, and was accompanied part of the way by a Mr. Flicklin, general 
superintendent of the big freight and stage firm of Russel, Majors & Waddell, of Leaven- 
worth, Kansas, who was an agreeable traveling companion and told Mr. Gwin of his desire 
to establish a closer service of transportation to the Pacific Coast. 

Under the influence of this conversation Mr. Gwin introduced a bill and had hopedto 
work out a plan by which the United States Government would assist. This conversation 
and the introduction of the bill were the incentive to the firm and in a very short time 
they started the operation of the "Pony Express." The object was to shorten the time 
between St. Louis, Washington City, and the Pacific Coast. 

There were three recognized routes at that date — the Butterfield . or Southern, the 
Central and the Panama Route— all of which required a great deal of time. By a system 
of relay riders the Pacific Coast was brought within eight days of the Atlantic Coast. The 
"Pony Express" was a perfect success. Its value to California during the War of the 
Rebellion was inestimable. Senator Gwin, who introduced the bill in the interest of the 
State, made a speech in the United States Senate December 12, 1859, about six months 
before the express made its first trip, that ruined his career and left a cloud on his mem- 
ory as a statesman. 

The "Pony Express" was one of the greatest and most convincing adventures of that 
date, causing men to realize that nothing is impossible. The Pacific Coast and its newly 
discovered gold was a long way from the seat of the United States Government, the trip 
long and dangerous, over mountains and plains, facing hostile Indians and wild animals, 
yet after sixteen months of successful operation the telegraph line supplanted its useful- 
ness, as messages could be sent quicker by wire. 

The transcontinental railroad soon followed in the trail of the telegraph line. The 
"Pony Express" had proven beyond a possibility of doubt that if men could cross the 
continent riding horseback with valuable messages and packages in so short a time, why 
not a coach of steel? The stage for passengers was a success, and yet it was attended 
by great expense and danger of highway robbers, not counting other troubles. 

The "Pony Express" was a system of relay riders and stations. Each rider was 
supposed to travel seventy-five miles. During that distance he was allowed three different 
horses, and just enough time to dismount and mount. The proprietors of the "Pony Ex- 
press" were noted for the care with which they employed their men. They were bound 
by an oath of honor, the observance of which made the "Pony Express" a success. On 
entering the service of the Central Overland, California and Pike's Peak Express Company, 
employees of the "Pony Express" were compelled to take an oath of fidelity which was as 
follows: "I do hereby swear before the great and living God, that during my en- 
gagement and while I am an employee of Russel, Majors & Waddell, I will under no circum- 
stances use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not 
quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and in every respect I will conduct 
myself honestly, be faithful to my duties and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence 
of my employers. So help me God." 

The firm adhered to a rigid observance of the Sabbath. They insisted on their men 
doing as little work as possible on the Sabbath day. The firm likewise clung to its policies. 
Probably no firm ever won a higher and more deserved reputation for integrity in the ful- 
fillment of its contracts and for business reliability than Russel, Majors & Waddell. 

It affords the writer much pleasure to record the names of three colored men who 
were connected with the^ ' ' Pony Express : ' ' Mr. James Frances, of San Francisco, who 
had charge of the horses at the end of the trail at Summit, and again at Sacramento, 
California; George Monroe, from Merced to Mariposa, who was a "Pony Express" rider 
between the above named points, and William Robinson, of Stockton, who carried the 



OF CALIFORNIA 49 

mail from Stockton to the Mines, after the Wells Fargo Express bought the ' ' Pony Ex- 
press" business. He served as such with this company for forty years. These men had 
to take the oath the same as other riders. 

In Kennedy's Contest for California the author quotes Justice Field as saying in his 
Eeminiscences : "I could have recounted the effort made in 1860 and '61 to keep the 
State in the Union against the movements of the Secessionists and the communications had 
with President Lincoln by relay riders over the plains." Hittell's History of California, 
which said: "But the Presidential election of 1S60 when the line became drawn with 
great distinction between Union and Secession, California broke its Democratic record and 
wheeled into line as a Republican State, strong on the side of the Union." Mr. Hittell 
gives as his authority '"I)a\-is Political Conventions, (p. 110-116)." He further said: 
" Nominations by the Republican National Convention were Abraham Lincoln and Hanni- 
bal Hamlin as President and Vice-President, and, in a short time after the canvass opened, 
it was very clearly understood that the struggle, call it by whatever name they might, 
and without reference to individuals, was to be between Union and threatened Seces- 
sion.***The Presidential campaign of 1860 in California was a memoi-able one. The 
people were thoroughly aroused and many able speakers took part in the conflict." 

Kennedy's Contest for California said: "There were twenty-two newspapers pouring 
forth or repeating the arguments and confident boasts of the Breckenridge party, twenty- 
four supporting Douglass and only seven for Lincoln.* **C'ol. E. D. Baker avowed his can- 
didacy for the United States Senate from Oregon. But, after the nomination of Lincoln 
and Hamlin became known, he put that forward as being of the greatest importance, and 
I have been told that Baker's speeches did more than any other instrumentality to secure 
the electoral vote of Oregon for the Republican candidate. ' ' 

Col. Baker delivered an address in Salem, Oregon, on the occasion of a Fourth of 
July celebration. The following is an extract from it: ""SVliatever service I have ren- 
dered on the field of battle in other days, I leave impartial history to record. But if it 
be reserved for me to lay my unworthy life upon the altar of my country in defending it 
from internal assailants, I declare here today that I aspire to no higher glory than that 
the sun of my life may go down beneath the shadow of Freedom's temple and baptize the 
emblem of the Nation's greatness, the Stars and the Stripes, that float so proudly before 
ns today in my heart 's warmest blood. ' ' 

After the delivery of this speech the Republican committee of California persuaded 
Col. Baker to speak in the Commercial Metropolis of the Coast. The place chosen was the 
old American Theater, San Francisco. The writer has deemed it appropriate to quote 
from this address since Col. Baker was one, if not the greatest, friend the Negro had at 
that date in California : 

"We live in a day of light. We live in an advanced generation. We live in the pres- 
ence of the whole world. We are like a city set upon a hill, that cannot be hid. The 
prayers and tears and hopes and sighs of all good men are with us. As for me, I dare. 
not, I will not, be false to freedom. Here many years ago I took my stand, and where 
in youth my feet were planted, there my young manhood, and my old age shall march. I 
am not ashamed of Freedom. I know her power. I glory in her strength, I rejoice in her 
majesty. I will walk beneath her banner. I have seen them give her ashes to the winds, 
regather them that they might scatter them yet more widely. But when they turn to exult, 
I have seen her again meet them face to face clad in complete steel and brandishing in 
her right hand a flaming sword, red with insufferable light." 

In commenting on the speech Kennedy says: "During the utterance of these sen- 
tences the listeners were finding it difficult to repress their feelings. When Col. Baker, 
always as graceful in gesture as in speech, came to the mention of the sword, he, a veteran 
officer of two wars, appeared to draw his own weapon, so that the last words were spoken 
with his arm uplifted. The excited thousands sprang to their feet ; the pent-up enthusiasm 
broke loose and the wild tumult that greeted the hero on his introduction was repeated 
with wilder power. Cheer after cheer rolled from side to side, from pit to dome. Even 
the reporters were swept away in the frenzy and left their desks and tables to fall in with 
the shouting multitude. 

A young fellow, just come of age, afterwards famous as Bret Hart, leaped upon the 
stage and frantically waved the American Flag. In this era of prearranged demonstra- 
tions that would excite little attention, but no such scene had occurred in California. None, 
I think, ever occurred since, and it may well be doubted whether, except in National Con- 
ventions, the equal of it was ever witnessed in the United States. It was nearly a quarter 
of an hour before the uproad ceased. Meantime Col. Baker stood motionless, intent, trans- 
fixed. When at last there was perfect silence, he spoke as if he had not been interrupted 



50 THE NEGEO TRAIL BLAZERS 

and in a golden, throbbing tone that thrilled like an electric current said: "And I take 
courage; the genius of America will at last lead her sons to freedom." 

After the conclusion of his address, Col. Baker made a personal statement to a few 
friends, since it would be the last time he probably would see them before sailing for the 
East. He re\dewed his defeat in California for United States Congress and added, "With 
my heart bruised, my ambition somewhat wounded, my hopes crushed and destroyed, it was 
my fortune one week later to stand by the bedside of my slaughtered friend, Broderick, 
who fell in your cause and on your behalf ***and I cried, 'How long, oh how long shall 
the hopes of freedom and her champion be thus crushed?' The tide has turned. I regret 
my little faith. I renew my hopes. I see better omens. The warrior rests. It is true he 
is in the embrace of that sleep that knows no earthly waking. Nor word, nor wish or 
prayer, nor triumph can call him from that lonely abode* **but his example lives among 
us. In San Francisco, I know I speak to hundreds of men tonight, perhaps thousands, 
who loved him in his life and who will be true to his memory always. And if I were not 
before a vast assemblage of the people, I would say that in a higher arena it may be my 
privilege to speak to him and for him." 

One writer in describing Col. Baker on this occasion, said: "His countenance and 
bearing and his gray locks recalled the picture of Thorwaldsen, of whom it was said that 
when he moved in the midst of a crowd it would separate as if it felt the presence of a 
superior being. His disposition was the perfection of amiability. In his most heated 
forensic and political contests he was never betrayed into saying an unmanly thing of 
an adversary." 

Hittell, in his history of San Francisco, says of this speech by Col. Baker : "It was 
in this campaign that E. D. Baker pronounced in favor of Freedom and the Republican 
party, what was supposed to be the greatest speech ever delivered in California. It will 
survive the English language if that can ever die. It will be repeated, cherished and 
appealed to until freedom, in every form the most precious of all the triumphs of humanity 
and the struggle for it the most sacred of all duties, shall have lost its interest. It sur- 
passes any paragraph in Demosthenes, Cicero, Burk, Webster, Sumner, or Gladstone.*** 
It is the soundest reason on a subject appealing to the sympathies of our common Nation, 
expressed in the highest polish of rhetoric." 

The speeches just quoted were more than admirable because of the remoteness of 
California, and its mixed citizenship of Indian, Mexican, Chinese and Spaniard, and also 
the southern ex-slaveholder. It was so easy to be misunderstood, and men in California 
at that period settled their differences by dueling. Their code of honor did not admit of 
ignoring a challenge. The duel between Judge Terry and Senator Broderick was then 
fresh in the minds of the public. It was this duel Col. Baker referred to when he spoke of 
his slaughtered friend Broderick. Judge Terry was resentful to Broderick because of his 
known friendship toward the Negro. Consequently when the slightest provocation pre- 
sented itself. Judge Terry challenged Senator Broderick to a duel of pistols. Mr. Brod- 
erick died from the wounds received in the duel. It has been said that his last words 
were: "They killed me because I am opposed to the extension of slavery and a corrupt 
administration. ' ' 

Mr. Broderick had as a body servant a colored man by the name of John Jones, who 
was in the immediate vicinity of the duelling grounds when Senator Broderick, who had 
fired his gun into the air, was shot by Judge Terry. This colored man was more than a 
mere body servant. * ' Senator Broderick had taken a great fancy to Jones and when he 
left for the National Capital to represent California in the Halls of Congress, he took 
Jones along with him as his valet and confidential servant. During the active period of 
the Vigilance Committee he was put in charge of the warehouse which served as an 
armory and as the council room of the committee. He was present when a barge load of 
rifles was seized by the committee. These rifles were coming from Sacramento and had 
been sent by the Governor to the Terry faction, who were opposing the Vigilance Com- 
mittee. " The quotation is from a pioneer whose life is given in full in another section of 
the book. 

Col. E. D. Baker was not only a true friend of freedom, but he was a sincere friend 
to the immortal Lincoln. He showed his love and friendship for Lincoln by neglecting his 
own candidacy after the nomination of Lincoln for the Presidency of the United States. 
Abraham Lincoln was equally as true to him and, realizing the terrible odds E. D. Baker 
would have against him in this western country in the race for United States Senator, 
sent a letter to a friend asking this friend to give his regards to Baker. The letter is here 
quoted in full: 



OF CALIFORNIA 51 

"Springfield, HI., Aug., 1860. 

Dear Friend: — If you see Col. Baker, give him my respects. I do hope he may not 
be tricked out of what he has fairly earned. 

"Yours forever. As ever 

"A. LINCOLN." 

This letter was not intended for the public, but the friend made it public and saved 
the day for E. D. Baker in his race for the United States Senate. Afterward Lincoln was 
elected as President of the United States with a plurality in California of 614. As the 
President of the United States he relied upon the recommendation of Col. Baker more 
than once in appointments on the Pacific Coast as the following will show: 

"Headquarters of the Army at the National Capital, Adjutant General Thomas, ignor- 
ing the Governor of Oregon, wrote to three loyal citizens of the State, Col. Thomas B. 
Cornelius, Hon. B. F. Harding and K. F. Maury, authorizing them to raise for the service 
of the United States, one regiment of mounted troops" and, after instructions as to oflB- 
eers and equipment, added, "unless otherwise ordered you will be governed by directions 
Bent by Col. E. D. Baker, Senator from Oregon. The department relies confidently upon 
the prudence, patriotism, and economy with which you will execute this trust." 

Col. Baker used his influence to defeat the Secession conspiracy to dislodge California. 
George W. Ficks, representing the Grand Army of the Eepublic, in an address at the 
Lincoln exercises in the Sacramento high school several years ago said: "James McClatchy, 
in a conversation with Edmond Randolph during those strenuous times, came into posses- 
sion of the aim to dislodge California from the Union. Immediately after the conversation 
James McClatchy wrote to E. D. Baker, then Senator in the United States Senate, and as 
a 'Pony Express' was then starting it carried this important letter with all the plans to 
E. D. Baker." Kennedy in his Contest for California says: "For Baker there was one 
supreme demand that Albert Sidney Johnson should be removed and the army forces on 
the Pacific Coast be subject to the orders of a loyal man." Two weeks after the Inaug- 
uration, General Scott wrote to Brigadier General E. V. Sumner to prepare to sail for 
California. The following day formal orders were confidentially issued to General Sumner, 
directing him to without delay repair to San Francisco, and relieve Brevet Brigadier Gen- 
eral Albert Sidney Johnson, in command of the Department of the Pacific; he was 
instructed to leave his orders sealed until he should have crossed the Isthmus of Panama 
and fairly out into the Pacific. 

According to this address by Mr. George W. Ficks, when Gen. Sumner presented his 
credentials to Albert S. Johnson, the latter replied: "Give me one hour and I will turn 
the country over to you." Gen Sumner replied, "No, not one minute. I am now in com- 
mand of the Department of the Pacific." Kennedy's Contest for California says that, 
"then, the crisis was passed." 

Brevet Albert Johnson was relieved of the command of the Department of the Pacific. 
It was soon discovered that there was a strong Secession movement on this coast to that 
extent that when an order came for the soldiers under the command of General Sumner 
on this coast to leave for the East, the best citizens signed a petition entreating the Gov- 
ernment not to remove the troops from the State. They gave for their reason that a ma- 
jority of our present State officials are avowed Secessionists and the balance, being bit- 
terly hostile to the administration, are advocates of peaceful policy at any sacrifice upon 
terms that would not be rejected even in South Carolina. Every appointment made by 
our Governor within the past three months indicates his entire sympathy and co-operation 
with those plotting to sever California from her allegiance to the Union, and that, too, at 
the hazard of civil war. About three-eighths of our citizens are natives of slave-holding 
States, and are almost a unit in this crisis. The hatred manifested so pointedly in the 
South and so strongly evinced on the field of battle is no more intense there than here.*** 
Our advice, obtained with great prudence and care, shows us that there are about sixteen 
thousand Knights of the Golden Circle in the State." 

The loading with arms and powder of the clipper ship .J. W. Chapman; the plot to 
take Mare Island Navy Yards, have been fully stated in Bancroft's "History of Cali- 
fornia." The Department of the Pacific was then in the control of an experienced and 
loyal man who, when the situation would become serious, would issue an order that would 
make them consider well their actions. His orders were like this: "No Federal troops 
in the Department of the Pacific will ever surrender to rebels. E. V. Sumner." 

In regard to the Secessionist movement in California, Kennedy, in his "Contest for 
California" says, using as his authority. "The Rebellion Records," and quoting from 
them: "The Secessionist continued defiant and seditious demonstrations occurred in many 



52 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

places, a common feature being the raising of the Bear Flag, accompanied by military 
ceremonies. ' ' 

In his first report to "Washington, General Sumner said: "There is a strong Union 
feeling with a majority of the people of this State, but the Secessionists are much the 
most active and zealous party, which give them more influence than they ought to have 
for their number. I have no doubt there is some deep scheming to draw California into 
the secession movement, in the first place as the 'Eepublic of the Pacific,' expecting after- 
ward to induce her to join the Southern Confederacy." 

On the thirteenth, the General wrote to Assistant Adjutant General Townsend, at 
Washington, D. C. : "I have found it necessary to withdraw the troops from Fort Mojave, 
and place them at Los Angeles. There is more danger of dissatisfaction at this place than 
any other in the State." On the seventh of May Captain Winfield Scott Hancock, com- 
manding at Los Angeles, reported: "The Bear Flag was raised at El Monte, twelve 
miles distant. The escort was say forty horsemen. I have, I believe, reliable evidence that 
it will be raised here on Sunday the twelfth inst. That is, the flag will be paraded through 
the streets under a strong escort." 

The coming of Brigadier General Sumner, as Commander to the Department of the 
Pacific Coast, had a wonderful effect in giving the Union people courage, especially in 
San Francisco. There were so many different factions and with E. D. Baker in the Sen- 
ate at Washington City and Broderiek dead, there were few strong and influential men 
left in California, but when Fort Sumter was fired upon, it seemed to make heroes of 
men everywhere, and a mass meeting was held in San Francisco and it has been said that 
fully fourteen thousand persons attended; and at this meeting under the influence of Rev. 
Thomas Starr King there were Union companies organized. The Catholic Archbishop 
Alemany, Sheriff David Scannell and many others were present. While the people of the 
Pacific Coast were holding mass meetings encouraging Union sentiment; the people in 
far-away New York were holding a similar meeting, and a voice from the Pacific Coast 
and California was raised in this meeting to give courage to the men to save the Union. 
That was the voice of Hon. Col. E. D. Baker, then United States Senator. The following 
is quoted from his speech on this occasion: "The majesty of the people is here today 
to sustain the majesty of the Constitution, and I come a wanderer from the far Pacific to 
record my oath along with yours of the great Empire State and offer from the far Pacific 
a voice feebler than the feeblest murmur upon its shores may be heard, to give you cour- 
age and hope in this contest. That voice is yours today.***If Providence shall will it, 
this feeble hand shall draw a sword, never yet dishonored, not to fight for honor on a 
foreign soil; but for country, for home, for law, for government, for constitution, for 
right, for freedom, for humanity." 

This address was delivered just one week after the firing on Fort Sumter. The 
President of the United States called for volunteers on the fifteenth of April, and on May 
first a meeting was held at the Metropolitan Hotel, New York City, and was composed of 
former citizens from California and Oregon, one hundred of whom had paid their way 
from California to New York that they might be near the center of activities. At this 
meeting it was decided to raise a regiment and offer their services to the United States 
Government, and also tender Col. E. D. Baker the position as Colonel of the regiment. 
The chairman of the meeting wrote to Senator Baker telling him of the wishes of the men 
at this meeting and also wrote to the Secretary of War, Hon. Simeon Cameron, concerning 
the appointment. Men in all parts of the East were anxious to serve under Col. E. D. 
Baker, and they soon had a brigade which was known as "Baker's California Brigade." 

President Lincoln issued a call for a special session of Congress. Senator E. D. Baker 
delivered a most eloquent speech upon a bill reported from the Military Committee. But 
he did the Pacific Coast honor when he spoke on the floor of Congress of the United 
States. While addressing that body he was so sincere in his desire to save the country 
that he forgot that he was addressing the highest body in the American nation, in the 
uniform of his regiment. There has never before nor since been such an occasion as this. 
Mr. Breckenridge had made a speech that members of the House deemed demanded an 
answer immediately, since it was vital in its effect if permitted to go unanswered. They 
realized that Col. Baker waa about the only member of that body that had the courage 
to give an immediate answer. A courier was dispatched to bring Col. Baker to the U. S. 
Congress. He was near by, drilling his regiment. Like a true soldier he did not wait to 
question the reason why, but, forgetting self, hastened to the Halls of Congress and ad- 
dressed that body. It has been recorded as one of the most wonderful addresses ever 
delivered before that body in the most critical time of its history. After addressing Con- 
gress he returned to the drilling of his regiment. Shortly afterward his regiment was 
ordered to Fortress Monroe, and then fought the Battle of Ball's Bluff, where Col. Baker 



OF CALIFORNIA 53 

■was killed, the first Union officer to lose his life in the Civil War in the cause of Freedom. 

Hon. John Hay said of him: "Edward Dickinson Baker was promoted by one grand 
brevet of the God of battle above the acclaim of the field, above the applause of the 
world to the heavens of the martyr and the hero." 

President Lincoln grieved greatly over the death of Col. Baker. Hon. Timothy G. 
Phelps, a member of the United States Congress, then representing California, in his trib- 
ute to Col. Baker delivered before the House of Eepresentatives in December, 1861, de- 
clared: "The whole country is indebted to him, in no small degree, that California is 
today in the Union." Congressman A. A. Sargent said: "California is largely indebted 
to E. D. Baker that she is not today within the grasp of Secessionists." 

Can the reader doubt the reason the few pioneer Negroes were so courageous when 
they had such a man and soldier as their friend and counsellor in their struggles? 

Hon. Theodore Hittell once told the writer that he had never heard a greater orator 
than was Col. E. D. Baker, nor one with a more musical voice; to hear him speak meant 
at once respectful attention 



CHAPTER VIII 

Right of Testimony — Gordon Case — A Tragedy with the Colored Man 

Several years previous to this tragedy, a colored family had moved to San Francisco, 
California, coming from Baltimore, Maryland. This family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. 
Gordon, together with several sisters of the wife. One of the sisters opened a millinery 
store and Mr. Gordon a barber shop in the basement room of the Niantic Hotel, corner 
of Bush and Samson streets, San Francisco, California. The proprietor of the hotel waa 
a white gentleman by the name of Mr. Fink. 

The tragedy in which Mr. Gordon lost his life occurred as follows: One evening 
before dusk as one of the young ladies who had the millinery store was going to her supper 
in the rear of the store, she suddenly turned in time to see a man robbing her cash drawer. 
She ran back into the store. When the man ran out into the street she continued to chase 
him, calling ' ' Stop, thief ! ' ' She was not, however, successful in overtaking him. The 
next morning this white man, who was chased the evening previous for robbing the cash 
box of the millinery store, went into Mr. Gordon's barber shop and demanded that Mr. 
Gordon make his sister take back the name "thief" she had called him the night before, 
while chasing him. Mr. Gordon replied that he had not been at home, and had had nothing 
to do with the affair. The white man then began to abuse Mr. Gordon, finally shooting 
him at his barber's chair. When shot, Mr. Gordon ran to the street crying "murder!" 
The white man followed him, and, after Mr. Gordon had fallen to the sidewalk, shot him 
again and beat him with his revolver. The proprietor of the hotel was coming down the 
street and recognized the white murderer. There was, however, in the shop at the time 
of the shooting, a colored man of very light complexion, a Mr. Robert Cowles. This gen- 
tleman witnessed the wholes affair, but in order to rule his testimony out of court as a 
witness, he was subjected to an examination by a corps of physicians, who decided that 
his hair showed he had one-sixteenth part of a drop of Negro blood, and his testimony 
could not be taken. There was, however, another witness to be dealt with, and that was 
the proprietor of the hotel, Mr. Fink, who had witnessed the tragedy. His testimony 
could not be disputed, resulting in this white murderer being sent to the penitentiary for 
ten years. Owing to the fact that the prisoner had tuberculosis, at the end of two years 
he was pardoned — dying soon afterward. 

A white attorney by the name of Mr. Owens represented the colored family in court 
against this white murderer. This information, as stated, has been given to the writer by 
two difierent members of the Gordon family now living in California. 

The Court's decision in the Gordon murder trial was depressing to the colored people 
then living throughout the State of California and resulted in a few public-spirited and 
justice-loving Negroes in San Francisco organizing the Franchise League. The object of 
this league was to do all they possibly could to have removed from the statute books of 
the State of California the law denying Negroes the "Right of Testimony" in the courts 
of justice. 

The name "Franchise League," and the names of the members and officers were 
sufficient to inspire in all the Negroes in the State the confidence that it would be a genuine 
league. "I am resolved 'tis more than half my task, 'twas the great need of all my past 
existence." "The Franchise League was organized August 12, 1862. Remarks were 
made by Messrs. F. G. Barbadoes, William H. Yates, Symon Cook, I. G. Wilson, R. A. 
Hall, Peter A. Bell and J. B. Sanderson. It was deemed proper to organize a movement 
of the people which shall be responsible to them with a view to action among them in 
securing from the next Legislature our testimony in the State. Mr. Wilson submitted a 
paper proposing a basis. It was quite elaborate; the hour was too late to examine it in 
detail. A committee of five was appointed to examine this and secure other plans as 
might be proposed." The foregoing account is taken from the diary of J. B. Sanderson, 
with the permission of his family. 

Aside from the workings of the Franchise League to secure the right of testimony in 
the courts of justice, the following named gentlemen solemnly pledged themselves to go 
to Sacramento and lobby until they were successful in having the Legislature pass a bill 
which would repeal those portions of the Civil and Criminal Practice Acts which had pro- 
hibited Negroes from the right to testify in the courts of justice in California where white 
people were parties to suits: Henry Collins, Alfred White, Rev. Peter Cassey, William 
Hall, William A. Smith, George W. Dennis, J. B. Sanderson, John A. Jones, James Brown, 



OF CALIFORNIA 55 

Peter Bell, MiflBin Gibbs, David Ruggles, John Moore, Symon Cook, I. G. Wilaon, R. H. 
Hall. 

The reader will more fully understand the work to be done by the Franchise League 
if he first reviews that which had already been done in an efiort to obtain the "Right of 
Testimony ' ' in the courts of justice, and the privilege to own land. The struggle for the 
"Right of Testimony" was long and difiicult, lasting from 1852 to 1863. During the 
entire time the colored pioneers never relaxed in their efforts. 

In the Journal of the Assembly under date March 22, 1852, page 395, the writer has 
found the following : ' ' Mr. Canny presented a petition from Free Negroes of San Fran- 
cisco praying a change in the laws to authorize them to give testimony against white men. 
Mr. Hammond offered the following resolution: 'Resolved, that the House, having heard 
the petition read, do decline to receive it or entertain any petition upon such subject from 
such source.' The resolution passed by a vote of 47 to 1." In the same Journal (page 159) 
the following appears: "Mr. Peachy introduced a memorial from citizens of South Caro- 
lina and Florida, in reference to their removing to the State of California and bringing 
their (slaves) property. Mr. Miller moved to refer to the special committee of thirteen 
and that five hundred copies be printed. ' ' This resolution was enough to discourage 
almost any other body of men except the Negro pioneers of California, who were just as 
active the next year in the same cause as they had been the year previous. 

In Bancroft's California History the following appears: "At the Legislative ses- 
sion of 1853 W. C. Merdith, a Democrat from Tuolumne, presented a memorial to the 
Assembly signed by Negroes, asking the repeal of the clause prohibiting the Negro per- 
sons from testifying in the courts of justice where white persons are concerned. Instantly 
one member moved to throw the memorial out of the window; another did not want the 
Journal tarnished with such an infamous document. The chair reluctantly ruled the mo- 
tion out of order, and an appeal was taken finally in the greatest excitement. The peti- 
tion was rejected and the clerk instructed not to file it." Even this did not discourage 
the Negro pioneers. They immediately proceeded to organize to fight it out and decided 
to call a State convention. The following is an exact copy of their call: 

"State Convention of the Colored Citizens of California, Brethren: — Your state and 
condition in California is one of social and political degradation; one that is unbecoming 
a free and enlightened people. Since you have left your homes and peaceful friends in 
the AtFantic States, and migrated to the shores of the Pacific, with the hopes of bettering 
your condition, you have met with one continued series of outrages, injustices, and unmit- 
igated wrongs unparalleled in the history of nations. You are denied the right to become 
owners of the soil, that common inheritance which rewards our industry, the mainspring 
of all human actions, which is to mankind in this world like the action of the sun to the 
other heavenly bodies. You are compelled to labor and toil without any security that you 
shall obtain your just earnings as an inheritance for yourself or your children in the land 
of your birth. 

"The Statute books and the common law, the great bulwark of society, which should 
be to us as the rivers of water in a dry place, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary 
land, where the wretched should find sympathy and the weak protection, spurn us with 
contempt and rule us from their very threshold and deny us a common humanity. 

"Then, in view of these wrongs which are so unjustly imposed upon us, and the 
progress of the enlightened spirit of the age in which we live and the great duty that 
we owe to ourselves and the generations that are yet to come, we call upon you to lay 
aside your various avocations and assemble yourselves together on Tuesday, the 20th day 
of November, A. D. 1855, in the city of Sacramento, at 10 A. M., for the purpose of de- 
vising the most judicious and effectual ways and means to obtain our inalienable rights 
and privileges in California. 

"All of which is most respectfully submitted and signed. 

"James Carter, Sacramento 
"J. H. TowNSEND, San Francisco 
"Peter Anderson, San Francisco 
"William H. New^by, San Francisco 
"D. W. Ruggles, San Francisco 
"J. B. Sanderson, San Francisco, 

"The Committee, San Francisco, September 27, 1855. 

"Every Assembly District is recommended to send two delegates for every member 
of the Assembly in the said district to the convention," 



56 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

The following is the California legislative records in the Negroes' struggles for the 
"Eight of Testimony" in the courts of justice in this State. The legislative records for 
the sessions of 1857 show that the Negroes in California sent to the Assembly no less 
than seven petitions from as many counties. They were presented by the following Rep- 
resentatives : McCallen, Eldorado county; Goodwin, Yuba county; Johnson, Sacramento 
county; Crandall, Amador county; Cosby, Siskiyou county. 

In a recent collection of papers discovered by the California Secretary to the Archives, 
and owned by John T. Mason, of DoAvnieville, is the following letter, written by Rev. J. B. 
Sanderson to Mr. David Brown, of Marysville, in regard to the activities of the State 
Executive Committee in the fight for the "Right of Testimony" during the year 1856: 

"Sacramento, March 20, 1856. 
"Mr. Davnd Brown: — 

"Dear Sir: — I have today received a letter and petition from you with eighty-four 
names. It is the second letter I have received from you. It is also the second petition. 
We shall put the Sierra petition into the Assembly and, as no effort has been made yet to 
bring the matter before that branch of the Legislature, your petition is quite in time. 

"On Thursday, the 13th, Mr. Flint, of San Francisco, presented to the Senate the 
petition for that county. The next day, the 14th, Mr. Fisk, of Eldorado, presented to the 
Senate our petition from that county. The San Francisco petition had five hundred sig- 
natures and the best men of the county. The Eldorado petition had sixteen hundred names, 
a fine array, presenting an effective appearance. Both were received respectfully and 
referred to the proper committee, the Judiciary. The Senator from Tuolumne, Mr. Cof- 
froth, holds the petition containing eight hundred names for that county which he has 
promised to present early. We hope to get the Sacramento petition before the Senate 
immediately. Tomorrow I am to meet Mr. Ferguson, Senator from this county, and chair- 
man of the Judiciary Committee. We do not control events, we hope Mr. Ferguson wdll 
favor the presentation of our petition ; being chairman, he can greatly control the action 
of the Judiciary Committee in causing a bill proposing the specific change in the law to 
be drafted, presented and commended to the acceptance of the Senate. We cannot tell 
what will be done. The indications appear rather favorable and we hope for the best. 
I may mention that Mr. Fisk told me today that he was preparing a bill for presentation 
to the Senate which will embrace the subject of giving us the 'Right of Testimony' in 
the courts. I can only state the fact or language generally. I have not the time now to 
say as much as I would like. We are all equally interested in this matter, you as much 
as I; I no more than you, as a member of the State Executive Committee. I will do what 
I can. Each member feels the same way.***May success crown the effort we are all 
making for the 'Right of Testimony.' 

"Very respectfully yours, 

"J. B. Sanderson." 

All these petitions were to repeal the law denying the Negroes then living in California, 
the "Right of Testimony" in the courts of justice where a white person was a party to 
a suit. 

The California Statutes of 1861, (chapter 467, page 521) reads: "An Act to amend 
an act entitled an Act in Civil cases in the Courts of Justice in this State passed April 29, 
1851. Approved May 18, 1861. The people of the State of California represented in 
Senate and Assembly do enact as follows: Section 422 of an Act to regulate proceedings 
in Civil cases in the Courts of the State, passed April 29, 1851, is hereby amended so as 
to read as follows : ' Section 422. A person for whose immediate benefit the action is 
prosecuted or defended, though not a party to the action, may be examined as a witness 
in the same manner and subjected to the same rules of examination as if he were named 
as a party. And a party to an action or proceedings may be examined as a witness in his 
own behalf the same as any other witness.***This section shall not be held to impair or 
in any way affect the existing provision of law by which persons of Indian or Negro blood 
are excluded from being vntnesses. ' " 

The section of the law preventing Negroes from being witnesses or testifying in the 
courts of justice was known as Section 394 — Witness — Persons incompetent. Section 394 
of the "Civil Practice Act" provides: No Indian, or Negro, or persons having one-half 
or more Indian blood and Negroes or persons having one-half or more of Negro blood, 
shall be allowed to testify as a witness in action in which a white person is a party. Sec- 
tion 14 of the "Criminal Act" provides that, No Black or Mulatto person or Indian shall 
be allowed to give evidence in favor or against a white man. 



OF CALIFORNIA 



57 




Dll. CLALUns UALl.ARl) 
Awarded the Cioix de Guerre in World's War 



58 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 





ATTORNEY CHARLES DARDEN 
Land Litigation Specialist. 



EDITOR JOS. B. BASS 

Editor of tlie California Eaiile 

of Los Angeles. 





PROF. CHARLES ALEXANDER 
Editor, Autlior and Lecturer. 



SIDNEY P. DONES 
Investment Broiler. 



OF CALIFORNIA 59 

The Negro was not the only person who was denied the "Right of Testimony" in 
the courts of justice; a case is recorded in California Reports, number 4, October, 1854, 
page 399: Ttie People, respondent, against George W. Hall, appellant. The appellant, a 
free white citizen of this State, was convicted of murder upon the testimony of a Chinese 
witness, the point involved in the case is the admissibility of such evidence. The case was 
tried before Chief Justice J. Murry and J. Heydenfeldt. The following is a part of the 
decision: "No Black or Mulatto person or Indian shall be allowed to give evidence in 
favor of or against a white man. Held, that the word Indian, Negro, Black, and white 
are generic terms designating races. That therefore Chinese and all other people not white 
are included in the prohibition from being witnesses. The reader can readily see the great 
difficulty the Negroes as well as other races other than white, had to obtain a hearing in 
court in pioneer days in California. 

It is gratifying to the writer to have been able to quote from the letter by Mr. J. B. 
Sanderson in regard to the number of names signed to the different petitions sent to the 
Assembly of California in the struggle. It is quite evident that he mentioned the number 
to give the reader of the letter the idea of the feeling of a large number of white people 
in regard to the Negro's right to give testimony in the courts of justice. There were not 
only a great many white people who were in favor of the "Right of Testimony" for the 
Negro, but they were not in the least backward in letting it be known that they were in 
favor of the same, as the following quotation from the writings of Hon. John Archibald, 
shows. He said: "Would to God my feeble words could have power to make my fellow 
citizens reflect that the difference between the Englishman and the Russian,***and the 
Chinese and the Negro is one of degree, not of kind. That to draw a line anywhere be- 
tween them is to make a wholly unfounded distinction. Let us give each individual the 
treatment to which his character, his attainments entitle him, but let us never forget that 
they are all of them men endowed with like capabilities, like faculties, like feelings with 
ourselves. Let us make a beginning by restoring to them at once the 'Right of Testimony' 
and leave it to our juries to judge of the value of that testimony just as they do now.*** 
Finally, let us bring our State Constitution once more into accord with the glorious Dec- 
laration of Independence, to which we so often and so fondly appeal, yet which our fathers 
would have thought a monstrous abortion if it had contained any such clause as 'We hold 
these truths to be self-e%adent, that all white men are created equal, that they are endowed 
by their Creator with certain inalienable rights***." 

The quotation just given was a very strong plea in favor of justice for the colored 
people, and must have created a strong public sentiment which always helps members of 
the Legislature in deciding the way to vote on any pressing measure. And yet while it 
helped, still the efforts of the pioneer Negroes in blazing a trail for the present-day Ne- 
groes in California were not successful until after many more years of struggle for the 
"Right of Testimony" in the courts. 

Hittell, in his "History of California" (vol. 4, page 340) says, in regard to the 
"Right of Testimony": "It was one of the glories of the Legislature of 1863 that it 
made the first break in the illiberal and disgraceful provisions of the Legislature of 1850, 
that no black or mulatto person or Indian should be permitted to give evidence in any 
court of the State in an action in which a white person was a party. These provisions 
reenacted in 1851 had been amended and enlarged in 1854, and in that shape they con- 
tinued for nine years longer a foul blot upon the history of the country. 

Two bills introduced into the Senate by Richard F. Perkins, of San Francisco, on 
January, 1863, had for their object the removal of this inhibition against Negroes and 
Mulattoes. They passed the Senate. In the Assembly Morris M. Estes introduced a sim- 
ilar amendment to the effect that the testimony of Negroes and Mulattoes shall be disre- 
garded unless corroborated in some material particular."' 

The bill referred to by Mr. Hittell in his history in regard to the "Right of Testi- 
mony" was introduced by Senator Richard F. Perkins through the Franchise League, 
composed of colored people or, rather, colored pioneer men. The object of the bill framed 
and introduced by Senator Perkins was to repeal those portions of the Civil and Criminal 
Practice Acts which prohibited the "Right of Testimony" in the courts of justice in 
California where white people were interested. He presented the bill at two different ses- 
sions of the Legislature before he was successful in having it passed. Governor Leland 
Stanford, a Republican, immediately signed it. 

The following is a copy of the bill as introduced by Richard F. Perkins, Senator and 
Member of the 14th session of the California Legislature: "An Act to amend an act 
entitled, An Act to regulate proceedings in Civil Cases in the Courts of Justice in this 
State, passed April 29, 1851. Approved March 16, 1863. People of the State repre- 
sented in Senate and Assembly. Section I.***Section 394 of the said act is hereby amended 



60 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

80 as to read as follows: 'Section 394. The following persons shall not be witnesses: (1) — 
Those of unsound mind at the time of their production for examination; (2) — children 
under six years of age who, in the opinion of the Court, appear incapable of receiving 
iust impression of the facts respecting which they are examined or of relating them truth- 
fully; (3)— Mongolians, Chinese, Indians or persons of one-half or more Indian blood, in 
an act or proceeding where a white person is a party* **This act shall take effect and be 
in force on and after its passage. Section 14. No Indian or person with one-half or more 
Indian blood, or Chinese shall give evidence in favor or against a white person.' " 

There was great rejoicing among the colored people then living in California in regard 
to their success in securing the "Right of Testimony" in the courts of justice. The fol- 
lowing is quoted from an old copy of the Pacific Appeal, of San Francisco, under date 
of March 21, 1863: "The Executive Committee of the Colored Convention met imme- 
diately after the passage of the Testimony Bill, and passed resolutions of thanksgiving for 
their hard-earned victory. They met in the church building on Scott Street, San Fran- 
cisco Solomon Penelton, through the recommendation of Peter A. Bell, moved that a spe- 
cial committee be appointed. Mr. J. G. Wilson moved that a committee of three would be 
sufficient The committee was elected by the house. The following gentlemen were elected: 
Alex Ferguson, J. B. Sanderson, Peter Anderson, F. G. Barbadoes and S. Howard. The 
name of Mr Yates, who was President of the first State Convention in 1855, and a con- 
sistent, co-worker with the committee, upon the recommendation of Mr. Barbadoes, was 
added to the committee. 

"T. M. D. Ward was elected as president of this committee and Peter Anderson sec- 
retary. The committee retired to the choir room to form the resolutions when Mr. James 
Brown moved the propriety of publishing Mr. Barstow's speech in the Appeal. Mr. Barstow 
delivered a forceful address in the California Assembly in behalf of the passage of the 
Testimony Bill, March 4th, 1863." 

After the adjournment of the Legislature the colored people living in San Francisco, 
through the Contraband Relief Society, held a public meeting, at which time they invited 
Senator Perkins to address them. The laws were not fully wiped off the Statutes until 

1873 

in the CaUfornia Reports, 1S72-3; Tuttle No. 3372, People vs. McGuire: "Testi- 
mony of a Chinese or Mongolian witness is not admissible under existing laws against 
white persons. After the first of January, 1873, when the codes take effect, no witness 
will be excluded in any case on account of nationality or color. ' ' 

Homestead Laws 

The few colored people living in California were anxious to obtain homes. It is true 
that a few were hustlers and had secured homes, but in every new country a few men and 
women are willing to pioneer and take up homestead land. Under the laws of California 
the colored people were not allowed homestead rights. There are people today who won- 
der why relatives of pioneer families of color are not wealthy. 

The Homestead law was passed in 1851 and again February 4, 1860. 

This bill, like all the others of its kind, was discussed among the people of color, 
resulting in their calling a convention. This convention debated especially the "Right 
of Testimony," because if the word of a colored person would not be taken in court, they 
might purchase land and yet be defrauded out of it. Section 2 of the Homestead law reads : 

"Whenever any white man or female resident in this State shall desire to avail him- 
self or herself of the benefits of this act, such person shall make a written application to 
the county judge of the county in which the land is situated." 

This same bill was brought up in the Legislature of 1860, and the Senate and Assem- 
bly passed concurrent resolutions February 4th, 1860, which read: "Resolved by the 
Assembly, the Senate concurring, that our Senators in Congress be instructed and our Rep- 
resentatives requested to use their influence to procure the passage of a law by Congress 
donating to each bona fide settler on the public agricultural lands within the State, being 
a free white person over the age of twenty^one years and a citizen of the United States; 
who shall have become such a homestead community of one hundred and sixty acres or 
more after a continuous residence and occupation thereof for five years." 

By the wording of the Homestead law a colored man could not acquire a homestead 
plot of land. He might even purchase a home and yet if a white person should claim the 
land, a colored person could not go into court and testify in his own behalf. The records 
in the following case will prove the statement, and also the necessity for the Negroes to 
fight for the "Right of Testimony" in the courts. This case will also explain that the 
persons of color did not often accumulate fortunes because of the fact that they spent 



OF CALIFORNIA 61 

about all they were able to acquire in fighting adverse legislation, that they might live in 
the beautiful, balmy atmosphere of California. 

The papers published among the pioneer Negroes in California were of a high type 
and are really historical gems for their painstaking records of events of vital interest to 
the Negro. The following is quoted from a copy of the Pacific Appeal, San Francisco, 
May 30, 1863 : 

" An interesting land case. The colored man has rights which the Government respects. 
We publish a transcript of an interesting and important correspondence between the Reg- 
ister of the Land Office at Marysville and the Commissioner of the General Land Office at 
Washington, D. C. The Register appointed for the Marysville Land District, Mr. A. J. 
Snyder, finding that there were several cases in this jurisdiction of Negroes claiming rights 
on public domain, and believing that these ought to be allowed, submitted the following 
test case to the department at Washington, D. C. 

" 'United States Land Office, 
" 'Marysville, California, Feb. 3, 1863. 

" 'Sir — Benjamin Berry, a colored man, settled upon the southwest quarter of Sec- 
tion No. 12, of T. 13, N. R. 4 E., has this day applied to me for advice and relief in 
certain matters pertaining to his claim to said land. 

" 'The facts from his own statements and the enclosed affidavit appear to be that the 
claimant was originally a slave, born jn Kentucky, taken to Missouri and then sold to a 
man by the name of Halloway, with whom he came to this State. This was about 1850. 
Here he performed services supposed to be equivalent to $3000 and obtained his freedom. 
He then settled on this land now claimed by him, erected improvements and has continued 
to reside there as an actual bona fide settler upon the public land. He is now old, being 
sixty-seven years of age. Within the last three years he has married. It appears from 
the file of this office that his settlement was made long prior to the survey upon unoccu- 
pied vacant public land. Since his settlement certain parties, taking advantage of his 
legal disabilities, have attempted to acquire title to the land claimed by him through the 
State as portion of the five hundred acre grant. Such claims have not as yet been per- 
fected. It is feared that the parties now claiming adverse to Berry will proceed to eject 
him by an action in the State courts, and his application is made to your office for some 
mode of relief by which Berry, who has settled and improved this public land in good 
faith, may be protected in his improvements and occupancy. 

" 'I have asked your careful consideration of the case and an equitable ruling at 
your very earliest convenience. 

" 'I am, sir, 

" 'Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

" 'A. J. Snydee. 
" 'To the Honorable J. M. Edmonds, Commissioner.' " 

Answer: " 'General Land Office, March 12, 1863. 

" 'Register of Land Office, Marysville, California: — 

" 'Sir: Your letter of third of February last covering an affidavit of Edward E. 
Thurman and in relation to the case of Benjamin Berry, a free man of color, is received 
and in reply thereto I have to state that the Attorney General of the United States in an 
elaborate opinion published the 29th of November, 1862, upon the subject of rights of 
free persons of color to citizenship under the Constitution of the United States, declares: 
"The free man of color, if bom in the United States, is a citizen of the United States." 
The administration of the business of this department will conform to the above opinion 
and you will therefore have no difficulty in disposing of the case in hand. 

" 'The man Berry, upon making proper proof of his being a free man and born in 
the United States, will be entitled to the benefit of the Preemption Laws as also of the 
Homestead Laws. Of course he can purchase with money without regards to citizenship. 

" 'Should there be adverse rights in the above case, you will give the parties due 
notice, and a full hearing. 

" 'Very respectfully, 

' ' ' Your obedient servant, 
" 'Joseph S. Wilson, Acting Commissioner.* " 

In commenting on this land case the editor of the Pacific Appeal said: "Under this 
straightforward and just ruling Berry will be able to secure his rights and maintain pos- 
session of the land he has improved and occupied for so many years. His place is near 
Johnson's ranch on Bear river and he will obtain a quarter section as a homestead. Here- 
tofore colored men have been forcibly expelled from portions of the public domain which 



62 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

they had improved and paid taxes upon. In this district that class of our citizens being 
now assured of protection by a government which, even in the midst of a great civil war, 
finds time to do justice to the humblest individual, colored people should hasten to make 
themselves independent by entering on the unoccupied public lands where they can become 
independent. ' ' 

The above case will give the reader an idea of the greatest reason for the rejoicing 
of the Negro people in California in regard to the passage of the Perkins "Eight of Tes- 
timony" bill. It was a sincere celebration because it meant much to them since, even if 
life in beautiful California was a constant struggle, they liked the climate and realized 
the possibilities of the then young State. But they also wished to own homes and, as they 
were pioneers, felt entitled to the homestead privileges which they could not enjoy like 
others coming to this faraway western land. 

Elective Franchise 

"/ see the future rise before me, 
The glory of the coming man." 

The colored people did not pause in their activities because of their success in securing 
the Eight of Testimony. They were anxious to become full citizens and enjoy the Elective 
franchise, and issued a call for a convention to work for the passage of a legislative 
amendment to the Constitution of the State of California. The following is an exact copy 
of their call for a State Convention of the Colored Citizens of the State of California: 
"The undersigned, believing at this time the wisdom, the virtue, the learning, the wealth 
and the prestige of our people should assemble in convention to deliberate on the political 
and educational intent, hereby request our leading men throughout the State to make 
arrangements to effect the same. 

"A. Waddy, 

"President of public meeting in May 26, 1864. 

"George W. Dennis 

"Wm. BurriS, Vice-presidents." 

This call for a convention in the effort to secure the franchise was the very first made 
along that line and too much credit cannot be given to these few men. In this convention 
there was a committee named from every county in the State, whose duty was to have 
the Senator or Eepresentative of the Legislature living in their district to present a peti- 
tion to the Legislature praying for the Elective Franchise. 

The law they wished amended so as to give them the right of suffrage read: 
"Article 2, Section I, of the Constitution of the State of California. Every white male 
citizen of the United States and every white male citizen of Mexico who shall have elected 
to become a citizen of the United States under the Treaty of Peace exchanged and rati- 
fied at Quoritire on the 30th of May, 1848, of the age of twenty-one years who shall have 
been a resident of the State six months next preceding the election, and of the county and 
district in which he claims his vote thirty days, shall be entitled to vote at all elections 
which are now or hereafter may be authorized by law; provided, that nothing herein con- 
tained shaU be construed to prevent the Legislature, by a two-thirds concurring- vote, from 
admitting to the right of suffrage Indians or the descendants of Indians in such special 
cases as a portion of the legislative body may deem just and proper." 

In the Senate Journal under date 1865-6 the following appears: "Petition and 
Eemonstration presented by Benton Memorial to the Legislature of California from a com- 
mittee on Elective Franchise, attested by the president and secretary of the colored con- 
vention, recommending an amendment to the Constitution of the State of California. In 
accordance with the above, Mr. Benton submitted a proposed amendment, which was placed 
on file and ordered printed: 

" 'The Legislature of the State of California at its sixteenth session, commencing 
on the 4th day of December, 1865, proposed the following amendment to Section I, of Ar- 
ticle — , of the Constitution: 

' * ' Article — , Eight of Suffrage 

" 'Senate Bill Number 417, Se(;tion I. Every male citizen of the United States, of 
the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been a resident of the State six months next 
preceding the election and of the county or district in which he offers his vote thirty days, 
shall be entitled to vote at all elections which are now or hereafter may be authorized, to 
pass such laws for the registration of voters as may be necessary for the more effectual 
providing against frauds upon the Elective Franchise. 



OF CALIFORNIA 63 

" 'Read the first and second times and sent to the Judicial Committee.' 

"The object of this bill was defeated by the introduction of a bill by Senator Haws 
asking for 'An act to provide for the registration of all the citizens of the State and 
for the enrollment in several election districts of all the legal voters thereof and for the 
prevention and punishment of frauds affecting the Elective Franchise.' Mr. Hager 
offered an ampn<lment (page 228) Section 9: 'Before the word "County Clerk" in line 
six of the printed bill insert the following: "Provided, if any person claiming to be a 
native-born citizen, shall make affidavit or claim under oath that he was born in the 
United States, giving the time and place of his birth, such affidavit shall be received as 
proof of his citizenship. ' ' ' Mr. Montgomery moved to recommit the bill with the fol- 
lowing special instruction: 'Providing, if any person claiming to be an elector shall make 
oath or affidavit that he is a white male citizen of the United States of twenty-one years 
of age. and had been a resident of the State six months, next preceding, and of the county 
or district in which he claimed his vote, shall be sufficient to be registered.' Bill passed 
by vote of Ayes, 24; Noes, 7." 

The Elective Franchise, like all the other rights obtained by the pioneers of the Negro 
race in California, was not obtained without a struggle. But they were equal to the task, 
and year after year sent petitions to the Legislature in an effort to secure the object of 
the passage of a bill giving them this right. The entire male population of colored resi- 
denters in the State were earnest and sincere in their desire to obtain the right of suffrage. 
In 1865 they organized what was afterward known as the Executive Committee of the 
Colored Convention. This committee became a permanent organization, the aim of which 
was published in the following Negro papers: San Francisco Elevator and the Pacific 
Appeal. The following is quoted from The Elevator, under date of January 24, 1865, 
Editor Phillip A. Bell: "The Executive Committee appointed at a meeting of the col- 
ored citizens of San Francisco on the 24th of January, 1865, presented the following ad- 
dress explaining the origin and object of their appointment: 'The difficulties which 
attended our celebration on the first of January and indifference too often evinced by the 
people generally in public affairs, induced many to believe that a permanent organization 
or an Executive Committee, appointed by the people for one year, and a similar committee 
elected each year, was necessary for the better conduct of public business, such as calling 
meetings on important occasions and to take a general supervision of public 'affairs. At 
a meeting held on the sixth of January, 1865, to hear the final report of the celebration 
committee, a motion was made to elect an Executive Committee of thirteen members. ^ A 
nominating committee was appointed who reported at a subsequent meeting of which 
notice was given. That meeting confirmed the selection made by the nominating commit- 
tee; object for which the committee was appointed, will need money. Hence they proposed 
establishing a permanent fund to carry out these objects. We therefore recommend that 
subscriptions be given by citizens generally to aid us in our operations. We also recom- 
mend that similar committees be organized throughout the State with whom we shall be 
in correspondence so that on important subjects, either political or moral, we might act in 
unison. The advantage arising from a connection between the different sections of the 
country is obvious. 

" * A* State Central Committee might be formed through whose agency the work of 
inviting the people in all important measures of reform may be consummated. 

" 'Executive Committee of San Francisco: W. H. Yates, Henry Collins, Wm. H. 
Hall, J. P. Dyer, J. Madison Bell, Edward W. Parker, D. W. Buggies, John F. Meshaw, 
F. G. Barbadoes, President; S. Peneton, Vice-president; E. H. Hall, Corresponding Sec- 
retary; J. R. Starky, Treasurer; Shadrick Howard, Recording Secretary. Publicity Com- 
mittee, Equality before the law: Wm. H. Yates, James R. Starkey, R. A. Hall, J. P. 
Dyer, F. G. Barbadoes, S. Hall, P. A. Bell.' " 

The Executive Committee used every means within its power to obtain the passage 
of an amendment to the State Constitution, with success. In July there was another con- 
vention called. This call was issued by the Phoenixonia Institute of San Jose, California. 
This Institute was organized first as a private school December 22, 1863, by the Rev. 
Cassey for the religious, moral, and political improvement of the colored people of the 
State. Among the active members of this convention were mentioned the names of such 
well-known pioneers of color as the Honorable Peter Bell, of San Francisco, Andrew Bris- 
tol, also of San Francisco, James Floyd, A. J. White, G. A. Smith, S. J. Marshal, Rev. 
Cassey, Mrs. Wm. A. Smith, all of whom were residents of San Jose. Resolutions were 
drafted at this convention in regard to education, industrial pursuits and the Elective 
Franchise. These resolutions were intended to give courage to the colored people living 
in the State. The part in relation to suffrage was as follows: 



64 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

' ' Suffrage 

"Resolved, that while the mind of every patriotic statesman is fully aroused to the 
question of impartial suffrage as the only guarantee of liberty, it is our duty and our 
privilege to make known our wishes and our claims to all that belong to American citizen- 
ship; 

"Resolved, that an agent should be appointed to canvass the State, not only to solicit 
aid for the school, but to awaken an interest in political matters, the first of which will 
be to secure the right of suffrage; 

"Resolved, that a competent representative gentleman, one who will worthily repre- 
sent our people, be employed for the above mentioned purpose who shall receive a sufficient 
percentage to enable him successfully to perform his mission." 

In October, 1867, the colored people of the State through the Executive Committee 
of San Francisco, drafted a petition and sent to the Legislature, praying the right of 
suffrage. The following is a copy of it as given in an issue of the Elevator of that date, 
although it was published in both the colored papers in San Francisco. The agents of 
the two papers were instructed to obtain the signature of all colored male citizens of 
voting age in every county and send them to the Executive Committee at San Francisco, 
who would see to the forwarding of it to the Legislature at the proper time. The call 
was issued Oct. 18, 1867, and the names of the signers to the petition were published 
every week in these two colored papers in San Francisco until the Legislature was pre- 
sented with the same, 

' ' The Petition 

"To the Honorable Senate and Assembly of the State of California in Legislature assem- 
bled: — 

' ' The petition of the colored citizens of California respectfully showeth that your 
petitioners are native-born American citizens of full age and of average intelligence. They 
are acquainted with the Laws and Constitution of the General State Governments and are 
noted for being a law-abiding class, respectful of all the statutes of the land, and ren- 
dering due obedience to the powers that be. They are taxpayers and willingly render all 
the aid and assistance in their power to support the Government and institutions of the 
country. But by the organic law of this State your petitioners are deprived of the rights 
of suffrage and we would respectfully pray that your honorable bodies recommend to the 
people of this State an alteration of the Constitution by the addition of a clause to the 
first section of Article 2 of the said Constitution, in the following words to-wit: — 

" 'Provided, that nothing therein contained shall be construed to prevent the Legis- 
lature by a two-thirds concurring vote from admitting to the right of suffrage colored 
American citizens in such special cases as such a proportion of the Legislature may deem 
just and proper, and for the prosperity of the State, the perpetuity of our Government 
and institutions and for the health and happiness and harmony of your honorable bodies, 
your petitioners will ever pray.' 

"Signed by the Executive Committee of the Colored Convention. 
"San Francisco, Oct. 18, 1867." 

Abraham Lincoln, while President of the United States, in a letter to Governor 
Michael Hahn, of Louisiana, in regard to the Elective Franchise for colored people, after 
congratulating the Governor as the ' ' First Free State Governor of Louisiana, ' ' proceeded 
to say : ' ' Now you are about to have a convention which among other things will prob- 
ably define the Elective Franchise, I barely suggest, for your private consideration, whether 
some of the colored people may not be let in, as, for instance, the very intelligent and 
especially those who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They will probably help in some 
trying time to come, to keep the ' Jewel of Liberty ' within the family of freedom. But 
this is only a suggestion, not to the public, but to you alone." The writer was especially 
happy to have discovered this letter, since it has been said that the Honorable Fred Doug- 
lass, the great Negro orator, ex-slave and a tireless worker for his race, at the time of 
the Civil War when the crisis seemed to be turning the wrong way for the Union Army, 
went to the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and plead that he use 
Negro slaves and make them soldiers to fight for the salvation of the country and after- 
ward reward them by giving them full citizenship. 

The right of franchise for the Negro in California was won after years of earnest 
work not only by the Executive Committee, but by many others. The colored people in 
California did not obtain the right of suffrage until after the Constitutional Amendment 
to the Constitution of the United States, which read : ' ' Constitutional Amendment to the 
United States Constitution, Article 15, Section I. The right of citizens of the United 
States to vote shall not be denied or abridged in the United States, or any other State on 



OP CALIFORNIA 65 

account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. Congress shall have 
power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 

''Received by the Department of State, Feb. 27, 1869." 

Privileges to ride in street cars in California: The testing of the privilege to ride 
in street cars by persons of color was the most interesting occurrence in San Francisco 
in the year 1864. In an issue of the San Francisco Bulletin of that year appeared the 
following article by a person signing himself "A Virginian:" 

"I am not an Abolitionist, nor do I approve of the President's Emancipation Proc- 
lamation, but I do think that in a State pretending to be free the colored people should 
be allowed a few more privileges than they enjoy in a slave State, therefore I am sur- 
prised that such an outrage should occur as I read in last evening's Bulletin, where three 
women were ejected from the cars for no other offense than that of being colored. 

"Who was contaminated by their presence, or who would have suffered if these three 
persons had been allowed to ride to their ,]ourney's end? Now I claim to be a Christian 
and a southerner, yet I would rather sit near a decent black man in the cars (or anywhere 
else) than to have a big bloated white fellow sit near, breathing his whiskey and tobacco 
in my face. But such people are free white American citizens and use up so much liberty 
that there is none left for anybody else***Tt is this class who think they can only show 
their own liberty by encroaching upon that of others. 

' ' In conclusion I sincerely hope that the liberality and common sense of this beautiful, 
free and Christian community may prevail in this matter and that all respectable colored 
people may be allowed to avail themselves of the cars whenever desired. 

"Signed, A Virginian." 

This letter demonstrated the spirit and feeling of a large number of white people 
of that date living in California. In the writer's research work in the interest of this 
history, she had the pleasure of talking to one of the three women mentioned in this article, 
a Mrs. Louise Tyler. She is now an inmate of the "Home for Aged and Infirm Colored 
People," located at Beulah, California, near Oakland. She said that she, together with 
Mammy Pleasant, Mrs. Bivins and Laura Clark, were coming home from church one Sun- 
day and, becoming very tired of the tramp over the hills and sand dunes to their homes 
at North Beach and Baker street, they decided to walk in front of the street cars, where- 
upon the car stopped and Mrs. Tyler, being a Mulatto and looking much like a foreigner, 
was allowed to ride; but the others of the party were dark and the conductor pushed them 
off the car. This was no new occurrence for the conductors to treat colored people thus. 
They had been compelled to suffer such treatment for years. There was in the party a 
woman who was not afraid to go into the courts with a grievance. That person was 
"Mammy Pleasant." She immediately sought counsel and then attempted to ride in 
the street cars, whereupon she was again pushed off. Through the advice of her counsel 
she had a hack following the car with her attorney in it and some white people in the 
car to act as her witnesses to the treatment accorded her by the conductor. She was 
pushed off the street car to the street and the hackman who was following the car imme- 
diately quickened his speed and stopped and through the assistance of her white friends 
on the street car they lifted her into the hack and drove away. "Mammy Pleasant" en- 
tered suit against the street railroad company and won damages. 

There were many occurrences afterward against the colored people riding in the 
street cars until a suit was brought against the street railway company by a Mr. Brown 
and his daughter. Miss Charlotte Brown, who afterward became Mrs. Eiker. This suit, 
through their attorney, Mr. Burnett, was won. Judge Owens in his decision was very 
severe and settled for all time the rights of colored people to ride in street cars in any 
part of California. 



CHAPTER IX 

Slavery in California. The Beginning op Slavery 

The subject of "Slavery in California" is far reaching, and to be fully understood 
the reader will have to review California under Spain. The Crown of Castile governed 
through conquest or discovery many colonies in the Western Hemisphere, namely: South 
America, Hispaniola, Mexico and California, which at one time was considered Mexican 
territory. 

The King of Spain had very liberal slave laws governing the Negro slaves. A splendid 
history of these has been given by Sir Aithur Helps in his * ' Slavery in the Spanish Col- 
onies, " in which he says: "The Eoyal Historiographer, Herrera, speaks of the King 
having informed the Admiral Don Diego Columbus, in 1510, that he had given orders to 
the officials at Seville that they should send fifty Negroes to work in the mines of His- 
paniola. In June, 1511, there is a sentence in one of the King's letters addressed to a 
man by the name of Sampler, who held office in the colony about the Negroes***'! do not 
understand how so many Negroes have died. Take much care of them.' In October of 
the same year there is an order from the King to his officials at Seville authorizing them 
to pay Ledesma, one of the Royal Pilots, what was due him for the last voyage he had 
made at the King's command to carry Negroes to Hispaniola. 

' ' The Jeromite Fathers had also come to the conclusion that Negroes must be intro- 
duced into the West Indies. Writing in January, 1518, they recommended license to be 
given to the inhabitants of Hispaniola or to other persons to bring Negroes there.*** 
Zuajo, the Judge of the resideneia and the legal colleague of Las Casas, wrote to the 
same effect. He, however, suggested that the Negroes should be placed in settlements 
and married. ' ' 

The reader will find it of interest to review the colonization scheme of Las Casas. 
This has been quoted from Sir Arthur Helps, in which he said: "Las Casas prepared 
his memorial taking for his basis the plan which the Jeromites had carried out to His- 
paniola and which they had partially acted upon. He added, however, some other things, 
among them, that of securing to the Indians their entire liberty. And he provided a 
scheme for furnishing Hispaniola with laborers from the mother country.***The King 
was to give to every laborer willing to emigrate to Hispaniola his living during the jour- 
ney from his place of abode to Seville at the rate of half a real a day throughout the 
journey for great and small, child and parent. At Seville the emigrants were to be lodged 
in Casa de Construccion and were to have from eleven to thirteen maravedis a day. From 
thence they were to have free passage to Hispaniola and to be provided with food for a 
year. If the climate should try them so much that at the expiration of this year they 
should not be able to work for themselves, the King was to continue to maintain them. 
But the extra maintenance was to be put down to the account of the emigrants as a loan 
which they were to repay. 

' ' The King was to give them lands of his own lands, furnish them with plowshares 
and spades and provide medicine for them. Lastly, whatever rights and profits accumu- 
lated from their holdings were to become hereditary. They were certainly most liberal 
plans of emigration and, in addition, there were other privileges held out as inducements 
to these laborers in connection with the above scheme***added another provision, namely, 
that each Spanish resident in the island should have license to import a dozen Negro 
slaves. The origin of this suggestion was, as he informs us, that the colonist had told 
him that if license were given them to import a dozen Negro slaves each, they (the col- 
onists) would then set free the Indians and so, recollecting the statement, he added this 
proviso. ' ' 

Sir Arthur Helps further states in regard to laws affecting free Negroes and Ne- 
gresses : ' ' The earliest laws that declared the ground on which the Negroes could demand 
their liberty dates from 1528.***That many Negroes did obtain their liberty may be 
inferred from the fact of there being several laws having reference to free Negroes enacted, 
for instance, what tribute they should pay and with whom they should live, and command- 
ing that free Negresses unless married to Spaniards, should not wear gold ornaments, 
pearls or silks." This will illustrate how the Spaniards in every instance honored their 
blood. They married their Negresses who happened to be slaves, thereby legalizing their 
children, as will be seen by the following law enacted in regard to children born to 
Spaniards with Negresses as wives. This law reads: "Provision is also made that in 



OF CALIFORNIA 67 

the sale of the children of Spaniards and Negresses, their parents shall have a right of 
pre-exemption. ' ' 

"In later times under the admirable administration of Count Florida Blanca, during 
the reign of Charles the Third, of Spain, it is evident that Negroes were treated humanely 
and were cared for by the government, being taught to read and write and having the 
privilege of purchasing their freedom, and also the power of getting themselves trans- 
ferred to another master if their own had been guilty of cruelty to them." These laws 
in regard to slavery in the Spanish colonies were applicable to the West Indies and Mex- 
ico. California was a part of the territory of Mexico, hence these laws controlled the 
slavery of California. It is now that we come to the subject of "Slavery in California." 
The reader will readily say "California was always a Free State. It was free ter- 
ritory when purchased by the United States from Mexico. ' ' It can perhaps be more clearly 
understood why it was free territory if you first survey the struggle carried on by England 
for thirty years to abolish the slave trade throughout the world. "During the period 
between 1814 and 1845, there were many conventions held and treaties signed between 
England and the different slave countries. There was one treaty signed in 1817 with 
Spain, the Treaty of Madrid, engaging that slave trade shall be abolished throughout the 
entire dominion of Spain on the 30th of May, 1820, restricting the Spanish trade in the 
meantime to the south of the Equator and also confining it to the Spanish Dominions. 
Spain promised, by the treaty of September 30, 1817, to abolish the slave trade entirely 
October 31, 1820, in all Spanish territories, even south of the line." 

This treaty did not abolish slavery in the Spanish colony of Mexico. In after years 
this colony declared her independence from Spain and, in 1829, Guerrero, the President of 
Mexico, issued the following decree: "Desiring to signalize the year 1829, the anniver- 
sary of our independence from Spain, by an act of national justice and beneficence that 
may turn to the benefit and support of such a valuable good; that may consolidate more 
and more public tranquility; that may co-operate to the aggrandizement of the Republic, 
and return to an unfortunate portion of its inhabitants those rights which they hold from 
nature and that the people protect by wise and equitable laws, in conformity with the 30th 
article of the Constitutive Act. 

"Making use of the extraordinary faculties which have been granted to the executive 
I thus decree: 'Slavery is forever abolished in the Republic!*** And, in order that the 
present decree may have its full and entire execution, I order it printed, published and 
circulated to all those whose obligation it is to have it fulfilled.' 

"Given in the Federal Palace of Mexico, 15th of September, 1829." 
"In 1835 England made another treaty with Spain, the treaty of Madrid, abolishing 
slave trade henceforth on the part of Spain, totally and finally in all parts of the world, 
and regulating right of search reciprocally." There was still slavery in parts of Mexico 
and California, which resulted in England succeeding in abolishing it through a treaty 
signed at Mexico City. In a few years after the signing of this treaty, Texas, vrhich was 
a part of Mexican territory, seceded and was known as ' ' The Republic of Texas. 

"In 1845, by a joint resolution of both houses of the United States Congress, a por- 
tion of the United States Army under General Taylor was, early in the spring of 1846, 
moved down to the east bank of the Rio Grande del Norte, claimed by Texas as her west- 
ern boundary, but not so regarded by Mexico. A hostile collision ensued resulting in war 
between the United States and Mexico. It was early thereafter deemed advisable that a 
considerable sum should be placed by Congress at the President's disposal to negotiate 
an advantageous treaty of peace and limits with the Mexican government. A message to 
this effect was submitted by President Polk to Congress August 8, 1846, and a bill in 
accordance with its suggestion laid before the House, which proceeded to consider the sub- 
ject in committee of the whole. The bill appropriated $30,000 for immediate use in nego- 
tiating with Mexico, and placing $20,000 at the disposal of the President to be employed 
in making peace. 

"Mr. David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, offered the following proviso in addition to 
the first section of the bill: 'Provided, that an express and fundamental condition to the 
acquisition of any territory from the Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue 
of any treaty which may be negotiated between them and to the use by the Executive of 
the money herein appropriated, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist in any 
part of the said territory except for the punishment of crime, when the party shall first 
be duly convicted.' This proviso was carried in committee by a vote of 84 to 63, but 
was lost in the Senate. A similar resolution was introduced by a Mr. Putnam, of New 
York, on February 8, 1847, at the session of the 30th United States Congress. The reso- 
lution said: 'Whereas, in the settlement of the difficulties pending between this country 



68 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

and Mexico, territory may be acquired in which slavery does not now exist, and whereas, 
Congress in the orgaiiization of a territorial government at an early period of our political 
history, established a principle worthy of imitating in all future time forbidding the 
existence of slavery in free territory, therefore; Kesolved, that in any territory that may 
be acquired from Mexico over which shall be established territorial government, slavery 
nor involuntary servitude, except for the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall 
have been duly convicted, shall be forever prohibited, and that in any act or resolution 
establishing such government a fundamental proviso ought to be inserted to that effect.' " 

The reader has but to refer to the above quotation in regard to the different treaties 
made by England with Spain to fully understand that the territory of California, as it 
was then known, was free soil for nearly nineteen years before its cession to the United 
States Government in 1848. It was this knowledge that gave the pioneers, who came to 
California and were opposed to slavery, the courage to fight to oppose and forever keep 
California free soil. 

The greatest question with the Spaniards and Mexicans was to extend commerce. 
' ' Cortez, when he discovered California, immediately transported three hundred Negro 
slaves to build ships. ' ' The following pages will prove that there was slavery in California, 
although it has been a great surprise to many persons to learn that slavery in any form 
ever existed in this State. There never were plantations of Negro slaves, but slavery was 
carried on here up to the early Seventies. The military rulers and a large number of the 
residents were opposed to slavery and did not fail to give their views to the public through 
the press and in every available manner open to them in those pioneer days in California. 
The following extract which has been quoted from one of the very first newspapers issued 
in California, and also the proclamation issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the port of 
Yerba Buena (now known as San Francisco ) both speak in the strongest terms against 
the introduction of slavery. And yet immediately following these published statements, 
the writer will give abundant proof that slavery did exist with all its horrors, by court 
records of slaves being returned to slavery, and by Freedom Papers issued by the courts, 
after the Negro slave had paid the price for his freedom. These records will also show 
that they paid more for their freedom in California than would have been demanded of 
them elsewhere. The proclamation was as follows: 

"A Proclamation to the Inhabitants of California 

' ' It having come to the knowledge of the Commander-in-Chief of the district that cer- 
tain persons have been and still are imprisoning and holding to service Indians against 
their will and without any legal contract for service ; 

"It is therefore ordered that all persons so holding or detaining Indians shall release 
them and permit them to return to their own homes unless they can make a contract with 
them which shall be acknowledged before the nearest Justice, which contract shall be bind- 
ing upon both parties. The Indian population must not be regarded in the light of slaves. 
But it is deemed necessary that the Indians within the settlement shall have employment 
with the right of choosing their own master and employment. Having made such choice 
they must abide by it, unless they can obtain permission in writing to leave, or the Justice 
in their complaint shall consider they have just cause to annul the contract, and permit 
them to obtain another employer. 

' ' All Indians must be required to obtain service and not be permitted to wander about 
the country in idleness in a dissolute manner. If found doing so they will be liable to 
arrest and punishment by labor on the public works at the direction of the Magistrate. 
All officers, Civil or Military, under my command are required to execute the terms of this 
order and take notice of every violation thereof. 

"Given at headquarters in Yerba Buena. 

"Signed, John Montgomery. 

"September 15, 1846. 

"Published for the Government for all concerned. 

"Washington A. Bartlett, 
"Magistrate of San Francisco, California." 

The following appeared in the editorial department of the California Star (B. R. 
Buckley, Editor) under date of March 15, 1848: 

"We have recently heard it intimated that an effort would be made in the United 
States Congress to introduce California into the American Union as a slave-holding terri- 
tory. We do not believe that such should be the case, and we cannot think that a slave 
institution will unceremoniously be transferred to our soil by the people who profess to 



OF CALIFORNIA 69 

be friends of California. We have not heard one among our acquaintances in this county 
advocate the measure, and we are almost certain ninety-nine out of a hundred of the 
present population are opposed to it. We entertain reasons why slavery should not be 
introduced here. 

"First — Tt is wrong for it to exist anywhere. Second — Not a single instance of 
precedent exists at present in the shape of physical bondage of our fellow-man. Third — 
There is no excuse whatsoever for its introduction into this country. But very few sec- 
tions are unhealthy at any season of the year and none so much but that hardy white 
population can soon eradicate all causes of climatic diseases. Intermittent fever or_ fever 
and ague is the only disease that prevails during any part of the year and only in the 
San Joaquin Valley and some sections of the Sacramento, and this, with the settling of 
dense population, proper drainage and cultivation will effectually remove. We have often 
seen Negroes shake as heartily as the whites and precisely as we did during a six months' 
siege in the days of our childhood in the vicinity of a stagnant pond in healthy Long 
Island, in the State of New York; which is proof sufficient for us to decide that neither 
Negroes, whites, Californians nor Long Islanders require any labor comparison to justify 
slavery here on account of climate or physical endurance. Fourth — Negroes have equal 
rights to life, liberty, health, and happiness with the whites, and if slavery is ever intro- 
duced here we hope' the law, at least the rule, will be established to have the whites and 
the blacks to serve one another year about. Eeciprocity could not be anything but fair. 
Fifth— It is every individual 's duty to self and to society to be occupied in useful employ- 
ment, sufficient to gain self-support.***Eighth— We left the slave States because we did 
not like to bring up a family in a miserable ' Can 't-help-one 's-self condition,' which fate 
would be inevitable to a family of any kind of self respect surrounded by slavery.^ In 
conclusion, we dearly love the Union, but declare our positive preference for the inde- 
pendent condition of California to the establishment of any degree of slavery or even the 
importation of free blacks. ' ' 

The reader has been given the proof that slavery was not encouraged in California, 
and yet when the evidence in this chapter is read it is difficult to understand the situation 
except as a result of the determination of the Southern slaveholders to extend slavery. 

The reliable California historian, the late Theodore Hittell, when questioned as to 
the reason why he had stated in his history of California that the first slave in California 
was brought here in 1825, when the wife of Antonio Jose de Cot, a Spaniard, brought with 
her a slave girl named Juana, aged 14 years, from Lima to San Francisco, he doubted 
even then that this was the first slave. Mr. Hittell arose from his chair and replied: 
"Well, there were some gentlemen who brought to California their slaves and allowed them 
the privilege of working for their freedom and should be commended for it." The writer 
then read from her manuscript of the Mulatto slave, Ignacio Eamirez, who died on the 
San Antonio, and whose funeral was the first Christian burial, according to the Holy Cath- 
olic Church, in all of California. This slave was buried in the cemetery at San Carlos 
Mission, and the President, Father Junipero Serra, with a community of twenty-three 
Friars officiating. If the reader will consult the chapter on the "First Settlers on the 
Pacific Coast" he will find the names of many Negro slaves. The greatest number of 
slaves were brought to this coast after the discovery of gold in California. 

The following quotation will give a true attitude of the slave when told he could 
come to California and work for his freedom: 

"Behind I left the whips and chains. 
Before me was sweet Freedom's plains." 

The poor Negro slaves, as they started with their masters to California, thought only 
of the opportunity to work for their freedom. They were used to hardships. What did 
it matter if the road be long, full of dangers and obstacles! The one thought that fired 
their brains was that on the other side of the mountains were "sweet Freedom's plains." 

Personal Sketches of Slaves 
"Mr. George Washington Dennis arrived in San Francisco, California, September 
17, 1849. He came with the gamblers who opened the Eldorado Hotel, which was a tent 
30x100 feet, brought from New Orleans.' They ran a Faro Bank and a Monte Game. Ten 
tables were going night and day. The tables were played during the day by men and at 
night by women. The hotel was located at the corner of Washington and Kearney streets, 
the present Hall of Justice now occupies this place. Mr. Dennis was brought here as a 
slave by Green Dennis, a slave trader from Mobile, Alabama. Joe and Jim Johnson, com- 
ing from Ohio, were in the party of gamblers and another man by the name of Andy 
McCabe. 



70 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

"Previous to coming to California, unable to obtain accommodation from New Or- 
leans to Colon, they were compelled to row up the Chagress river to Panama. While 
en route these gamblers won and lost Mr. Dennis three different times. It cost them $350 
fare for him from Panama to San Francisco, because he was a Negro slave. It was after 
arriving and establishing the Eldorado Hotel that Green Dennis made the proposition to 
George Dennis that if he saved his money, he could buy his freedom. 

"The gamblers employed Dennis as a porter in the Eldorado Hotel, and at the end 
of three months, from the sweepings of the floor he had saved, in five and ten-cent pieces 
$1,000, which he paid for Freedom Papers for himself from Green Dennis, who was hia 
own father and also his master. 

"He again saved the sweepings and when Joe Johnson, from Ohio, who was one of 
the party owning the Eldorado Hotel, told him that he was going back east to bring out 
some graded cattle and would bring Mr. Dennis's mother with him to his former master, 
Mr. Dennis paid $950 for his mother, and she returned with Mr. Joe Johnson to California. 
She lived many years afterward and died in San Francisco at the age of 105 years. After 
Mr. Dennis's mother arrived in San Francisco he rented one of the gambling tables at 
$40 a day with the privilege of his mother serving hot meals in the gambling house on it. 
Boiled eggs sold for $12 per dozen, apples 25 cents apiece, and a loaf of bread $1. But 
she also paid $25 for a sack of flour containing one hundred pounds. These prices were 
during the early Fifties." 

The case of Alvin Coffey was very unjust and has been commented on by Historian 
Bancroft. It has been the custom of the writer, if possible, to secure original^ informa- 
tion pertaining to every ease mentioned, and this account of the subject was given by a 
Mr. Titus Hale, a lifelong friend of Alvin Coffey, who came from the same part of the 
country. He said: "Alvin Coffey was born in 1822, in St. Louis County, Missouri. He 
came to California with his master, a Mr. Duvall, landing in San Francisco September 1, 
1849. His master was sick and they did not remain long in this place, but went to Sac- 
ramento, October 13, 1849. During the next eight months Alvin worked in the mines and 
made for his master the sum of $5,000, and by washing and ironing for the miners after 
his workday ended, earned for himself the neat sum of $700. 

"After staying nearly two years in California the master, continuing in poor health, 
decided to return to his home in Missouri. Alvin had nursed him tenderly and now was 
to care for him on the return trip. When they reached Kansas City, Missouri, the master 
sold Alvin Coffey to Nelson Tindle, after first taking from him the money earned for the 
master by working in the mines and also the money earned by working at night in washing 
for the miners. 

"Nelson Tindle took a great liking to Alvin and in a short time made him overseer 
of a section of slaves. Alvin, however, longed to return to California and, in order to 
earn his freedom, bought his time from his master and took contracts to build railroads. 

"One day Nelson Tindle said to Alvin that he was too smart a man to be a slave 
and ought to try and buy his freedom; whereupon Alvin told him if he would let him 
return to California he could easily earn enough money to purchase his freedom. Nelson 
Tindle replied: 'But when you reach California you will be free and then I will lose the 
money that I paid to purchase you.' Alvin replied: 'If I tell you that I will send you 
the money, I will do so. What do you wish for me?' He was told $1,500. Alvin made 
the return trip to California and in a short time sent his master the money to pay for his 
freedom. 

' ' He then went to work to earn the money to pay for the freedom of his wife and 
daughters, who were slaves of Dr. Bassett, of Missouri. He earned the required sum and 
then went back in person to pay it over and, after securing the freedom of his family, 
started with them to Canada, where he left his daughters to be educated, he and his wife 
coming to California. It cost him for the freedom of himself and wife, Mahala, and his 
two daughters, together with their education and trips to California, something like $7000. 
He earned this money through placer mining in California in and around Redding and 
Red Bluff. 

"After the arrival of his wife Coffey located in Red Bluff and opened a laundry. 
He also made a small fortune making hay at $16 per day, and in a few years was worth 
$10,000. Then a friend of Alvin 's, a white minister, who owned a farm in the Sacramento 
Valley, borrowed a few thousand dollars from Alvin until his crops were harvested. But 
floods destroyed his crops and Alvin, not holding a note against him, of course lost his 
money. 

"About this time his wife died and, as his daughters were married and he still had 
a few hundred dollars left, he became the prime mover in organizing the 'Home for 



OF CALIFORNIA 71 

Aged and Infirm Colored People,' located near Beulah, California, where he spent the 
remaining days of his life." 

Daniel Eodgers came to California across the plains with his master in 1849, coming 
from Little Rock, Arkansas. He worked in the mines in Sonora, California, during the 
day for his master and at night for himself, earning and paying for his freedom by giv- 
ing to his master the sum of $1,100. Soon afterward the master returned with him to 
Little Rock and sold him. This time a number of the leading white gentlemen of the 
town raised the money and paid for him and gave him his Freedom Papers. Copies of 
both his Freedom Papers and an extract of his wife's will be found with the collection 
of other Freedom Papers. 

Cooper Smith told the writer that he worked in the mines two years after coming to 
California to pay for his freedom. 

Sowarie Long worked in the mines of California, earning the money to pay for the 
freedom of himself and wife. They had come to California in 1849 with their master. 
After securing their freedom, they located in San Jose, California. 

Henry Valle, coming with his master from Fredericktown, Mississippi, to California, 
worked in the mines, paying $2500 for himself and $2200 for his wife. This was paid 
three years before the Civil War. He afterward earned enough money to enable him and 
his wife to return to Ironton County, Missouri, and ever afterward live comfortably on 
the money thus earned in the mines of California. 

William Pollock and wife, coming to California with their master from North Caro- 
lina, located in Cold Springs, Coloma County, California, paid $1000 for himself and $800 
for his wife. This money was earned by his washing for the miners at night, and his 
wife making and selling doughnuts to the miners. After obtaining their Freedom Papers 
they moved to Placerville and earned their living by acting as cooks in taking party and 
wedding work from those able to secure their services. 

Jacob Johnson came to California with his master from St. Louis County Missouri. 
He worked in the mines and paid for his freedom, afterward sending a large sum back 
to pay for the freedom of his family, but never received any word from either his money 
or family. 

Mary Ann Israel-Ash, of Sonoma County, California, mortgaged her home in 1852 
and then begged to enable her to raise the sum of $1100, and paid the same to the master 
of a family of slaves who were being returned to the South and into slavery. 

Basil Campbell worked ten j^ears to pay for his freedom after coming to California 
with his master. After obtaining his freedom he located in Woodland, California, where 
he engaged in ranching. When he died he left property valued at $80,000. 

Ellen Mason, coming to California with her master in 1849, under contract to pay 
for herself at fifty cents a week, not only paid for her own freedom but that of her sister. 
After securing her Freedom Papers, she then worked to secure herself some good clothes 
and celebrated the event, so they say, by an outfit costing a hundred dollars. Afterward 
she sent for her brother Benjamin, and was paying for his freedom in California when 
he, learning that the State was a Free State, ran away from the master, who did not 
compel Ellen to finish paying the bill of sale. Mrs. Mason afterward lived many years 
and died in the "Home for Aged Colored People" in Beulah, California. 

Nathaniel Nelson came to California with his master, William Russell, from Cook 
County, Tennessee. He worked in the mines and in four years paid for the freedom of 
himself and his family of several children and his wife. Afterward he earned enough to 
bring them to live in California in 1854, and located in Marysville. He died leaving his 
family well provided for. 

Mrs. Langhorn and family, who were slaves, came with their master, a Doctor Lang- 
horn. She earned the price of her own freedom and that of her husband, daughter and 
three grandchildren by working at night. After obtaining their freedom they located in 
San Jose, California. 

Joseph Bathelome, coming to California with his master, hired his time and worked 
in the mines and procured enough gold to buy his freedom and that of his wife and four 
children. He continued to work and save his money until 1861, when he returned to Mis- 
souri and moved his family to Sparta, Hlinois, where he bought a home and forever after- 
ward lived happily. The following are the names of his children: Christian, Joe, Henry 
and Frank. 

The history of the Samuel Shelton case was given to the writer by one of the members 
of his family. She said: "Samuel Shelton came to San Francisco in 1840, which was 
before the Indians had been driven out of the country. He was his master's offspring 
by his little African girl, whom he had stolen from Africa. He came to California with 



72 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

his master and the first thing he did, after the purchase of his own freedom, was to earn 
the money to purchase the freedom of his wife and that of his son Frank. He earned the 
money in the mines in California. After securing their freedom he worked to pay for 
the freedom of other members of the family, namely, Moulton Shelton, Moses Brown and 
Lucy Shelton. The Irish kidnaped Moulton Shelton in New York and when Lucy Shelton 
arrived in San Francisco and related the news to Samuel Shelton he held a lawsuit be- 
tween San Francisco and Washington City, for the sale had been recorded in Washington 
City. This suit lasted months, but finally Moulton Shelton was given his freedom and 
landed safely in San Francisco, California. Samuel Shelton spent thousands of dollars 
in purchasing the freedom of himself and immediate family and their families and bring- 
ing them to live in California." 

Auction of Slaves in California 
In the remarkable book by Mr. George Tinkham, ' ' Men and Events, ' ' he says, in 
regard to slavery in California: "In 1849 a slave owner brought his slave to California. 
Then, not wishing to take the Negro back to his native State, Alabama, he concluded to 
sell him by auction. An advertisement was put in the papers. The boy was purchased at 
$1000 by Caleb T. Fay, a strong Abolitionist, who gave the boy his freedom. 

"A Mississippi slave owner brought several slaves from that State. He promised to 
give them their freedom in two years. They all ran away save one, Charles Bates, when 
they learned that they were already free. The owner finding that mining did not pay 
started east, taking Charles with him. On the Isthmus of Panama Charles was persuaded 
to leave his master. He returned to Stockton, California, with his new-found friend. On 
the street one day he was recognized by a party who had loaned money to Charles' master. 
The debtor got out an attachment for the former slave as chattel property, and in accord- 
ance with the State law, the Negro was put up and sold by auction. A number of anti- 
slavery men bought the boy for $750. He was given his freedom." 

The following has been copied from the same book (p. 157): "Under the provision 
of the law in May, 1852, Justice of the Peace of Sacramento returned a Negro to a Mr. 
Lathrop. He claimed that he brought the Negro to California in 1849. The boy ran 
away later in 1851 and his owner, learning of his residence, had him arrested in June, 
1852. Three more runaway slaves were arrested. This case was taken to the Supreme 
Court on the ground that the law was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court at this time 
was comprised of Hugh C. Murry, Chief Justice, and Solomon Hydenfelt and Alexander 
Anderson, Associates. They gave their decision July 30, 1852, that the law was consti- 
tutional and the slaves were given to their owners immediately without cost. They were 
returned to the South and slavery." 

"Another case more cruel was that of a Mulatto woman as reported September, 1852, 
in the Sari Francisco Herald: 'Yesterday Justice Shephard issued a warrant for the arrest 
of a Mulatto woman as a fugitive slave claimed by I. J. Smith, of Missouri. She was 
brought by him to California in 1850 with other slaves and a few months ago married a 
free Negro man and ran away from Smith. Her owner learned that she was secreted on 
the Clipper Ship "Flying Cloud." She was arrested, given into his possession and taken 
back into slavery.' " 

"The following advertisement appeared September 12, 1852, in the San Joaquin Be- 
publican: 'Escaped, a fugitive slave. Mr. O. R. Rozier called upon us yesterday and 
stated that his slave, Stephen, whom he brought with him from Sonora and was taking 
back to Alabama, made his escape from the steamer "Urilda" while in San Francisco. 
Mr. Rozier is still in the city at the St. Charles Hotel, where he will be pleased to receive 
any information of hisi fugitive slave.' " 

On page 158 of Mr. Tinkham 's book the following appears: "The Negro was not 
the only person subject to slavery, for the same Legislature, that of 1852, passed a law 
permitting the slavery of the Indian man, woman or child and compelled them to labor, 
the only condition upon the party being a bond of a small sum given to the Justice of 
the Peace of the county where he resided, that he will not abuse or cruelly treat the 
Indian. Under the provision of the same law, Indians could be arrested as vagrants and 
sold to the highest bidder within twenty-four hours after arrest, and the buyer had the 
privilege of their labor for a period not exceeding four months. An Indian arrested for 
a violation of the law could demand a jury trial, yet could not testify, either in his own 
behalf or against a white person. If found guilty of any crime, he could either be im- 
prisoned or whipped, the whipping not to exceed twenty-five lashes. A. G. Stakes was the 
Judge of San Joaquin County, California." 

All the above has been quoted from the same book, which is the only work giving an 
account of the enslaving of the Indian. Slaves being returned to slavery is also made 



OF CALIFORNIA 73 

note of in the California Reports, No. 2, page 424-5-6, which says: "The owners of slaves 
in Mississippi brought them voluntarily into California before the adoption of the Con- 
stitution by the State. The slaves asserted their freedom and for some months were 
engaged in business for themselves. Afterward the Act of April 15, 1852, was passed 
by the Legislature, the fourth Section of which in substance enacts that slaves who had 
been voluntarily introduced into the State before the adoption of the Constitution and 
who refused upon demand of their owners to return to the State where they owed labor, 
should be deemed to be fugitives from labor, and gave the owner the same remedies for 
their reclamation as are provided for the recovery of such fugitives. The owners, under 
the provision of the above act, brought them before the Justice of the Peace, who allowed 
the claim of the owners and ordered them into his custody. The slaves then petitioned 
for a writ of habeas corpus, which came before the Supreme Court and, after hearing the 
ease, the Court ordered that the writ be dismissed and the slaves remanded to their owners." 

California Report, No. 2, Carter Perkins and Robert Perkins, (p. 426): "This case 
was brought before Judge Wells of the Supreme Court by the petition and affidavit of 
the prisoners, Robert and Carter Perkins and Sandy Jones, July 1, 1852, which set forth 
that about the first of June, 1852, they had been seized without process of law and taken 
before B. D. Fry, a Justice of the Pease, of Sacramento, upon a pretended claim of one 
C. S. Perkins, of the State of Mississippi, for a certificate to remove them from the State 
of California to Mississippi, under act of California, respecting fugitives from labor and 
slaves brought into the State prior to her admission into the Union, passed April 15, 1852. 
It is further stated that Fry granted the certificate and they were advised that the said 
act was wholly unconstitutional and void and that the Justice had no jurisdiction.*** 
Each for himself said that he was not a fugitive from labor and owed no service to the 
said Perkins, but that they had been brought by the said Perkins into this State prior to 
its admission into the Union and that they had resided here ever since, and that for sev- 
eral months prior to their arrest they had been engaged in business for themselves. They 
stated further that they were held in confinement under the said certificate upon the claim 
of the said Perkins and under the said act of the Legislature, and prayed for a writ of 
certiorari to the Justice to certify the proceedings to the Supreme Court.*** 

"The petition of Moses Jackson in behalf of the prisoners was also presented and 
a writ of habeas corpus ordered returnable before the Supreme Court at the July term, 
1852, at the opening of the court. The Sheriff made return and produced the prisoners 
in court and Harden Scoles answered to the writ and said that he had held the prisoners as 
agent of C. S. Perkins by virtue of the certificate of Justice Fry, issued under 4th Section 
of the act entitled 'An Act respecting fugitives from labor and slaves brought into the 
State previous to her admission into the United States,' they having been held to service 
in the State of Mississippi, by the laws thereof, by C. S. Perkins. The answer also states 
that the said Robert and Sandy had been taken before Judge Aldrich of the Sixth Judicial 
District, by habeas corpus, who remanded them to the possession of the respondent June 
11, 1852, and Scoles showed his authority as agent of the said C. S. Perkins, also the 
proceedings before the Justice and the District Judge, Morris and Brown for the peti- 
tioners***Murry, Chief Justice, and Anderson, Justice, severally delivered opinions." 

California Reports, No. 2, p. 424: "By the act of April 20, 1852, the power of hear- 
ing and determining writ of habeas corpus is vested in the Judge of every court of record 
in the State. The final determination is not that of a court, but the simple order of a 
Judge, and is not appealable from or subject to review. The State, in the exercise of 
her police power, may expel from her limits slaves brought here voluntarily by their own- 
ers before the State was admitted into the Union. The act of the 15th of April, 1852, is 
not an ex-post facto law. It impairs no right, nor does it constitute the refusal to return 
to service a crime. It simply provides for the departure of slaves brought here before a 
certain period. Nor does it impair the obligation of contracts. The State has entered 
into no contract with free Negroes fugitives or slaves by providing by her Constitution 
that slavery, or involuntary service, shall not exist within her limits, which would prevent 
her, on proper occasion, from removing them. Nor does the act impair the constitutional 
rights of trial by jury. The rights of slaves are not determined by the arrest and com- 
mitment, nor by the examination on writ of habeas corpus. The right of trial by jury 
is secured in all cases involving questions of liberty, property or punishment. ' ' 

There were many similar cases brought before the highest court in the State, but the 
one which the writer will now quote is quite unique in that it was a case brought con- 
cerning a slave and property rights after the Civil War, when the emancipation had already 
gone into effect. It is quoted from California Report, No. 51, page 120: "Statement 
of facts (No. 4500) : Adelaide Pearson vs. Laura Pearson; Manumission of a slave. — 



74 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Marriage of master with his female slave amounts to a relinquishment of rights to hold 
her as a slave and manumits her. The Court below gave judgment for the plaintifP for 
an undivided one-seventh of two-thirds of the demanded premises. There were seven 
children. The plaintiff and six others were born to the testor and defendant Laura and 
under our statute of descents and distribution, the wife by whom there is more than one 
child, inherits one-third and the children two-thirds. The action was brought to recover 
all the land of which the testor did seize. 

"W. F. Good; P. Van Claff and Beaty & Denison for the appellant. 

"Currans Evans & John T. Harrington for the respondent." 

The decision of the Court was: "The action is ejectment and was brought by the 
appellant, Adelaide Pearson, as heir-at-law of Eichard Pearson (deceased) to recover of 
the defendants certain premises situated in the County of Colusa. 

"The appellant was born in the year 1850 and is a daughter of said Eichard Pearson, 
a white man (lately deceased) by Martha Powers, a white woman with whom he inter- 
married in the year 1848, in the State of Iowa, and from whom he was divorced in the 
year 1854, by a valid judicial decree rendered in the courts of the State of Missouri. 

' ' The defendant, Laura Pearson, is a woman of African descent and claims a dis- 
tributive share in the estate of the said Eichard Pearson, as his surviving wife. The 
other defendants are the children of Eichard Pearson by said Laura and were born after 
the alleged inter-marriage between said Eichard and Laura, presently to be mentioned, 
and during the subsequent cohabitation between said Eichard and said Laura in the as- 
sumed relation of husband and wife. It appears that in the year 1847 the defendant 
Laura, being at the time a slave in the State of North Carolina, was purchased by the said 
Eichard Pearson, who immediately moved her to the State of Missouri, where he held 
her as a slave until the year 1854, during which year and after the entry of the decree 
in the courts of that State divorcing him from Martha Powers. He moved her to the Ter- 
ritory of Utah, reaching the Territory in September of that year, where he remained en- 
gaged in business pursuits until the year 1855, when he moved to this State- and settled 
in the county of Colusa, in which county he continued to reside until his death in the 
year 1865. 

"The Court below found the facts to be that in the fall of said year, 1854, and while 
residing in the Territory of Utah, the said Eichard and Laura inter-married and thence, 
until the death of said Eichard, they lived and cohabited together as husband and wife 
and that during such cohabitation there were born to them the defendants, Theodora, 
Harry, Mary, William, Eichard and Jefferson, the oldest of these children being born in 
the year 1856 and the youngest shortly before the death of the said Eichard. Judgment 
was thereupon rendered to the effect that upon the death of said Eichard, his estate de- 
scended to and became vested in the plaintiff and defendant in all respects as though the 
defendant Laura had been a white woman, and the lawful, surviving wife of the said 
Eichard, and from this judgment, an order having been subsequently entered denying the 
motion of plaintiff for a new trial, she prosecutes this appeal. 

"At the new trial the defendant, Laura Pearson, examined as a witness for the de- 
fendants, having testified that she had been at one time the slave of Eichard Pearson, in 
the State of Missouri, but that she had subsequently been emancipated by him by certain 
judicial proceedings had for that purpose, of which a record was duly made in a court 
in the city of St. Louis. The plaintiff duly objected to oral proof of Laura's alleged 
emancipation, but the objection was overruled and an exception was reserved. The views 
we entertain upon other points involved render it unnecessary to notice this exception 
further. It is argued for the appellant that the alleged marriage between said Eichard 
and said defendant Laura, even if solemnized in due form, was void because she was at 
the time a slave and therefore incapable of contracting marriage. But we see no force 
in this position. Conceding that she had been a slave in the State of Missouri, in 1854, 
she was such only by force of the local law at the time prevailing in that State, and, con- 
ceding that her removal by her master to the Territory of Utah did not of itself change 
her status in that respect, and that Pearson might hereafter lawfully hold her in slavery 
in that Territory, it certainly cannot be denied that he might, if he chose, manumit her 
there by any act evidencing a purpose on his part to do so. His general authority, as 
master, to manumit his slave was not taken away nor limited in its exercise by the local 
law of Utah, and we think that his inter-marriage with her in that Territory amounts to 
a relinquishment of his claim to further hold her as his slave. At common law, if a man 
bound himself in a bond to his villein granting him an annuity, or gave him an estate 
even for years it was held to be an implied manumission for his dealing with his villein, 
on the footing of a free man. There being no law or regulation at the time prevailing in 

i 



OF CALIFORNIA 



75 




HON. JAMES M. ALEXANDER 
Six years Internal Revenue Cashier for the Sixth District of California. 



76 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 




MISS A'IRGINIA STEPHENS 

Sponsor for the name Jewel City for the Panama Pacific 

International Exposition. 



OF CALIFORNIA 77 

the Territory of Utah inter-dicting inter-marriage lawfully had there between a master 
and his female slave, neither party being otherwise incapacitated to contract marriage, 
operated by analogy to the rule of the Common Law already adverted to and resulted in 
the manumission of the slave woman, since such manumission was indispensable to her 
assuming of her new relation of wife to her former master. She certainly could not in 
contemplation of the law be both the slave and the wife of Pearson. The marriage of 
these parties, being valid by the law of the place where it was contracted, is also valid in 
this State. 

"The Statute of this State provides in terms that all marriages contracted without 
the State, which would be valid by the laws of the country in which the same were con- 
tracted, shall be valid in all courts and places within the State. Marriage between master 
and slave — If one, holding a female slave of African descent in Missouri, removes with 
her to the Territory of Utah and there marries her, the marriage was legal, there being 
no law in Utah prohibiting such marriages. 

' ' Validity of marriages — A marriage contracted with-out this State which is valid by 
the law of the place where contracted, is valid in this State, if the parties subsequently 
remove here, even though the marriage would have been invalid by the laws of this State 
if contracted here. 

"Appeal from the District Court, Tenth Judicial District, County of Colusa; Octo- 
ber, 1875. 

"Adelaide Pearson, the plaintiff, was the legal child of Eichard Pearson and his 
former wife from whom he was divorced, and was born in Missouri on the tenth day of 
October, 1850. The defendant, Laura, claimed to have been the legal wife of Richard 
Pearson. But the plaintiff denied that she beXiame such. 

"Richard Pearson made a will, just before his death, in which he bequeathed all his 
property to Laura and her children. No provision was made for, and no allusion was 
made to his daughter, Adelaide, the plaintiff. Under our statutes of wills the daughter, 
Adelaide, having been permitted in the will, was entitled to the same share of the estate 
she would have received if her father had died intestate. If Laura was the wife of 
Richard, then Adelaide was only entitled to share the estate with Laura and her children. 
But if Laura was not the wife of Richard, then Adelaide was entitled to the whole. This 
case was once before this court (California Report, No. 46, p. 609) and everything in 
regard to the rights of the parties had been fully settled and determined, except the ques- 
tion as to whether Laura was or was not the wife of Richard. The Court below held, 
on the second trial, that Laura Pearson was the lawful wife of Richard, and this appeal 
was taken by the plaintiff to test the correctness of the decision in that regard. The only 
question raised was in relation to that point. 

"The statute accords with the general principle of law theretofore prevailing. 'The 
validity of a marriage (except it be polygamous or incestous) is to be tested by the law 
of the place where it is celebrated. If valid there, it is valid everywhere' (Story, on Con- 
flict of laws. Section 113). We discover in the records no error committed against the 
appellant. Judgment and order denying a new trial affirmed." 

The following is an extract from the arguments offered by the counsel first for the 
appellant, in which W. F. Good, P. VanClif and Beatty Denson are quoted as saying: 
' ' A slave is incapable of contracting marriage, and if Laura remained a slave up to the 
time she reached California, in 1855, certainly she could not have been married to Richard 
Pearson in the Territory of Utah, in the year 1854 (Bishop on marriage and Divorce, vol. 
I, Sec. 154-56; Jones, North Carolina 235-6). If Laura was a slave in Missouri, she 
remained a slave whilst passing through the Territory of Utah." 

The following is an extract from the argument offered for the defendant by Curry 
& Evans and Jno. T. Harrington, for the respondent: "Laura's emancipation prior to 
the marriage is to be inferred from Pearson's acts and conduct. If it could be held that 
Laura was a slave in Utah, notwithstanding Pearson's failure to make and file the proof 
required by the statute, then we maintain that she ceased entirely to be a slave upon her 
marriage with Pearson. In New York it has been held that when a man bought a woman 
and her child for the purpose of marrying the mother and with the intention that they 
should be free, that his declaration on the subject and the fact that he married the woman, 
were sufficient evidence of emancipation of mother and child. Emancipation will be in- 
ferred wherever the master's conduct toward the slave is inconsistent with the continuance 
of the condition of slavery. (Wells v. Lau, 9, Johns 144; La. Grand, v. Darnell, 2, Peters, 
664.)" 
First California Legislature — Free Negroes — Court Trial op the Slave Arohy Lee. 

The first session of the California Legislature met December 28, 1849, and lasted until 
March 22, 1850. The first State Governor, Peter Burnet, was duly inaugurated, and in hifl 



78 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

first message to the Assembly, he recommended the exclusion of ' ' Free Negroes. ' ' A bill 
was introduced in the Senate, but was indefinitely postponed. 

This bill was in keeping with the Fugitive Slave Law, and claimed that Negroes 
brought into the State previous to its admission into the Union were fugitives (See Journal 
of the California Legislature, page 1232, 1850). Previous to the admission of the State 
into the Union, there were many Negroes brought to California. Some, coming with their 
masters, by working in the mines paid for their freedom. There were other colored people 
who had come on trading ships and, aside from earning the money to pay for their free- 
dom, had purchased good homes. There were still others, who had come who were already 
free,' and who, after reaching California, had gone into business. This was especially true 
in and around San Francisco, Sacramento and Stockton. 

The colored people realized the joy of li\ang in California and were preparing them- 
selves to become useful citizens when they were startled by the sudden passage of a bill 
by the California Assembly known as House Bill No. 395, which was introduced by a 
Mr. Stakes, a Democrat, from San Joaquin County, during the session of 1858. The 
object of this bill was to prevent Negroes from immigrating to or residing in California. 
The wording of the bill was very harsh and sent terror to the hearts of the colored people 
living throughout the State. 

In the meantime gold was discovered on the Frazier river, British Columbia, and 
Governor James Douglass, of British Columbia, sent his harbor-master, James Nagel, to 
San Francisco, California, to invite the colored people to come to Canada to make their 
home and work the Frazier river gold discovery. This resulted in a large number of 
the best families of colored people going to British Columbia. Among the number were 
the following: Mifllin Gibbs, George Dennis, Stone Wall Jackson, Ezekil Cooper, John 
Upsheer and a Mr. Carter, together with many others. One ship with a passenger list 
running into the hundreds was lost in a storm en route. 

The bill that was the means of frightening so many colored people away from the 
State was not so easily passed. But year after year there had been similar bills intro- 
duced, until they finally became panic-stricken and left the State in large numbers. 
Many, however, returned to the beautiful State of California. This bill introduced at the 
first session of the California Legislature in 1858 and known as House Bill No. 395, read 
as follows: "An Act to restrict and prevent the immigration to and residence in this 
State of Free Negroes and Mulattoes." The bill was amended, or an additional section 
was added as follows: "Nothing in the act provided shall prevent the immigration to 
this State of any member of the family of any Negro or Mulatto who may be a resident 
of this State at the date of the passage of this act, nor of the arrival in this State of any 
who may be the owners of any real or personal estate at the date of the passage of the 
act, nor of any person who may be a resident of this State and temporarily absent there- 
from at the date of the passage of this act." The bill passed, ayes 21, noes 8. The bill 
was repealed in 1859. There had been similar bills passed in regard to free Negroes leav- 
ing the State, from the first session of the first Legislature. The time for them to leave 
the State would be extended every year. 

The climax was reached when a Mr. Stovall came to California in 1857 from Missis- 
sippi, bringing his slave boy, Archy Lee. Mr. Stovall opened' a private school in Sacra- 
mento and, after teaching for a year, decided to return to Mississippi and take the slave 
boy, Archy Lee, with him again to slavery. His effort to carry out his intention of return- 
ing to Mississippi with his slave boy was the means of furnishing the courts with a case 
that became one of the most famous in regard to the Negro in California. The decision 
of the case has been recorded in the Constitutional United States slave laws. It is highly 
interesting to the present day Negro in California, because its success was due mainly 
to the united action of all the Negroes then living in California. They were guided in 
their actions by the Executive Committee of the Colored Convention, who saw to the rais- 
ing of the necessary funds. They fully recognized that the right to live in California 
of every Negro would be affected by the decision of this case. 

The following is quoted from Hittell's History of California in regard to this cele- 
brated case (vol. 4, p. 244): "The Archy case: One Charles Stovall, a citizen of Mis- 
sissippi, had, in 1857, come to California overland from that State and brought along his 
slave, a Negro boy called Archy. After hiring Archy out for some time at Sacramento, 
Mr. Stovall thought of returning to Mississippi and, as a preliminary put the slave on a 
Sacramento river steamboat with the intention of sending him to San Francisco and thence 
to Mississippi in charge of an agent. But the boy, who had attracted a great deal of 
attention as a slave brought voluntarily into the State, refused to be taken back and 
escaped from the vessel. Stovall, therefore, for such escape had him arrested as & fugitive 
slave and he was taken into custody by the Sacramento Chief of Police, who, however, 



OF CALIFORNIA 79 

refused to deliver him over to his master. Stovall immediately had issued a writ of habeas 
corpus for his possession and the matter came up for adjustment before the Supreme 
Court. The decision and opinion of that tribunal was rendered by Peter Burnett, formerly 
Governor, who had been appointed a Justice of that Court by Governor Nealy Johnson 
in 1857, and filled the office until October, 1858." 

The following is from the proceedings of the California Supreme Court, January term, 
1858, p. 147: "Supreme Court and the Archy case, Habeas Corpus: Charles A. Stovall, a 
citizen of Mississippi, petitioned this court for a writ of habeas corpus for the recovery 
of his slave, Archy. The writ was issued and, on the return thereof, the following argu- 
ment of counsel was made. The facts appear in the opinion of the Court. James Hardy, 
counsel for the petitioner, Stovall. 

' ' There is no question from the return of the writ and evidence in the case that 
the boy, Archy, was a slave owned and held to service by the petitioner in the State of 
Mississippi, nor is there any pretense of any voluntary or actual emancipation of the slave 
by his master. Counsel for the slave, however, have argued that he was voluntarily 
brought to this State by his master and he is thereby manumitted. In reply I contend 
that there is no proof in the case that Archy was brought voluntarily into the State by 
his master. This whole evidence shows that he owed service in Mississippi; that about 
the first of January last he was in this State with his master, and that when about to 
leave the State, he escaped from him. In support of the petitioner's right to remove the 
slave, I contend: That the eighteenth section of the first article of the Constitution of 
this State is inoperative and requires legislative aid in the shape of penalties and manner 
of proceedings to give it effect; that for the purpose of transit or journey in or through 
the State, he has full and complete guarantee of the courts of the United States that 
even if the eighteenth section of the first article of the Constitution be operative upon 
our citizens it has no effect as against travelers or sojourners by reason of the constitu- 
tional provisions both of this State and of the United States, and that no emancipation 
of the slave can be had or preserved without due process of law. This is the very doctrine 
Judge Murry declared in the matter of Carter (California Rep. No. 2, p. 44). Now in 
determining how far under our seemingly absolute and uncompromising Constitution 
restraint of the principle of comity should (within the constitutional restraint) be allowed, 
the Legislature passed the Act of April 15th, 1852, entitled an 'Act respecting fugitives 
from labor and slaves brought into this State prior to her admission into the Union in 
which they provided for the reclamation of fugitives escaping into the State.' " 

The counsel for Archy was equal to the occasion and he was ably defended by Mr. 
E. Winans. His argument: "Conceding that Stovall left Mississippi with the intention 
of returning in eighteen months, that would have allowed him a year's residence or sojourn 
in this State. If he desired to be a sojourner during that time and to carry on business 
and let out his slave during that time for hire, he would be acting in violation of the spirit 
and meaning of the constitutional prohibition of slavery. But after his arrival here he 
appears to have entertained nothing but a remote, undeveloped intention of leaving the 
State at some future, unascertained, undeveloped time. If we judge from his acts, he 
appears to have invested himself with all the rights, attributes, and characteristics of a 
continuing citizenship. He made his advertisement for scholars and announced his school 
as permanent, not transitory. The business is one which for its success looks for perma- 
nency. He also hired out Archy from time to time and told the parties hiring him that 
they could keep him as long as they chose, saying nothing about intending to leave the 
State. This question is not to be settled in his favor by simply proving that he retained 
the animus reverteudi. If that alone was the criterion, he might preserve the animus for 
years, continuing here and enjoying all the rights, immunities and advantages of citizen- 
ship the while. The doctrine criterion is this (if the doctrine of comity be sustained), 
was he simply engaged in actual passage or transit through the State and were the cir- 
cumstances which detained him of such an unavoidable character that they still preserved 
him in a condition of actual transit? The case of Julia V. McKinney, 3 Miss. 270, is a 
leading authority on the subject: Wilson v. Melvin, 4 Missouri, 597. The doctrine of 
Lord Stovall is favorably cited. 

"The court says: 'The principle above stated, in which a slave brought here be- 
comes free in that he is entitled to the protection of our laws, and there is no law to war- 
rant his arrest and forcible removal, and also for the immediate transportation from the 
State of slaves brought here before the adoption of the Constitution and the entire con- 
cession and provision of the Act, and in section five it is provided that even in the case 
of a slave brought here before the Constitution, if his master seeks to reclaim or hold 
him in servitude in the State except for the purpose of his immediate removal.' This Act 
was to continue in force for only twelve months and was renewed for another twelve 



80 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

months by the Act of 1853. After and since which time even these priveleges were and 
have been denied to citizens of this State. By this Act the Legislature established their 
conclusions of the sovereign will that recognized the constitutional prohibition of volun- 
tary servitude. 

"They did not consider such prohibition as preventing them from allowing by 
comity the reclamation of slaves brought here before the adoption of the constitution 
and were willing therefore to carry the diction of comity so far and of course, by 
necessary implication, no farther, and even this concession was but temporary and 
designed to be withdrawn after a brief period by the express provision of the Act. 
In upholding the institutions of other governments, we cannot carry the doctrine of 
courtesy so far as to subvert our own, and whatever violates the spirit of our laws, the 
policies of our government, and the rights of our citizens has a tendency to subvert 
our institutions. The Dred Scott ease, of which so much has been said, does not con- 
flict with the principle here contended, for it only declares that, slaves being property, 
the master has a right to hold them in servitude in any portion of the Federal territory, 
but it does not attempt to conclude or pass upon the right of sovereign States in this 
behalf, and if it had so done, it would have laid the cherished doctrine of State Sov- 
ereignty — a doctrine no less dear to all sister States than slavery can be to these who 
own it as their institution — completely prostrated in the dust. (See the opinion of Judge 
Burnet in Nougees v. Johnson, 7 California; E. Somerset, 20; Howell's State Trial 79; 
Story in Conflict of Laws, 96-244, edition 1846, p. 371-2). 

"But this court has heretofore passed upon this question in the matter of Perkins 
2 California, 441, and it is then held that while the slave, by being taken upon free 
soil does not become ipse facto free — yet that the master's control over him ceases and 
he becomes thereby virtually free. Now if this court recognizes the doctrine of the Star 
decision, for this is not a mere diction, then the application of the claimant must be 
denied. (See also Landsford v. Conquillion, 24, Martin's Eep. 413, and Expartra Simmon, 
4 Washington, C. C. Eeport, 396, and see Butler v. Hoffer, 1 Washington.)" 

Judge Burnet, after listening to the arguments, decided the case as follows, which 
has been quoted from the California Eeports No. 9, Expartra Archy: "In the matter of 
Archy on habeas corpus. The right of transit through each State with every specie of 
property known to the Constitution of the United States, and recognized by that para- 
mount law, is secured by that instrument to each citizen and does not depend upon the 
uncertain and changeable ground of mere comity. The character of immigrant or trav- 
eler, bringing with him a slave into the State, must last so long as it is necessary by 
the 'ordinary modes of travel to accomplish a transit through the State. Nothing but 
accident or imperative necessity could excuse a greater delay. Something more than 
mere ease or convenience must intervene to save a forfeiture of property which he 
cannot hold as a citizen of the State through which he is passing. But visitors for 
health or pleasure stand in a different position from travelers for business, and are 
protected by the law of comity. It is right for the Judiciary, in the absence of legisla- 
tion, to determine how far the policy and position of this State will justify the giving a 
temporary effect within the limits of this State, to the laws and institutions of a sister 
State. To allow mere visitors to this State for pleasure or health, to bring with them, 
as personal attendants, their own domestics, is not any violation of the end contemplated 
by the constitution of the State. The visible acts of a party must be taken as the only 
test of his intentions in deciding whether he is entitled to be considered a mere visitor, 
of which fact his declaration constitutes no evidence. The privileges are extended to 
those who come for both business and pleasure or health, and who engage in no business 
while here, and remain only for a reasonable time. If the party engages in any business 
or employs his slave in any business except as a personal attendant upon himself or 
family, then the character of the visitor is lost, and his slave is entitled to freedom. 
This rule admits of no exception upon the ground of necessity or misfortune, or it would 
introduce uncertainty and complexities and lead the courts into profitless investigations. 
The peculiar condition of the party is difficult of proof, and will not be inquired into 
nor will the rule be relaxed to meet the hardships of a particular case." 

' ' Burnett. ' ' 

The concluding remarks of the learned Trial Judge were as follows: "From the 
views we have expressed it would seem clear that the petitioner cannot sustain either 
the character of traveller, or visitor, but there are circumstances connected with this 
particular case that may exempt him from the operation of the rule we have laid down. 
This is the first case that has occurred under the existing law, and from the opinion of 
Justice Anderson and the silence of the Chief Justice, the petitioner had some reason to 
believe that the constitutional provision would have no immediate operation. This is 
the first case, and under the circumstances we are not disposed to rigidly enforce the 



OF CALIFORNIA 81 

rule for the first time. But in reference to all future cases it is our purpose to enforce 
the rules laid down strictly according to their true intent and spirit. It is therefore 
ordered that Archy be forthwith released from the custody of the chief of police and 
given into the custody of the petitioner, Charles Stovall. " 

Terey, C. J., Chief Justice: "1 concur in the judgment and in the principles 
announced in the opinion of my associate, while I do not entirely agree with his con- 
clusions from the facts of the case. I think the delay of the petitioner was unavoidable 
and that the facts of his engaging in labor in order to support himself during his 
necessary detention did not divert his rights under the laws of comity as laid down in the 
opinion. ' ' 

In Hittell's History of California, he says in regard to the decision: "James G. 
Baldwin, author and wit who succeeded Burnett upon the Supreme bench, characterized 
the decision as 'Giving the law to the North, and the nigger to the South.' It may be 
added that Archy, after being delivered over to Stovall, was taken to San Francisco 
for the purpose of being sent back to Mississippi, but his friends sued out a new writ 
of habeas corpus, this time for his liberation instead of for his redelivery into slavery. 
He was taken before Judge Thomas W. Freelon of the County Court, of San Francisco. 
But while the case was pending before him, Stovall saw fit to swear to a new affidavit 
which did not correspond very well with the one he had sworn to in Sacramento. In 
the latter he made oath that Archy had escaped from him in the State of Mississippi, 
and procured a warrant from George Pen Johnson, United States Commissioner, for his 
arrest as a fugitive slave from Mississippi. Upon this state of facts and at the request 
of Stovall 's attorneys, James H. Hardy and George F. James, Archy was discharged 
by Freelon. But he was immediately re-arrested and taken before George Pen Johnson, 
who on April 14, 1858, after full consideration, decided that Archy was in no proper 
sense a fugitive slave from Mississippi, and therefore discharged him finally, much to 
Archy 's own relief and to the satisfaction of the larger part of the community." 

Bancroft, in regard to the Archy case, says: "Burnett was appointed to fill the 
vacancy caused by the resignation of Terry. Stovall took Archy on board the steamer 
for the States. But when outside the entrance, Stovall was arrested for kidnapping and 
Archy brought back by writ of habeas corpus. E. D. Baker was counsel for Archy and 
J. H. Hardy, afterwards impeached for treasonable utterance, pleaded Stovall 's case. 
George Pen Johnson, United States Commissioner, heard the case impartially and ordered 
Archy liberated." 

The reader has been given not only the police and Supreme Court proceedings of 
this case, but that part of the proceedings as considered of historical value by the two 
greatest California historians, namely, Hittell and Bancroft. During this period in Cali- 
fornia, the colored people who were here lived in constant fear of the Fugitive Slave 
Law and the various interpretations that could be and were given to it by those in 
authority. They were not allowed to testify in the Courts of Justice in their own behalf, 
owing to the workings of the fugitive slave laws. They were not allowed the benefits 
of the Homestead Law, notwithstanding through it all they clung to California. 

The few members of the race living in the State at the time were most admirable, 
because they acted as one family in whatever concerned the welfare of the Negro Kace. 
Through the greatest struggles a few had acquired homes and good paying businesses. 
They owned good churches and several private schools, and strove to improve themselves 
and be fit for citizenship whenever it should come to them. They had among them an 
effective organization which was known as "The Executive Committee of the Colored 
Convention. ' ' All the colored people throughout the State were members of this organ- 
ization and contributed of their funds to aid in covering the cost of different court trials. 
The duty of this committee was to be on the constant watch to defend the interest of 
the race in every part of the State. They had what corresponded to a secret service 
or code of transmitting news to one another, since there was neither a rapid mail 
service nor telegraphic communication. They transmitted the news by the way of the 
barber's chair. The barbers at the time throughout the State were colored. It was 
through this channel they learned of any move for or against the Negro made in the 
legislative halls or elsewhere. Word came to a few colored gentlemen living in Sacra- 
mento, that Mr. Stovall was intending to send Archy, the Negro slave boy, back to 
Mississippi to again become a slave. 

A number of Negroes had already been taken back into slavery after coming to 
California and working to pay for their freedom, and the few who were free when 
coming to California had had a difficult time to acquire anything like a home. The 
word of a Negro would not be taken in the Courts of Justice, and if the Negro, Archy, 
was allowed to be returned into slavery after a residence in the State for one year, the 
day might come when other colored people would be returned to the South and into 
slavery, if a white person should make aflSdavit that they were their slaves. Many had 



82 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

been returned by the courts. In view of these undeniable facts, the colored people 
realized that Mr. Stovall having taught school for a year in Sacramento would give 
weight to his actions. They also were aware of the fact that California was admitted 
to the Union as a Free State, and that the Constitution of the State also forbade 
slavery. 

The Executive Committee of the Colored Convention decided to make the Archy 
case a test case as to the rights of Negroes to live in beautiful California. They staked 
their all upon the outcome and decided that if they lost and had to leave the State, 
they would not do so without a struggle. California's admittance as a Free State did 
not give them any more peace of mind than a Free Negro would have enjoyed in the 
heart of the Southland. 

The ofiicers of the Executive Committee living in Sacramento soon sent word to 
those living in San Francisco, Red Bluff, Marysville and other places throughout the 
State. They decided to fight the case to a finish, not in holding meetings and protesting, 
but to arm themselves with the best counsel available on the coast. The services of 
such an attorney required money and a lot of it. There were white people living in the 
State who believed that the Negro was human and entitled to the treatment of a human 
being, though such views always made the person unpopular among other white people. 
Hence to secure a good attorney they knew that they would have to pay a good fee. 
They secured a man who, while he valued his future career, was a deep, dyed-in-the-wool 
Abolitionist and a personal friend to the immortal Abraham Lincoln. The writer refers 
to Col. E. D. Baker, who conducted the second trial in San Francisco. 

The first trial they employed a Mr. Winans, who came to California in 1849, after 
graduating in law from Columbia college. He was very popular and influential in 
organizing the San Francisco Bar Association. George Wharton James says: "His 
word was worth more than the biggest bond his richest client could give." What a 
splendid selection the Executive Committee made in employing such reliable counsel! 

The second trial was held before Judge Freelon, and Archy was dismissed. Mr. 
Stovall immediately boarded a steamer for the States, carrying Archy with him. The 
colored people and the members of the Executive Committee sued out a writ of habeas 
corpus before George Pen Johnson, United States Commissioner. But who would serve 
the writ for them? One of the Executive Committee, a Mr. George Dennis, living in 
San Francisco, learning that ex-Judge Terry, an old friend of his, who, while a Democrat, 
still would do a kindness for those whom he liked, went to him and explained the case. 
He replied that if given the proper authority he would go out into the San 
Francisco bay and arrest Stovall. The Executive Committee of the Colored Convention 
chartered the tug "Goliath," paying the sum of three thousand and fifty dollars for 
the use of it. The tug being secured, ex-Judge Terry went out into the San Francisco 
bay and, as the steamer was about to pass through the Golden Gate, he hailed it and 
went on board and arrested Mr. Stovall for kidnapping Archy and returned to San 
Francisco, with both Stovall and the Negro slave-boy, Archy. The case was then tried 
before George Pen Johnson and Archy was defended by E. D. Baker, a lawyer of won- 
derful oratorical ability and a staunch friend to the Negro Race. E. D. Baker 's plead- 
ing of the case was so forceful that George Pen Johnson, notwithstanding he was a 
southern man, granted Archy his liberty. 

The Executive Committee spent altogether the sum of fifty thousand dollars in these 
different court trials in the interest of the Archy case. The money to defray the expense 
of the chartering of the tug "Goliath" was raised through the assistance of "Mammy 
Pleasants," Afterward the colored men and women begged, mortgaged their homes 
and gave concerts in an effort to raise the money to pay the cost of these trials. The 
battle was not for Archy alone, but because of the vital interest of the matter to all 
the people of color then living in California. 

The few Free Negroes then in the State, with few exceptions, had earned their 
freedom after coming here and working in the mines after a long, hard trip overland 
by ox-team. If they were free when arriving in California, they used almost all their 
money in making the trip and were compelled to start life all over. Even so they 
handled this case as one would handle a great financial deal or adventure. They secured 
the best available attorneys, pledged themselves to the raising of the money to pay the 
cost and then opened battle, showing unity of purpose and marshalling of forces. Let 
the reader consider the thousands of miles lying between California and the men and 
women of the East who were using their voices, pens, money and time in an effort to 
influence public opinion in behalf of the Negro Race and the cause of freedom, trying, 
if possible, to convince the public mind that the Negro was actually made of flesh and 
blood, with a soul and with feelings the same as other human beings. These few 
Negroes and the loyal white persons in California who assisted the Negroes in this case 
are greatly to be admired. 



OF CALIFORNIA 83 

After the final decision of the case it has been told the writer that San Francisco 
was on the verge of a riot, and that Mammy Pleasants hid Archy Lee in her home until 
the Executive Committee could secure him passage to Canada. In after years he came 
back to California and died in Sacramento. His demise was the cause of a revival of 
the case through the daily press. The following is from the Sacramento Daily Union, 
November 7, 1873, and which was republished in the Pacific Appeal of San Francisco 
under date November 10, 1873: "Archy Lee was found buried in the sand, with only 
his head exposed, in the marsh-lands of Sacramento. He was ill and claimed to have 
buried himself thus to keep warm. He was taken to the hospital where he died.***Archy 
Lee arrived in Sacramento October, 1857.***He was arrested in the Hackett house kept 
by colored people on Third, between K and L streets. Judge Eobinson, who locked him 
up in the city prison, turned him over to James Lansing, Chief of Police, who issued a 
writ of habeas corpus directed to Dansing and Stovall, and on petition of Charles W. 
Parker, for whom Crocker and McKune appeared as attorneys. Smith and Hardy, 
opposing Judge Eobinson, heard the case and it was continued a day or two. Mean- 
while Stovall filed a petition with U. S. Commissioner George Pen Johnson, calling on 
him to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. Winans and Crocker appeared for the slave 
in reply and moved to dismiss the petition. H. Johnson took time to consult M. Hall 
McAllister, United States Circuit Judge, and in a few days referred the case back 
to the State Courts. For two weeks the slave lay in prison when Judge Eobinson 
released him and held that his master could not retake him. But Lansing detained the 
Negro, and refused to deliver him to Stovall, who petitioned the Supreme Court for a 
writ of habeas corpus for the recovery of his slave. In that case Stovall would be 
protected in his property and the chief was required to surrender the Negro to his 
master. He was escorted by a strong force of police from the court house to prison 
and three times tried to escape into the crowd surrounding him. The next day Officer 
O'Neal was detained to accompany Stovall and the Negro, heavily-ironed, was taken in 
a wagon out of town, a rescue being anticipated. The next heard of the matter was when 
Stovall and the Negro were in a boat in the San Francisco bay, ironed to a yawl and 
his master trying to get him on the steamer, while an excited crowd was on the wharf. 
A writ of habeas corpus was sworn out and an officer sent in a boat and the slave 
taken from his master and carried to the city hall, an immense crowd following him» 
The writ was heard before Judge Freelon a week later. Judge Hardy and Col. James 
appeared for the master, and Col. E. D. Baker, E, O. Crosby and W. H. Tompkins for the 
slave. On a motion to dismiss the warrant of arrest as fugitive slave. Judge Freelon 
denied it, whereupon Stovall set the Negro free and at once had him rearrested by 
U. S. Marshal, as a fugitive slave and George Pen Johnson heard the case. Meanwhile 
the Negro sued Stovall for $2500 damages for imprisonment and beating. The case 
lingered for weeks exciting greater interest all the time. Witnesses were brought from 
this city and the trial was^ attended by an immense crowd. Finally, early in April, 
Johnson decided the case and released Archy Lee, holding that he was not a fugitive 
slave." 

A portion of this chapter has been published in an article of the writer's under 
the title "Slavery in California" in the Journal of Negro History, January, 1918. 
Later the editor of this journal received a letter from a relative of the slave boy, 
Archy Lee. In the next issue of the magazine he published the following short sketch: 
"Mention of the slave boy, Archy, in Miss Beasley's 'Slavery in California' has 
called forth from a relative the following sketch: 

" ' Archy 's mother was named Maria. Maria had four children, Archy, Candace, 
Pompey and Quitman. (I am the daughter of Candace.) At the time Charles A. Stovall 
took Archy to California, Maria, with her other children were with Simeon Stovall, the 
father of Charles Stovall. Charles A. Stovall had been graduated in medicine and had 
returned home to begin practice, but his health having failed him, he went to California, 
taking Uncle Archy with him. My grandmother Maria heard through the relatives of 
Stovall of Archy during the time Stovall remained in California, but near the close of 
the Civil War, Charles Stovall returned to Mississippi and remained there until his death 
a few years later. After Stovall came back from California, my grandmother never 
heard any more of her son, Archy, except when she once heard that he was with the 
Indians who were treating him for some kind of sickness. Whether he died or whether 
this rumor was put out to keep the Stovalls from trying to steal him and bring him 
back to Mississippi, I have never been able to learn. My grandmother Maria continued 
to search for Archy, by writing several times to San Francisco, but without success. 
She died in 1884. Pompey and Quitman continued to live near Jackson, Mississippi. 
When Quitman died some time ago, Pompey was still alive when I last heard from him.' 

" 'Signed, MRS. E. A. Hunt, Marshall, Texas.' " 



84 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Freedom Papers. 

State of California, 
County of Mariposa. 

Know all men to whom these presents shall come, that I, Thomas Thorn, of the 
State and County aforesaid, being the rightful owner of the Negro man, Peter Green, 
and entitled to his service as a slave during his life have this day released and do by 
these presents release him from any further service as a slave. n ■ • ^ ^ 

And I do by these presents from myself, my heirs, executors and administrators 
declare him, the said Peter Green, to be free to act for himself and no longer under 
bonds as a slave. Provided, however, that the said Peter Green shall pay to me the 
sum of one thousand dollars, good lawful money or work for the service, from the 
present time until the first day of April, A. D. 1854. -, o ,, ^ o i <- 

In Testimony whereof, I have hereunto affixed my hand and Scroll tor beal, at 
Quartzburge, this 5th day of February, A. D., one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three. 

Thomas Thorn. (Seal) 

In the presence of Benjamine F. Cadell, Jr., Joseph A. Tiry, I hereby notify that 
the above obligation has been complied with and that Peter Green was legally dis- 
charged. 

Given under my hand at Quartzburge, this day of August, A. D., 1855. 

James Givens, Justice of the Peace. 

Eldorado County Eecorder's Office 

Record Book "A" (Miscellany, p. 541). 

John A. Reichardt, 

Taylor Babton 

to 
Negro Bob 

Emancipation. 

State of Californla^, 
County of Eldorado. 

Cold Springs Precinct. 

Know all men to whom these presents shall come: That I. Taylor Barton, lately a 
citizen of the State of Missouri, and owner of slaves, do here by this instrument, under 
my hand and Seal, given this ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord eighteen 
hundred and fifty-one, set Free from Bondage to me and all men, my slave Bob, and 
do declare him forever hereafter his own man, wherever he may go. Nevertheless, I 
make this condition that the said Bob shall remain with me as my slave, faithful and 
obedient unto me, until the twenty-fifth day of December next, commonly known as 
Christmas. 

Witness my hand and seal on the day and date aforesaid. 

Taylor Barton. (Seal) 

In the presence of • ^ , o,r -lo-i 

William F. Emerson. December 25, 18ol. 

I do hereby declare my slave Bob, to be forever free from and after this date. 

Taylor Barton. (Seal) 

In the presence of I. G. Canfield, Justice of the Peace. 
Filed for Record, January 5, 1852, at 4 P. M. 

John A. Reichardt, 
Becorder of Eldorado County, California. 

Samuel Granthan 

to 
Aleck Long. 
State of California, Eldorado County. 

Deed of Manumission. 
Know all men by these presents that I, Samuel A. Granthan, of the county and 
State aforesaid, acting by Power of Attorney vested in me by Oliver Granthan, of St. 
Louis, State of Missouri, acting for and in behalf of said Oliver Granthan, and in con- 
sideration of the sum of four hundred dollars to me in hand paid, the same to receive 
to the benefit of the said Oliver Granthan, have this day liberated, set free and fully 
and effectually manumitted Aleck Long, heretofore a slave for life, the lawful property 
of the said Oliver Granthan. 



OP CALIFORNIA 85 

The description of said Aleck Long, being as follows to-wit: About fifty-seven 
years old, five feet, ten inches in height, gray hair, dark complexion with a scar on the 
inside of the left leg above the ankle. The said Aleck Long to enjoy and possess now 
and from henceforth the full exercise of all the rights, benefits and privileges of a free 
man of color, free of all or any claim to servitude, slavery or service of the said Oliver 
Granthan, his heirs, executors, and assigns, and all other persons claiming, or to claim, 
forever. 

In testimony of this Seal of Manumission, I have this day signed my name and 
affixed my seal this second day of March, 1852, at 4 P. M. 

Samitel a. Granthan, 
Attorney for Oliver Granthan. 
State of California, 
County of Eldorado. 
Personally appeared before me, William Palmer, who makes oath and says that 
Samuel Granthan, whose name appears in the accompanying Seal of Manumission as a 
party thereto, did freely, voluntarily and of his own will, execute to and subscribe the 
same for the use and purpose therein contained. 

Witness my hand and seal this 2nd day of March, 1852, A. D., at 4 P. M. 

Gavin D. Hall, 
Judge of Eldorado County. 

J. A. Reichakdt, 
Recorder for Eldorado County, California. 
Recorder's office, Eldorado County, Record Book "A" (Miscellany, p. 545). 

E. H. Taylor 

to 
Dennis Aviery. 

Slave Release. 

To all whom it may concern: This is to certify that Dennis Aviery has been my 
slave in the State of Georgia for about the term of eight years, but by virtue of money 
to me in hand paid, he is free and liberated from all allegiance to my authority. . 

Coloma, Eldorado County, California, February 8, 1851. 
Witness, George Scall. 

State of California, 
Eldorado County. 
On this day, the eighth of February, A. D., 1851, personally appeared before me, 
the Recorder of said county, E. H. Taylor, satisfactorily proven to me to be the person 
described herein who executed the foregoing instrument of liberating his negro slave 
by the oath of George Scall, a competent witness for that purpose, by me duly sworn, 
and the said E. H. Taylor, acknowledging that he executed the same freely and volun- 
tarily for the use and purpose therein mentioned. 

In testimony thereof, I, John Reichardt, Recorder for the said county, have hereunto 
signed my name, and affixed the seal of said office at Coloma, this day of year first 
above written. 

John A. Reichardt, 
Recorder of Eldorado County. 
Filed for Recording, February 8, 1851, at 9 o'clock A. M. 

John A. Reichardt. 
Recorder's office. Record Book "A" (Miscellany, p. 335). 

This indenture made and entered into this 14th day of August, A. D., 1860, between 
A. J. Houstis, as County Judge of Humboldt County, for and in behalf of a certain 
Indian boy, called and known by the name of "Smokey" of the first part, and Austin 
Wiley of the said county, of the second part. That whereas, the said Austin Wiley had 
in his possession and under his control a certain Indian boy named "Smokey," and 
whereas, the said Austin Wiley avers that he, with the assistance of James Frint, 
obtained said Indian of his parents in Mattole Valley of this county, by and with their 
consent; and whereas the said Austin Wiley does now apply to me as County Judge, to 
bond and apprentice the said boy "Smokey" to him according to law to learn the art 
of household duties about his premises, and in this respect to hold the relation of an 
apprentice until he shall arrive at the lawful majority, the age of twenty-five years, or 
for the term of seventeen years next following this indenture, the boy being now con- 



86 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

sidered eight years of age; and whereas, it appears to me that the second party in this 
agreement has obtained this boy in a lawful manner without fraud or oppression, and 
that the boy "Smokey" therefore comes justly under the first provision of the law 
providing for apprenticeship approved April 8, A. D., 1860. 

Now, therefore, I, A. D. Houstis, County Judge aforesaid, in consideration of the 
premises and acting for and on behalf of the aforesaid Indian boy "Smokey," do by 
these presents bind and apprentice as above stated the said boy "Smokey" to Austin 
Wiley for and during the term of seventeen years next following this indenture; 
entitling him according to law to have the care, custody, control and earnings of said 
boy during said period and all other advantages and responsibilities growing out of 
this indenture and apprenticeship that the law contemplates. 

And the said Austin Wiley, the second party, in this agreement doth hereby agree, 
obligate and bind himself that he will truly and faithfully discharge all obligations on 
his part growing out of this indenture, according to law. That he will suitably clothe 
and provide the necessaries of life for the said boy, during his term of indenture. That 
he will in all respects treat him in a humane manner. That he will not take him out 
of the State, nor transfer him to any party not known in this agreement without the 
consent of legal authorities endorsed thereon, and that in all respects he wiU carry 
out every provision of law that contemplates the safety, protection and well being of 
said boy. 

In witness whereof, the parties to this indenture hereunto set their hand and seal 
this day first above written. 

A. J. HoTJSTis, County Judge, First Party. 
Austin Wii.ey, Second Party. 
State of Cauforkia, 
Humboldt County. 

And now comes Austin Wiley and deposes as follows: "The statements made by 
me in the preamble to this indenture referring to the age of the Indian boy 'Smokey' 
and the manner in which I obtained him are true to the best of my knowledge and 
belief. 

Austin Wiley. 

Sworn to and subscribed before me on this 14th day of August, A. D., 1860. 

A. J. Houstis, 
County Judge of Humboldt County. 

This is one paper frdm a collection of 105 in the Court House at Eureka. Austin 
Wiley, whose name appears in the document, was later appointed Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs for California, and, during his term of ofl&ce, did much to bring to a 
satisfactory termination the trouble then existing between the settlers and the natives. 
These above Freedom Papers were kindly furnished the writer by Dr. Owen Coy, Cali- 
fornia Archivest. The following papers were obtained by the writer: 

History of Butte County, California (p. 199), reads: "Subscribed and sworn to 
before me at this office at White Rock, this, the nineteenth day of April, A. D. 1853. The 
first document in the records of the County of Butte is the Deed of Manumission by 
Franklin Stewart to the slave, Washington, a copy of which we give below. Another 
instrument of the same nature appears on the records of 1851, in which William Comp- 
ton sets free his slave, Joseph Compton, for two years of faithful service, a curious 
feature of this document being the inability of the master to sign his own name, making 
his mark instead. 

" 'Fbee Papers of the Slave. 

" 'Washington, from Franklin Stewart. 
" 'State of California, 
" 'County of Butte. 

" 'Know all men by these presents, that Franklin Stewart, of the County and State 
aforesaid, do for and in consideration of seventeen years of faithful service of my 
slave, Washington, rendered by him in the States of Arkansas and Missouri, do hereby 
set free and emancipate him, the said slave; his age about thirty-three years, color 
slight copper; and fully relinquish all rights in the said slave, Washington, which I 
might be entitled to in law or equity. 

" 'Given under my hand and seal this 4th day of May, A. D., 1852.' " 
The following is quoted from a copy of the Pacific Appeal of 1863: "Benjamin 
Berry, who was born a slave in Kentucky, taken to Missouri and then sold to a man by 
the name of Halloway, with whom he came to this State in 1850. Here he performed 
services supposed equivalent to $3,000, and obtained his Freedom Papers." 



OP CALIFORNIA 87 

The following is quoted from Bancroft's "History of California": "On May 23, 
1850, a colored man named Lawrence was married to a colored woman, Margaret, who 
was hired out to service by a white man named William Marr, who claimed her as his 
slave. Early the following morning Marr forced the woman, by threats and showing a 
pistol, to leave her husband and go with him. He afterwards offered to resign her on 
payment of $1000. (Placer Times, May 27, 1850). 

"A white man, named Best, brought a colored woman (Mary) to Nevada, CaJi- 
fornia, in 1860, from Missouri. He was a cruel master, but she remained with him 
until he returned in 1854, when she borrowed money to purchase her freedom. Soon she 
married Harry Dorsey, a colored man, and lived happily ever afterward." 

Daniel Rodgers came to California with his master in '49, and worked in the mines, 
and at night for himself, earning the sum of $1000 which he paid to his master for his 
freedom. He was not given either a receipt or his Freedom Papers. He returned with 
his master to Arkansas and in after years decided to return to California and bring his 
family, whereupon his master auctioned him off to the highest bidder. A number of 
white gentlemen who knew him raised a purse of money and bought him; afterwards 
giving him a certificate to prove that the person by the name of Daniel Eodgers was a 

free man of color. .. xi. • ^^ 

One of Mr. Rodgers' daughters, now living in Oakland, gave the writer the privilege 
of making the following copy of the original certificate, for its reproduction in this book: 

"Dardanell, Yell County, Arkansas, April 30, 1859. 

"We the undersigned citizens of Yell county, Arkansas, having been personally 
acquainted with the bearer, Daniel Rodgers, a free man of color, for many years past 
and up to the present time, take pleasure in certifying to his character for honesty, 
industry and integrity; also as a temperate and peaceful man; and one worthy of 
trust and confidence of all philanthropic and good men wherever he may go. 

"Signed by: Robert E. Walters, George Williams, Joseph Miles, W. H. Spirey, 
L. D. Parish, George L. Kimble, Samuel Dickens, Haunis A. Hawill, A. Ferril, James A. 
Baird, William A. Ross, C. M. Mundock, A. H. Fulton, Joseph P. Williams, B. I. 

Jacoway. ,,^ 

"Burke Johnson, 

"County Judge." 

The daughter permitted the writer also to copy an extract from a paper, which 
was given to Daniel Rodgers' wife, whose maiden name was Miss Artimisa Penwright. 
She was forced to produce her Freedom Papers before she could accompany her husband 
on the trip to California. This extract states: "Artimisa Penwright was the daughter 
of her mistress by a negro man, and neither she nor any of her children were to ever be 
slaves. ' ' 

The United States slave laws were so strict, and the fugitive slave laws so far- 
reaching in their interpretation that this was not the only person who was compelled 
to have Freedom Papers before starting to California, as will be shown by the following, 
which is quoted from a copy now in possession of Dr. Owen C. Coy, California Archivest, 
and which he copied from page 95 of an old scrap book owned by John T. Mason, at 
Downieville, California: 

"Virginia, Hampshire County, to-wit: 

"David Brown, a black man, aged twenty-two years, five feet, eight inches high, 
with pleasant countenance, a scar on the forefinger of the left hand, a scar on the 
shin of each leg, and was born free. 

"Registered this day October, 1834. 

"In testimony whereof I, John B. White, Clerk of said County Court of Hampshire, 
have hereto set my name and affixed the Seal of the said Court this 27th day of 
October, 1834. 

"John White, 
"Clerk of Hampshire County. 
"Attest: 

"John Brady, a Justice of the Peace for the said county." 

"Whereas, by reason of the anxiety of various persons residing in and near Lancas- 
ter, Ohio, to emigrate to Marysville, in California; and the difficulty of procuring passage 
by water, Thomas Sturgeon and Samuel Grim, of Lancaster, Ohio, have agreed to unite 
themselves together as partners for the purpose of transporting from Lancaster to Marys- 
ville, aforesaid by land, a company of emigrants; it is therefore agreed between the 
said Sturgeon and Crim and David Brown, (written in) as follows, to-wit: Agrees 
to pay the said Sturgeon and Crim one hundred and fifty dollars, fifty dollars of which 



88 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

is paid in hand and the balance is to be paid before said Sturgeon and Grim start to 
California, which shall be between the first and fifteenth of April next. 

"(2) Should the said David Brown fail to make payment as above stated he 
thereby agrees to forfeit the amount paid on this contract. 

" (3) Full payment being made as aforesaid, the said Sturgeon and Crim to trans- 
port the said David Brown from Lancaster, aforesaid, to Marysville, aforesaid, and 
clear of all expenses, or charges (board included) except as aforesaid but they are not 
bound to furnish clothing or to pay doctor's bills.*** 

"In witness whereof the parties have hereto signed and sealed duplicate this 28th 
day of February, A. D., 1852. 

"Received MacLurin's obligation for $50.00. 

"Thomas Sturgeon. (Seal) 
"Samuel Cbim. (Seal) 
"David Brown. (Seal)" 

"Fugitive Slave. The following appeared in the Alta Calif ornian, April 20, 1853; 
*A person by the name of Brown attempted to have a negro girl arrested in our town 
a few days since as a fugitive slave, but was taken all a-back by the girl's lawyer, 
F. W. Thomas, producing her Freedom Papers. Brown's father set the girl at liberty 
in 1851, and it is thought by many that the son knew the fact, and thought to catch 
the girl without her Freedom Papers but fortunately for her he did not.' — Placer 
Times. {Auburn Herald.)" 

"The Isthmus in '49" appeared in the Century Magazine and, among other things, 
said: "Fremont and '49 Saunders was to return with the Fremonts, happy in having 
gained enough money to buy the freedom of his family, enough to buy a home as well; 
one successful '49er. at least." 

"State of California, ) 

> ss 
"County of Los Angeles, j 

"Before the Hon. Benjamin Hayes, 

"Judge of the District Court of the 

"First Judicial District State of California, 

"County of Los Angeles. 

"In the matter of Hannah and her children, Ann (and Mary, child of Ann), Law- 
rence, Nathaniel, Jane, Charles, Marion, Martha, and an infant boy two weeks old; and 
of Biddy and her children, Ellen, Ann and Harriet, on petition for habeas corpus. Now 
on this nineteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred 
and fifty-six, the said persons above named are brought before me in the custody of the 
Sheriff of said County, all except the said Hannah and infant boy two weeks old( who 
are satisfactorily shown to be too infirm to be brought before me), and except Law- 
rence, (who is necessarily occupied in waiting on his said mother Hannah) and Charles 
(who is absent in San Bernardino County, but within the said Judicial District) and 
Robert Smith, claimant, also appears with his Attorney, Alonzo Thomas, Esq. And 
after hearing, and duly considering the said petition for habeas corpus and the return 
of said claimant thereto, and all the proofs and allegations of the said parties and all 
the proceedings previously had herein, it appearing satisfactory to the Judge here that 
all the said persons so suing in this case to-wit: Hannah and her children, and Biddy, 
and her said children are persons of color, and that Charles, aged now six years, was 
born in the Territory of Utah, of the United States, and Marion (aged four years), 
Martha (aged two years), Mary, daughter of the said Ann, and aged two years, and the 
said infant boy aged two weeks, were born in the State of California, and that the said 
Hannah, Ann, Lawrence, Nathaniel, Jane, and Charles as well as the said Biddy, Ellen, 
Ann, and Harriet have resided with the said Robert Smith for more than four years, and 
since some time in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and fifty-one in 
the State of California; and it further appearing that the said Robert Smith left and 
removed from the State of Mississippi more than eight years ago with the intention of 
not returning thereto, but establishing himself as a resident in Utah Territory, and 
more than four years ago left and removed from said Utah Territory with the intention 
of residing and establishing himself in the State of California, and has so resided, in the 
last mentioned State, since some time in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and fifty-one. And it further appearing by satisfactory proof to the Judge here, that 
all the said persons of color are entitled to their freedom and are free and cannot be 
held in slavery or involuntary servitude, it is therefore argued that they are entitled 
to their freedom and are free forever. And it further appearing to the satisfaction of 
the Judge here that the said Robert Smith intended to and is about to remove from the 
State of California where slavery does not exist, to the State of Texas, where slavery 



OF CALIFORNIA 89 

of Negroesi and persons of color does exist, and established by the municipal laws, and 
intends to remove the said before-mentioned persons of color, to his own use without 
the free will and consent of all or any of the said persons of color, whereby their lib- 
erty will be greatly jeopardized, and there is good reason to apprehend and believe 
that they may be sold into slavery or involuntary servitude and the said Robert Smith 
is persuading and enticing and seducing said persons of color to go out of the State of 
California, and it further appearing that none of the said persons of color can read and 
write, and are almost entirely ignorant of the laws of the state of California as well 
as those of the State of Texas, and of their rights and that the said Robert Smith, 
from his past relation to them as members of his family does possess and exercise over 
them an undue influence in respect to the matter of their said removal insofar that 
they have been in duress and not in possession and exercise of their free will so as 
to give a binding consent to any engagement or arrangement with him. And it fur- 
ther appearing that the said Hannah is thirty-four years, and her daughter Ann, seven- 
teen, and all of her children, to-wit: Lawrence (aged from twelve to thirteen years), 
Nathaniel (aged from ten to eleven), Jane (aged eight years), Charles (aged six years), 
Marion (aged four years), Martha (aged two years) and said infant boy of Hannah, 
aged two weeks, as well as Mary (aged two years), daughter of said Ann, are under 
the age of fourteen years and so under the laws of the State of California, are not 
competent to choose a guardian for themselves; and it further appearing that the said 
Biddy is aged thirty-eight years, and the said Ellen is aged seventeen years, and the 
other children of said Biddy, to-wit: Ann (aged from twelve to thirteen) and Harriet 
(aged eight years), are under the age of fourteen years), and so by the laws of the 
State of California, are not competent to choose a guardian for themselves. It fur- 
ther appearing that the said infant boy two weeks of age of Hannah is of tender age 
and must be kept with his said mother, Hannah, the same is accordingly ordered and 
said infant boy is entrusted to his said mother hereby, and is ordered to appear with 
him before the Judge — here at the Court House, in the City of Los Angeles, on next 
Monday, January 1, 1856, at ten o'clock, a. m., of said day, if her health should per- 
mit and if not, as soon thereafter as may be practicable, of which the Sheriff of Los 
Angeles is thereby notified to notify her, the said Hannah, and whereof the said 
Robert Smith, being now in the Court, has notice, it appearing that she resides in his 
house and is under his control, and the said Mary, child of Ann, appearing to be of 
tender age, is entrusted to the said Ann, to be brought before the Judge here at the 
time and place aforesaid, to be dealt with according to law of which the said Ann and 
the said Robert Smith have notice here and the said Martha, being of tender years, is 
entrusted to the said Ann, her sister, to be brought before the Judge here at the time 
and place aforesaid to be dealt with according to law of which the said Ann and the 
said Robert Smith here have notice and the said Hannah and Ann, are appointed Special 
Guardians respectively of the children so hereby entrusted to them, and notified that 
it is their duty to obey all lawful orders of the Judge here or of some competent Court 
touching the premises, and the further hearing of this case as to the said HannaTi, and 
the infant boy and her children, Lawrence, Charles, Mary and Martha, is adjourned 
until said last mentioned time at the Court House of the City of Los Angeles, and it 
is further ordered, that the said Nathaniel (aged from ten to eleven years), Jane (aged 
eight years), Marion (aged four years), all children of the said Hannah, and said child 
Ann (aged seventeen), and Harriet (aged eight years), are committed to the custody 
of the Sheriff, of Los Angeles County, David W. Alexander, Esq.; as Special Guardian 
until the further order of the Judge, here or of other Judge or Court of competent juris- 
diction to appoint General Guardians, of aforesaid children last mentioned and the 
said Sheriff will leave in full liberty and discharge the said Biddy and her child Ellen 
(aged seventeen years), and the said Ann, only being required to obey the said orders 
hereinbefore made to appear before the Judgs here in manner and form aforesaid, and 
it further appearing that the said Charles is absent in San Bernardino County, within 
said Jurisdiction District. It is ordered that Robert Clift, Esq., Sheriff of said county, 
be and is hereby appointed Special Guardian of said Charles, and as such duly author- 
ized and required to take said Charles in his custody, and him safely keep in such 
manner that said Charles shall not be removed out of the State of California, but shall 
abide the further order of the Judge here or other Judge or Court of competent Juris- 
diction touching his Guardianship. And it is further ordered and adjudged that all the 
cost accrued in the case up to the present date and in executing the present order of 
the Judge here as to the production of said Hannah and her said infant two weeks old, 
and said Lawrence, Martha and Mary, before the Judge here as aforesaid, shall be 
paid by the said Robert Smith, 



90 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

"Given under my hand as Judge of the first Judicial District of the State of Cali- 
fornia, on the 19th day of January, A. D. 1856, at the City of Los Angeles. 

"Benjamin Hayes, 

"District Judge. 

"On this 19th day of January appeared the said Eobert Smith by his attorney, 
Alonzo Thomas, Esq., and moves the Judge hereto the cost in this case which is taken 
under advisement until Monday next at 10 o'clock a. m. 

"Benjamin Hayes, 

"District Judge. 

"On this Monday, January 21st, 1856, the said Smith and the said parties so or- 
dered to appear as aforesaid do not appear and this cause is continued until tomorrow 
at 10 o'clock a. m. 

"Benjamin Hayes, 

' ' District Judge. ' ' 

Slaves Emancipated in California Through the Courts and Friends of the Negro Race 
Before the Issuing of President Abraham Lincoln 's Emancipation Proclamation. 

All white persons who lived in California during its pioneer days were not in 
favor of slavery. They disliked it, and more than one has proven their dislike to 
the institution of slavery by assisting in securing through the courts the emanci- 
pation of Negro slaves held in California. Slaves did not, however, always tell when 
they were thus held, for fear of not being able to prove their freedom with the Free- 
dom Papers, which they were given after working for the master a given period in 
the mines of California. The ensuing records will prove the statement. 

The record of the following case was given to the writer by tl>e daughter of the 
subject. She said: "Biddy Mason came to California with her master, Robert 
Smith, coming from Hancock County, Mississippi, to Salt Lake, and as the Mormons 
were going to San Bernardino, California, and since Mr. Smith's wife continued in 
poor health, he decided to also go to California. Robert Smith and his party of 
slaves reached San Bernardino, California, in 1851. Their trip from Mississippi was 
by ox team. Biddy Mason drove the livestock across the plains into California. There 
were three hundred wagons in the ox team. 

They remained in San Bernardino from 1851 to 1854, when the master decided to 
take the slaves and his family to Texas. En route, they journeyed through Los 
Angeles County, and camped in a canyon near Santa Monica, where they had spent 
only a few days when the news reached Los Angeles, through a Mrs. Rowen, of San 
Bernardino, that these slaves were leaving California to go back into slavery in 
Texas. The Sheriff of Los Angeles County, who, at that date (Jan. 19, 1854), was a 
Mr. Frank Dewitt, issued a writ against this slave-master, preventing him from tak- 
ing his slaves from the State of California. 

Mrs. Biddy Mason, the subject of this sketch, was one of the most wonderful 
of all the colored pioneers coming into California in this history. After securing 
her freedom, she and her family went from this Santa Monica Canyon to Los Angeles. 
She secured employment as a confinement nurse with Dr. Griffin, The first resolu- 
tion she made to herself was that she would secure a home for her children, and 
she began to save her money for that purpose. 

The first piece of property she purchased was one that was considered on the 
outskirts of town. After obtaining the deed to this property, she told her children 
that this was always to remain as their homestead, and it mattered not what their 
circumstances, they were always to retain this homestead. Elsewhere will be found 
a full sketch of the useful life lived by Mrs. Biddy Mason, the leading trail blazer in 
finance of the Negro race. 

Robert Anthony came with his master to Sacramento, California, in 1852, from 
St. Louis, Missouri, by ox team across the plains. Two years to pay for his freedom 
he worked in the mines by day for the master. At night he worked for himself 
and with the money thus earned he purchased and built two quartz mills at Horn- 
cutt, California, which is located between Yuba and Dry Cut. 

While working his mills he heard of a colored girl at Hansonville, in the moun- 
tains, who was being held as a slave. She was working as a sheepherder. He drove 
out to the place and asked her if she did not wish her freedom. She replied: "Yes." 
He requested her to get into his wagon and he drove with her to Colusa. Some time 
afterward this slave girl became his wife. The writer interviewed the subject a few 
years ago at the poor farm in Marysville, and he made the following remark in 
regard to his marriage: "The marriage of Miss Addie Taylor to Robert Anthony 



OF CALIFORNIA 91 

was witnessed by Allen Pinkard and Thomas Scott." He further stated that he had 
an only son, who worked on one of the Hearst papers, but who had forgotten his 
old father, 

Mary Ann Harris, a young colored girl, came with the family of Dr. Ross from 
Richmond, Virginia. She worked as a nurse girl for $4.00 a month to pay for her 
freedom. The doctor and family were stationed on the Island of Alcatraz, in San 
Francisco Bay. This girl was held virtually as a slave, so she told the writer, until 
an old colored woman by the name of Aunt Lucy Evans stole her off the island 
and gave her her freedom. 

Rev. Thomas Starr King went to a ranch near Napa, California, and emanci- 
pated a number of slaves. Among the number were the^ following named persons: 
Aaron Rice, Old Man Sours, Wash Strains, Old Man Sydes. Their names were given 
to the writer by a Mr. Grider, who was a member of the Bear Flag Party. He said 
that these persons were the slave-property of a gentleman in Walnut Creek, and had 
been taken to Napa to continue as slaves, when the word reached Rev. Thomas Starr 
King, who proceeded to go to this place and emancipate them. 

The emancipation of Mrs. Jane Elizabeth Whiting and family is another inter- 
esting event in the emancipation of slaves through the efforts of the colored people 
of San Francisco. The subject of this sketch came from West Virginia with her 
mistress and family, a Mrs. Thompson, whose oldest son acted as guide for the 
party. These slaves were being taken to work on Mr, Thompson 's ranch in Peta- 
luma, California. 

Howard Thompson, together with his mother and her children, and the party of 
slaves, consisting of Mrs. Jane E. Whiting and her three children, and his mother's 
five children, made an interesting party to manage from Kanawa, West Virginia, 
en route to California. They left their home in Virginia on a Sunday morning, June 
1, 1856, going to New Orleans, where they boarded a steamer sailing to Aspinwall, 
Isthmus of Panama. It was while at this port they first realized they were going 
to a new world, where there was no slavery. The children in the party, both those 
of the mistress and the slave woman's, decided to go on a sightseeing party after 
they had been comfortably located in a hotel. The natives, seeing this party of 
children, began to question them as to where they were going. The children inno- 
cently told the truth, whereupon they were asked where they were stopping, and as 
to whether the mother of the colored children was slave or free. 

After learning where they were stopping, the natives went to the hotel and 
asked to see the colored woman. When she appeared they asked her if she was free 
and to produce her Freedom Papers. Since she was not free, she did not return to 
talk with the party. Her actions aroused the suspicion of the natives, since it was 
the law of their country that a slave could not cross it and remain a slave. They 
spread the alarm among themselves, that slaves were being carried through the 
country. This resulted in the forming of a mob on the outside. It was several days 
before Mr. Thompson could convince the people that the colored people were his 
servants and were willingly going to California with him. 

The party, however, met the same conditions upon reaching Panama City. The 
feeling at this place was so strong against them that they left before the next 
morning. Mr. Thompson hired some strong natives to carry the party out to the 
boat on their backs, since the water was shallow. A party of small launches met 
the party and finished the journey to the steamer, but the launches were compelled 
to go up stream five miles and then out and across to the steamer, in an effort not 
to arouse suspicion of kidnapping the party of colored people. The ladder of the 
steamer was lowered to admit of their boarding the ship. When the captain saw 
that there were colored people in the party, he drew his revolver and commanded 
them to halt. Mr. Thompson, upon being questioned, stated to the captain that these 
people were his private servants and were quite willingly accompanying him and his 
mother to California. The captain was still in doubt as to the truthfulness of the 
statement and demanded to know the reason why they were coming to the steamer 
at such an early hour, since the steamer sent for its passengers at ten in the morning. 
Whereupon Mr. Thompson told of the natives' suspicion that the colored people were 
slaves and he feared trouble, since he could not make them understand. After a 
long parley the captain finally allowed them to board the steamer. 

Aboard the ship there were several Abolitionists from Boston, and a colored 
man by the name of David Johnson, from New Bedford, Mass. This gentleman became 
very much interested in the colored people and readily secured their confidence, and 
learned that they were going to a ranch in Petaluma, California. 

This newly-made friend and the white Abolitionist on board the steamer decided 
that, since the laws of California did not permit of slavery, they must plan some way 



92 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

to liberate these colored slaves after they reached California. They decided to tell 
the colored woman that she and her children must be the first to land when the ship 
docked, and that these newly-made friends would look out for their safety. They 
took them to a colored boarding house, at the corner of Kearney and Clay streets, 
San Francisco, which was known as the "Harper & West Boarding House." 

The news soon spread that a family of slaves from Virginia had arrived on the 
steamship "John L. Stevens." The colored people in San Francisco held a mass 
meeting and decided to protect them in every way possible. They decided that the 
first thing to do would be to change their names from Whiting to Freeman, and then 
secure for the mother some day's work. They instructed the children to keep the 
shutters to their room always closed. But one day the children went out to play, 
and a passenger who was on the ship that brought them to San Francisco recognized 
and questioned them and afterwards wrote to Mrs. Thompson and told her where to 
locate her slaves; Mrs. Thompson did not attempt to reclaim them. Strange to 
relate, fifteen years afterward "Aunt Jane" and her former mistress met on the 
streets of San Francisco, and recognized each other and talked together, learning 
that for five weeks, while Mrs. Thompson was in search of these slaves, that they 
were boarding within a short distance of them all the time, and yet she never located 
them. 

There was a number of slaves liberated in San Jose, California, through the com- 
bined efforts of Kev. Peter Cassey, Mrs. Harriett Davis and a Mrs. White. Among 
the number of slaves were a Mr. and Mrs. William Parker. 

The colored people were united in their efforts to liberate slaves whenever they 
heard of such on California's soil. Prominent among those who were ever watchful 
for such were Eev. J. B. Sanderson, Mr. Minor and Kobinson, of Stockton, who, 
together, went armed into San Joaquin County and liberated slaves. In many 
instances the slaves refused to talk to them, since they had been told that the 
colored people would harm them. These men, after a struggle in many instances, 
succeeded in convincing them that they were their friends and finally rescued them. 

The following case wiU illustrate some of their work, and is quoted from the diary 
of Rev. J. B. Sanderson, with the permission of the family: "Monday, June 3, 1872 — 
Dismissed school at nine o'clock; went out to Mr. Durham's ranch with Sheriff T. 
Cunningham after Annie Eandall. I interviewed Mr. Durham; rode into town with 
Annie Randall; called upon Mr. Durham; took dinner at Mr. Cunningham's; attended 
court before Judge Bonker. Annie Randall released, and at my house. Attended 
meeting this P. M., an enthusiastic meeting." The ranch where this slave girl was 
found was near Stockton. 

Through the efforts of Mr. William Robinson, of Red Bluff, a Miss Hester Ander- 
son and Miss Belle Grant were liberated during the last of '68 or '69. 

The following is quoted from Bancroft's "History of California": " 'Charles, 
a colored man, came to California as the slave of Lindall Hays. He escaped and was 
brought before Judge Thomas on a writ of habeas corpus and was discharged. The 
Judge maintained that under the laws of Mexico, which prevailed at the time of 
Charles' arrival, he was free. The Constitution of California forbade slavery, and 
the man, having been freed by the Mexican laws, could not in any case be seized as 
a slave. On the twenty-fourth of May Charles was brought up for breach of peace, 
charged with an assault on Hays, as resistance to a sheriff. It turned out that the 
sheriff had no warrant, and that Charles, having been declared a free man, was 
justified in defending himself from assault by Hays and the unauthorized officer who 
had assisted him. Counsellor Zabriske argued the law, also J. W. Winans. Justice 
Saekett discharged the prisoner. — Placer Times, May 27, 1851.' " 

Fay's statement: 

"In August, 1850, one Galloway, from Missouri, arrived in California with his 
slave, 'Frank,' whom he took to the mines, from which the slave escaped in the 
spring of 1851, going to San Francisco. Galloway found him in March and locked 
him up in Whitehall Building on Long Wharf. A writ of habeas corpus was 
issued in Frank's behalf by Judge Morris. The Negro stated that he believed Gal- 
loway meant to take him on board a vessel to convey him to the States. Bryne and 
McAlgay, Halliday and Saunders were employed in the interest of the slave, and 
Frank Pixley for the master, who alleged that he was simply traveling with his 
attendant and meant to leave the States soon. But the judge held that Galloway 
could not restrain Frank from his liberty as he was not a fugitive slave, but if brought 
at all to the State by Galloway, was so brought without his consent. He was allowed 
to go free." — Alta, California, April 12, 1851. San Francisco Courier, March 31, 1851 
(Borthwick, 164-5), Hayes Scrap Book (Hughes Ms. 1-28). 



OF CALIFORNIA 



95 




ATTORNEY B. BURTON CERUTI 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 





MME. SADIK CHANDLER-COLE 
Musical Instructor. 



MME. FLORENCE COLE-TALBERT 
Diamond Medalist and Lyric Soprano. 





MISS JU ANITA ALICE PATTON 
Lyric Soprano. 



DR. RUTH J. TEMPLE 

First Colored Woman Physician in 

the State. 



OF CALIFORNIA 95 

Cases like the above just quoted were paid for through the efforts of all the 
colored people throughout the State, who contributed freely to the expense of the 
employment of lawyers. 

While speaking of slavery in California, and the numerous laws to prevent Free 
Negroes from coming to or residing in the State, and the number of colored people 
who left the State and went to live in Canada, and afterward returned to fight it 
out in California, there was one Negro woman who left the State also to go to Canada. 
Any of the old pioneer colored people, when asked concerning her, immediately begin 
to tell all sorts of queer stories about her, and usually end by saying: "She always 
wore a poke bonnet and a plaid shawl," and "she was very black, with thin lips." 
Then sometimes they will also add: "She handled more money during pioneer days 
in California than any other colored person." 

It will not interest the average colored person of today, in California, whether 
this strange woman was a witch or a great financier, but the following story con- 
cerning her activities with the hero, John Brown, of Harper's Ferry, will interest 
more than one. While the general public may have criticized her life, as they thought 
they knew it, nevertheless, if the story which I am relating be true, she was in dis- 
guise a modern "Queen Esther." A colored lady once told the writer that the 
mysterious woman — who was her personal friend — had said to her that she had no 
respect for white people because of the way they had treated her when she was a 
slave, and that she purposed to rule them with an iron hand. From the different 
stories told concerning her, she knew the morals of pioneer California, and if history 
be true, more than one pioneer man and woman did things that they would rather 
the court records did not mention. Yet the world passes over their faults and says 
that they were pioneers, and had made it possible for the State to become such, and 
that they had developed its resources. Charity is thrown over the faults of these 
pioneer empire-builders; then why may not a little charity be spared to this black slave 
woman, who was really a pioneer character of early San Francisco? 

This story was given to the writer by a Mr. William Stephens, of Oakland, 
California (now at Del Monte), who said: "While on the private car of Mr. 
Crocker, and while the car was at one time in the railroad yards at Point Levy, 
Quebec, Canada, I was engaged in conversation with the foreman of the yards, who, 
after learning that we were from San Francisco, asked if I had ever seen 'Mammy 
Pleasants.' I said I had, and he then told me that his father had been a Canadian 
Labor Commissioner before the Civil War, and also had been connected with the 
Underground Railroad (a society organized to assist Negro slaves to escape to Canada). 
When the slaves reached Canada, his father, as Labor Commissioner, had seen to 
their securing work, that they might not become public charges." 

This foreman of the railroad yards further told Mr. Stephens that his father 
had seen "Mammy Pleasants" give John Brown a large sum of money, and that this 
money was used by John Brown in financing his raid on Harper's Ferry. Mr. 
Stephens said that he paid no attention to this story because of the fact that he had 
never heard anyone in California say that "Mammy Pleasants" had been to Canada. 
But a number of years afterward, at the death of "Mammy Pleasants," there appeared 
in the San Francisco Chronicle and Call a wonderful biography of the woman which 
Mr. Stephen saved, and from which the writer was permitted to make the following 
copy: 

San Francisco Call, January 4, 1904: "Her epitaph is written; the tombstone 
of 'Mammy Pleasants' will express her loyalty to the hero of Harper's Ferry. Tribute 
to John Brown, remains of woman who gave him financial assistance are borne to last 
resting place. The remains of 'Mammy Pleasants,' who died early Monday morning 
at the home of Lyman Sherwood, on Filbert street, will rest tonight under the soil 
of the little cemetery in the town of Napa, to which her body was taken this morn- 
ing. One last request of 'Mammy Pleasants' was that there be placed above her 
grave a tombstone bearing her name, age, nativity, and the words: 'She was a 
a friend of John Brown's.' One of the many interesting stories of her eventful 
career, told by Mrs. Pleasants, was her experience during the exciting times preceding 
the outbreak of the Civil War. With the money inherited from her first husband, 
she came to California, and was here in 1858, when the first news of John Brown's 
efforts to free the slaves of the South were conveyed to San Francisco. Being in 
full sympathy with the movement, she conceived the idea of lending him financial 
assistance for the undertaking, and April 5, 1858, found her eastward bound with 
a $30,000 United States treasury draft, which had been procured for her through 
the aid of Robert Swain, John W. Coleman and Mr. Alford. 

"Reaching Boston, Mrs. Pleasants arranged for a meeting with John Brown in 
Windsor, Canada. Before leaving Boston, Mrs. Pleasants had her draft exchanged 



96 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

for Canadian paper, which she converted into coin and finally turned over to Brown. 
After a conference in Canada, it was agreed between them that he should not strike 
a blow for the freedom of the Negro until she had journeyed to the South and had 
aroused the feelings of rebellion among her people. Disguised as a jockey, she pro- 
ceeded to the South, and was engaged in her part of the plot when she was startled 
by the news that Brown had already made his raid on Harper's Ferry and had been 
captured. Learning that the authorities were in pursuit of Brown's accomplices, 
Mrs. Pleasants immediately fled to New York, and, after remaining in hiding for 
some time, assumed another name and made her way back to California. 

"When Brown was captured, there was found on his person a letter reading: 
'The ax is laid at the root of the tree. When the first blow is struck, there will be 
more money to help.' The message was signed 'W. E. P.' For months the authorities 
vainly searched for the author of the message. In later years it developed that Mrs. 
Pleasants had written the letter, but in signing it she had made her first initial 
*M' look like 'W. ' Mrs. Pleasants always blamed Brown for hastening his attack 
at Harper's Ferry, which she claimed cost her in all over $40,000. Among her 
effects are letters and documents bearing upon the historical event in which she 
played a secret and important part." 

It may interest the reader to know that in 1864, about the first of October, the 
family of John Brown, of Harper's Ferry fame, reached California. They came 
across the plains and reached a meadow near Eed Bluff, California, on the above- 
named date. They spent the fall on the meadow and afterward removed into Eed 
Bluff upon the approach of winter. One of the daughters, "Sara," accepted a 
position in the public school at Eed Bluff, teaching for a number of years, during 
which she had as a pupil a colored student by the name of Miss Clara Logan, who 
today lives in San Francisco, and is the widow of fhe late Mr. Albert Frazier. Miss Sara 
Brown later in life moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains, between Los Gates and 
Saratoga, where she recently died. Another daughter, Mrs. Euth Brown-Thompson, 
located in Pasadena, California, as did also their brother, Owen Brown. 

Eeturning to the subject of "Mammy Pleasants": If reports be true of her 
activities as financial adviser to distinguished white gentlemen in California, she 
must have come into possession of the cold facts that men were selling Negro slaves 
and were making great fortunes from their labor in the mines of California. She 
realized that after the Negroes had worked sufficiently long to pay the price asked 
for their freedom in California, and with the crude manner of living then in the 
State, there soon would be a race of free Negroes in California, with neither health 
nor government protection. She had great confidence in John Brown's sincerity, 
and believed that, together with her help, he would start a bold dash for freedom for 
all slaves. The mere fact that she went to Boston before starting on this history- 
making and daring undertaking will readily recall the fact that Boston was the 
home of the great Abolitionists, and that all the workings through the Underground 
Eailroad were directed from there. It was the home of the immortal William Lloyd 
Garrison, Sumner and our own Hon. Fred. Douglass. The sincere friends of the Negro 
slaves were in Boston. This California black woman may have spent her remaining 
days, for all anyone knows, in an effort to repay the money given to John Brown, 
notwithstanding the following, which appeared in the San Francisco News-Letter and was 
republished in the OaTcland Tribune, September 3, 1916: 

"The true story of 'Mammy Pleasants': The recent sale of oil lands of the 
Bell estate for $1,800,000 has created a flutter in oil circles. Not many years ago 
this same land was hawked about San Francisco by parties who had the option on it 
for $15,000, and there were no buyers. It seems a queer thing, that while there 
wa» oil on three sides of the land, no one could be persuaded into the idea that it was 
to be found in that particular tract. Some twenty or more of San Francisco's capi- 
talists are now metanhorically kicking themselves for their lack of venture, when 
they had such a chance to admit opportunity knocking at their doors. 

"In this connection, some pacers have stated that Thomas Bell was induced 
to buy this land by old 'Mammy Pleasants,' his housekeeper and servant, when she 
was with him in the old 'House of Mystery' on Octavia street. As a matter of 
fact, Mrs. Pleasants built that house and owned it, and never was Tom Bell'j 
servant or the servant of anyone else while she lived in San Francisco. She was his 
personal friend and business advisor, and for years was supposed to exercise some 
uncanny power over him. 

"Mrs. Pleasants was a wonderful woman, with a dominating mind, and bent 
everyone about her to her will. She was born a slave in Georgia, and worked as a 
cotton picker on a plantation. One day a planter named Price stopped to ask the 



OP CALIFORNIA 97 

way, aa he was riding past on horseback. Her ready reply and bright mentality »o 
attracted his attention that he told her owner that she was too smart to be a slave 
and purchased her freedom for $600. He sent her to Boston to be educated, but 
the family to whose keeping she was entrusted failed to keep faith and merely made 
her a drudge. 

"She came to San Francisco in 1849, with $50,000 in gold from the sale of Cuban 
bonds from her first husband's estate. His name was Alexander Smith. His home 
in Boston was a resort for such men as William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and the 
coterie of men who advocated the abolition of slavery. On his deathbed Smith 
made his wife promise to use his legacy in the liberation of slaves. When she came 
to San Francisco, California, she loaned out money at 10 per cent per month and 
accumulated a fortune. 

"She had a stormy life. In 1858 she carried out her husband's wishes by meeting 
John Brown in Chatham, Canada, and giving him $30,000 to start the Harper's Ferry 
fight. He bought 15,000 condemned government rifles with the money, at $2 apiece. 
After Brown's capture letters from her, signed 'M E P.,' were found upon his person. 
The detectives, however, read her rough signature as 'W. E. P.,' and thus she evaded 
them and reached California on a ship that came around Cape Horn. She escaped 
detection by giving her ticket to a white woman, and sailed in the steerage under 
an assumed name. 

"When the famous divorce case of Sharon v. Sharon went to trial in this city, 
Mrs. Pleasants backed the plaintiff to the extent of $65,000. It was claimed that 
Tom Bell advanced the money to get even with Sharon, but such was not the case. 
She had a way of taking sides with the under-dog, and every cent advanced was her 
own. 

"Mrs. Pleasants was locked out of the 'House of Mystery' after the death of 
Bell. At the time he fell over the bannisters in the night and was killed, it was 
claimed that 'Mammy Pleasants' threw him over to get several hundred thousand 
dollars that he left her in his will. When the will was probated, however, it trans- 
pired that she was not even mentioned. The motive, therefore, fell to the ground 
and the case was dropped. Those who knew her intimately declared that her name 
was omitted from the will at her own request. She argued that if she were remem- 
bered in the will, some people might think the legacy was hush money, given her by 
Bell to preserve silence over some dark spot in his life. 

Thomas Bell and she were rare, warm personal friends, and that was all there was 
in the story. She was on friendly terms in the old days with most of the men in 
San Francisco worth knowing — W. C. Ealston, D, Q. Mills, Newton Booth, Lloyd 
Tevis, David Terry and a score of other prominent men. 

"It is claimed that she went into a trance and saw the future of the oil land 
wealth, and induced Bell to buy. This story is all moonshine, as he was a practical 
and matter-of-fact man and despised everything connected with the occult. Mrs. 
Pleasants probably saw in this land a good place to raise beans, such as she used to 
cook in Boston, and was governed in her choice solely by this idea. 

"What irony there is in fate! After Bell's death she was locked out of the 
'House of Mystery' and died in poverty in a little place on Baker street, where 
friends had given her an asylum. So ended the old colored woman who for years 
was a power in San Francisco's affairs and who so largely aided in precipitating 
the crisis that started the Civil War by furnishing John Brown with the funds to 
start his historical raid at Harper's Ferry. 

"Before her death she made a transfer of all her property to Sam Davis, of 
Carson City, on the ground that he was the only person who came to her assistance 
when she was thrown into insolvency and supposed to be in want. She also fur- 
nished him the data with which to found the story of her life." 



CHAPTER X 

FmsT Colored Settlers of California 

Historians, in their research work for material to write a true history of Cali- 
fornia, have found it necessary to quote often from documents found in the Archives 
of Mexico and Spain. One of the best and most scientific works published by the 
University of California, covering years of research work by the assistant Professor 
of history, Mr, Charles Edward Chapman, is a book called "Spanish California." 
The writer of the "Negro Trail-Blazers of California" has also found it necessary 
to consult documents found in the Archives of Spain and Mexico. 

There are a great many names given in the pioneer list of the Bancroft histories 
which have been quoted from the Archives of Spain. Some of these are those of 
families which have been registered as a mixture of the Spanish and Negro races. 
The writer spent fully a year in research work in an effort to find the reason for 
this register. In consulting with Professor Chapman, of the University of Cali- 
fornia, as to the advisability of quoting the references in the Bancroft histories, 
Professor Chapman stated that he had seen the originals in the Archives of Spain 
while making research for his book, and that they were absolutely accurately quoted. 
In further study and research work, especially after attending a course of lectures 
by the greatest living historian, Hon. Henry Morse Stephens, who gave an interesting 
course of lectures on Spanish California at the University of California, the writer 
was convinced of the advisability and justice of giving these names. This belief 
was further strengthened after reading from the reliable historian. Sir Arthur Helps, 
who, in his "Slavery in the Spanish Colonies," gives the slave laws governing the 
colonies. A portion of these slave laws is quoted in this chapter and also the chapter 
on "Slavery" in this book. The quotation is as follows: 

"In a lengthy quotation from the Royal Historiographer, Herrera, who speaks 
of the king having informed the Admiral Don Diego Columbus, in 1510, that they 
should send fifty Negroes to work in the mines of Hispaniola * * * Zuajo, the 
judge of residence and the legal colleague of Las Casas, wrote to the same effect. 
He, however, suggested that the Negroes should be placed in settlements and mar- 
ried." Sir Arthur Helps further states, in quoting Las Casas 's colonization scheme 
and the laws affecting free Negroes and Negresses: "Free Negresses, unless married 
to Spaniards, should not wear gold ornaments, pearls and silk. Provision was made 
that in the sale of children of Spaniards and Negresses, their parents should have 
the right of pre-emption." 

There was another clause in the king's colonization scheme that fully explains 
why these names were recorded in the Archives of Spain. That clause said: "The 
king was to give them lands of his own lands; furnish them with plowshares, spades 
and provide medicine for them; lastly, whatever rights and property accumulated 
from their holdings were to be hereditary." The last quotation is very clear and 
should be sufficient for the most prejudiced mind to fully understand the reason 
many Negro families had Spanish names. 

The writers of California history have also found that the early population of 
California was composed of persons who migrated from Mexico and settled in Cali- 
fornia. It has also been found that many were of the direct descendants of pioneer 
families who had gone to Mexico under the colonization scheme of the king, as just 
quoted; hence, under the Spanish slave laws, they were registered in the Archives 
of Spain, and also their children, that they might enjoy the hereditary benefits of 
the holdings and accumulations of their foreparents. As the king permitted the 
Spaniards to marry the Negresses, their children were protected by the slave laws 
of that period. This was sufficient reason for Mr. Bancroft, as a true historian, 
to include their names as he found them in the Archives of Spain. It is the only 
reason that the author has thought it worth while also to include them in the beginning 
of the pioneer list of this book. In doing so she also suffers a pang of regret that 
the United States government did not have such slave laws in the days when slavery 
was permitted in the United States. Had there been such there would not today 
be so many people with more white than Negro blood — people who all their lives 
must endure the stigma of having come from an unlegalized union between the 
white slave-master and his Negro slave-woman. 

Mr. Bancroft, realizing that the people of today are prejudiced against the 
Negro race or anyone with Negro blood, had the following to say in volume 1, 
page 4, of his "History ofl the Native Races of the Pacific Coast States": "Ana- 



OF CALIFORNIA 99 

tomically there is no difference between the Negro and European. The color of his 
skin, the texture of the hair, the convolutions of the brain, and all other peculiari- 
ties, may be attributed to heat, moisture and food. Man, though capable of subdu- 
ing the world to himself, and of making his home under climates and circumstances 
the most diverse, is none the less a child of nature, acted upon and molded by these 
conditions which he attempts to govern; climate, periodicities of nature, material 
surroundings, habits of tliought and modes of life, acting through a long series of 
ages, exercise a powerful influence upon human physical organization, and yet man 
is perfectly created for any sphere in which he may dwell, and is governed in his 
conditions by choice, rather than by coercion; articulate laying, which forms the 
great line of demarcation between the human and brute creation, may be traced 
in its leading characteristics to one common source. The differences between races 
of men are not specific differences. The greater part of the flora and fauna of 
America, those of the circum-polar region excepted, are essentially dissimilar to those 
of the old world. While man in the new world, though bearing traces of high antiquity, 
is specifically identified with all the races of the earth. It is well known that the 
hybrids of plants and animals do not possess the power of reproducing; while in the 
intermixture of races of man no such sterility of progenity can be found; therefore, 
as there are no human hybrids, there are no separate human races or species, but 
all are of one family. Besides being consistent with sound reasoning this theory 
can bring to its support the testimony of the sacred writings, and an internal evi- 
dence of a Creator divine and spiritual, which is sanctioned by tradition and con- 
firmed by most philosophic minds. Man, unlike animals, is the direct offspring of the 
Creator, and as such he alone continues to derive his inheritance from divine source." 
This is indeed a fine tribute to pay to the Negro race and Negro people, not only 
of the Pacific Coast but of the entire world. 

Sir Harry Johnston, in his "Negro in the New World," said: "But although 
the Negro still possesses pithecoid characteristics long since lost by the Caucasian and 
Mongolian; although he comes of a stock which has stagnated in the African and 
Asiatic tropics uncounted, unprogressive milleniums, he has retained dormant the free 
attributes of sapient humanity. He has remarkably ungaugeable capabilities." 

Both of these masterful quotations are from the best known white writers of 
history. The following is one from the pen of the greatest Negro historian, George 
W. Williams, who says in his "History of the Negro": "And yet, through all 
his interminable woes and wrongs, the Negro on the West Coast of Africa, in Liberia 
and the Sierra Leona as well as in the southern part of the United States, shows 
that centuries of savagehood and slavery have not drained him of all the elements 
of his manhood. History furnishes us abundant and specific evidence of his capacity 
to civilize and Christianize." This last quotation, coming from a great Negro writer, 
shows that great minds are about the same in their opinion in regard to the Negro 
race. 

The writer, having given positive proof that the California historians have all traced 
the beginning of the settlers in and of California to persons who had migrated from 
Mexico and Spain, the following will give an account of the first Negroes on this 
coast, beginning with the mention of the Negroes in the North Mexican States. 

The following quotation is from Bancroft, who, in his "History of the North 
Mexican States," says, in speaking of the struggles of the Jesuits in establishing 
the Mission of Loretto: "Having to wait for a craft promised by Sieppe, Salvatierra 
made a visit to the scene of his former labors in the mountains, and later a revolt 
in Tarahmara Alta required his presence, so that he was delayed till the middle 
of August. Back at the Yaqui he found the 'Lancha' and 'Galliot,' and was greeted 
by the commander with harrowing tales of perils escaped by 'Our Lady's' aid on 
the way from Acapulco. The vessel was kept in waiting for nearly two months 
longer, and, after all, was then greatly disappointed, chiefly because Father Kino 
was prevented by Indian troubles from joining the party, as he had intended, and 
also because, for the same reason, only a small quantity of persons could be obtained. 
Francis Maria Piccolo had been appointed in Kino's place, but was not waited for. 
With a military escort of six men, a motley army with which Cortez himself might 
have hesitated to undertake a conquest. Father Juan resolved to embark without 
further delay, a step characteristic of the man." 

In a footnote of the chapter quoted, the names of the military escort are given 
and also the Spanish references. It reads as follows: "The force was composed of 
Barteloma de Robles Figure, a Creole of Guadalajara; Juan, a Peruvian Mulatto; 
also three Indians from Sinaloa, Sonora. Jalisco Romero commanded the vessel, and 
there were six sailors on the 'Lancha. ' " 



100 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Bancroft further states (vol. 5, p. 572): "There is little to be said of the Jesuit 
Mission in the last years; their expulsion from the Provinces, and American statistics, 
from the Bishop's visita, the descriptive list and the Jesuit catalogue, corresponding 
to those already given from Pimeria Alta and appended in a little note in which I 
include the Province of Sinaola proper and Ostimuri, and to which I add Tamarep's 
statistics of the southern coast provinces of Culican to Rosario. From the items thus 
represented we learn that in the territory corresponding to modern Sinaloa and 
Sonora, during the last years of the Jesuits' era, there was a population of gente 
de razon of Spanish, Negro and mixed blood, amounting to 30,000 souls." 

After the return of Portola from the trip through Northern California, in search 
of the Bay of Monterey, shortly after he reached San Diego, the supply ship "San 
Antonio" hove in sight, thereby saving California from being deserted by the expe- 
dition. The entire party afterward set out again to try to locate the Bay of Mon- 
terey. They divided; part went by a land route, and the remaining members sailed 
on the "San Antonio." When the ship finally cast anchor in the Santa Barbara 
Channel she had many sick from scurvy; some were dying. She left part of her 
crew, and Father Junipero Serra sailed with them to Monterey. After being con- 
vinced that the bay was Monterey, and establishing a Mission, the reader is told 
in Palou's Noticias that "The President Father celebrated the feast of 'Corpus 
Christi' with a community of twelve friars." The historian, Bancroft, makes mention 
of the Negro when he says (vol. I, p. 175): "The 'San Antonio' anchored at Mon- 
terey, May 21, 1771. On board with the President Father, Junipero Serra, were 
twenty-three friars, who, after the founding of the Mission San Carlos, celebrated 
the feast of 'Corpus Christi.' The first burial was on the day of the founding, 
June 3 when Alezo Nuno, one of the San Antonio's crew, was buried at the foot 
of the cross." In Palou's Noticias (vol. I, p. 401): "The first interment in the 
cemetery was that of Ignacio Ramirez, a Mulatto slave from the 'San Antonio,' who 
h%d money to purchase his freedom." 

The reader will readily recall that Palou was the lifelong friend of Father 
Junipero Serra, having come with him from Spain to Mexico and hence to Cali- 
fornia. He was associated with him during all his work on this coast in establishing 
missions and Christianizing and civilizing the Indians. There can be no doubt 
whatever of the truthfulness of a statement coming from Palou, who is considered 
an eminent authority concerning the struggles and work of the Franciscans on this 
coast, especially in California. According to this writer, the first Christian burial 
in California, according to the rites of the Holy Catholic Church, were the remains 
of a Negro slave, who had money to pay for his freedom. It is indeed a strange 
coincidence that the last burial in this same cemetery was of the bones of Friar 
Junipero Serra, which, after laying for a hundred years or more in the burial ground 
connected with the Mission of San Carlos, near Monterey, were removed, in 1913, 
under the auspices of the Young Men's Institute, to the burial ground of the Mission 
Carmel, which is located at Carmel-by-the-Sea, and was the first ground consecrated 
for a burial place in all of California. 

The historian, H. H. Bancroft, in speaking of the founding of Los Angeles, 
said: "The governor. Neve, issued his instructions for the founding of the Pueblo 
of La Reina de Los Angeles from San Gabriel on the 26th day of August. While 
agreeing with or literally copying the clause of the regulation which I have translated 
in the preceding note this document contained many additional particulars respecting 
the survey and distribution of lots. Of subsequent proceedings, for a time, we only 
know that the pueblo was founded September 4, 1781, with twelve settlers and their 
families, forty-six persons in all, whose blood was a strange mixture of Indian and 
Negro, with here and there a trace of Spanish." The names of the settlers, as given, 
the writer will quote when either the wife or husband is registered as a Mulatto 
or Mulattress. 

"Joseph Moreno, Mulatto, 22 years old, wife a, Mulattress, five children; Manuel 
Cameron, Mulatto, 30 years old, wife Mulattress; Antonio Mesa, Negro, 38 
years old, wife, Mulattress, six children; Jose Antonio Navarro, Mestizo, 42 years 
old, wife, Mulattress, three children; Basil Rosas, Indian, 68 years old, wife, Mulat- 
tir6ss six cliildrGn. ' ^ 

Bancroft also' mentions that: "From a later padron of 1785 (Prov. St. Pap-Ms. 
xxii-29), it appears that Navarro was a tailor," The following named colored set- 
tlers appeared in the pioneer list of vols. 2-4 and 6 of Bancroft 's ' ' History of Cali- 
fornia." They are registered as coming to California after 1790: "Bob, or Cristo- 
bal, 1816, the pioneer Negro, left by Captain Smith of the 'Albatross'; Norris, 1818, 
Negro of Bouchard's force, captured and became a cook at San Juan Capistrano 
(vol 4, p. 755; vol. 2, p. 230-248-393); Anderson Norris, 1843, Negro deserter from 



OP CALIFORNIA 101 

the Cyan, killed by the Californians (vol. 4, p. 400-565); Hood Frisbe, 1848, Negro 
steward on the Isaac, Mokelumn Hill, 1852 (vol. 3, p. 787); Frances LaMott, 
1845, Negro deserter from Bouchard's force or expedition, remained in California 
(vol. 2, p. 237-293; vol. 4, p. 768); Francisco, Negro of Bouchard's force (vol. 2, 
p. 237-746; Fisar, 1825, Negro from Pennsylvania, who came to Santa Barbara on 
the steamer 'Santa Rosa' in 1829; at Los Angeles, a farmer, 35 years old, without 
religion, but of good conduct, mentioned by Coronel, for whom he worked in 1846-47, 
and perhaps by Foster in 1S49. It is possible, however, that this Fisar and the fol- 
lowing were the same Fisar in 1846 of the California Battalion, said to have been 
attacked by Indians near Los Angeles in 1847, Fremont court-martial, Fisar, 1847, 
member of the Californians (vol. 5, p. 576). Fisar, 1847, at Sutter's Fort, for the 
quicksilver mines, also (vol. 3, p. 739). Allen B. Light, 1835, Negro who deserted 
from the 'Pilgrim' or some other vessel and became an otter hunter (vol. 3, p. 413). 
He was known as Black Steward, his encounter with a grizzly bear in the Santa Bar- 
bara region being mentioned bv Alfred Robinson and other adventurers. According 
to Nidever, he was one of Graham's men, 1836-8, and in 1839, being a naturalized 
resident of Santa Barbara, he was appointed by the government agent to prevent 
illegal otter hunting (vol. 4, 6, p. 91). At Los Angeles in 1841, and in 1846-8 at San 
Diego, still a hunter." 

In the history of Santa Clara County, by J. P. Monroe Fraser (p. 62), he says: 
"The soldiers of the San Francisco district were divided into three cantonments, one 
at the Presidio, one at Santa Clara Mission, and one at the Mission of San Jose, We 
here append a list of soldiers connected with the Presidio in the year 1790, which 
has been copied from the Spanish Archives in San Francisco. Here will be found 
the names, position, nativity, color, race and age of the soldiers, as well as those of 
their wives, when married. Justa Altamarino, Mulatto, from Sonora, 45 years old; 
Maria Garcia, Mulatto, 18 years old. There was a half-cast race between the white 
Castilian and the native Indian, very few of the families retaining the pure blood 
of Old Castile. They were consequently of all shades of color, and developed, the 
women especially, into a handsome, comely race." The writer has quoted the names 
that were given as Mulattoes. 

Father Engelhardt says in "Missions and Missionaries of California" (p. 151): 
"It seems that when Friar Kino and Salvatierra arrived, the natives lived in pre- 
cisely the same manner as when Cortez appeared on the coast 160 years before. 
Physically these Indians, as a rule, were tall and robust. Their color was dark chest- 
nut, approaching black. The men had no beards, but their hair was straight and 
black. Their features were somewhat heavy; the forehead was low arid narrow; the 
nose thick; the inner corners of the eyes were round, instead of pointed, and the 
teeth were white and regular." 

In Bancroft's "Native Races" (vol. 5, p. 328), he says: "The Northern Cali- 
fornians around Klamath Lake and the Klamath, Trinity and Rogue Rivers are tall, 
muscular and well made, with complexions varying from black to light brown. About 
Redwood Creek, Humboldt Bay and Ell River they are squatty and fat in figure, 
rather stoutly-built, with large heads, coarse, black hair and repulsive countenances, 
and are of much darker color. * * * At Crescent City Mr. Powers saw some 
broad-faced squaws of almost African blackness." 

Bancroft, in. giving native characteristics of the people in the Northern Mexican 
States and Texas, says: "The intermixture of races in Colonial Days was much 
slower in the North, owing to the inferior culture of the Indians and the later entry 
of settlers. * For a long time after the independence Creole families sought to resist the 
inevitable but rapid influx of settlers, and the allurement of mineral wealth tended 
to overcome hesitancy, partly by bridging the chasm. Nevertheless, the _ Spanish 
element remained strong and the mixture has been little varied by the admission of 
Negro blood." 

The following is quoted from a Historical Sketch of Los Angeles, which was 
published by the Centennial Committee, J. J. "Warner, Benjamin Hayes and J. P. 
Widney, in 1876: "Peter Biggs was the first barber. As a slave he was sold to an 
officer at Fort Leavenworth. At the close of the war, left on California territory, 
his freedom was necessarily recognized. He lived here many years thereafter. In the 
spring of 1850 probably three or four colored persons were in the city. In 1875 
they numbered 175 souls, many of whom hold good city property, acquired by indus- 
try. They are farmers, mechanics or of some one or other useful occupation and 
remarkable for good habits. They count some seventy-five voters. Robert Owen, 
familiarly by Americans called Uncle Bob, came from Texas in December, 1853, 
■with Aunt "Winnie, his wife, two daughters and a son, Charles Owen. They survive 
him. He was an honorable, shrewd man of business, energetic and honorable in 



102 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

his dealings, made money by government contracts and general trade. He died well 
esteemed by white and colored, August 18, 1865, aged 59 years. 

"Of the Society of Mexican Veterans are five colored men: George Smith, 
George Diggs, Lewis G. Green, Paul Eushmore and Peter Byers. The last named 
was born in Henrico County, Virginia, in 1810, and served with Col. Jack Hayes, 
Gen. Z. Taylor and Capt. John Long. He was at the Battle of Monterey. Eushmore 
was born in 1829 in Georgia, and served on Taylor's line. He drove through the 
team of Col. John Ward and James Douglass from Chihuahua to Los Angeles. Smith and 
Diggs (the first born in New York, the second in the District of Columbia), both 
served on the ship 'Columbus,' under Commodore Biddle and Captain Self ridge. 
Green, born in North Carolina in 1827, was a seaman on the 'Portsmouth,' Capt. 
John B. Montgomery, and in the navy nine years and eight months on the ships 
'Erie,' 'Cyane, ' 'Constitution,' 'Pennsylvania' and 'Vermont.' " 

The following list of the names of Negro pioneers, many of whom have members 
of their families still living in California, has been copied from papers published 
by colored people during pioneer days in San Francisco. The issues quoted date 
fro'm 1857 to 1875. Other names have been added through interviewing old pioneer 
persons in different parts of the State, and the Western Outlook, published at this 
writing, in San Francisco. The list will begin with those coming in 1849, and is as 
follows: 

"George Washington Dennis, Mifflin Gibbs, Daniel Seals, Dixie Beard, Charles 
Gibson, Edward Harper, Mrs. Ellen Tooms, Charles Woods, George Toogood, John 
Peters, Eev. Stokes, Henry Williams, Abraham Cox, John Anderson, William Stacey, 
James Marshall, Abraham Lewis, Thomas Detter, Charlotte Detter, Albert Brevitt 
(gentleman's nurse). Miss Mary Coleman, William Moses, William Davis, J. H. Town- 
send (editor of the Mirror of the Times), James Wiseman, Moses Gibbs, Joseph Usher, 
George Haigler, Ezekiel Cooper, Mrs. Angeline Pickett, Sam Waters, Alvin Coffey, 
George Lee, Henry Collins, Samuel Shelton, '46; J. J. Moore, Hank Jones, Adolphus 
Goodman, James Moody, Harriett Washington, James E. Whiting, David Johnson, 
Sarah Mildred Freeman, Mr. McDowell, Ehoda Adams, Mary Ann Campbell, Mrs. 
Virginia Simmons, Mary and Ann Groves, Henry Marryat, Mrs. Jane Dove, J. M. 
Flowers, Ellen Seith, Aunt Lucy Evans, Eev. Adam Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Alex 
Taylor, William Pallier and wife, Mrs. Priscilla Moore, George Jamison, William 
F. Harris, Mrs. M. Godfrey, Daniel Carmack, Lige Hare." 

"Pioneers of Sacramento, California: B. A. Johnson, Aaron L. Jackson, A. S. 
Hopkins, Nathaniel Christopher, '49; Ella Segui, George Segui, '50; Albert Grubbs, 
'49; J. B. Handy, H. Yantes, George Booth, '52; Elige Booth, '52; Edward Booth, 
'48; Miss Booth, '52; H. Cady, Jessie Slaughter, Arthur Christopher, Mrs. Penny, 
'49; Mrs. Coger, Mrs. Eussell, S. P. Hyer, '49; Mrs. Brice, '49; Eeuben Johnson, '49; 
Mary Jane Bellis, '49; Mrs. Barbara N. Christopher, '49, and many others which 
space will not permit giving. ' ' 

"Pioneers of Marysville: James Churchill, '49; Samuel Brown, '49; Texana 
Breeden, '49; James Monroe Breeden, '48; Bill Huff, '49; Nimrod Jones, Bill Vaughn, 
Eobert Chandler, Sarah Thompson (first colored woman in San Jose. Her husband, 
Mr. Thompson, was the body-servant to Gen. Wade Hampton. She lived for forty 
years in Grass Valley and later in Marysville, and at this writing is a resident 
of Pacific Grove, California). Joseph Edward Hatton, '49, from Norfolk, Va.; 
Hester Sewall Hatton, via ox team, '57; Major Breeden, '49; Eichard Breeden, '52; 
John Gains, Sandy Clark, Bob Mitchell, Mrs. Mary Churchill, '49; Mrs. McGowan, 
'49; Eev. Eandolph, '49; Mrs. Ellen Clark, '56, via ox team from Polk County, Mis- 
souri. There were sixty souls in the party and 2000 head of cattle. The party 
located at Honey Lake Valley, hence to Santa Eosa, hence to Petaluma, where Mrs. 
Clark became the wife of Mr. Piper. The remaining members of the family that 
came across the plains were her mother, Abigail Clark, and uncle, Bacchus Clark, who 
came in '58; Henderson Clark, the father, and one daughter, Matilda Clark, and a 
Mrs. J. N. Williams, came in 1856. They all finally located in Marysville, after 
having come to California through the influence of one John Loney, who had come 
in '49. Mr. Grant Smith, '47; Eev. J. H. Hubbard, J. B. Johnson, W. W. Moul- 
ton, Mrs. Carpenter Williams, '49; William H. Baily, cousin of Hon. Fred Doug- 
lass, '49. 

Grass Valley — Joseph Thomas, Jordan Ousley, Joseph Baltimore, J. Jones, Isaac 
Bulmer, George Jenkina, James Miller, William Smith, Jacob Saunders, Eobert Nor- 
ton, John Thomas, John Hicks, Isaac Sanks, Jacob Harris, Green Ousley, John Hicks, 
John Allen, Abner Kinnie, George Seville, Henry White, Ed. Miller, Evans Walker, 
George H. Clay, Eobert Allen, Mrs. Segee, William Kinkage, T. Detter, Eev. Peter 
Green, Eev. William Hillary, Catherine Baily, John Astor, Isaac Pickett, Dennis 



OF CALIFORNIA 103 

Carter, S. E. Cuney, J. C. Mortimer, Peter Powers, '51; Abraham Freeman, '49; 
Albert Hollanfl, '49. 

''Beaver Valley: Mrs. Sara Branna, Frances Brown. Rough and Ready: Robert 
Sharp, Martin Mawy, Jennie Mitchell, Henry Smith. North San Joaquin: Samuel Dud- 
ley, Archibald Fisher, Mr. McLcMar. Mud Springs: John Buckner. Woodland: James 
Scott, S. S. Jones, Mrs. Reno. Fiddletown: William Smith. Sutter's Creek: Stephen 
Truax, Mrs. Anthony, Mrs. M. Tenny, C. G. Hawkins, Wm. Bird, J. W. Whitfield, Dr. 
H. H. Holland. Cash Creek: Basil Campbell. Folsom: Henry Gibson, Wm. Ford, Wm. 
Serrington. Mariposa: James DufE, John Peters, L. A. Monroe (stage driver). Suisun 
City: T. Cooper, W. E. Town. Placerville: Jack Perkins, '49; J. Johns. Gold Hill: 
James Moore, porter of the bank. Sonora: Mr. Jackson. Truckee: Mrs. Ann Wiel- 
rich, died, leaving twentv-five thousand dollars in the bank. Her only heir was found 
one year afterward in Farmersvillo, Va. Downieville: Mr. Callis and Mrs. Callis, '49; 
William Moore, Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Scottall, '49. Strawberry Valley, Eldorado County: 
Mr. Roderick McGains and Miss May Wood. Colusa: George Suggard, Giles Gresdan, 
Joshua Jones, Ben Franklin, A. Pincard, Chas. Lansing, Thomas Banks, Thos. S. Scott, 
I. M. Wiley, Henry Luell, James Oliver. Princeton, Colusa County: Ed Hams, Joshua 
Samuel, Z. Copeland, M. T. Tidball. Chico, Butte County: Samuel DeHart, Jas. Low, 
Samuel Childress, Josiah Jackson, Peter Jackson, '57, from Brooklyn, N. Y.; Samuel 
Jackson, Edwin Holmes, Bcnj. Maulbine, Lewis Roberts, C. M. Day, Mrs. Williams, 49; 
Peter Pogue, Chas. McGowan, Moses Talchan, Richard Lewis, A. J. Anderson, fruit 
buyer, Roseburg Packing Co. 

"Stockton: Moses Rodgers, '49; William Robinson, '48; Emanuel Quivers, '49; 
S. B. Serrington, Rev. E. L. Tappan, I. B. Barton, Anderson Robinson, W. R. Brown, 
Isaac Rodgers, George Johnson, Mrs. Catherine Callis, Joseph McKinney, Henry Hall, 
'49; James Fountain, '49; Wm. O. Saunders, '49; Elizabeth Miller, John Burrows, '55; 
Miss Amy Burrows, Rev. Jessie Hamilton, Capt. Pierson, E. W. Vesy, Samuel Elliott, 
Chas. Gray, Jno. Blackstone, S. M. Jackson, Henry Miles, '53; Mrs. Elizabeth Scott, 
'59; Elizabeth Barnett, Mrs. Polly A. Barton, '49; Mr. Barton, 49; Mrs. Forney, '49; 
Alfred Collins, Wm. Hutchison, '53; Susie Hutchinson, '49; Wm. Robertson, '49; Barbara 
Potts, '49. 

"Petaluma: Mrs. Barnes, '49; Aunt Peggie Barnes, '49; Miss Wilson, Edward 
Chandler, '49; Mrs. Mary E. Gross, '54; Elizabeth Miller, '53; Bell Bowles, Isaac Mull, 
'52. Oroville: Mrs. Cannon. Coloma: Rufus M. Burgess. Red Bluff: Mrs. Sarah 
Parker, P. A. Logan, Wm. Robinson, Charles Christopher, Charles A. Delvicchio. San Jose: 
Alfred White, H. E. Speight, Wm. Whiting, Mrs. Harriett Smith, James Williams, '49 
(first colored person to settle in Santa Clara County) ; Mrs. Ella Hawkins, Jacob Over- 
ton, Sarah Massey Overton. Santa Cruz: R. C. Frances, James Small wood, Albert and 
Amanda Logan, George A. Chester. Salinas City: Wm. Miller, Thos. Cecil, Geo. Gray, 
Robert Johnson, Watsonville: Daniel Rodgers, '49; R. Campbell, Mrs. Riley, John 
Derrick, Emeline Smith. Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Islands: Sarah Lewis. Vallejo: 
John Grider, George Van Blake, Dr. Rodgers, Geo. Courtney. Visalia: Wiley Hinds. 
Redlands: Isaac Beal, '49, miner, owns orange grove; Mr. and Mrs. Whiteside, Henry 
Beal, Mr. Mendenhall, Mrs. Appleby, Horace H. Harold, San Bernardino: Walter and 
Byron Rowen, Mrs. Lizzie Fake-Rowen, Mr. Ingraham, Mason Johnson. San Diego: 
Dr. Burney, John Moore, '49. El Cajon Valley: Shephard Waters, '50; Henry Hunter, 
Albert Robinson, Isaac Jackson, '50, Charles Frederick Easton, coming to California in 
1850 by the way of Cape Horn from New York to San Francisco, opened a barber shop 
with Jerry Bowers, a '49er." 



CHAPTER XI 

Negro Miners of 1849, and Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People at 
Beulah^. Cal. Negro Miners 

A history of the Negro people of California would be incomplete without mention 
of the mining men who came in 1849. The writer has the pleasure of recording the 
name of the first colored miner in California, in the person of Waller Jackson, who 
came (via the Horn) from Boston, and located at Downieville, California. 

There were at one time several hundred Negro miners working claims on Mormon 
and Mokelumn Hill, at Plaeerville, Grass Valley and elsewhere in the California 
mountains. The writer has failed to find a single instance where there was any 
rioting among the Negro miners, notwithstanding there were so many working one 
claim that they called it Negro Bar. 

Nearly all the mining in the early days in California was placer mining. It 
will perhaps be better understood by calling it surface mining. The men used a 
pan, a pick and a rocker, or sieve. They picked only surface dirt, and when they 
found "pay dirt" they threw it into the rocker, which was made like a box with 
holes in the bottom, covered with a piece of netting or sieve-like wire, if handy. 
They turned, or rather poured, water on this, and the dirt and gravel would run out 
while the gold would remain in the rocker. This they placed in a pan, which caught 
the gold-dust while being washed. Later on hydraulic mining was employed until 
the United States government stopped the practice, since it was clogging the rivers. 
There has recently been organized a company which is dredging over the waste 
from this kind of early-day mining in California on the Yuba Eiver, in the Sacra- 
mento Valley. 

TuthilPs "History of California" (p. 67), in speaking on mining, says: "Almost 
everybodv bought stocks. Nothing but war news could check the perpetual talk of 
'feet,' 'out-croppings' and 'indications of sulphurets and ores.' No profession or class, 
age or sex was exempt from the epidemic. Shrewd merchants, careful bankers invested 
the property of their legitimate businesses, sometimes infringing upon their invested cap- 
ital. Sharp lawyers sold their homesteads for shares; clerks anticipated their salaries; 
laborers salted away their wages and washerwomen their earnings in promising mines." 
The colored miner rarely took a chance in buying mining stock. He had more 
sacred duties to perform with his money. He either used it to pay for the freedom or 
liberty of himself, his family or other loved ones in faraway "Dixie-Land." If not 
that, then he contributed largely from his diggings to assisting the Executive Commit- 
tee of the Colored Convention in their struggles to secure legislative enactments in the 
interest of the Negro race in California. 

The Negro miners came to California with the one thought of having better days. 
The allurement of gold was for the white men. The privilege of working in the mines 
that they might earn their freedom was to the colored men more precious than gold. 
There is no record of their rioting after they had purchased their freedom, notwith- 
standing the Negro miners were not given the protection of the California laws, in 
that they could not legally own claims. The writer has been told by pioneer Negro 
miners that the white miners had laws of their own and were often fair and kind to 
Negro miners. 

Hittell's "California," in speaking of the history of Tuolumne County, says: "A 
vein was discovered by a Negro known as Dick, but the richness was so great it proved 
the ruin of its discoverer. Dick first sold out several shares, and then went to work 
on what remained and the outcome was that in a comparatively short time, carrying 
about one hundred thousand dollars, he left the place for Sacramento, with the intention 
of having a good time. It did not require long at that place for one in his circumstances 
to lose all his money. Afterward he committed suicide." The writer has been told 
that the location of this rich vein was near "Tuttletown" in the mountains. 

There was another mine discovered by Negro miners who were of a different caliber 
from the above-mentioned person. The discovery of this mine was in Brown's Valley. 
The men immediately organized a company of Negro miners who worked the claim. 
The names of the men were as follows: Gabriel Simms, Fritz James Vosburg, Abraham 
Freeman Holland, Edward Duplex, James Cousins and M. McGowan. They called their 
mine "The Sweet Vengeance Mine." Judging from the title, it would seem to indicate 
that they were bent on proving to the world that colored men were capable of conduct- 
ing successfully a mining business, even in the pioneer days in California. 



OF CALIFORNIA 105 

In after years there were still other mining companies organized by colored men. 
The Pacific Appeal of San Francisco, after listing a number of mines with Negro owners, 
says: '"Bare, Ripe Gold and Silver Mining Company,' located in Brown's Valley, 
Yuba County, an incorporated company; capital stock is represented by 1,200 shares 
and they are now offering three hundred shares for sale at $10 a share. The board of 
trustees, John H. Gassoway, president; E. P. Duplex, secretary and treasurer; G. W. 
Simms, J. H. Johnson. The offices of the company are located at Marysville, California." 
The officers of this mining company were all "Forty-niners," notwithstanding the com- 
pany was not organized until 1868. 

Moses Rodgers was a mining expert and was considered one of the best mining 
engineers in the State. He was also a metallurgist and owned a group of mines at 
Hornitus. Even to this day his family still owns a few mines in this locality. 

Robert Anthony owned the first quartz mill in California. It was located at Horn- 
cut, between Yuba and Dry-cut. The following is a list of some of the Negro miners 
of 1849, in California, who in after years became identified with every interest of the 
race: "Waller Jackson, Moses Rodgers, mining expert and metallurgist; Emanuel 
Quivers, Henry Hall, Daniel Seals, Samuel Shelton, Rev. Randolph, Rev. Stokes, Isaac 
Dunlap, Robert Small, James Stanley, Macklin Ford, James Buchanan, Daniel Blue, 
John Wilson, Aaron Jackson, Thomas Dunlap, James Cole, Cooper Smith, Hampton 
Whittaker, James Penny, Carter Jackson, Simon Emory, Edward Booth, John Shipman, 
Dennis Carter, John Adams, John Rymus, Abraham Freeman Holland, Benjamin Young, 
Preston Alexander, Edward Mills, John Allen, Henry Dorsey, Green Ousley, Jordan 
Ousley, John Loney, William Price, William Hart, Alfred Collins, Alvin Coffey, Major 
Breedon, Ruben Johnson, Joseph Hatton, John Wesley, John Haley, John Peters, Nath- 
aniel Nelson, Robert Anthony, Mifflin Gibbs, George Washington Dennis, George 
Seville, John Adams, Isaac Sanks, Isaac Mills, Peter Lombard, Jack Perkins, Jessie 
Hughes, Sandy Clark, Charles Breedon, Peter Powers, William Williams, William 
Burns, Edward Wysinger, Daniel Hart, William Price, Perkins Bettis, Isaac Caulwell, 
Franklin Howard, Isaac Jackson, Henry Miles, Sandy Clark, George Booth, Elige Booth, 
Charles Graffells, John T. Johns, Edgar Johnson, Cloyd Brown, John Haley, John 
Grider. " These men mined at Murphy's Diggings, Diamond and Mud Springs, Grass 
Valley, Negro Bar, Mokelumn Hill and elsewhere in the mining districts throughout 
the State. 

Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People. 

This is one of the creditable institutions conducted by and for colored people in 
Northern California. It is located at Beulah, a suburban town of Oakland. It was 
founded by Mrs. Emma Scott, September 16, 1892. The corner stone was laid August 
22, 1897. Mrs. Stanford was the first president and Mrs. Harriett Davis the first matron. 
Mr. Alvin Coffey, the first inmate, gave money to help found the institution, a Mr. Mont- 
gomery giving the ground for a home and orphanage and a Mr. Pollard, the windmill. 

The institution has an ideal location about a block from the Mills College street car 
line, on the brow of a low hill overlooking the Piedmont Hills, with a broad, sweeping 
view of the sky-line boulevard in the distance. Wben the home was first opened, the 
lady managers decided to charge $500 for life membership, but the steady advance in 
the price of food has made it most difficult for the home to sustain itself. The officers 
are untiring in their struggle to prevent this worthy institution from closing its doors. 
Too much credit cannot be given to the following named officers who have, at a great 
personal sacrifice, worked, through public solicitation, to keep the institution for the 
Negro race in Northern California: Mrs. Julia Shorey, president; Mrs. Grasses, finan- 
cial secretary; Mrs. Withers, recording secretary; Mrs. Morey, treasuer. The board of 
directors are: Mesdames Tyler, Scott, Dugar, Stanford, Warren, Jackson, Mattie Cohn, 
Mary Humphry, Harriet Davis and Purnell. 

A few of the inmates of this home are real California pioneers, and brief sketches 
of their lives follow. Mrs. Harriett Davis came to California in 1854 from Philadel- 
phia by the way of the Isthmus of Panama. She was educated in a private school in 
that city, and told the writer many interesting things pertaining to the "Underground 
Railroad," and its activities. She was educated an Episcopalian, and, after coming 
to San Francisco, immediately identified herself with the colored church pastored by 
Rev. Peter Cassey. She was active in the choir and literary work of the parish. 

Her first husband, William Smith, came to California in 1857. He was prominently 
identified with all activities of vital interest to the race. He gave freely of his time 
and money, especially in the fight for ' ' The Right of Testimony ' ' in the Courts of Jus- 
tice in California. He was employed for a number of years as an officer in the custom 



106 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

house of San Francisco. Mrs. Davis, appointed as the first matron of the home, re- 
tained the position for several years. She has a wonderfully retentive memory and an 
amiable, sweet disposition which endeared her to all. The writer was veiy much bene- 
fited by her many visits to Mrs. Davis and especially by the conversation concerning 
the colored people in California who paid for their freedom after coming to the State. 

The second matron in the home was a Mrs. Theresa M. Thompson who came to Cali- 
fornia in early pioneer days from Camden, N. J. Her father, Mr. William Brown, who 
came to California in 1849, was a sea-faring man. After coming to California he de- 
cided to leave the sea and followed the laundry business in Sacramento. Mrs. Thomp- 
son has been an inmate of the home for fourteen years. 

Mr. George Seville was an inmate of the home two years before he was called to 
his reward. He came to San Francisco from Key West, Florida, in 1858. It was his in- 
tention to go to Victoria, British Columbia, but, changing his mind up reaching Cali- 
fornia, he went to Grass Valley where he engaged in mining. He was an entertaining 
gentleman and gave the writer many interesting accounts concerning colored miners of 
pioneer days. Many of the names he gave are recorded in the chapter on mining. 
Shortly after beginning his career as a placer miner, he married and the union was 
blessed by the birth of three children, namely, Isabell, Stella and James. He was a 
widower thirteen years before deciding to enter the home. 

Two other interesting inmates are Mrs. Louise Tyler, born in Shasta County, Cali- 
fornia, during pioneer days, and Mrs. Flowers, who came from Niles, Michigan, when 
four years old, reaching the State in pioneer days. 

Mrs. Lane came from Clay County, Mississippi, forty-eight years ago. Her mother, 
coming to California in 1852, sent back for her son and daughter. They lived for a 
number of years in Benicia, California. 

Mrs. Edinburg, the third matron, who retained the position for a number of years, 
had a charming personality and was well suited for the position. She came to Califor- 
nia in 1880 from Middleport, Ohio, and located first in Redlands where she left a com- 
munity of warm friends to accept the position at the home. 

The following persons have been inmates of the home: Mrs. Margaret A. Murray, 
Mrs. Allen Washington, Willim H. Davis, Mrs. Ellen Mason, Mrs. D. Washington, Mrs. 
Marie White, Mrs. Annie Johnson, B. W. Johnson, Fanny Foggs, Theresa Thompson, 
Jacob Williams, Annie Baker, Eva Eeeder, Zora Flowers, Eliza Miller, Emilie Phelps, 
Mrs. Duvall, Mrs. Allen Fletcher, George Seville, Emily Thompson, Mrs. Stewart, Phil- 
lips Jenkins, Annie Purnell, Margaret Wilson, Mrs. E. Barnett and Mr. Abe Lee. 

There is a home similar to this one located at Albia, California, which has been 
founded through the united efforts of the Colored Baptist Ministerial Association of 
Southern California. 



CHAPTER XII 

Biographical Sketches op Distinguished Negro Pioneers 

In early days of California, the United States Government sent its prize graduate 
soldiers from West Point to this coast; men who in after years became prominent 
figures, showing that California even at that early date developed the possibilities in 
men, Stockton, Folsom, Sherman and Larkin were all young men in those days and 
began their career in Monterey, California. 

Some, satisfied with their appointment, remained. Others soon asked to be relieved 
and went back to the East, but they always expected to return and make California 
their home. Of these latter was Commodore Sloate who was relieved of his command 
on this coast. Commodore Stockton was appointed as Military Governor of California 
and it was under his rule that Consul Larkin appointed as Vice-Consul to Mexico Cap- 
tain Leidsdorff, who became the first distinguished Negro under the United States rule. 

William Alexander Leidsdorff was the most distinguished Negro of pioneer San 
Francisco and of the State of California. It may be a great surprise to a large number 
of people to know that in early San Francisco's history, the then Governor of the State 
of California was the guest of" the city and the banquet given in honor of his visit, was 
given at the residence of a Negro. This Negro at the time owned and lived in the largest 
house in all San Francisco. 

This Negro also owned the first steamship sailing the t)eautiful bay of San Fran- 
cisco. He was a prominent business man, a member of the City Council, treasurer and 
a member of the school committee. Men thought it a distinguished honor to have the 
pleasure of meeting Captain Leidsdorff. H. H. Bancroft, in his History of California, 
said: "While he was Vice-Consul of Mexico Captain Leidsdorff 's correspondence with 
Larkins was a source of valuable information." There are few men whose lives have 
been spoken of so much in early San Francisco as that of Captain Leidsdorff. Even 
in death he commanded the very highest respect of all, notwithstanding they all knew 
he had Negro blood in his veins, and the same is mentioned in different summaries of 
his life. 

When the United States Navy sends vessels to sail through the Golden Gate in 
visiting San Francisco, the Negro race can proudly say that Don Caspar de Portola, 
when looking down from the Berkeley Hills, may have discovered the San Francisco 
Bay and the Golden Gate; Balboa may have brought the first sailing ship through the 
Golden Gate, but the first steamer to pass through the Golden Gate was owned and 
mastered by a Negro. Bancroft in his history gives very clear and convincing proof 
that William Alexander Leidsdorff, a Negro, owned the first steamer to pass through 
the Golden Gate. 

Mrs. Annie Peters, a pioneer of early California, who came to San Francisco with 
Eev, Flavel Scott Mines, told the writer that she came from the same island as did 
Mr. Leidsdorff, the Island of Santa Croix, Danish West Indies. She said that she knew 
his mother, who was a Negress. His father was a Danish sugar planter. 

Jacob Wright Harlan, in his book "California from 1846 to 1888," speaking of Mr, 
Leidsdorff having sold him some shingles, closes by adding: "Mr. Leidsdorff was a 
native of the Danish Island of Santa Croix and I believe had a dash of Negro blood 
in his veins." While he says, "I believe he had a dash of Negro blood in his veins," 
he also says many complimentary things of Mr. Leidsdorff, 

In Bryant's "What I Saw in California," the author mentions that Captain Leids- 
dorff 's residence was selected by the committee as the place in which to hold a banquet 
in honor of Governor Stockton, There are many instances in which the Negro has done 
credit to the race in early days, but none have reached the heights this man did. It is 
a source of great pleasure to note that, notwithstanding he was a Negro, the California 
historians have written of him as befits a man of his position and influence in the com- 
munity. 

The following is an account of his life as given by H, H, Bancroft (vol. 4, p. 711) : 
"William Alexander Leidsdorff, a native of Danish West Indies, son of a Dane by a 
mulattress, who came to the United States as a boy and became a master of vessels 
sailing between New York and New Orleans, came to California as manager of the 
'Julia Ann,' on which he made later trips to the Islands, down to 1845. 

"He is prominent among a number of about sixty-seven classed as prominent resi- 
denters (p. 279, 566). Engaging in trade in San Francisco he got a lot, in 1843, at the 



108 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

corner of Clay and Kearney streets, and, in 1844 or '45, built a warehouse on the beach 
at California and Leidsdorff streets (669-78), in '46 building the city hotel on his first 
lot, and in '47 buying from Eidley the cottage at the corner of Montgomery and Cali- 
fornia streets where he passed the rest of his life. (Vol. 4, p. 678-680.) In '44 he ob- 
tained naturalization papers and a grant of the Rio Del Americano Eancho (vol. 4, p. 
673), and from October, 1845, served as United States Vice-Gonsul by Larkin's ap- 
pointment (vol. 4, p. 188, 557, 599, 665). His correspondence of these years, especially 
with Larkins, is a most valuable source of historical information. In 1846 he had a 
controversy with Forbes, Eidley and Hinkley, who were not intensely American enough 
to suit this Danish citizen of Mexico who was visiting New Helvetia and Monterey. 
In 1847 he had a California claim of $8,740 (vol. 5, p. 462), and launched the first 
steamer that ever sailed the San Francisco Bay (vol. 5, p. 577-8). He was not only one 
of the town 's most prominent business men but a member of the City Council, treasurer 
and a member of the school committee, taking an active part in local politics (vol. 5, 455, 
648 652-6). He was educated, speaking several languages, active, enterprising and 
public-spirited, honorable for the most part in his transactions, but jealous, quick tem- 
pered, often quarrelsome and disagreeable. His estate, burdened heavily by debt at 
the time of his death, after the gold excitement became of immense value. The State 
laid claim to it but yielded after long litigation. 

"Leidsdorff was buried at Mission Dolores with imposing ceremonies befitting his 
prominence and social virtues. Warm of heart, clear of head, sociable, with a hos- 
pitality liberal to a fault, his hand ever open to the poor and unfortunate, active and 
enterprising in business and with a character of high integrity, his name stands as 
among the purest and best of that sparkling little community to which his death 
proved a serious loss. 

"It is necessary for the living to take charge of the effects of the dead, but it 
smells strongly of the cormorant, the avidity with which men seek to administer an 
estate for the profits to be derived from it. We have many notable examples of this 
kind in the history of California, in which men of prominence have participated, some- 
times in the name of friendship, but usually actuated by avarice. The body of William 
A Leidsdorff was scarcely cold before Joseph L. Folsom obtained from Governor Mason 
an order to take charge of the estate in connection with Chas. Meyers. The indecent 
haste of Folsom was checked by the appointment of William D. M. Howard as admin- 
istrator. The estate was administered by him with the assistance of C. V. Gillespie, 
and was for years the subject of complicated litigation. But the title of Captain Fol- 
som, who had found the motlier and other heirs of Leidsdorff at Saint Croix Island 
and'had bought their interest, was finally adjudged to be valid." 

The historian further says in the footnotes of vol. 6: "Vice-Consul Leidsdorff 
died in 1848, leaving property then regarded as inadequate to pay his liabilities of over 
$40 000, but a year later its value had so advanced as to give to the heirs an amount 
larger than the debts, while agents managed to make fortunes by administering the 
estate. 

"The first steamer in San Francisco Bay. In the maritime annals of this period 
the appearance of the first steamer in California's waters merits a passing notice. The 
steamer had no name but has since been called the 'Sitka.' Her dimenwons were: 
length, 37 feet; breadth of bow, 9 feet; depth of hold, 31/2 feet; drawing 18 inches 
of water and having side wheels moved by a miniature engine. She was built by an 
American at Sitka as a pleasure boat for the oflBcers of the Russian Fur Company and 
was purchased by Leidsdorff, being brought down to San Francisco in October, 1847. 
She made a trial trip on November 15 and returned later to Santa Clara and then to 
Sonoma. Finally, on the 28th of November, she started on the great voyage of her 
career to Sacramento, carrying ten or a dozen souls, including the owner, Geo. Mc- 
Kinstry and L. W. Hastings as far as Monterey, She returned to Yerba Buena and 
was wrecked at her anchorage in a gale, but was saved, hauled inland by oxen and 
transformed into a launch or schooner. 

"As the 'Rain-bow' she ran on the Sacramento river after the discovery of gold. 
A notice of the arrival from Sitka is found in the San Francisco, California, Star, Oc- 
tober 23, 1847, also a notice of the steamer at Sonoma, November 25, when there was 
a celebration with toasts to the rival towns of Sonoma and San Francisco, California, 
December 1, 1847, S. F. Dictionary, 1852, p. 197; Hutchings Magazine, vol. 4, p. 4; Sec- 
ramento Directory, 1871, p. 153; Sacramento newspaper, May 19, 1858; S. F. Bulletin, 
February 26, 1868, and many other newspaper articles, some of which say she was 60 
feet long and 17 feet wide." 



OF CALIFORNIA 109 

Biddy Mason 

The subject of this sketch was born in Hancock County, Georgia, and was the most 
remarkable pioneer of color coming to California. She came under the most trying 
circumstances as has been related in another part of this book under "Slaves Eman- 
cipated in California." 

After the Courts of Los Angeles County granted Biddy Mason and her family their 
freedom, she took her family to the home of Robert Owens, in Los Angeles. Then she 
went in search of work which she readily secured at two dollars and fifty cents per day, 
as confinement nurse, Dr. Griffin having engaged her services. The securing of work 
meant to her the great boon of acquiring not only the money for the support of her 
dependent family, but also an opportunity of securing a home. With the first money 
she could save she purchased two lots, located from Spring street to Broadway, between 
Third and Fourth streets in Los Angeles. There was a ditch of water on the place and 
a willow fence running around the plat of ground which was considered quite out of 
town at that date, but which today is the most valuable piece of property in all of 
beautiful Los Angeles. 

Biddy Mason had a splendid sense of the financial value of property and such great 
hopes for the future of Los Angeles that she continued to buy property and retain it 
until after the( city began to boom, when she sold a forty-foot lot for twelve thou- 
sand dollars. She then gave her sons a forty-foot lot which they sold for forty-four 
thousand dollars. 

The world never tires of speaking of the late Hetty Green and her great financial 
ability. But think of this slave woman coming to California in 1851 by ox-team which 
consisted of three hundred wagons, and, at the end of these wagons, Biddy Mason 
driving the cattle across the plains, notwithstanding she had her own three little girls, 
Ellen, Ann and Harriett, to care for en route! 

Biddy Mason wais a devoted mother. Her most remarkable trait of character was 
her ability to teach her children and grandchildren the value of money and property. 
So thorough were her teachings that her vast holdings have been retained by her chil- 
dren and grandchildren, who have never sold a piece of property unless they were posi- 
tively sure that they were making great gains by so doing. The greater part of her 
purchases of property in early days they have retained, and these have grown in value 
at least two hundred or more per cent since their first purchase by Biddy Mason. 

The name- of Biddy Mason is reverenced in the City of Los Angeles where her 
kindness to the poor is freflJr^n the minds of the public. In an issue of the Los Angeles 
Times, under date of February 12, 1909, in a special feature article by the late Mrs. 
Kate Bradley-Stovall in regard to the Negro women of that city, among other things 
was said in regard to Biddy Mason: "Biddy Mason was well-known throughout Los 
Angeles County for her charitable work. She was a frequent visitor to the jail, speak- 
ing a word of cheer and leaving some token and a prayerful hope with every prisoner 
In the slums of the city she was known as 'Grandma Mason' and did much active 
service toward uplifting the worst element in Los Angeles. She paid taxes and aU 
expenses on church property to hold it for her people. During the flood of the early 
eighties she gave an order to a little grocery store which was located on Fourth and 
Spring streets. By the terms of this order, all families made homeless by the flood 
were to be supplied with groceries while Biddy Mason cheerfully paid the bill. 

"Her home at No. 331 South Spring street in later years became a refuge for 
stranded and needy settlers. As she grew more feeble it became necessary for her 
grandson to stand at the gate each morning and turn away the line which had formed 
awaiting her assistance." But the best part of Biddy Mason's work is seen in the 
charming family she reared which shows her careful training and counsel. 

The Courts of Los Angeles County granted to her and her children their freedom 
January 19, 1854. There were only eight white families living in the town at the time. 
TJhe doors of the home of Robert Owens were thrown open to Biddy Mason and her 
children. Mr. Owens was a livery-stable keeper. Two years after the Mason family 
came to Los Angeles, the oldest daughter, Ellen, married Mr. Robert Owen's son, 
Charles. She named her first son in honor of the grandfather, Robert C. Owens, and 
the second child, Henry L. Owens. It seems strange, but true, that Mr. Robert Owens, 
the father-in-law of Biddy Mason's daughter, Ellen, was the same type as the girl's 
mother in regard to acquiring and holding property, and he taught his son the value 
of both money and property and the greatest possible necessity of a good education. 

Mrs. Ellen Mason-Owens, as a slave girl, had not been allowed the advantage of an 
education. After the birth of her second child, her husband decided that she must 
have an education. When his sons were old enough, he sent them and their mother to 



110 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

be educated in the public schools of the city of Oakland, California. After the sons 
had completed the course of study, he sent them to the public schools of Stockton to 
receive a business education under the then greatest colored educator on the coast, 
J. B. Sanderson. They boarded in the home of the teacher. After finishing under the 
instruction of J. B. Sanderson they returned to Los Angeles and, owing to the preju- 
dice against colored persons attending the public schools, they were compelled to enter 
business college at night. This splendid foundation of a good education, especially 
the business education, has been an example to this day through the surviving son, 
Eobert C. Owens, who is considered among the most level-headed capitalists, either 
white or colored, in all of Los Angeles. 

Charles P. Owens and Ellen Mason were married October 16, 1856, in Los Angeles, 
California. He died September 12, 1882. Long years afterward his widow married 
Mr. Huddleston. She is one of the most charming ladies the writer has been privileged 
to interview, a perfect inspiration, she kindly furnished the facts in regard to the 
family history. Her son, Henry L. Owens, married Miss Louise Kruger, December 3, 
1884, at Denver, Colorado. He has since passed beyond. 

Mrs. Huddleston kindly allowed the writer to copy the following from the family 
Bible pertaining to the family records: "Biddy Mason was born August 15, 1818, in 
Hancock County, Georgia. Ellen, her daughter, was born October 15, 1838, in Hinds 
County, Missouri." The dates of the birth of Harriet and Ann were not given but the 
record of their deaths were as follows: "Died, Miss Ann Mason, August 1, 1857; Biddy 
Mason, January 15, 1891; Louis L. Owens, August 5th, 1893; Mrs. Harriet Mason- 
Washington, June 9, 1914; Charles Owens, September 12, 1882." 

The senior Robert Owens came to Los Angeles in 1852 with his family, which con- 
sisted of his wife, "Winnie Owens, two girls and one son; namely, Sara Jane, Martha and 
Charles. He bought lots on San Pedro street and opened a livery stable. When he 
died, his son, Charles, took charge of the business and opened a livery stable on Main 
street near First. At the death of Charles his sons, Robert C. and Henry L. Owens, 
took charge of the business, and following the death of Mrs. Biddy Mason, they 
opened a livery stable on Spring street between Third and Fourth streets, the property 
on Main street having become too valuable to hold for a livery stable. 

During pioneer days Charles Owens purchased on Olive street between Sixth and 
Seventh twelve lots each sixty feet front by one hundred and sixty feet deep. The 
Owens estate still retains them at this writing. The following additional data pertain- 
ing to the Owens family history is quoted from a historical sketch published in 1876 
by the Los Angeles Centennial Committee, J, J. Warner, Benjamin Hays and J. P. 
Widney, in which it says that "In the spring of 1850, probably three or four colored 
persons were in the city. In 1875, they numbered 175 souls, many of whom hold good 
city property acquired by industry. They are farmers, mechanics, or some other useful 
occupation, and remarkable for good habits. They count some seventy-five votes, . . . 
Robert Owens, familiarly by Americans called Uncle Bob, came from Texas in Decem- 
ber, 1853, with Aunt Winnie, his wife, two daughters and son, Charles Owen. They 
survive him. He was a shrewd man of business, energetic and honorable in his deal- 
ings, made money by Government contracts and general trade. He died well esteemed 
by white and colored people, August 18, 1865, aged 59." 

A Colored Pioneee. 

"Mifflin Gibbs, of Little Rock, in town. From blacking boots to the Bench; Re- 
markable career of one of San Francisco's early Negro citizens. 

' ' One of the guests now registered at the Grand Hotel is Judge Mifflin Wister Gibbs, 
of Little Rock, Ark. The Judge is a colored gentleman and one of California's pioneers 
of 1849. He arrived here on the 'Umatilla' last Wednesday from Victoria, B. C, in 
which town he laid the foundation of his fortune. The Judge has had a wide and useful 
as well as checkered career. From a bootblack stand in San Francisco he rose to the 
Judicial bench in the State of Arkansas. He is 72 years of age, but is as compactly 
built and free from ills as the most model athlete. 

"The Judge was born of poor parents and at the tender age of eight years was 
thrown upon his own resources, his father having died at that time. When he reached 
the years of manhood he had not accumulated much of the world's goods, but his years 
brought him experiences and he had a pretty fair share of worldly knowledge. He 
was a porter, and blacked boots in front of the Union Hotel, where the old City Hall 
now stands. The facade of the old hall, in fact, still bears the name of the historic 
caravansary. Afterward he was partner in the boot and shoe firm of Peter Lester and 
Gibbs at 636 Clay street. The shop will be remembered by 'Forty-niners.' 



OF CALIFORNIA 



111 




MRS. BIDDY MASON (deceased) 
Nurse and a Great Financier. 



112 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLA:/;eRS 





Al l;S A. II. AA'A I.T- 

•^^.^■l^lll■.•l■ I '.•ilitcjriiia l''.-i|i r:i i .-d CdloiTil 

Women's Clubs, and Founder of the 

Colored Orphanage in Oakland. 



MISS GLADYS REO HARRIS 

Supervisor of Charities, Los Angeles 

County. 




MRS. LYDIA FLOOD-JACKSON 
Originator Flood Toilet Creams. 




. T>.TT-> ATT>c< T Tx GT-T Amrv.T .TfCivin 



OF CALIFORNIA 113 

"When the Frazier River excitement broke out, in 1858, young Gibbs, full of grit 
and ambition, determined to try his luck in the North. He went to Victoria and there 
established the first general merchandise house excepting that of the Hudson Bay 
Company. Being an enterprising and progressive young fellow, he became quite a 
factor in the infant city. He was elected Councilman from the James Bay district, the 
most aristocratic portion of the town. In 1867 he entered into a contract to build a 
railroad from Queen Charlotte coal mine to Skidgate harbor. He was made superin- 
tendent of the road when it was completed and he shipped to San Francisco the first 
cargo of coal mined on the Pacific Coast. 

"Gibbs remained in British Columbia until 1869, when he went to Little Rock, 
Ark. While in Victoria he had studied law with an English barrister, and a year after 
he arrived at Little Rock, he was appointed by President Hayes, Registrar of the 
United States Lands for the Eastern district of Arkansas. He held this office for 
eight years, being reappointed by President Arthur. Under the last administration of 
Harrison, he was appointed Receiver of Public Moneys, at Little Rock. 

' ' While in San Francisco, Judge Gibbs was always prominent in every movement 
which tended to the elevation of his race. He was one of the publishers of the 'Mirror 
of the Times,' the first paper devoted to the interests of the Negro on the Coast. He 
made a determined stand against the collection of poll tax from men of his race. He 
took the ground that his fellow colored men should not be compelled to pay the tax, 
as they were denied the right of suffrage and as their oath would not be accepted in 
court. His goods were seized and offered for sale to pay the tax, but not a man could 
be found who was mean enough to bid on the store. He was afterwards sent to Sacra- 
mento on the first committee which was appointed to petition for the 'Rights of Amer- 
ican Citizenship for Negroes.' 

"When the Judge was in Victoria this time he was treated with every mark of 
consideration. The Speaker of the House of Parliament escorted him to a seat and he 
was the recipient of many other marks of distinction at the hands of the leading 
citizens. 

"During his stay in San Francisco, Judge Gibbs has been the guest on several oc- 
casions of Robert Brown, editor of the Vindicator. 'I knew Bob, as a boy,' said he 
last evening, ' and I remember well the time when his father and I bought a fif ty-vara 
on the corner of Market and Stockton streets, which was then in the midst of sand 
hills. Truly the change in the city has been wonderful. . . .' " The above is quoted 
from the -San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 1895. 

Judge Gibbs recently died at his home in Little Rock, Ark., having lived a useful 
life up to the last. He has written his autobiography and other writings. The time 
referred to in the above article when he left San Francisco was during the introduction 
of a bill in regard to Fugitive Slaves, which had for its object the coming to or resid- 
ing in California of Free Negroes. There were many other prominently-connected col- 
ored men who also left the State about that time, going to British Columbia, but the 
charm of California was too great and they returned to the State deciding to fight it 
out. Their opportunity soon came through the attempt to return to slavery the Negro 
boy, Archy. The decision of this case forever settled the question of "Fugitive Slaves 
in California." 

The following is quoted from "Who's Who of the Colored Race:" "Mifflin Wister 
Gibbs***born in Philadelphia, Pa., April, 1823***graduated, Oberlin (Ohio) College, 
1870.***Admitted to Arkansas Bar, 1870; began practice in Little Rock. Elected City 
Judge, 1873***Registrar U. S. Land Office, 1877-81, and Receiver of Public Moneys, 
eight years; U. S. Consul to Tamatara, Madagascar, 1897-1901." 

Moses Eodgers. 

The subject of this sketch was a wonderful pioneer and it affords the writer great 
pleasure to give the biography of such a useful citizen. Mr. Rodgers came to California 
in 1849 from Missouri. He was born a slave, but by a great effort, close study and ap- 
plication seized every opportunity that might come to him along educational lines. 
He finally acquired an education as a mining engineer and was very successful in Cali- 
fornia, His knowledge soon made him one of the most distinguished miners in all 
California. This statement will be borne out by the following facts in regard to his 
mining career in California: He succeeded in working claims successfully, and thereby 
was soon able to purchase several mines at Hornitos, Mariposa County, California, 
located twenty-five miles from Merced. 

In the Sixties he married Miss Sara Quivers of Snelling, California, build' ag a 
beautiful home for her at Quartsburg not far from his mines. The marriage was b 38sed 



114 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

by the birth of five daughters, to all of whom he gave the very best education Cali- 
fornia afforded. One daughter graduated from the State University at Berkeley. 

Moses Rodgers was one member of the race whose color the pioneers of the oppo- 
site race never for a moment stopped to consider. He was at all times treated as a 
distinguished citizen. The esteem with which he was held can be better understood 
from the following quotation which appeared in a pioneer paper, The Merced Star: 
"A carload of machinery arrived at the depot last Friday, consigned to the Mount 
Gains Mine, Mariposa County. Moses Rodgers, of Hornitos, than whom there is no 
better mining man in the State, has been engaged as its superintendent. The standing 
and known energy of the men backing the enterprise are a guarantee that the mine 
will be carefully handled and worked on a paying basis. The Mount Gains Mine is 
well known among mining men to be good mining property, and the new arrangement 
and its undoubted success will mean a great deal for mining in the vicinity of Hornitos. ' ' 

Moses Rodgers was not only actively engaged in mining, but was interested in and 
contributed liberally to every movement that was of benefit to the race. In order 
that he might give his daughters the advantage of better school facilities, he removed 
his family to Stockton, and built an elegant home which even to this day is attractive 
and is located on one of the best residence streets in the town. There was no gas at 
that date in Stockton and he was the first to bore for it. He did not give up his efforts 
until he had spent thousands of dollars in boring a well and a flow of gas was finalljJ 
reached, but his partners were not satisfied and there was nothing made of it. 

A bank cashier of Merced, for whom he acted as bondsman, was accused of a dis- 
crepancy in his accounts. The accusation grieved the bank cashier so that, before the 
trial, he committed suicide and his bondsmen had to make good the funds. Mr. Rod- 
gers' bond for this cashier was thirty thousand dollars. The Court ruled that he, to- 
gether with the other bondsmen were compelled to pay their bonds. Notwithstanding 
such heavy losses, he was such a good financier that he left his family comfortable, and 
they still retain the homestead in Stockton, together with a few of the mines. 

At his death he left a host of warm and appreciative friends in both races who 
fully valued his worth to the community, irrespective of color. An idea of the many 
kind expressions concerning his death will be given by the following clipping from 
the Merced Star, under "Mariposa Items," October 25, 1890: "Saturday morning 
Moses Rodgers died at his home in Stockton. He was well-known through the Southern 
Mines, having arrived in the early fifties from Missouri, where he was born a slave. 
He entered actively into mining pursuits and followed mining the balance of his life. 
He was an expert in his line and his opinion was always sought by intending pur- 
chasers of mines. He was a man of honor and his word was as good as his bond. He 
was energetic in his younger days and took a great interest in helping along any good 
enterprise." 

The following is one of many kind letters of condolence: 

"San Francisco, California, Oct. 22, 1900. 
"Mrs. M. L. Rodgers, Stockton, California. 

"Dear Madam: A card was received this morning notifying me of the death of 
Mr. Rodgers, of which I am sorry to learn. I have known Mr. Rodgers a long time and 
knew him only to respect him. It is true he was a colored man, but I always regarded 
him as the whitest man in all my acquaintance of Mariposa County. 

"In all his dealings and business relations in every way he was as honorable, high- 
toned a man as I have ever met. When with him I never had the feeling that he was 
a colored man. It never seemed to occur to me. I have sat at his table many times 
and he at mine, and the reflection that he was a colored man never entered my mind. 
He was a gentleman in every sense of the word. But he has gone and many others of 
his day are dropping out. The time will soon come when all of that generation will 
have passed. I must put him down as one of the friends who is forever gone. 

"Very respectfully yours, 

"William S. Chapman." 

Mr. Moses Rodgers, at his death, left a widow and the following daughters: Miss 
Adele Rodgers, a professional nurse in Stockton, California; Mrs. Elinor Harrold, of 
Spokane, Washington; Miss Lulu Rodgers, who for a number of years has been assist- 
ant Postmistress at Hornitos, California. She is also an artist with the needle. She 
sent to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco, 1915, two 
exquisite pieces of handiwork, one of embroidery and the other Mexican drawn-work. 
An id a of their beauty and value may be had from the fact that the ladies who had 



OF CALIFORNIA 115 

charge of collecting the exhibit for San Joaquin County carried the highest rate of in- 
surance on her work of any of the exhibits of embroidery, and the pieces were kept on 
display in a glaag case during the entire exposition. 

Miss Vivian Rodgors, another daughter, graduated with the class of 1909 from the 
University of California, majoring in Science and Letters. She afterward accepted a 
position as teacher in the public schools at Hilo, Hawaiian Islands. While there she 
contracted the tropical fever, and after months illness on the island, she returned to 
the United States and to her home in Stockton. She never regained her strength and 
finally passed away. The writer had the pleasure of meeting her and it seemed more 
than sad that one so young, amiable and beautifully educated should have to pass from 
the stage of action. 

Miss Nettie Rodgers is a modiste and is kept busy by the very best families in 
Stockton who wish advanced styles. The entire family shows clearly that they are 
well-born, and, if their father was so grand, noble and good, the mother was equally 
so. She has left her imprint on the daughters whom one has only to meet to realize 
their superior womanhood and their gentleness of manners. 

The Booth family are descendants of Edward Booth, from Viriginia, and Clarice 
Rodgers, from Baltimore, Maryland. Edward Booth was of free parentage, but Clarice 
had been a slave, owned by Jacob Rodgers. She remembered seeing George Washing- 
ton and noted it because he wore knee breeches and handsome buckles. 

In after years Clarice married Edward Booth, and the union was blessed by the 
birth of several children. They lived two blocks from the monument of George Wash- 
ington, which is at the head of Channel street, in Baltimore. In the early Forties the 
oldest son, Edward, decided to go to the West Indies and then to the Trinidads, where 
he made considerable money in trading. In 1848, he was in Baltimore and, hearing of 
the discovery of gold in California, decided to cross the plains in quest of gold. He 
arrived in California in the early part of 1849 and was successful in mining claims. 

In a year or so he decided to return to Baltimore and bring the remaining members 
of the family to California. On his way home he stopped at Oberlin College, in Ohio, 
and bought shares in the college; and also made arrangements to send his nephew, 
James H. Hubbard, to be educated in this college, the young man's father having died. 

Mr. Edward Booth left Baltimore on his return trip to California in November, 
1851, accompanied by the following members of the family: George W., Samuel, J. 
Elijah, Ann-Maria Booth-Hubbard and Harriett Booth-Gale. Before they could leave 
Baltimore they were compelled to prove that they were free persons of color. They 
secured the testimony of a Mr. Owens, a white gentleman who had a wholesale grocery 
at the corner of Calvert and Lombard streets, in Baltimore, but who lived at the Ben- 
zinger Hotel opposite Light Street Methodist Church. The locating of his residence on 
a Sunday morning, just as they were about to leave Baltimore, was the beginning of 
their troubles. When about to go aboard the ship they had to be measured, notwith- 
standing the testimony of Mr. Owens. Mr. Edward Booth protested against allowing 
them to take his measure but was forced to submit to this humiliation. 

They finally sailed from New York via Panama to Virgin Bay, and from there to 
the mouth of the Chagres river, where they obtained the services of some Spaniards to 
row them up the river in a canoe, stopping at night on the shore of the river, using for 
beds dried hides. Owing to Edward Booth's speaking the Spanish language, he was 
enabled to save the life of a man and a woman en route. They finally reached the 
town of Chagres. 

From this town they took a pack train of mules to cross the Isthmus of Panama. 
As there were others who wished to cross, the muleteers decided to make the Booth 
family wait over. This they did not wish to do, but, when they began weighing their 
freight, they found they had so much that the rate of ten cents per pound made their 
bill more than they could pay. They decided that they would have to do as others 
had done — throw away some of their stuff. They were still heavily loaded. As a last 
resort they decided to open the trunk of one of the sisters and discard some of her 
belongings. Then they found the cause of the extra weight. She was carrying a set 
of sad irons to California. Notwithstanding the fact that it would be difficult and 
perhaps impossible to buy a set at that date in California, still she was compelled to 
give them up or not continue the journey. 

They finally reached Panama City and had to wait three weeks for a steamer to 
go to San Francisco. The steamer arrived and it was discovered that they had sold 
more tickets than they could accommodate. Just then Mr. Edward Booth discovered 
that he had had a previous acquaintance with the captain of the steamship, having met 
him in Pittsburg, Pa. Through this acquaintance he and his sisters were able to sail 



116 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

on the ship to San Francisco. During the interval a sailing ship came into the harbor. 
The Booth boys, Sam, George and Elige, engaged passage on this vessel which was 
called "Sailing Ship Cabargo." They left port on the 24th of December, 1851. The 
captain sailed south to catch the trade winds. In doing so he lost his route and, 
when he had taken his bearings, found that he was in the region of the equator. It 
was so hot that the pitch used in sealing the vessel began to melt. They finally reached 
Acapulco, Mexico, instead of San Francisco. From there they started on the right 
course. 

After a time the supply of fresh water began to run low and they were only al- 
lowed a pint a day for each passenger, which resulted in mutiny on board. A colored 
passenger, a Mr. Barney Lee, who understood navigation, stood ready to "Man the 
Boat" had the captain deserted, as he threatened to do. Another passenger, who was 
acting as cook, also understood navigation. A voyage of several months finally brought 
them to California. 

Mr. Edward Booth and sisters had arrived in San Francisco and had sailed on the 
Sacramento river boat "New World" to Sacramento. The Booth boys were so long 
in arriving in San Francisco that their brother had instructed every employee on the 
Sacramento river boats to be on the lookout for them and to direct them to Sacra- 
mento. They arrived in San Francisco in 1852 and immediately sailed on the steamer 
"Sydney Stepp" for Sacramento. Arriving in that city they were met by a flood from 
the American river which was coming in torrents down "J" street. This flood had 
washed down a large number of river rats which were so large and so many they fright- 
ened the Booth boys more than the flood. 

The boys, after becoming accustomed to their new surroundings in California, de- 
cided to go to the mines. Mr. Elige Booth went to Nevada City, California, and his 
brothers to Grass Valley. Mr. George Booth, however, decided to return to Sacramento 
and look after their sisters. By so doing he was enabled to keep in touch with every 
movement for the betterment of the condition of the race in this State. He became 
active as a member of the first Colored State Convention, held in Sacramento in 1855, 
in the interest of the "Right of Testimony" for colored people in the Courts of Jus- 
tice. The other male members of the Booth family were just as interested in the wel- 
fare of the race, and, whenever they came down from the mines, they contributed heavily 
of all their diggings to aid in such movements and to give encouragement to the other 
members of the race in the struggle. 

In after years Mr. George Booth, married a Mrs. Ferguson, who had come to Cali- 
fornia in 1861 from Port Gibson, Mississippi, with the intention of spending three years 
with her sister, a Mrs. Harriett Page. Mr. George Booth made his living as an express- 
man. He was successful and saved his earnings, and, in his old age, enjoyed all the 
comforts of life. After a happily-married life covering eighteen years, he passed to his 
reward, leaving his widow securely protected from hardships. She lived in comfort 
until her death which but recently occurred. Mrs. George Booth was a delightful lady 
to converse with, a devoted church member and actively engaged in the various church 
societies. 

Mr. Edward Booth followed mining all his life and was successful. He was very 
unselfish both with his family of sisters and brothers and their families, contributing 
to every movement of interest to the race. He enjoyed traveling, making extensive 
trips. Upon hearing that gold had been discovered in Alaska, he decided to leave 
California and go in quest of it. He took up a claim in Alaska and was a successful 
miner, remaining in that country until his death, which occurred in 1900. 

The following is quoted from an address made by Mr. Edward Booth before the 
Second Annual Convention of the Colored Convention of California: "Mr. President 
and gentlemen. I am happy to meet you on this occasion and to respond to the call 
on behalf of this convention. The object for which we have met is a good one and 
I feel deeply my want of language to express my feelings in relation thereto, but I 
will endeavor briefly to present a few facts respecting the condition of our people 
in my county. There are about five hundred colored people residing there, variously 
employed. A few are farmers and mechanics; a small number are engaged in trading, 
but the majority of them are miners. It is with pride I say, we are showing to our 
■white fellow-citizens, that we have some natural abilities. 

"We are resolved to let them see that all we want is an equal chance, an open 
field and a fair fight. . . . We intend to disprove the allegation that we are naturally 
inferior to them. The colored people of Nevada County possess property to the amount 
of $3,000,000 in mining claims, water, ditch stock and some real estate. We have one 
church, but no permanent school-house. A company is forming to build one." 



OF CALIFORNIA 117 

Mr. James H. Hubbard, a nephew, whom Mr. Booth sent to Oberlin College to be 
educated, after his graduation came to California to live with his mother and the re- 
maining members of the family. He was ordained under Bishop T. M. D. Ward of 
the A. M. E. Church, and soon became one of the distinguished colored ministers in 
the State. He remained in the California Conference until 1905, when he .ioined the 
Colorado Conference, continuing in the Ministry of the Afro-American Methodist 
Church until his death, which occurred in 1912, in Denver, Colorado. He left to mourn 
his passing three daughters and four sons, respectively: Mrs. Ida Williamson; Mrs. 
Esther Morrison, of Denver, Colorado; Mrs. E. Gordon, of Furlong Tract near Los 
Angeles, California; Messrs. James and Joseph and the Eev. Edward Hubbard, a min- 
ister in the A. M. E. Church. 

Mr. Elige Booth, a brother, who graciously furnished the biography of the family, 
the writer found to be a delightful and intensely interesting gentleman. He was dig- 
nified and reminded one of a gentleman of the old school of aristocracy. His mind was 
clear in relating details of the trip to California and in regard to matters of interest 
to the race during pioneer times. When questioned concerning the treatment accorded 
to Negro miners during pioneer days in California, he replied: "There were often 
disputes concerning miners jumping their claims," and then he told of a meeting held 
by miners to protect his claim. He said: "A man was a man, even if he was a colored 
miner. There were some sections where the colored men were not treated as they 
should have been, but the minters had a rule that everybody's claim should measure 
alike, "fifty feet front running back one hundred feet." It was highly interesting 
to listen to' him tell of the methods used in mining and also something of the life of 
the miners of pioneer days in California. 

Robert Anthony, who came to Sacramento, California, from St. Louis, Mo., by 
ox-team in 1849, was a slave, and worked in the mines for two years to pay for his 
freedom. After obtaining his freedom, he mined for himself, owning the first quartz 
mill in California. Later he purchased another. His mills were located at Horn-Cut, 
between Yuba and Dry-Cut. One mill was worked by horses, the other by water. A.11 
the mining previous to the establishment of these mills was placer mining. By the aid 
of the mills men were enabled to go down into the bowels of the earth and bring forth 
pieces of mineral-bearing rocks or those showing mineral deposits, and to break these 
rocks, securing the gold, silver or other valuable deposits. 

Mr. Anthony, in after years, removed his mills to Brown's Valley. One day, while 
he and the team of dogs which he had been driving were far in the mine, one of the 
chambers caved in and crippled him. He worked as a miner until 1905, when, owing to 
poor health, he was compelled to give it up. Mr. Anthony was the means of emanci- 
pating a young colored girl who was working as a sheep-herder in the Santa Cruz 
Mountains, an account of which will be found in the chapter on "Slavery," under the 
department entitled, "Slaves Emancipated in California." 

Daniel Rodgers came to California in 1849 with his master from Little Rock, 
Arkansas. He worked in the mines and in other ways earned enough money to pay 
his master $1,100 for his freedom. This money was earned after the work of the day, 
which ended at sundown. After a couple of years in California his master decided to 
return to Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Daniel Rodgers was never satisfied again to live in the South, and decided to try 
and return to California with his family. When he was about to start back west, the 
master, to whom he had paid the money for his freedom in California, began to make 
arrangements to sell him again into slavery, as he had not given the Negro his Freedom 
Papers, although he had received the thousand dollars for them. A few white gentle- 
men, hearing of the intentions of this slave master, raised a purse of money, paid for 
his freedom and gave him his Freedom Papers, signed by the best men in the county. A 
copy of the papers may be found in this book. 

Daniel Rodgers again started with his family for California, but was again stopped 
because his wife did not have her Freedom Paper, an account of which will also be 
found in chapter on Slavery. He then made another attempt to reach California with 
his family, crossing the plains with an ox-team, spending one year in coming. They arrived 
in 1860, locating at Watsonville, where he secured a tract of eighty acres of land and began 
life as a farmer. 

The following are the names of his children: John, Martin, Sam, James, Car- 
rol, Redmond, Jessie, Julia-Ann, Martha and Sallie Rodgers. They were only chil- 
dren and, as the children of slave parents, had not enjoyed the blessing or advantage 
of an education. The first thing to be done for them was to apply to the school board 
of the township for a school and a teacher. The board was slow in securing a teacher. 
In the meantime the oldest daughter decided to marry a colored gentleman who had 



118 THE NEGEO TRAIL BLAZERS 

previously moved to Watsonville, a Mr. John Derrick. The union was blessed by the 
birth of several children, which in time opened the school doors to both the children of 
the Rodgers and of the Derrick families, who still lived in Watsonville and were anxious 
for an education. 

The Board of Education secured the services of a young white girl of northern 
parentage, a Miss Knowlton, who because of her own home influence and education, 
which was of the spirit of the Abolitionist, gave so much of her personal interest to the 
welfare of the children that they became devoted to her. It has been the writer's 
privilege and pleasure to interview this teacher, who, among other things, said that 
she recognized the excellent talent of the children of these two colored families, the 
Rodgers and the Derricks. She spoke of how she had urged their parents to move to 
San Francisco, where the children could advance in a higher education and m the 
struggle in life's battles. This teacher further said that it was gratifying to her in 
after years to learn that they all had made a success of life. 

John Derrick came to California in 1859 and located in Watsonville. The next 
year the Rodgers family also located in the same town, which resulted in the meeting 
and marriage of Mr. Derrick and Miss Martha Rodgers. The union was blessed by the 
following children: John, Lincoln, Nellie, Andy, Jake, Artismisa and Eva Derrick. 
These children were given the best education that California afforded. They have lived 
creditable lives, filling positions of responsibility, both in the United States Government 
and also local appointments. They are distinguished members of the St. Augustine 
Episcopal Church for colored people, located in Oakland, and are actively engaged m 
every movement of interest to the race in California. Mr. Lincoln Derrick is an 
associate editor of the Western Outlook, of San Francisco, published for the benefit of 
the race in all of the State, and is considered thoroughly reliable. Daniels Rodgers died 
at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Derrick, in Oakland. 

Albert Grubbs, senior, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and came to California in 
1854. He was the body servant to the Honorable Henry Clay, traveled with him during 
his public life, and closed his eyes in death. After coming to California, Mr. Grubbs 
located in Sacramento and, after spending a number of years in the laundry business, 
began teaming, and took an active part in every movement for the uplift of the race. 
He had one son born in Sacramento, to whom he gave a good education. After the boy 
had completed the course in the public schools, he was sent to the private school con- 
ducted by Rev. Peter Cassey, in San Jose, California. 

Mr. Grubbs, junior, has always been an active Episcopalian, at the present time 
being a vestryman and church clerk of the St. Augustine Episcopalian Mission, located 
at Oakland, and an active participant in any movement of interest to the race. While 
quite young he joined the Sacramento Zouaves, a military company of colored men. At 
the time he joined he was too young to become a regular cadet, and was made & 
"marker boy." He remained with the organization for many years, retiring from it 
as second lieutenant. 

Mr. Grubbs has been employed a great many years by the Southern Pacific Railroad 
company. Something of an estimate of the high regard in which the gentleman is held 
can be given by the following letter sent to the home offices by the head of the San 
Francisco office after the great earthquake and fire of 1906: 

"Temporary Office of Secretary, Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 72 San Pablo 
Avenue, Room 8, Oakland, California. 

August 13, 1906. 
J. L. WiLLicuTT, Mr. E. E. Calvin, 

Secretary. Vice-President and General Manager, 

C. P. Lincoln Southern Pacific Company, 

Assistant 'secretary. Ferry Building. 

"Dear Sir: The recent published reports that employes of the Southern Pacific 
Company who had been rendered destitute by the fire are to receive financial assistance 
from the company, and the later reports that money is already being paid to some of 
its employes, while others have but just heard that there was such a plan on foot, has 
led two of the latter, both of whom are old and most deserving employes, to call upon 
me with the view of learning if I had been notified of the plan or knew whether or 
not their names were under consideration, to which I was obliged to make a negative 

reply. 

"The first is Albert Grubbs, who is now and for the past six years has been employed 
in my office. He entered the service of the company in May, 1870, as massenger m the 
telegraph office at Sacramento, and was engaged in that and General Manager Town s 
office for some two or three years, then went into the Sacramento shops and learned 



OF CALIFORNIA 119 

the trade of cabinet-maker. From there, on account of ill health, he was placed on the 
pay-train, at the suggestion of Secretary Miller, in which capacity he continued for 
nine years. 

''He was then transferred to a position in the Auditor's and Secretary's offices, 
having the charge and care of the paid coupons, in which line of work he has now been 
especially employed for nearly fifteen years, and a more correct, earful, painstaking 
man it would be difficult to find. 

"The coupon records in my department have been gradually increasing through 
the consolidation of various roads, which, together with the new issues of bonds, has 
required of Albert constant application to his duties and many extra hours of service. 
He lost all of his furniture and personal effects by the fire, for which he received $300 
insurance money, which is all he now has to show for his life's work. . . . During 
the respective thirty-six years' service ... not a coupon has been mislaid or a 
dime unaccounted foV, ... nor has anything occurred to attract him from his direct 
line of duty to the company, and I therefore feel that I am called upon to present such 
worthy and meritorious cases to your attention in the belief that it is your desire to 
learn of such instances of remarkable care and devotion to the company's interests. 

"Yours very truly, 

(Signed) "J. L. Willicutt, Secretary." 

The person acting as copyist was so delighted over the letter that he asked per- 
mission to give Mr. Grubbs a copy, and thus the writer has been able to reproduce it 
here. One of the largest dailies in Oakland, The OaUand Tribune, as a special feature 
in its issue of December 24, 1910, published a full-page article commenting on the 
services rendered by Albert Grubbs to the Southern Pacific Company. The article was 
headed, "Handled Millions in Coupons," and in every way spoke in the highest terms 
of the subject of the sketch. 

Mr. Grubbs married young and the union was blessed by the birth of one son, to 
whom was given the best education possible. He was ambitious to learn a trade, and 
chose to become an electrician. He secured work as errand-boy in a ladies' tailor shop 
and studied at nights and mastered a correspondence course in the California Electrical 
Works. He then secured employment with Charles Person & Co., located at 102 Powell 
Street, San Francisco, the only electrical store in San Francisco owned by a colored 
man, and had been employed here for two years when Mr. Persons died. He then 
secured employment as foreman in a white store. Afterward, for a while, he was 
employed at the Union Iron Works, learning to be a machinist. Finding the color 
prejudices so great a hindrance to securing work, he studied and mastered the Spanish 
language and sailed for Buenos Ayres, South America. 

He married Miss Carrie Phelps, of Chicago, who in time joined him. He now has 
regular employment in one of the largest shops in the South American city. 

Geoege Washington Dennis. 

This sketch, which portrays the struggles in the life of the late Mr. George Wash- 
ington Dennis, is' both interesting and valuable. It carries with it a grand lesson to 
those of today who think they are handicapped because of their color. It should be 
inspiring because the subject, even with his handicap, never for a moment lost his 
great ambition to better not only the condition of his mother aiKl himself, but that of 
his race. 

In after years he was a prime factor in all the struggles of his race against adverse 
legislation. He reared a most interesting family which is a credit to the community. 
He was a loving father and a devoted husband, a highly respected citizen of San Fran- 
cisco and the State of California. His life stands out in bold relief in proof of the 
fact that if a man wills, he can make his life represent something to the world for the 
betterment of mankind. 

The following facts in the life of George Washington Dennis were given by his 
son, Edward Dennis, who said: 

"George Washington Dennis came to California September 17, 1849, with the 
gambling party that opened the 'Eldorado Hotel' in San Francisco. This party of 
gamblers was from New Orleans and was composed of the following persons: Green 
Dennis, a slave trader, from Mobile, Alabama; Joe and Jim Johnson, from Ohio, and 
Andy McCabe. When they reached Colon, the only passage they were able to obtain 
was a row-boat, which they used up the Chagres river to Panama. 

"While en route from Panama to San Francisco, the gamblers lost and re-won Mr, 
Dennis three different times. He was their slave and therefore chattel property. When 
they engaged passage on the steamr at Panama for San Francisco, the captain charged 



120 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

them $350 for the ISTegro, since it was not certain that he was a slave, and the laws did 
not permit the carrying of slave passengers. This was done presumably to protect the 
captain from a fine if Mr. Dennis was a slave. 

"The entire party in due time reached San Francisco and opened the 'Eldorado 
Hotel,' a tent measuring 30 by 100 feet, which they had brought from New Orleans. 
They located on the corner of Washington and Kearney streets,, on the site which la 
now the home of the Hall of Justice. The Eldorado Hotel ran a faro bank and monte, 
ten tables going night and day. They were played during the day by men and at night 
by women. Green Dennis made the subject of this sketch the proposition that if he 
would save his money he could purchase his freedom. George W. Dennis was given the 
position of porter of this hotel at a salary of $250 per month. Mr. Dennis, very anxious 
to secure his freedom and at the same time to start life with a little money, saved the 
sweepings from the gambling tables and at the end of three months he paid, in five 
and ten cent pieces, the sum of $1000, and received a bill for himself from Green Dennis, 
who was his father and also his master. 

"Shortly afterward Joe and Jim Johnson, who were of the party of gamblers, 
decided to give up gambling and return to Ohio and bring to California some graded 
cattle Joe Johnson told Mr. Dennis that if he wished he would bring back Dennis's 
mother, whereupon the subject of this sketch paid to Green Dennis the sum of $950 f or 
the freedom of his mother, and Mr. Johnson returned to California with her. bhe 
lived in San Francisco with her son many years afterward, dying at the advanced age 
of 105 years. 

"Upon the arrival of his mother in San Francisco, Mr. Dennis rented one of the 
gambling tables at $40 per day for the privilege of his mother serving hot meals in the 
gambling house on it. Eggs were selling at $12 per dozen, apples 25 cents apiece, and 
a loaf of bread $1. While her expenses were heavy, she averaged $225 a day. After 
working here two years he decided to start out for himself and went with the 'Frazier 
River Mining Company.' He staked two or three claims, but was not successful, and 
returned to San Francisco, going to work for the same parties at the 'Eldorado Hotel' 
at the same salary, making money rapidly. Mr. Dennis and Mifflin Gibbs decided to 
purchase, in partnership, a piece of property on Montgomery between Jackson and 
Pacific, paying eighteen thousand dollars for the same. After holding it for six months 
they sold it for thirty-two thousand dollars. In 1856 Mr. Dennis bought the block 
bounded by Post, Geary, Hyde and Larkins streets, paying one thousand five hundred 
and fifty dollars for the same. He l)uilt a homesite on this property for his children, 
four of whom were born at this place. Later he purchased a block on Post, Sutter, 
Scott and Divisidera streets, paying three hundred and fifty dollars. He sold the 
greater part of this at a good margin, but retained until his death the beautiful home 
and homestead, notwithstanding he passed through seven fires in San Francisco. Each 
time the city was destroyed he lost all, with others. 

"Mr. Dennis opened the first livery stable in San Francisco. It was located at 
Sansome and Washington streets, on the site now occupied by the Custom House. Later 
he had a partner, a Mr. James Brown. The British government wanted five hundred 
cavalry horses, and Mr. Dennis secured the contract to furnish them. He bought the 
horses and, after breaking them, shipped them to the British govrnment. This was not 
done without its hardships of jealousy. Mr. Dennis had in his employ an Irishman who 
poisoned ninety head of these horses. It was proven that he did it, and resulted m his 
conviction before a court of justice, the judge giving him a sentence of fourteen years 
in the penetentiary. After Mr. Dennis disposed of his horses to the British government 
he gave up the livery stable business and opened a wood and coal yard on Broadway 
near Montgomery street, in San Francisco. 

"Mr. Dennis then decided that he needed a helpmate, and was fortunate in mar- 
rying Miss Margaret A. Brown, the daughter of James Brown, whoi had come to San 
Francisco, with his family, from Baltimore in 1845. The marriage was celebrated June 
' 21, 1855, Rev. Thomas officiating and the Hon. Mifflin Gibbs acting as groomsman. The 
bride was attended by her sister, Miss Charlotte Brown, as bridesmaid. The couple 
lived to celebrate their golden wedding in San Francisco, a privilege granted to but few. 
Many years afterward Mrs. Dennis passed away. The union was blessed by the birth 
of eleven children, all of whom were given the best education obtainable in California. 
The following are the names of the children: Margaret L. Benston, Mrs. C. R. Downs, 
William E., Andrew, Alexander, Julian, Joseph, George, Carlisle, Edward and Link 
Dennis." 

This family is remarkable not only because they won honors in school as great 
scholars, but their children have followed in their footsteps and have won the same 
distinction. Mrs. Margaret L. Dennis-Benston, for instance, was the first colored girl 



OF CALIFORNIA 121 

to graduate from the San Francisco High School, graduating with honors in a class of 
fifteen hundred students. She was most efficient in the Spanish and Chinese languages, 
and afterward taught in a private school for Chinese. Se had been offered a position 
as interpreter for the courts of San Francisco, when she suddenly decided that she 
would rather marry Captain Benston. 

The daughter by this union is now Mrs. Margaret Benston-Evans. She graduated 
with a class of seven hundred from the Commercial High School, in San Francisco, as 
the valedictorian of her class. She speaks and translates the Spanish language and is 
a stenographer of ability. Aside from these accomplishments, she has been trained in 
elocution and short-story writing, which has resulted in her writing ten or more plays, 
many of which she has" produced for charity. She married young to a United States 
Naval steward, a Mr. Evans, who has the distinction of being the steward of the Pacific 
Fleet of the United States Navy. Since it will be impossible to give a sketch of each 
of the eleven children, the writer will only give a short review of the interesting lives 
of a few members of the family. 

Mr. George Dennis studied law at Hastings Law College, of San Francisco, and took 
a business course in Heald's Business College. He was very prominent in politics, and 
was a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, representing Alameda County. 
He took a prominent part in Mr. Hasting 's nomination and election, and seconded the 
nomination of Governor Budd, at the Convention held in the Old Baldwin Theatre, San 
Francisco, and stumped the State in the interest of the election of Governor Budd. He 
was a member of the Y. M. I. (Young Men's Institute) and the Knights of Columbus. 
He was employed as solicitor for Hamburg Bremen Insurance Company at a salary 
of $150 a month for twenty-seven years, and, although he was in poor health for fully 
two years before his death, they retained him on the pay-roll at half -pay. The night 
before his death the priest and the order of Y. M. I. came in a body and offered for and 
with him ' ' The Holy Viaticum, ' ' or prayers for the dying. 

Carlisle Dennis worked for Mark Hopkins' family for eleven years as butler, and 
for five years as secretary to the widow, Mrs. Mark Hopkins, who was a stockholder of 
the Southern Pacific railroad, associated with the late Governor Stanford, Mr. Crocker 
and C. P. Huntington. Mrs. Hopkins died leaving forty-two million dollars. 

Mr. Link Dennis for a number of years was a clerk for the Standard Oil Company. 
Mr. Edward Dennis was a policeman, the first of the race in San Francisco; Joe Dennis, 
an altar boy in St. Dominica's Catholic church. Miss Elsie, who is the daughter of 
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Dennis, is a violinist and pianist and gives great promise as an artist 
with the brush. 

Mrs. Annie Peters, a most charming lady, and the oldest living pioneer of color in 
California, came to the State in 1851, with the family of Eev. Elavil Scott Mines, the 
first Episcopal minister on the Pacific Coast, who founded the Trinity Church of San 
Francisco, brought the church around the Horn and rebuilt it in San Francisco. Mrs. 
Peters, who was then Miss Garrick, was just fourteen years old when she landed in 
New York from her home in the Island of St. Croix, West Indies. She was most thor- 
oughly educated in a private school on the Island. She was a keen observer of things 
and events that were making California history. She has been a great assistance to 
the writer in many talks with regard to pioneer days in San Francisco. The writer has 
many scrap-books filled with newspaper clippings given to her for use in this book by 
Mrs. Peters. Her patriotic instinct, race pride and love of the beautiful, even when 
a very young girl, would do credit to any man or woman of today. 

The writer is very much indebted to Eev. David R. Wallace for a letter of intro- 
duction to Mrs. Peters. She was a member of the First Mission established for colored 
people in San Francisco, and in this way Father Wallace knew of her and the value she 
could be to the writer in telling things of vital interest concerning the Negro race and 
its early history in California. After being convinced that the material was to be 
used for the best interests of the race, her face lit up like the halo around the painting 
of a Madonna. She said: "Thank God, my prayers have been answered. I have 
saved these clippings and data all these years, and now that I am going to make a 
change I am glad to give them to you." 

The first visit of the author to this grand old lady wasi a perfect literary feast, 
one to live, in the memory the same as the recollection of a first visit to California 
fields of wild flowers after the winter rains in the land of Sunshine, a feeling indescrib- 
able. Such was the great inspiration secured from every visit to Mrs. Peters. She 
would pour out her soul like the music of a great organ, as she would tell of the strug- 
gles of the colored people in pioneer days in California. A favorite expression of hers 
was: "The events are painted upon my memory and brain," and many an event that 
historians had forgotten to mention as of value to the Negro she would recall, together 



122 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

with the truth about the same, and why some white persons were mistreated, even today, 
by writers "because they defended the Negro and his rights even against their own 
best interests." Mrs. Peters was still living in January, 1918. 

Nathaniel Pointer, the subject of this sketch, came to San Francisco, California, 
in 1852. He went into business with Mifflin Gibbs, opening the Philadelphia Store. 
Later he was joined by other relatives, who came from Mississippi via Panama. In the 
party was his mother, grandmother, two uncles, four cousins and two aunts. 

In 1863 Miss Mary Pointer, another member of the family, came to California, and, 
after living in San Francisco for three years, sent back east for her father and mother, 
William and Julia Ann Pointer; her brothers, John, Nathaniel and Charles; her sisters, 
Mary and Ellen Pointer. After coming to California, Miss Mary Pointer married Mr 
John Callander, and they opened a boarding house for sailors at No. 5 Broadway, San 
Francisco, May, 1866. 

Mr. Frank Shelton, the subject of this sketch, came to California from Orange 
County, Virginia, with his mother, in 1847. His father, Samuel Shelton, came to the State 
in 1840, and followed mining. 

Frank, the youngest son, was given a fair education by private teachers until the 
organization of a colored school which was taught by Kev. J. J. Moore. When the gold 
craze was at its height and men were going to British Columbia, he joined the crowd 
and spent several years there as a miner. He was very successful. 

Previous to his going to British Columbia he helped to organize a Baptist church 
in San Francisco, purchasing with his own money an old warehouse which was con- 
verted into a church. He had two daughters, Lizzie and Julia, to whom he gave the 
best education then attainable. They were sent to a private school conducted by Kev. 
Peter Cassey and located at San Jose, California. The Misses Shelton graduated from 
this institution with honors. 

In after years Mr. Frank Shelton returned from British Columbia and, locating in 
San Francisco, became a successful furniture dealer in new and second-hand furniture. 
He died leaving his family well provided for, with many pieces of valuable property. 
His wife was left in full charge of the estate until her death, which did not occur until 
a generation afterward. She was very liberal and gave heavily to charitable institu- 
tions. Several years previous to her death, which occurred at the ripe old age of ninety 
years, she made a gift-deed to her daughters whereby they secured the rental of some of 
the property before her death. 

Miss Julia Shelton became the wife of Captain Shorey. She has an interesting 
sketch in the department devoted to Distinguished Women. 

Few people are blessed with a long life which passes the century mark, as has been 
the subject of this sketch, Mrs. Susan Wilson, who came to California in 1853 from 
Wayne County, Missouri, going first to Texas and from there to California by the way 
of the ox-team. She had three children of her own with her. It was most interesting 
to hear her tell of the long, tedious journey across the plains, and how the Indians would 
frighten them, and how, at one time, they came near being massacred by the Indiana. 
There were one hundred wagons in the ox-team. They started on their trip to the 
coast in March, and reached Miles Creek, Mariposa County, California, three weeks 
before Christmas. This lady is now more than one hundred years of age. Her daughters 
have all married and have interesting and highly respected families. One daughter 
married Mr. Edward Wysinger. Mrs. Wilson makes her home in Oakland with another 
daughter, a Mrs. Quinn, while a third, Mrs. Allen, and Mr. Reuben Wysinger, a grandson, 
live at Fowler. 

Mr. James Segee, his wife, Elizabeth, and young daughter, Emma, coming to Cali- 
fornia from Jacksonville, Florida, via the Isthmus of Panama, arrived in San Francisco 
in 1852. Later they moved to Marysville, where they decided to open a laundry, and 
afterward were joined by the other members of the family, Mary and Julia Hermandez, 
who came from Florida in 1853. When the Frazier River gold excitement reached Cali- 
fornia the aunts decided to go to British Columbia and cook, at a wage of $100 a week. 
Mr. and Mrs. Segee sent their daughter, Emma, to Canada with them, that she might 
be educated in the public school of that place. She remained there for seven years, 
when she returned to Marysville, where she married Mr. Washington and was given a 
position as the first colored public school teacher in that city. 

"Peter Powers, the subject of this sketch, was born in Missouri, of slave parents, 
in 1828. His mother died a few months afterward. He was reared by his mistress, 
being well liked, and was placed in charge of the farm and the ferry, which he managed 
with success for a number of years. When his mistress died she said he should be free, 
which wish her husband carried out at his death. But the laws were that, on becoming 
free, he had to leave the State, which he did in 1857. Before leaving he married Miss 



OF CALIFORNIA 123 

Eachel Seals, daughter of Frank Seals, of Kentucky. Leaving Warsaw on April, 1858, 
he crossed the plains. When at Gravelford, on the TTumboldt river, they were attacked 
by Indians, whom they put to flight, having only one man wounded, but many redmen's 
scalps. At this place a Mr. Martin lost three hundred head of cattle. Peter Powers 
engaged in mining and at the same time kept a boarding house and laundry, which he 
continued for three years. He then moved to Grass Valley, spending an unprofitable 
year there, after which he moved to Marysville, where he soon accumulated property 
and first learned to read and write. He continued his studies until he, at length, was 
able to attend to all of his own affairs. Afterward he became a teacher in the public 
school for a number of years. Later on, in 1865, he and his family moved to Tehama 
County, wliere he took up land. In 1866 his wife died. It was at this place he began 
building a church. In 1870 he went to Chico and bought property and planned and 
built a church on two beautiful lots belonging to colored citizens. This was known as 
the A. M. E. Church. He was elected to represent his County in a school convention." 
— The Souvenir of Prominent Colored People of the Pacific Coast. 

Mr. William Robinson, coming to California and locating in Eed Bluff in 1859, came 
from West Virginia across the plains. He engaged in the restaurant business and 
invested heavily in mining stock. He owned a group of mines at North San .luan, 
Nevada County, California. He married Mrs. Logan in 1861, a widow who had come 
to California witli three children from Arkansas, and locted in Red Bluff. The union 
was blessed by the birth of three additional children. Mr. Robinson believed in acquiring 
property and owned property wherever he lived. He was fortunate to be able, when 
his children were old enough to attend school, to employ a private teacher, and opened 
a school for his children at North San Juan, Nevada County, California. He then began 
a movement to establish a public school for all colored children, and was joined in the 
movement by his wife, Mr. A. J. Logan, of Palocedro, Shasta County, California, and 
Mr. and Mrs. P. D. Logan, who all worked in unison to establish a colored school in 
Red Bluff. They also worked to collect the money to build a church for the A. M. E. 
denomination in Red Bluff. Mr. Robinson kept the pastor for years free of cost. 

Miss Clara Logan-Robinson in time became too advanced for the colored school, 
whereupon her father, Mr. Robinson, again took steps to fight for her admission into 
the public High School of Red Bluff. This resulted in this daughter graduating in the 
pioneer class. She was the first colored girl to receive a certificate to teach. She 
taught in one of the Red Bluff public schools. Mr. Robinson sent his sons to San Fran- 
cisco to be educated under the instruction of J. B. Sanderson. 

Mr. William Robinson believed in fighting the battles of the race through politics 
without the hope of personal gain. He rescued from slavery, long years after the 
Emancipation Proclamation, two young colored women in Red Bluff, Miss Hster Ander- 
son and Miss Bell Grant. Mr. Robinson was a valuable member of the race, and shared 
their struggles throughout the State, giving liberally of both time and money in 
assisting the members of the Eexecutive Committee of the Colored Convention. He 
died at the age of sixty-eight, much beloved by all who knew him. 

Mrs. Cloye Burnett Logan-Flood came to the Pacific Coast with some white people, 
crossing the plains in 1853 into Umicano Valley, Oregon, where she lived until eleven 
years old. The people were unkind to her and one day she decided that she was going 
to California. She proceeded to mount a horse and ride to Shastatown, and afterward 
to Red Bluff, where she secured work. In after years she married Mr. Grifiin Logan 
and moved to Tehama County. 

Mr. Logan was engaged in farming and sheep-raising and was very successful. The 
union was blessed by the birth of five girl^ and one boy, Byron Logan, who was an 
upholsterer by trade. The girls are: Mrs. Hickerson of Guinda, California; Mrs. 
Houston, of Los Angeles; Mrs. Edward Johnson, of Berkeley; Mrs. William Stephens, 
of Del Monte, California, and Mrs. Blick, of New York City. 

After the death of Mr. Logan his widow moved to Berkeley, where she followed 
professional nursing. After her children were grown, she married Mr. Flood, a member 
of the old pioneer family of that name in Oakland. She is a delightful lady, much 
loved by all who know her. 

Mr. James Churchill came lo California in 1849 with a party of white people. He 
had an interesting experience shortly after the party crossed the mountains into Cali- 
fornia. Mr. Churchill met a bear and succeeded in killing it. His experience in killing 
this bear he told in after years to a colored school-boy in Marysville, by the name of 
James Allen, who wrote a good story concerning it and published it in the Marysville 
High School paper. Mr. Churchill, after locating in Marysville, became a teamster in 
the mountains, and owned a ranch in the northern part of the State. He was the proud 
father of fifteen children, nine of whom were living at the time of his death. He lived 



124 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

in California fifty-nine years, the greater part of which was spent in Marysville. His 
wife, Mrs. Mary Churchill, came from Missouri in 1853. The remaining members of his 
family now living in Marysville are: Sons, William, Phillip, Albert and George; 
daughters, Mrs. Ellen Breeden, Mrs. W. G. Holland, Mrs. Annie Breeden, Mrs. A. B. 
Davis and Mrs. Ida Churchill. 

Mr. William Hart, the subject of this sketch, came to California in 1849. He drove 
and cared for race horses from Eichmond, Virginia, to Little Rock, Arkansas, and thence 
to California. Upon his arrival in California he immediately went to the mines to work 
for himself. Since he was free-born all his earnings were his own. He successfully 
mined at Angel and Chinese Camps. He gave liberally to every movement of interest 
to the race in its struggle for the right to live in California. He was painstaking and 
saving, which resulted in his leaving his family, at his passing, comfortably provided 
against a rainy day. He left a ranch on the Mariposa Road, which still yields a good 
income. He left a widow and twelve children, seven of whom were boys. All of the 
children were given the best education possible. His son, Daniel Dabney Hart, who 
graduated at the age of nineteen years, was, up to 1914, the only boy of the race to 
have graduated from the public high schools in San Joaquin County. He took the civil 
service examination and received an appointment as clerk in the San Francisco post- 
office. Charles Hart is employed in the street department of Stockton, California. The 
daughters, Alice, Helen and Ruth Hart, are exquisite needlewomen. Miss Helen Hart 
sent a perfectly wonderful piece of French hand embroidery to the Panama-Pacific 
International Exposition, in San Francisco, in 1915. It was so daintily done it was 
impossible to tell it from a piece of imported handwork. The mother of this family 
is a thoroughly gentlewoman and most interesting. She showed the writer a rocker 
and cart used by her husband when he did placer mining in Angel and Chinese Camps. 

Dr. Fletcher, coming to California from the Island of Saint Christopher, Danish 
West Indies, arrived in San Francisco in 1860. He joined the Navy and served until 
1865, when he returned to San Francisco and for three years practiced in the Ham- 
man Baths, afterward moving to Sacramento. 

Mr. John Gryder came to California in 1841, with Major Burney, Dick Gardner and 
Major Wyeth, owners of fine horses. They came from Silver County, Tennessee, through 
Mexico to California. He acted as horse-trainer for the party. After reaching Cali- 
fornia Mr. Gryder decided to follow mining. He worked in the mines at Murphy's 
Diggings, which was located seventy miles from Stockton. He was very successful and 
paid Major Wyeth $800 to bring his mother to California. Upon her arrival he pur- 
chased her a home in Marysville, where Mrs. Caroline Gryder spent the remaining days 
of her life. Mr. Gryder has practiced as a veterinary surgeon' in Vallejo almost con- 
tinuously since 1851. He was a member of the Bear Flag Party and, at one of the 
celebrations of the Native Sons and Daughters, he rode in state through the streets of 
Vallejo in their procession. 

Mrs. Addie Stanley came to California with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Raimus. 
They came across the plains by ox-team from Galena, Illinois, to Nevada City, Nevada 
County, California, arriving September 20, 1852. She married Mr. John Stanley in 
Sacramento in 1872. He had come to California during early pioneer days, and at his 
marriage was acting as valet to Governor Booth, filling the position with credit for 
eleven years. 

"John A. Barber, born of free parents in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 1834, 
immigrated to this State in 1853 and entered upon a business career as a contractor 
and builder. He won for himself a world-wide reputation as an orator and an agitator. 
He associated with others in drawing up many petitions which were sent to the legis- 
lature in behalf of colored people. 

' ' Mr. Barber was Grand Marshal of the procession that commemorated the adoption 
of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. As Past Grand 
Marshal of the colored lodge of California and Grand Lecturer, he exercised a potent 
influence. Mr. Barber, though not a politician, was a delegate and represented the 
Thirty-third Assembly District of San Francisco at the Democratic State Convention at 
San Jose, California, being the first of the race in the State to receive such a dis- 
tinction." — Prominent Afro-Americans of Pacific Coast. 

Henry Miles, the subject of this sketch, came to California in 1853 from Baltimore, 
Maryland. He immediately went to the mines and was very successful, purchasing 
several mines in Calavares County, California. He also purchased five hundred acres 
of land fourteen miles from Stockton. His family did not reach the State until 1857, 
the sons, William Blake and John, having come earlier. The daughters, Silvia, Sara 
and Josephine, came with their mother, Mrs. Miles. The family then moved to San 
Francisco, and Mr. Miles took a contract to do the grading of the city, employing a 



OF CALIFORNIA 125 

large number of teams. He gave his children the best education possible. William 
Blake became an instructor in music and also the leader of a band. One daughter, 
Sara, is a finished vocalist. She married Mr. Alexander Taylor, who was an excellently 
educated musician. They went east and, after spending considerable time in study 
under the best instructors in music, both vocal and instrumental, they decided to make 
a tour, first in the United States and then of the European countries. While in Prague, 
Germany, a son was born to them, which was the first colored child ever born in the 
country, and for that reason the ruler of the place and his wife acted as god-parents 
of the child and gave it what would amount in our money to the sum of two hundred 
and fifty dollars. Silva, another daughter, married a German carpenter who was very 
successful and invested heavily in property, at one time owning ten or more good 
two-story, modern houses. They still own a ranch down the peninsula. The writer refers 
to Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, of Oakland. William Blake, a son, was not only a splendid 
musician, but he mingled freely in every movement that was of interest to the race. 
He was an active member of the Young Men's Beneficial Society of San Francisco, and 
of the Executive Committee of the Colored Convention. 

Joseph McKinney, the subject of this sketch, came across the plains with Captain 
McKinney from Missouri to California in 1854. He engaged in stock-raising and 
farming in Merced County. He afterward owned 1,700 acres of land. 

Captain William T. Shorey was born in the Island of Barbadoes of the British 
West Indies. The son of a sugar-planter and a beautiful creole lady by the name of 
Miss Rosa Frazier, he was the oldest of a family of eight children. When quite young 
he learned the trade of plumber, but, like many of the boys living on the island, pre- 
ferred to follow the sea. He shipped on a sailing vessel to Boston, where he learned 
navigation from Captain Whipple A. Leach, of Vermont, who, at the time, was residing 
at Provincetown, Cape Cod. He afterward applied and was accepted as a seaman on 
the sailing bark "Emma H. Herman," a whaling-vessel sailing- for Boston. During 
this cruise they touched several points along the South Atlantic, west coast of Africa, 
sailing around the Cape of Good Hope and calling in at Australia and Tasmania, and 
thence around to the west coast of South America, touching at Chili, Valparaiso, Peru 
and Panama, and from thence to San Francisco. This cruise lasted three years, during 
which time Mr. Shorey was promoted from third officer to first officer of the vessel. 
After this voyage the vessel was sold to McGee and Moore, of San Francisco, where- 
upon Mr. Shorey sailed on the same vessel as second officer with a new crew, en route 
to the Arctic Ocean. On the next cruise he sailed as first officer and had a very suc- 
cessful voyage; on the third cruise he sailed as master of the vessel. Previous to 
sailing he married Miss Julia Ann Shelton, of San Francisco, and they went on this 
cruise, during their honeymoon, to Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly before 
they landed the volcano Mt. Pelee became active and, shortly after the lava flowed 
down the mountain-side, the waters of the ocean were so heated that the fish were 
killed for miles around the harbor. 

Mrs. Shorey was a keen observer and a great lover of nature, aside from being a 
sea captain's wife. While on the island she gathered considerable valuable information 
and sent an interesting letter to the editor of the San Francisco Elevator, who pub- 
lished the same in a weekly issue of the paper. The party afterward landed at Honolulu, 
where Captain Shorey left the party and continued his cruise to the Arctic region. 
Mrs. Shorey, accompanied by other sea-captains' wives, returned to California. It was 
not the custom then for sea-captains to be accompanied to the Arctic coast by their 
wives. The captain was gone about one year, returning to San Francisco after a suc- 
cessful cruise. After being on the "Emma Herman" for several years, he was trans- 
ferred to the "Andrew Hicks." After several successful voyages on this vessel he 
transferred to the "Alexander," making two successful voyages on her, but on the 
third voyage he lost her in an Arctic ice pack, without the loss of life. The captain 
and entire crew returned by a Government vessel to San Francisco, sailing the next 
year in the whaling-bark "Gay Head." Captain Shorey was accompanied on this 
cruise by his wife and daughter, Zenobia. When they reached the Hawaiian Islands 
the daughter fell ill, and Mrs. Shorey was compelled to return home, where the child 
died. Captain Shorey continued on the voyage to the Arctic region, returning as usual 
in the fall after a successful cruise. The captain attributed his wonderful and amazing 
success to his happiness in having his wife and daughter accompany him part of the 
voyage. 

During the many years Captain Shorey was cruising as whaling sea-captain in the 
Pacific Ocean he had many thrilling experiences. They were often prominently men- 
tioned in the daily press. The vessel which Captain Shorey then mastered left the port 
of San Francisco February 9, 1901, and returned November 3, 1901. So many vessels 



126 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

had been wrecked during the season no one expected the return of this bark. When 
she was sighted the Examiner sent a reporter out in the pilot boat with the pilot who 
was bringing the bark into port. The following appeared in the paper the next day 
with the headlines: "Whaling bark passed through two typhoons. Only vessel on 
the coast having a colored captain safely reached harbor after trying experiences. — 
Battered about in two terrible typhoons, the whaling bark 'John and Winthrope' ar- 
rived yesterday in a bedraggled condition, having lost four of her boats and davits and 
being otherwise damaged by the storms through which she passed during her voyage 
from the Okhotsk Sea. While coming across, the little vessel had a narrow escape 
from being wrecked in a thick fog which hung over Rocky Point in the Boscell 
Channel. 

"The 'John and Winthrope' with the only colored captain on the Pacific Coast 
in command, left here in February and while in the Okhotsk Sea, secured four whales. 
The voyage back was begun October 13. When in latitude 8 degrees north and longitude 
168 degrees east, a terrible typhoon swept down on the vessel. All sail was taken down 
at the first indication of the approach of dirty weather and the typhoon caught the 
whaler under bare poles.***The ship was laden down and all hands, as far as possible, 
remained below. The wind and sea increased in fury, smashed the davits and carried 
away one of the boats besides sweeping everything oflP the deck. For thirty long hours 
the tempest lasted, during which time no one on board ate nor slept. The man at the 
wheel when the storm was at its height was blown against the bulwarks and severely 
bruised and shaken. 

"Another and more fierce typhoon caught the whaler on November 11. The wind, 
which blew with tremendous velocity, carried away all the sails. Hugh seas swept the 
decks as one mighty comber carried away two more of the boats from the starboard 
davits. The davits themselves were shattered, as was likewise the raft. The storm 
lasted forty-eight hours.***Many of those on board who had many years' experience 
say that never in their time had they seen such frightful weather. 

"When near the Boscell channel, the 'John and Winthrope' ran into a thick fog 
and, when it lifted, she was only twenty feet off the rocks. The men on board say that 
nothing but Captain Shorey's coolness and clever seamanship saved the vessel. The 
'John and Winthrope' visited the wreck of the 'Carrie and Ann' and brought down her 
cargo of bones. The vessel brought two hundred barrels of oil and 2,500 pounds of 
bones." 

In conversing with Captain Shorey concerning his life and success in following the 
sea, the writer was impressed with his high ideals as to right and wrong. He was 
reared an Episcopalian and is an active member of the Odd Fellows Lodge, Golden Gate 
No. 2007, also the Foresters No. 1704 and was Past Grand Master of Council 54, Patriots 
93. He is on the Advisory Board of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People 
located at Beulah, near Oakland, California. He was master of sailing-vessels from 
1887 to 1909 and at the present time holds a license to man a vessel of unlimited tonnage 
for sailing- or steamship in any ocean. He has retired from the sea and holds a position 
as special police officer for the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. 

The wonderful success of many of Captain Shorey's trips was in a measure due to 
his happy marriage, and, unlike other sea-captains, he often was accompanied by his 
wife and daughter. Mrs. Shorey has a wonderful, calm personality and the following 
account as quoted from a San Francisco paper will show that often "Love guided the 
wheel" while Captain Shorey mastered the vessel: "With Baby Shorey at the wheel. 
Commanded by Baby Shorey and the baby's father. Captain Shorey, the whaling bark 
'Andrew Hicks' came down from the north this morning. She is the third vessel to 
return from the Arctic cruising this year. The baby and the whaler have been at sea 
since February, most of the time in Okhotsk waters. The baby is only three years old 
and it is considered creditable to so young a navigator that she and her father steered 
their bark further to the north than any other whaler ventured this year. Victoria is 
the name of the three-year-old child that has been engaged in hunting whales all summer 
while most other children have been engaged in less venturesome occupation. 

"In an ice-drift off the coast of Siberia trouble was picked up.***' On a wild, stormy 
night we were driven into an ice-drift at Shanter Bay, and when daylight came we 
found ourselves caught by ice on every side,' said Captain Shorey today, using the 
plural pronoun with evident reference to himself and the baby. 'There was nothing 
in the world we could do but wait for the ice-fields to break up, and for eight days 
we lay wedged in the drift while the tides carried us back and forth, ever threatening 
to carry us on rocks or dash us on the shore.' This did not alarm the baby. Finally 
the ice was carried out to the open sea and the drift released the whaler.* **During all 
the cruises of the whaler, Baby Shorey and the captain were accompanied by Mrs. 



OF CALIFORNIA 127 

Shorey. 'Victoria is a remarkable sailor,' said the mother, 'She knows all the ropes, 
and has perfect command of her father.' " 

Ml. and Mrs. George W. Mitchel were natives of Virginia and relatives of Mrs. 
Rebecca Averctt and Mrs. Ford, well-known citizens of Oakland. Mr. Mitchel was the 
oldest of the three and was their much-loved brother. It was on account of his living 
in California that they moved to the State. Mr. Mitchel 's life is most interesting, be- 
cause, while he accumulated thousands of dollars' worth of property during his residence 
in California, he also had the distinction of having been one of the few slaves, who, 
during their bondage, purchased property. Tliis was an unusual occurrence, because the 
majority of them first desired their freedom and did all they could in hiring out their 
time to earn a little to apply to theiil manumission papers. Mr. Mitchel was born a 
slave in Halifax County, Virginia, and, when two years old, was sold from his parents 
and carried into Richmond, Va., where he remained until manhood. It was then that his 
thrift enabled him to buy property through tlie acquaintance of a charitable white lady, 
whose advice he followed. Evidently she realized that emancipation would some day 
come and this Negro would have a home to begin with. The laws of the country did 
not permit slaves to own property. She was honest and purchased it for him and held the 
same in her name until after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. 
She then deeded it to the rightful owner, Mr. George Mitchel. The property cost a small 
fortune. Mr. Mitchel paid $2,300 for a lot and $3,000 for a house and lot, but it was 
paid in Confederate money, which was not worth its face value. 

After paying the purchase price for these two pieces of property the great desire 
came over Mr. Mitchel to become a free man, and somehow he made the acquaintance 
of a member of the "Underground Railroad" who assisted him, in 1862, to make his 
escape to Culpeper Court House Va„ where the Union Army was stationed. After 
answering many questions, he was given a position in the War Department, being 
accepted as steward on the Government steamship "Russia" that was engaged in taking 
the Government officials to Savannah, Ga., and to Charleston, S. C, to look after the 
cotton that had been taken from the rebels and stored in these towns. This voyage was 
80 important that it was made with many cabinet officials such as Secretaries Wells and 
Stanton; Generals Sherman and Dodge, and also Senator Chandler. 

After the close of the war Mr. Mitchel returned to Richmond, Va., and married 
Miss Mary Parsons, who had also been a slave. This union was blessed by the birth 
of one son who was named for the father, George (junior). Mr. and Mrs. Mitchel were 
both thrifty and desirous of advancing in life. They never allowed a chance to escape 
whereby they could better their condition. This led to their accepting an opportunity 
to come with the crew that opened the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1875. In this 
hotel Mr. Mitchel was given the position of bellman for the first floor. The tips alone 
for this position in those days were worth while. This enabled Mr. Mitchel, in a few 
years, to purchase property in San Francisco and Oakland. He retained this position 
for twenty-five years, when he was offered a better position in the mint, located in San 
Fancisco during President Harrison's administration. He retained this position during 
this Republican administration, but with a change of parties he was removed and again 
went to work for the Palace Hotel proprietors, as head bellman. He retained this 
position until the house changed to a Caucausian crew. Mr. Mitchel was then employed 
by the State Board and Harbor Commissioners for eight years, resigning owing to 
failing health. 

During his long years of residence in San Francisco, he purchased many pieces 
of property, one was within a block of the Fairmont Hotel. He owned a two-story house 
at 2583 Sutter street; one at 292 Second Ave., another at 1665 10th street and 1022 
Twenty-fourth street, corner of Linden in Oakland. Mr. Mitchel was a great lodge man, 
being a High Mason and serving as treasurer of his lodge for twenty-four years. He 
was Past Eminent Commander of Saint Bernard Commandery, having been in the 
Masonic Lodge in good standing for forty-five years. He was also a member of the 
Omega Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. He was reputed to be worth, at his death, 
between thirty and forty thousand dollars. He was practically a pioneer in the purchase 
of property for the Northern part of the State. He and his estimable wife enjoyed 
the confidence and respect of the community. He was ill for three years and passed 
away, leaving to mourn his passing his wife, one son and two sisters. 

Mr. Alexander Averett, a distinguished citizen of Oakland, California, the subject 
of this sketch, is one of the pioneer citizens of the San Francisco Bay district of Northern 
California. He came to San Francisco from Virginia with his wife, Mrs. Rebecca 
Averett, over thirty years ago. He readily secured employment and with little inter- 
ruption has been steadily employed ever since. 



128 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Through his industry and economy he has accumulated considerable property. 
Previous to the great fire of 1906, he resided in San Francisco where he was identified 
with the Odd Fellows and other organizations of help and uplift to the race. He was 
the prime mover in the organization of a Building and Loan Association among the 
colored citizens of San Francisco, the object of which was to encourage the Negro 
renters to acquire homes. Since moving to Oakland, Mr. Averett still retains his 
interest in the lodge and other organizations in San Francisco. 

Mr. Averett, after moving to Oakland, became interested in the North Oakland 
Baptist Church, which was established by the late Richard Clark. He can be considered 
a pillar of this church, where he is untiring in fulfilling his duties as an honored and 
trusted officer. He is an intense race man and the weather is never too inclement for 
him to go either to his church or to any meeting which has for its, object the uplift 
of the Negro race. Would that the race had a few more such conscientious workers! 
He and his wife are highly respected citizens, both among their own race and with the 
best white citizens of the Bay cities. 

The Honorable Beverly A. Johnson was born of free parents in Washington, D. C. 
He has the distinction of having attended both the inauguration and the funeral of the 
martyred President Abraham Lincoln. He came to California in 1868 via the Straits of 
Magellan. He has lived in California ever since, spending his first four years on a 
ranch in Placer County, and the remainder of the time in Sacramento where he has 
lived an intensely active life for the best interest of the race. Mr, Johnson married, 
in 1870, the daughter of William and Hester Sanders, who came to California in 1857 
from New Bedford, Mass., via the Isthmus of Panama. The union was blessed by the 
birth of three daughters and one son to all of whom he has given the best education 
obtainable in California, his son, Mr. Earnest Johnson, graduating with the pioneer class 
of Leland Stanford Junior College, of Palo Alto, California. During his college days he 
was active and prominent with the student-body and on the editorial staff of the student 
paper. He also assisted in setting the type and editing the same. He graduated with 
honors, majoring in law. 

Mr. Johnson's daughters have all graduated with honor from the public schools of 
Sacramento and were among .the first to enter the high school of that city. Mrs. Harper 
since has graduated with honor as a trained nurse from one of the training schools of 
that city, the first of the race to receive this distinction. Mrs. McCard is an excellent 
scholar and a delightful lady as was Mrs. Butler, now deceased. A son of Mrs. McCard 
at this writing is attending the University of California in Berkeley. Mr. Beverly A. 
Johnson is a thorough race man and did much in the fight for equal school privileges for 
the Negro children of California. He spent both time and money first in making a fight 
in Sacramento for this just privilege and then he joined hands with the men in San 
Francisco Bay district who finally carried their fight to the highest court of the State 
where they won a favorable verdict. A finer Negro gentleman and truer race advocate 
for equal citizenship does not live on this plane of human existence. He is an active 
member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and will 
come from Sacramento, which is something less than a hundred miles from Oakland, to 
attend the executive Board meeting, or any public meeting that will aid in stimulating 
interest in the affairs of the Race. He is an active member of several fraternal lodges 
in the State, in many of which he has the distinction of being a charter member. He is 
a devoted Episcopalian, thoroughly reliable and has done much for this Church. 

He is the best-informed man living today concerning the struggles of the Negro in 
California. It was through the Rev. Father Wallace that the writer had the privilege 
of meeting this delightful gentleman many years ago, while securing data for this book. 
His review of the history and struggles of the Negro in California was very valuable in 
after years when the creative work of the book was begun. Would that California and 
the Negro race throughout America and the entire world had just a few more such menl 
But, alas, he belongs to the Fred Douglass, Bishop Arnett, and Bishop T. M. D. Ward age 
of grand men who were great warriors in the cause of the race; men with sterling per- 
sonality and executive ability. 

Mr. James E. Grasses, coming to California in 1868 from New York City, was a 
splendidly educated gentleman and readily found employment as clerk with a mining 
company. He was for a number of years with Haggins and Travis, Capitalists, after 
which he was employed as Secretary to Judge Hastings and Judge Lake. He went to 
Virginia City as secretary and time keeper of the Jestice Mining Company. This mine 
was near the Mackey, Flood,Fair and O 'Brien Mine. 

Mr. Grasses in after years was employed as deputy county assessor and tax collector 
of Alameda County, California, for a great many years and died at his desk. He was a 
devoted husband and a delightful Christian gentleman. He left to mourn his passing 



OF CALIFORNIA 



129 




MRS. KATE BRADLEY-STOVALI. (deceased) 
Founder of the Southern CaHfornia Alumni for the Colored. 



130 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 





MRS. EVA CARTER-BUCKNBR 
Poetess. 



MRS. BEATRICE SUMNEti-THOMPSON 
Social and Civic Worker. 








MRS. WILLA STEVENS 
Modiste. 



MRS. ELOISE BIBB-THOMPSON 
Author and Writer. 



OF CALIFORNIA 131 

one daughter to whom he had given a splendid education. She is a clerk in the San 
Francisco post office. Mrs. Grasses, the widow's sketch, will be found under "Dis- 
tinguished Women." 

The Honorable Wiley Hinds came to California in 1858 and, for a few days, located 
in Stockton. He met at this place some white men who were going to take up land in 
the San Joaquin Valley and do ranching. They spoke to him concerning accompanying 
them, stating that if he wanted to make money and have something when he was a 
man, the country would be the place to go. After thinking over the matter for a few 
days he decided that he would go and work for them and learn the lay of the land in 
California. He saved his money and soon bought a small plot of land and each year 
added to his holdings until he felt able to return home and marry. The lady whom he 
married was a delightful person and has made him a wonderful housewife. The union 
was blessed with a family of children. During their childhood days they lived on the 
ranch, the mother teaching them their letters until they were old enough to enter the 
public schools in Visalia, which they attended until sufficiently advanced to move to 
Oakland where the schools were better equipped. In Oakland Mrs. Hinds saw that all 
of her children were given the best education possible, at the same time making trips 
back to the valley to do whatever she could to encourage her husband in his great under- 
taking. This sustained him until his sons were older and he could call on them to assist 
in managing his ranch of several thousand acres. Mr. Hinds, in his day, has employed 
many of the colored ranch-holders in Fowler, who owe their success in farming in 
California with its scientific irrigation, to the experience they secured from working on 
Mr. Hind's ranch. He has thousands of acres which he divided up into ranches some 
of which are devoted to the raising of cattle, hogs and poultry. Another portion he has 
planted in vines and deciduous fruits, such as peaches, apples and prunes. He still 
retains this great ranch at Farmersville, California. One son, Mr. John Thomas Hindq, 
has in late years relieved his father of the heavy responsibility of the ranch. A sketch 
of one daughter will be found in the "Music" chapter. He has sons who have served 
in the Spanish- American War and another who is now serving in the National Army now 
in France. 

There are a few other Negro people who have large, successful ranches in that 
district of whom the people seldom hear. One such ranch is located on an island in 
the King's River and is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Washington Brunson, who 
came to California from Sumpter County, Ga., in 1906. They first located in Los Angeles 
where Mr. Brunson engaged in peddling vegetables. When he had a little cash saved, 
he bought a ten-acre ranch in King's County, King's river, nine miles from Lamoore 
Township, and fifteen miles from Hanford. They planted this ranch in garden-truck and, 
during fruit season when others were cutting fruit, they were selling their garden-truck. 
They had a hard time of the adventure for a season, but were determined to not give up. 
The next year they purchased another fifty-acre plot, an^ji planted it in grain, corn and 
potatoes. They continued until last year's crop, in June, 1917, they harvested a pros- 
perous crop of barley, yielding $3,000 off of thirty-one acres; a crop of Egyptian corn 
yielded $2,000 from twenty-one acres. Eight or ten acres planted to potatoes yielded a 
good crop. They killed one hog in the fall, and after saving enough meat to last them 
for two years, they rendered from this same hog ninety pounds of lard, Mr. Brunson 
is happily married to Miss Mary Calbert, who is of great assistance to him. He owns 
a Buick auto of the latest model, five head of horses and all the latest models of farm 
implements. This is a fair example of what many persons of the race are doing all over 
California. 

Mrs. Mary E. Crawford, on the same island as Mr. Brunson, owns a ranch of 
forty acres planted to Egyptian corn, grain and potatoes and has always had excellent 
crops. This lady makes a specialty of raising poultry for the market. She has a 
family of five children. One daughter, Mary, has recently graduated from the high 
school of Hanford, and another daughter is married to Mr, Welsher, of Hanford, 
California, 

Mr. Isaac Jackson arrived in California in 1850, locating in Sacramento. Later 
he went to the mines until 1853 when he returned to Pittsburg, Penn., staying until 
1887, when he returned to El Cajon Valley, San Diego, Cal., where he owned a ranch. 
He successfully managed the same for ten years, when he died. He left a wife and 
four children who still own the ranch and keep it stocked with cattle and hogs, 

Dr, Burney also owns a ranch near San Diego which yields him a handsome income. 
Also John Moore, who came to California in 1850, located in the mountains nearby where 
he did successful ranching, as did Shephard Waters, who came in 1850, from Pennsylvania 
and did successful ranching in San Diego County. 



132 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Mr. Henry Hall came to California in 1848 with a half-brother, riding horseback 
all the way from Missouri. He was just a boy of fourteen years and was employed as a 
teamster, hauling freight in Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties, where he made his home. 
He died, leaving a homestead in northern California, near Stockton. A daughter, Mrs. 
Potts, and her husband live on this place and are successful ranchers. She is a devoted 
Christian woman and a great worker for the cause of temperance. At one time she 
traveled all over the State and organized societies for the advancement of the cause 
of temperance work among the race. 

James Monroe Bridges, the subject of this sketch, was born in Hickory County, 
North Carolina, receiving his education in the rural schools. During the summer he 
worked in the tobacco factories to help earn a living for the family, since they were 
dependent upon the small wages the father was able to earn in that district. He came 
to California with his father in 1889, and first located in Fresno and later Bakersfield, 
where he was instrumental in organizing the well-known business firm of furniture- 
dealers known all over the State as the "Winters, Bridges and Simpson Furniture 
Dealers. ' ' The success of this company has been great. About ten years ago Mr. Bridges 
moved to Oakland where he opened a branch store. Later he purchased the Oakland 
Sunshine, a race paper, published and founded by Mr. John Wilds. Mr. Bridges is an 
active lodge man, beloning to the Ancient Order of Foresters and is president of the 
Oakland Literary and Aid Society. He also belongs to the Occidental Lodge and the 
Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and is one of the promoters of the Oakland Negro 
Business Men's League. 

The colored citizens of Pasadena are thrifty and own many beautiful homes. The 
writer was greatly surprised to find that a great deal of the landscape gardening has 
been done by Negro workmen who still retain their positions. Among the leading and 
successful gardeners is Mr. Weatherton, who, after working for one family over thirty 
years, has been retired on a pension. 

The late Henderson Boon, who for over twenty-five years conducted a blacksmith 
shop in Pasadena, was killed a few years ago in an automobile accident. His wife and 
son still conduct the business. They own a beautiful home and other properties. A son, 
Henderson Boon, is in the employ of the city and a daughter, Mrs. James Miller, has a 
daughter who is a great singer and is called the "Canary Mocking-bird of Southern 
California. ' ' 

The Prince Family of Pasadena is another fine family and is interested in every 
movement for the best interests of the race. They have lived in that city for over 
thirty years. There are three brothers. 

Mr. J. W. Oatman, a gardener, owns considerable property which has increased in 
value until it is now worth at least five figures. Also Mr. Bodkyn owns valuable hold- 
ings. Mr. Thomas J. Pillow also owns a beautiful home in Pasadena and reared all his 
children there previous to moving to Los Angeles. One son learned his trade in Pasadena 
in Hodge Brothers' machine shop where at the age of fourteen he made a machine 
and gas engine. Mr. Pillow is now demonstrator with the Western Motor Car Company 
on Olive street, Los Angeles. 

Pasadena is the home of Mrs. Corrine Hicks and also of Miss Mane Ford whose 
families are among the pioneers of this city, which is also the home of Captain Eeynolds> 
and many others too numerous to mention but who are good citizens and race-lovmg, 
enterprising persons. They have several churches, the Friendship Baptist Church 
having sent more boys to the front in the first draft than any other church m Southern 

California. . . ,. , , , 

Los Angeles, Califoenia. It will be impossible for the writer in this book to 
fully describe the enterprise and thrift of the citizens of this city. They had the first 
Fire Department in the United States manned by Negro firemen. At one time they had 
two companies. They have many patrolmen, one detective, substantial business enter- 
prises and lovely, modern homes. The story of Los Angeles is like the gold thread in 
paper money to ensure that it is genuine currency. Thus it is with this city. There is not 
a chapter in this book that has not a sketch of one or more citizens of this beautiful city. 
They have wonderful apartment houses, modern in every appointment. The first 
to build were Mr. and Mrs. Fern Eagland who were followed by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, 
McDowell, Robinson, Alexander and Chrisman. They have one successful home for 
working women, namely "The Sojourner Truth Home," which was founded through the 
influence of the late Mrs. Sessions who has left a lasting memory m the hearts of the 
people There were others who worked for the founding of the Sojourner Truth Club, 
namely, Mrs. James Alexander, Mrs. Shackelford and Mrs. Scott. The friends furnished 
it free of cost to the club and the writer, while not a member or even a resident of Los 
Angeles, gave a mahogany book-case and writing-desk, together with fifty books by 



OP CALIFORNIA 133 

colored authors and many others of value to girls without employment since she believes 
that a good book is the kindest thing to give to an idle person and is next to work or a 
home. There is another institution of great value located in Los Angeles and that is the 
Y. M. C. A. which was founded many years ago and has been successfully managed by 
that grand gentleman, Mr. T. A. Green, who is a well educated Christian gentleman. 
Mr. Green is an Alumnus of Rust University, and, at various times, has held professor- 
ships in Rust, Walden, Alcon and the New Orleans Universities. He is an old news- 
paper-man, having edited and published The Enterprise in Mississippi and California. 
Mr. Green is a fine executive and has brought the Y. M. C. A. from nothing to the 
present comfortable quarters and, had not the World War drawn the United States 
into its meshes, they would have built a large building. Instead they have built a 
ground-floor auditorium with all the necessary equipments of a modern Y. M. C. A., with 
baths and everything else. Mr. Green is discreet, of high principle, reasonable and a 
good man to have as a friend, and every man in the Association feels and knows that 
Professor Green has a deep interest in his personal and spiritual welfare. 

Mr. Theo. Troy, another highly respected citizen of Los Angeles, comes from the 
distinguished and highly respected family of Theodore Troy of Cincinnati, whose father 
for a number of years was a messenger in one of the largest banks in that city and 
who was one of the founders of the Zion Baptist Church of Cincinnati. This son, 
Mr. Theo. Troy, was educated in the public schools of Cincinnati, graduating from the 
old Gains high school. After graduating he went to Tennessee where he was employed 
in the Government service as letter-carrier for a number of years. While living there 
he married and decided to come to Los Angeles to live. He did not succeed in getting 
anything to do immediately, so he decided to polish shoes for awhile. Later he took 
the civil service examination and received an appointment as letter-carrier in the city 
of Los Angeles, being the first of the race to receive such an appointment. After filling 
this position for a number of years he purchased a corner lot and improved the same. 
It is located at San Pedro and East Twelfth streets where he has a residence and a 
second-hand furniture store. Mr. Troy in late years has invested successfully in mining 
stock. He has a wife and one son whose sketch will be found in the "Music" chapter. 
The writer is grateful to Mrs. Troy who several years ago furnished her with a copy 
of the Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1909, which contained the historical accounts 
of the race in that city. 

Riverside, California, a most beautiful city, numbers among its residents some 
of the most enterprising colored people in the State. They are not so numerous, but 
they have the executive ability to have something. Several years ago they built a 
block and opened a dry goods store, grocery and a butcher-shop. These stores occupy 
the ground floor and the second floor is given over to an auditorium, or hall, which has 
been named "The Mercantile Hall," the leading citizens of color forming a company 
and sharing the expense of this hall. 

Mr. Bob Stokes has lived in Riverside for forty year. There are many creditable 
citizens living in this city, among whom are the Rev. Frank Cooper, the Rev. Simpson, 
Jerry Wiley, Mr. and Mrs. D. S. Stokes and Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Gordon. 

There is another man in California who has been extremely enterprising and that 
is Mr. Winters of Bakersfield, who many years ago buUt the Winters block, valued 
at fifty thousand dollars, and has located in the block, many successful businesses oper- 
ated by members of the race. On the second floor is a large hall, which is used for 
fraternal organizations. 

Mr. Jordan Young came from Columbia, South Carolina, December 21, 1891, locat- 
ing at Fowler, California at the suggestion of his sister, Mrs. Julia Bell. He passed the 
station going to Fresno, which was ten miles away. It cost thirty cents to return to 
Fowler and he only had thirty-five, so he walked. He soon secured work and in a few 
years sent back for his family which consisted of a wife and seven children. After this 
he began to save and buy property. He bought a city block for four hundred dollars, 
retaining the same until the town began to grow, when he sold twenty-two lots for 
$2,500 and bought eleven more for $700. He then made a vow that none of his children 
should marry until they owned a home. At this writing Mr. Young owns a ranch of 
160 acres of well-improved property, aside from valuable city holdings. His daughters, 
Mrs. Reuben Wysinger and Mrs. Abernathy, of Bowles, all own valuable holdings as 
also does one son. Dr. Benjamin Young, who has graduated from both the University of 
California and a University in Chicago, recently locating in Fowler to practice medicine, 

Modesto, California, lies midway between Stockton and Fresno. Many of the 
old pioneers of the race live there. It is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bishop, 
well-educated young people who have made their presence felt in the community with 
all races. Recently Mr. Bishop, who for many years has been steadily employed at the 



134 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

head of the carpet department of a large store in Modesto, decided to open a store 
of his own, and is doing well. 

Mr. and Mrs. Knox are also progressive citizens of this town and own consider- 
able ranch property. She is a former school teacher and her husband is a retired 
Baptist minister. 

Mr. Walter Archibald Butler, the subject of this sketch, was born in Baltimore, 
Md., being the youngest and seventh son of the late John and Martha Butler, who 
brought him to California in 1878. He attended the public schools of Oakland for ten 
years and then entered a large law firm in San Francisco to read law. This firm 
soon dissolved partnership, and, while waiting to enter another law-office, he accepted 
a vacation position in a fire insurance office and has remained there for twenty-eight 
years. In addition to holding a position in the office of the Liverpool, London and 
Globe Insurance Company, he has conducted a loan and insurance office at 251 Kearny 
street, San Francisco, for ten years. This office being managed until the date of his 
marriage by his future wife, Miss E. Ardella Clayton. In his early manhood Mr. 
Butler resolved that the interests of the race could be best cared for by organization. 
Therefore, he identified himself with those organizations that to him held out the 
brightest future for the race, particularly in which the Caucasian and the Ethiopian 
met and fraternized on an equal basis. The doors of that great English fraternal order. 
"The Ancient Order of Foresters," were opened to the race about this time and Mr. 
Butler became a member and has labored assiduously therein for a quarter of a cen- 
tury, receiving all the honors that "Court Bournemouth" could give him. At the 
session of the Subsidiary High Court of the A. O. G. held in San Francisco in May, 
1918, he was elected to the office of High Court Junior Woodward, thereby becoming 
a member of the Executive Council for two years. This is the first time in twenty-five 
years that this exalted honor has been conferred on one of the race. 

Mr. Butler is also a member of Knarsbourgh Circle, C. O. G. P. N. G. of Occidental 
Lodge G. N. O. O. F., Past President of Planet Lodge No. 1, A. E. E., President and one 
of the founders of the Northern California Branch of the National Association for the 
Advancement of Colored People. Secretary and treasurer of the Afro-American Co- 
operative Association; secretary and treasurer of the Waiters' Employment Association. 
In politics he has long been identified with the Eepublican Party and at the last State 
Convention of the party held in Sacramento, in August, 1918, he was elected a member 
of the Eepublican State Central Committee. Mr. Butler was married to Miss E. 
Ardelle Clayton, on April 19, 1916, at " Wrest-Acre, " the home he had built the previous 
year. His home-life is ideal and he takes much pleasure in showing his friends his pet 
hobbies, to-wit: his gardens and his thoroughbred poultry. For recreation, when time 
permits, the Butlers are enthusiastic motorists. 

Hon. James M. Alexander. An appreciation, by E. I. Chew, in the June, 1910, 
Cactus Magazine. "James M. Alexander is a bright example of our young western 
manhood and thoroughly typical of whatever is good and admirable among the best 
of our race. Of the elements which go to make up a strong, good man he has a full 
and varied store, being industrious, law-abiding, intelligent, sagacious, whole-souled, 
sympathetic, manly and thoroughly honest and courageous. His civic spirit is shown 
not only by passively refraining from the infraction of law, but by his active influence 
to help his fellow men to a higher plane and there to assume and retain the right atti- 
tude toward the law and performance of civic duty. He is the product of our system 
of public schools, to which he later added a business course and a law course, broad- 
ening his horizon by a systematic study of our best literature. History, as influenced 
by great moral and industrial questions; statecraft, to meet and control these issues 
to the betterment of the whole people; political parties, as the engines to perform the 
tasks as directed by the statesmen — these questions early took hold of him. To them 
he gave much study and thought. They made him a republican. They strengthened 
his love for his race and indicated his duty to him. The growth of the scope and power 
of the organization of which he is the head is the outcome of his meditation and reveals 
his sagacity. 

"If he were not chock-full of whole-souled human sympathy he could not attract 
to him so many men of diverse character and rivet them to him with fetters strong 
as steel. The trouble, whether whipped by adverse fortune or paying penalty of indis- 
cretion, vice or sin, have in him a sympathizer and willing helper to secure for the 
one consolation, for the other, a chance for reformation and rehabilitation. Mr. Alex- 
ander is a manly man, lives a clean, home-centered life. Frivolous, boyish, foolish, 
questionable actions, speeches, assumptions, ambitions and ideas never come from him; 
they are not in him. Grave yet simple, sincere and kindly in manner and speech, his 



OF CALIFORNIA 135 

character gives added force to what he says and does. You instinctively acknowledge 
when you come into his presence, 'This is a Man.' 

"That element which more than any other has contributed to the wonderful growth 
of the Afro-American Council in this State, is the personality of Mr. Alexander, its 
head. That element in his character which appeals most to the people is his unswerving 
and inflexible honesty; you can always know where to find him, for he is never on the 
fence. The goddess of his early boyish love is the divinity of his ripened manhood. 
The recognition given him by the Chief Executive of the Nation in placing Mr, 
Alexander among her financial agents was well bestowed and well deserved. His posi- 
tion is and will continue to be well-filled. It is a great inspiration to any boy to look 
at the life and character of Mr. Alexander and realize that it is in his power to do as 
well. Mind has no color. That honor, integrity, high principle and clean-living are 
the inalienable right and privilege of every American. The color of skin nor texture 
of hair must not count, and, if we are true to ourselves, shall not mean inferiority in 
intellect, conscientiousness, sense of responsibility or possibility of achievement. Un- 
questionably he is one of the foremost Negroes of the West." 

"Mr. Cyrus Vena was born in North Middleton, Kentucky, April 4, 1829. He waa 
married to Sarah J. Wernell in 1849; moved to Xenia, Ohio, in 1851, taking an active 
part in every movement for the uplift and encouragement of the Negro race. The 
union was blessed by the birth of seven children, five girls and two boys, only two of 
whom are now living, James M. and Miss Sing A. Vena. They are residents of Los 
Angeles. The son for a number of years has been employed as a clerk in the city 
post office. Mr. Vena was distinguished while a resident of Xenia, Ohio, by being 
elected for two different terms as a member of the City Council and the Board of 
Equalization. He was also a member of the board of trustees of Wilberforce University. 
Mr. Vena was a contractor and builder by trade. During his residence in Ohio he 
contracted for and built many notable buildings at Wilberforce and Xenia. He erected 
many handsome residences for distinguished persons in the race, namely. Bishops Payne, 
Shorter, and Arnett; also the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan Home, located at Xenia. 

Mr. Vena and his family moved to Los Angeles over thirty years ago, and he 
immediately identified himself with all the activities of value to the race. He joined 
the historic Eighth and Towne Church, which at the time was located on Azusa street. 
Shortly after coming to Los Angeles he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding, 
and less than three months afterward Mrs. Vena passed to her reward." 

Since the above data was given the writer, several years ago, by the son of the 
subject, Father Vena has passed to his reward. He was employed for thirty years as 
head janitor of the Hall or Records in Los Angeles, and at his passing, which occurred 
Monday evening, September 23, 1918, the flag of the City Hall was kept at half mast 
until after hia funeral. The Board of Public Works and the City Council adopted 
resolutions of respect. The California Eagle, in speaking of the funeral, said: "Father 
Cyrus Vena, at a ripe old age, crosses the divide. No prince or potentate ever received 
greater homage than was the lot of Father Vena, over whose body the last sad rites 
were held on last Thursday at Eighth and Towne Avenue A. M. E. Church. The large 
edifice was filled to pay their last respects to the memory of this venerable patriarch. 
The city officials and the Mayor, represented by his secretary, were at the funeral. 
Father Vena was ninety years old at his passing and had been a member of the A. M. E. 
Church for sixty years." 

Mr. David Cunningham, the subject of this sketch, was the first colored bricklayer 
to work on any important building in the City of Los Angeles. He assisted in the 
construction of the Douglass and Stimpson blocks. Later, as a contractor, he erected 
Bekin's warehouse and the East side cannery, and many others. Mr. Cunningham 
married the daughter of Mrs. Harney, who is the widow of the pioneer Sheriff of Hinds 
County, Jackson, Mississippi. The union was blessed by the birth of several children, 
to all of whom they gave the best education California afforded. Since then the chil- 
dren have honored their parents and the race by filling places of responsibility and 
dignity. Their daughter. Miss Mamie, who recently married Lieutenant Journer White, 
was employed, previous to her marriage as clerk in the main Los Angeles postoffice. 
She was very popular socially. During spare time she assisted in editing The New Age, 
a splendid race paper published in Los Angeles. A son, Harvey, is with the Los 
Angeles Trust and Savings Company of that city. David, another son, is employed by 
the Don Lee Automobile Company as a mechanic; Lawrence, another son, is special 
messenger of the United States mail from the main postoffice of the City of Los Angeles, 
California; Miss Edna is a student at the Jefferson High School, and Master Russell is 
a student at the Fourteenth Street Intermediate. Mrs. Cunningham-Slaten is one of 
the distinguished women of Los Angeles, an active worker of the Sojoumer-Truth Club, 



136 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

and a member of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Welfare Commission. She is kind and a 
sincere co-worker in every movement for the betterment of the race. 

Mr. Louis M. Blodgett, the subject of this sketch, is the son of Albert and Amanda 
Blodgett, of Augusta, Georgia. He was educated at Miss Laney's school, in his home 
town. Among other things, he learned the trade of tile-setting and brick mason. He 
was at one time secretary of the Bricklayers' Union of Augusta, Georgia, and was 
elected by them as a delegate to the convention of Bricklayers' Union which met at 
Trenton, New Jersey. He came to Los Angeles with his brothers about thirteen years 
ago. They found the prejudices so great that in order to get work they were compelled 
to do their own contracting, which they were competent to do, thereby giving work to 
many Negro workmen. Later, Mr. Louis Blodgett decided to not have any partners, 
but continued to do contract work. By careful attention to business, he has built up a 
business that has enabled him to have a weekly payroll of from $500 to $1,800,_ an 
amount sufBcient to insure, that he employs a large force of Negro mechanics, brick- 
layers and other workmen, thus opening a door for our men who hitherto were unable 
to secure employment at their trade on buildings. Mr. Blodgett is busy the year 
round. During the past winter he built a large hotel in Brawley, in the Imperial Valley 
of Southern California. 

Mr. Louis M. Blodgett is a member of the Contractors' Association of Los Angeles. 
He is on the board of directors of the People 's Eealty Company. He has acquired much 
valuable property, including his own modern home on Dewy avenue, Los Angeles. He 
married Miss Nella Allensworth, the daughter of the late Colonel Allensworth._ The 
union has been blessed by the birth of two children, Allensworth J. and Josephine L. 
Blodgett. Would that the race had a few more such men who were capable of and 
would open the door of opportunity for the workmen of our race! 

Mr. and Mrs. Hal Pierson and Mrs. Ellen Jacobs, coming to California from Ten- 
nessee in 1845, located in Vallejo. Mr. Pierson, working in the Navy Yards at Mare 
Island, learned the trade of building light houses, and afterward moved to San Fran- 
cisco, where he owned stock in the California street railroad. There were several 
children to bless the union. They were educated in the public schools of San Francisco. 
Their names are Alonza, who for twenty years was employed in the custom house, in 
San Francisco; Thomas Pierson, who was admitted to practice aq an attorney at law 
in Chicago; Mrs. Henry Weimer, a successful cateress at Pasadena, and Mrs. Cassandra 
Louise Jacobs, a great songstress of San Francisco. Her husband, Nathaniel Jacobs, i* 
a chauffeur and mechanic in San Francisco, California. 

Hon. T. B. Morton was a great race man and a leader among the people. He was 
employed as a messenger to District Judge Morrow, of San Francisco, and was a dis- 
tinguished member of the Afro-American League and many other helpful organizations 
in San Francisco and throughout the State of California. He has left a memory well 
worthy to inspire others in an effort to assist the race in sincerity. 

Mr. Abraham Butler Brown and wife, Mary Eobinson-Brown, came to California, 
from Philadelphia, Pa., in 1852. They were blessed with two children, Mary and Julia, 
who were native daughters of California. Miss Julia became the wife of Mr. William 
Nell Saunderson and Miss Mary became the wife of Mr. Morey, a successful business 
man of Oakland. She was for years, the Treasurer and earnest worker of the Home for 
Aged and Infirm Colored People at Beulah, Cal. 

Mr. A. J. Jones came to California over thirty years ago from Emporia, Kansas. 
He located in Los Angeles and built the first hotel owned by colored people in that 
city. It was located at 109 San Pedro street. This section of the street at this writing 
is called Wilmington. Mr. Jones made a specialty of hot biscuits and was always well 
patronized by the tourist trade. He was more than successful and about ten years ago 
retired to enjov a well-earned rest. He has reared several orphan children and has 
done other good charitable work throughout Los Angeles. Mr. Jones was for thirty- 
five years a member of the Christian Church, but after the organization of the People's 
Independent Church of Christ he became identified with it and is a Deacon of the 
Seventh District. He is a member of the Y. M. C. A. and a charter member of the 
Men's Forum. About ten years ago he married Mrs. Billingsley and they are very 
happy and vitally interested in all movements that have for their aim the advancement 
of the race. They are both active members of the Ohio State Club. 

Mr. Richard H. Dunston, the owner of the Los Angeles Truck and Storage Co., 
has lived in Los Angeles over thirty years. He has been in this business over twenty- 
five years, building, in 1905, his first warehouse, which covers one hundred feet by one 
hundred and twenty feet and is two stories high. He owns seven vans and six open 
wagons which he uses in moving, packing and shipping furniture. Aside from this he 



OF CALIFORNIA 137 

also owns his residence, his barn, and several other valuable pieces of property. He 
and his wife are highly respected citizens of the city of Los Angeles. 

Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Shackelford, who own the Canadian store of new and second- 
hand furniture, have been in business about fifteen years, starting with comparatively 
nothing. She clerked while Mr. Shackelford delivered the goods to customers on a 
bicycle. They were determined to make a success and at this writing they own their 
own delivery-wagons and have a store valued at ten thousand dollars, besides their 
own seven-passenger touring car and other valuable property. Mrs. Shackelford is a 
prominent club worker and has done much for the success of the building of Sojourner- 
Truth Home. She was an enthusiastic worker and furnished a beautiful room in this 
home when completed. She stands for all that is good and clean in advancing the race. 
She is a devoted worker in visiting the sick and needy and is practical and reliable, 
without pomp or self praise. She is one of the pillars of the Independent Church of 
Christ, and the head of the deaconess board, a delightful Christian lady who is well 
known and highly respected. Mr. Shackelford is an officer of the same church and a 
good conscientious Christian gentleman, a graduate of Corning Academy and Simpson 
College. 

Mr. Andrew J. Eoberts came to Los Angeles, California, from Chillicotha, Ohio, 
over thirty years ago. He was accompanied to the coast by Mr. Dunston and they 
together organized the Los Angeles Van, Truck and Storage Company. Several years 
afterward they built or had built two of the largest vans in the city. 

After fourteen years Mr. Eoberts, finding the work did not agree with his health, 
resigned from the business and later opened the Eoberts Undertaking establishment. 
This is the pioneer establishment in the State. Mr. Eoberts has been very successful 
and is assisted in the business by his sons, Frederick Madison and William G. Eoberts, 
the latter being the business manager of the firm. About two years ago Mr. Eoberts, 
together with his sons, built a modern block for the housing of the undertaking estab- 
lishment and also the New Age, a race paper owned and published by his son, Hon. 
Frederick Madison Eoberts. This is the most up-to-date building of its kind owned by 
colored people in the State of California. The second floor is used for an auditorium 
and has perfect acoustics and will seat fully five hundred persons. Mr. Andrew J. 
Eoberts has been most fortunate in having a family of sons who have worked for 
and with him in building up a good business in both the undertaking business and 
the race paper. This has enabled him to invest money in land, both in the San 
Joaquin Valley, where he owns eighty acres, and in Lower California. His son-in-law, 
Mr. Izan E. Saunders, is an expert embalmer, and, aside from caring for all his father's 
business, does much work in that line for the Japanese undertakers of Los Angeles. 
His wife, Mrs. Myrtle Estelle Eoberts-Saunders, is a great musician and a joy to her 
family and friends; 

Mr. John Wesley Coleman, the distinguished and well-known real estate and ein- 
ployment agent of Los Angeles, was born at Columbus, Texas, March 12, 1865. He is 
the son of Sam and Mattie (Green) Coleman and was educated in the Tilleston Institute 
of Austin, Texas, graduating in 1884. He married Miss Lydia Lee of Austin, Texas, 
in 1885. The union has been blessed by four children. Mr. Coleman was active in 
church and Sunday school work in Texas until 1887 when he moved to Los Angeles, Cal. 
Since locating in that city, he has distinguished himself by becoming an active member 
of the Texas State club, the Y. M. C. A., the Forum, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias 
and is a thirty-third degree Mason. When first locating in Los Angeles he followed 
landscape gardening and contracting, later serving the Pullman Company for twelve 
years, after which time he was proprietor of Hotel Coleman for five years. He has 
served as deputy constable of Los Angeles County and township for the past fifteen 
years. 

Mr. Coleman is reliable and highly-respected by all citizens of the State. Because 
of this he was employed to travel throughout the State in advertising and developing the 
cities of Venice and Santa Monica Bay district. After two years he accepted the 
position as assistant superintendent of Dr. Burner's chain of sanitariums located 
throughout the State. Mr. Coleman has successfully conducted in Los Angeles a real 
estate and employment agency for the past twelve years, during which time he has 
placed in good positions in the State and elsewhere over twenty-five thousand colored 
people. He is noted for his kindness to the needy and distressed. He is public spirited 
and was selected to make the presentation speech when the Second Negro Drafted 
boys gave an American flag to the People's Independent Church of Christ of Los 
Angeles. He is an active member of the Forum Club of Los Angeles, and his name 
has been mentioned for the presidency of that well-established club. 



138 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

In speaking of the Forum, the following by Theodore W. Troy, is quoted from the 
Los Angeles Times under date of February 12, 1909: "This large body was organized 
February 1, 1903, at the First African Methodist Church for the purpose of encouraging 
united effort on the part of Negroes for their advancement and to strengthen them along 
lines of moral, social, intellectual, financial and Christian ethics. Any man or woman 
of good character is eligible to membership and no fees are charged. Its meetings 
are held every Sunday afternoon at four o'clock at the Odd Fellows' Hall, corner 
Eighth and Wall streets, and the public is always welcome. Thus the humblest citizen 
has access to those meetings and can state his grievance before this body. The follow- 
ing are its recently-elected officers: president, Thomas A. Cole; vice-president, Morgan 
T. White; recording secretary, Harvey Bruce; corresponding secretary, ,J, L. Edmonds; 
treasurer, J. Edwin Hill; critic, Mrs. Eva Queen. 

"In our work along moral lines the permanent issue has been the suppression of 
the vicious element. To this end we have worked in harmony with the pulpit, the 
press, the Chief of Police and especially with our Negro ofl&cers, for the closing of 
dens of vice. The Forum has, from time to time, appointed committees on strangers 
to keep new-comers to our city in the proper channel for its moral uplift. These 
strangers are introduced to the Forum and a chance given them to meet the best class 
of our race and become useful members of society. We believe in the Good Samaritan 
principle of life and hope to win. into our ranks every good citizen. Our organization 
teaches race-love, race-pride and declares a good character to be the highest social 
credential. It looks with pride upon those who are smilingly taking up the responsibili- 
ties of life in helping to uplift our race and only asks those who are dodging these 
responsibilities not to be stumbling-blocks to us. 

"The intellectual food for the Forum is derived from the various lectures and 
papers read from time to time by some of America 's brainiest thinkers and scholars. 
The current topics clipped from the daily papers are read and discussed at our meet- 
ings. These discussions form one of the most instructive and entertaining features 
of our organization. Financially the Forum takes the position of a philanthropist. 
All of its monies except the actual current expenses are given to charity. To its mem- 
bers it especially advises the utmost frugality and warns them that the price of land in 
this vicinity now within reach of the ordinary laborer will not always remain so. It 
strongly advocates the purchase now of real estate in this section. There is nothing in 
the solid financial world offering greater inducements to small investors. The Forum 
was instrumental in the settling of a small colony on government land in San Bernardino 
County, California, near Victorville.*** 

"From the civic standpoint the Forum declares for the majesty of the law and 
advocates its respect. A knowledge of the supremacy of the law and of the justice 
of the judiciary of this fair land has in the greatest measure led to our presence here. 
The Forum stamped its approval on President Roosevelt's 'Door of Hope,' 'The Square 
Deal' and 'AH Men Up.' It declares Booker T. Washington our greatest benefactor 
and insists that we can only rise in proportion as we are useful in our respective com- 
munities. It advises its members to conduct themselves in such a manner as to win 
the respect of the people of their communities and thereby to create favorable race 
sentiment. 

"The Forum does not regard the giving of menial positions the fulfillment of 
patronage due Negro tax-payers. We believe the governing powers of this city should 
take the lead in fairly treating Negro citizens. In the ethics of Christianity, the 
Forum, born as it was under the shadow of God's altar, can only point to Christ as 
the exemplary life. It classes the church as the highest institution. 

"The Forum has met every deserving appeal for charity with a substantial dona- 
tion. Among its beneficiaries might be named the San Francisco earthquake sufferers, 
the Atlanta riots sufferers, the Florence Crittenden Home, the Helping Hand Society, 
The Sheltering Arms Home, the Day Nursery and many deserving individuals.***It has 
always worked in harmony with the Church and has been especially active in work with 
the colored Y. M. C. A." 

The Forum has educated the first colored lady doctor on the Pacific Coast in the 
person of Dr. Ruth J. Temple of Los Angeles. It has also contributed to scholarships 
for many others studying in the East for law and other professions. The writer regards 
it as one of the greatest clubs since "The Underground Railroad" because of its 
actual help to individuals and the community. 

Mrs. Lucy Caulwell-Disard arrived in San Francisco, California, in 1855, coming from 
Bowling Green, Kentucky, with her parents, Isaac and Maria Caulwell, together with her 
sister, Margret, and brothers, Charles and Zackariah. The father, as a boy, was pur- 
chased his freedom by his mother (who was also a slave) and sent to New York to be 



OF CALIFORNIA 139 

educated; instead he shipped as a cabin boy on the first ship leaving for Africa. The ship 
was wrecked and he was the only survivor. He was held as a captive for five years by 
the natives, during which time he learned five different lingoes. He arrived in Africa in 
1820, and after five years made his escape and reached Liberia, Africa, where he met 
President Eoberts, who was the first President of the Republic of Liberia. Mr. Caulwell 
remained in Africa three additional years. He took up considerable land in Africa and 
a town located forty miles from Liberia was named after him. In time he returned to 
New York and to his home at Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he married Miss Maria 
Barnett. He then decided to go to California and engage in placer mining and earn 
enough to take his family to Africa. When he returned to his home in Kentucky he found 
that his wife's health was very poor, and for fear that she could not stand the trip he 
changed his plans, and, instead, moved to California. He reached Kentucky on his return 
trip in 1853, and returned to California by ox team in 1855. The family for a while lived 
on Leidsdorff street, San Francisco, afterward moving to Sacramento, California. 

In two years he returned to Kentucky and brought to California his mother, Mrs. 
Lucy Titus, his mother-in-law, Mrs. Sophia Barnett, and also his sister, Sophia Schofield. 
During the flood of 1861 in Sacramento the family lost everything they had, and was com- 
pelled to step from the second-story window into a boat to save their lives. They finally 
reached San Francisco where they afterwards lived. 

Mr. Caulwell gave his children the best education possible, one daughter, Lucy, grad- 
uating at the head of her class, receiving a silver medal. In after years she married 
Mr. Luther Disard, who had come to California in 1863 from Topeka, Kansas, with a 
company of soldiers as far as Idaho, and thence across the plains into California. The 
union was blessed by the birth of ten children, eight of whom are still living. They were 
given a thorough education in the public schools of Oakland. The daughters were musical 
and one son was for a number of years book-keeper for the San Francisco Jockey Club. 
Mrs. Lucy Caulwell-Disard is a prominent church and elub worker in Oakland, a beautiful 
Christian lady with a winsome personality. 

Mr. Louis G. Robinson came to California in January, 1904, from Barnsville, Georgia. 
He was in the senior class in Payne Theological School, Augusta. Ga., when he decided 
to leave for California. Upon his arrival he located in Pasadena, where he was one of 
the founders of Scott Chapel (M. E.) and served as pastor for three successive terms. 
Later he served as porter in the Pasadena Hospital. In 1907 he moved to Los Angeles, 
where he was appointed as janitor for Los Angeles County buildings and in 1912 was 
appointed by the Supervisors Chief Janitor and Custodian of the County Buildings, having 
under his immediate supervision fifty-five men and one woman. He employs many colored 
men. This is the first time the position has been held by a colored man. Mr. Robinson 
has on his force two white men who were chief janitors prior to his appointment and 
who highly respect him. Mr. Robinson has been entrusted to the supervision of all the 
County sales under $50. He is a thorough race man and well respected by all citizens. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Just California 



JUST CALIFOENIA. 

'Twixt the sea and the deserts, 

'Twixt the wastes and the waves, 
Between the sands of buried lands 

And ocean's coral caves. 
It lies not East nor West 

But like a scroll unfurled, 
Where the hand of God hath hung it, 

Down the middle of the world. 

It lies where God hath spread it, 
In the gladness of His eyes, 

Like a flame of jeweled tapestry- 
Beneath the shining skies; 

With the green of woven meadows 
And the hills in golden chains. 

The light of leaping rivers. 

And the flash of poppied plains. 

Days rise that gleam in glory, 

Days die with sunset's breeze. 
While from Cathay that was of old 

Sail countless argosies; 
Morn breaks again in splendor 

O'er the giant, new-born West, 
But of all the lands God fashioned, 

'Tis this land is the best. 
Just California stretching down 

The middle of the world. 

The poem above-quoted is from the pen of Mr. John Steven McGroarty and is one 
of the most charming ever written concerning California. It is a new world so unlike 
any other; its climate is so varied. A stranger coming into the State can hardly believe 
the different statements told him concerning its joys and delights. The old residenters 
will tell him that immediately after the rainy season, spring in all its beauty without 
a pause will greet him. They will also say that the more rain, the greener the grass 
and the greater the abundance of fresh vegetables. The stranger will think it unbeliev- 
able that the thermometer will register 114 degrees in the San Joaquin Valley during 
the months of July and August and yet at night one can sleep under blankets. 

People invariably remove to California either for health or business reasons with- 
out first finding out the particular part of this far-away western land is best suited 
for their interests. It does not require long for one to rest from his trip to the State 
and then realize he is far away from old friends. Immediately he lays the state of 
his feelings to the weather, forgetting that he should have first found out all about 
the climate in that part of the State before coming. No other State in America has 
such a variety of climate and business possibilities as this State, yet it is of the great- 
est value to learn all the truthfulness concerning both before locating. If people would 
only do this, they would not only save themselves the feeling of depression, but often 
their success in business would be assured by such knowledge. 

The Sacramento Valley lies less than a hundred miles from San Francisco. It is 
one of the greatest agricultural belts in the State, producing the finest asparagus in 
America. All the canned asparagus shipped to the eastern markets is grown in the 
Sacramento Valley of California. It is white, large and full and is grown in such 
quantities that the poorest family can feast on it for months. 

They also raise oranges and lemons in this valley. It used to be considered an 
impossibility to raise these fruits outside of Southern California, but, through the 
valuable aid furnished by the University of California, oranges are raised and marketed 



OF CALIFORNIA 141 

within less than a hundred miles from San Francisco. The first Valencias of the season 
are raised and shipped from the Sacramento Valley and bring the highest price. They 
are delicious, especially those grown in Pengrin and Oroville, showing plainly that the 
soil of every section of the State is productive. The University of California will 
gladly furnish anyone with an analysis of the ground and will explain just what it will 
produce, thereby enabling the farmer to secure the best results. 

The first luscious cherries of the season are grown in the Sacramento Valley. The 
greatest industry of this valley is the raising of rice. Last year's yield was a million 
bushels, not a bad crop for an infant industry. Nearly all kinds of deciduous fruits 
are grown in this valley in such quantities that they supply not only the home markets 
but are shipped to the eastern markets. Any of the Sacramento Valley ranches can 
be reached in less than a day's ride from San Francisco. 

The largest city in the valley is Sacramento, which is also the Capital of the State 
of California. It is a beautiful city, with well-paved streets, homes and business blocks 
planned with the object of adding to the beauty of the city. The shade-trees of the 
city are especially attractive, consisting of every variety grown in California. They 
are especially beautiful in the Capitol grounds. This city, like Washington, D. C, 
radiates from the Capitol grounds and the streets are designated in the same way— 
that is by letters. All the railroads lead to Sacramento which is really the gateway 
to the San Joaquin Valley. There is a line of steamers plying on the Sacramento Eiver 
making trips from San Francisco to Sacramento. Such a trip carries the passenger 
through the waters of the San Francisco Bay, the San Pablo and Suisun Bays into 
the Sacramento Kiver and is often spoken of as equal to a trip in Switzerland or down 
the Ehine Eiver— it is so picturesque. The climate of the Sacramento Valley is very 
hot in summer with a refreshing breeze in the evening. They suffer with tule-fogs 
during the winter months, fogs which are produced from the tule-lands and invariably 
pass down to San Francisco. They are at present working these lands over into profit- 
able rice fields, and in other ways and it is a possibility that in time these fogs will 
disappear. 

The San Joaquin Valley is the longest in the State and one of the greatest pro- 
ducers of deciduous fruits. It lies between the high Sierras and the Coast Eange. 
The climate of California can be divided into Coast and Valley, and while the State 
has many picturesque valleys still the climate of them all is about the same. 

The climate of this valley is very hot which enables the raisin-growers and dried- 
fruit men to supply the markets with the delicious dried fruit and raisins. It is also 
a great agricultural belt. The first field of alfalfa in the United States was grown 
in this valley. The largest dairy-farms in the State are located in Modesto, from which 
city butter was on exhibit at the Panama Pacific International Exposition and can be 
bought in any city of the State, Sugar-beets are raised in this valley, especially in 
Allensworth. The largest oil fields in the United States are located in and around 
Bakersfield. 

The charm of this valley is that while it is hot enough to dry thousands of tons o± 
raisins and other dried fruits, even so in the evenings there is always a refreshing 
breeze and one can usually enjoy a refreshing night's sleep. The soil of all California 
is watered by irrigation because there is only a rain-fall during the winter months. 
The San Joaquin Valley has been blessed with plenty of water through the eternal 
snows of the high Sierras. (See under Fresno, Fowler and Bowles, the part colored 
people take in living and producing from the soil in this valley especially during the 
drying season.) 

The Tehachepi range of mountains acts as a gate closing the San Joaquin Valley 
against destructive desert sand-storms and winds. It is on this mountain that one 
of the greatest feats of civil engineering for railroading has been successfully earned 
out. The road loops the loop going to the summit of the mountains and then down 
and around finally making a level grade that they found impossible to make m any 
other way. The mountain is unattractive in appearance looking much like a large 
sand-dune with little vegetation. 

Los Angeles County, its climate and beauty is considered one of the most choice 
in aU of California, The climate has a warm, balmy joyousness, giving to the people 
living there great business enterprise. The) reader will often hear the people living in 
other parts of the State say that Los Angeles has a climate too relaxing; it seenis to 
the writer that if they did not have a relaxing impulse, judging from the heights from 
which the city, and county, has reached during the past few years, they would soon 
work themselves to death, if we believe the statistics of this wonderful city. The 
greatest charm of this city is that the people work in unity. Their one aim is to make 
this city the most beautiful, successful, healthful, morally and physical in the world. 



142 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

They aim to build their prosperity upon an enduring foundation into the hearts of the 
people, which will make it more enduring than stone. 

The climate of Los Angeles, during the morning hours, is cool and gradually grows 
warmer until mid-day, when it is quit© hot, and then it again grows cool until it finally 
reaches a difference of thirty degrees between night and day. The morning hours 
remind one much of Cincinnati, Ohio, which has a high fog lasting often until nearly 
noon, when the sun appears. During the winter season Los Angeles often has heavy 
night fogs lasting until nearly noon the next day. These fogs are just as dangerous 
to weak lungs as the San Francisco winds and fogs. The person coming to California 
for his health must always use precaution during the first year's residence in the State, 
it matters not what part. He cannot with safety do the things persons who have lived 
in the State for a, longer period may do. One must become acclimated. He will then 
find the climate the best in the world, with all the healing properties claimed for it. 
There are, of course, some sections better suited for some diseases than others, and one 
should be governed by the statement of the doctor consulted. It has always been a 
puzzle to persons living in the East to believe that while one can eat luscious, fresh 
strawberries during the last of December, he can also be reminded that he is not living 
in the tropics by a keen frost, and while the frost rarely kills the citrus fruits, still 
one is conscious of the need of more clothing. The fruit-growers in the southern part 
of the State have more to fear from frost than those living around the San Francisco 
Bay, because it is never hot, and usually cool even in summer. The frost in the southern 
part of the State is rarely destructive, but the growers are always on the alert and the 
weather bureau sends out reports to the ranchers, who immediately burn their smudge 
pots to protect their crops, often burning them for many nights. It requires a whole 
year to grow an orange crop; hence the growers, since the destructive frost of 1912, 
have a society that studies the weather conditions, and they, too, send out additional 
warnings to all members, thereby protecting themselves, since the State laws require 
them to allow the fruit to ripen on the trees. 

Los Angeles is tropical enough to grow every kind of tree, shrub and flower which 
can be raised in any other part of the world. It is not an uncommon sight to look 
from the street-car window and find that one is passing homes with great hedge fences 
of blooming poinsettias and pepper trees with their red berries and lacy foliage. In 
the district in which are located the boulevards, beautiful homes and parks, one can 
see banana, magnolia, palm and rubber trees. There are few days in the year in 
which these districts are not a perfect riot of color with the bloom of beautiful flowers. 

The climate of Los Angeles is especially fine for heart and lung trouble, and also 
asthma; the weather is just warm and dry enough not to over stimulate the heart. 
The only danger to weak lungs is the sand-storms in the winter months, which occur 
sometimes once and not more than twice during the season. They are off from the 
desert and, aside from being disagreeable, they are also destructive to more than weak 
lungs. Had not Los Angeles its periodic winter frost and high sand wind-storms, it 
would have no way of purifying its atmosphere of the deadly germs of all kinds brought 
into the city through its annual influx of tourist-travel. It has been given as a truthful 
record that' the railroads coming into and going out of Los Angeles handle, on an aver- 
age, twenty-six thousand persons a day, a good record for one city. Los Angeles, like 
San Francisco, has many nearby cities, that are easily reached, where the climate is 
different. These cities near Los Angeles are often much easier to reach than one's own 
home. The greatest draw-back to the city is its congested street-car service, whereas 
San Francisco has excellent street-car service to all parts of its vastly larger city. But 
if one is fortunate enough to own an automobile, he will find the finest roads in the 
world in beautiful Los Angeles County, California, and they are comparatively dustless. 

Pasadena, the home of millionaires, lies just eight miles from Los Angeles. It has 
a much different climate. It is warm all during the winter, and in the summer is very 
hot. It is a valley with an elevation of one thousand feet, and is near the movmtains 
of Mount Lowe, Old Baldy and the Casa Verduga Eange. This gives the atmosphere 
of this beautiful city a crispness not found elsewhere, with a temperature reaching the 
height it averages. Aside from the beautiful homes of the wealthy, it can boast of 
more beautiful homes of the middle-class than any other city in the State, added to the 
natural beauty of its location. The climate of Pasadena makes it an excellent place in 
which to lose rheumatism, being dry and high and seldom having any kind of fogs. 

If the reader would wish a real joyful street-car trip,, he can have it by taking a 
trolley trip from Los Angeles through Oak Knoll to Pasadena any day in the year. 
This trip will lead through winding orange groves, with their fragrance either of 
blossoms or the ripe fruit. One feels that it is a mountain in a faraway country he is 
climbing, the scenery changes so often, and at each bend in the road becomes more* 



OF CALIFORNIA 143 

beautiful, until finally there comes into view the imposing Huntington hotel which 
crowns Oak Knoll like a castle in a faraway land. Then drive or ride on the street- 
cars through the town of Pasadena with its broad streets, its shade-trees of palms, 
pepper trees and rubber plants, with numerous other tropical shrubbery and flowers, 
before beautifully-kept lawns. There is a civic pride running through all the town, 
making it a city of beauty and harmony. 

The business section has numerous skyscrapers and is bustling with activity, but 
always with that air of noblesse oblige, realizing that one may be a stranger within 
the city and that it is the little courtesies extended by every one that makes the city 
so delightful, aside from its wonderful climate and beautiful homes and gardens. 
Colorado and Orange Grove avenues are spacious boulevards with tropical trees, flowers 
and the palatial homes of the wealthy, with their enchanting Roman and sunken 
gardens giving to the eyes of the humblest passer a feeling of harmony, rest and peace. 
These places are built so that the general public can enjoy the sight as well as the 
owners. This is especially true of Busch's sunken gardens and his rose gardens, which 
have been so well described in magazines and pamphlets. 

An attempt will be made to describe to the reader the impression of a rose parade 
viewed in Pasadena the first day of January. The writer had just arrived from the 
East on December the first, and the bloom of the poinsettia in Los Angeles was so 
abundant that it did not seem possible anything else could equal its laeauty. The 
climatic condition in the East on January the first were too fresh in mind to believe 
that even California could produce a real flower-parade on that date with anything 
else but paper flowers. But when the writer actually saw the rose parade with real 
cut flowers, vehicles covered with violets, horses blanketed with fresh violets, a four- 
in-hand covered with sweet peas, and with each part of the parade displaying an even 
more lavish use of actually fresh flowers, and requiring hours to pass a certain point, it 
did not seem possible that one could be in America. To the writer's surprise, when 
attempting that day to walk to the Busch sunken gardens with a winter coat, she 
became exhausted, not from the weight of the coat, but from the climate. 

The greatest surprise was when, in after years, the writer was visiting Pasadena 
in quest of material for the book concerning the colored residents of the place, she 
found that these beautiful gardens, with few exceptions, were the work of Negi'o land- 
scape-gardeners. It was more than interesting to listen to their description of these 
grounds twenty-five years ago. These same grounds today are considered the most 
picturesque landscape gardens in America, and yet they were the product of Negro 
handiwork. Some of these gardeners have now grown to old to work and enjoy a pen- 
sion from their former employers. 

Riverside, California, lies south of Los Angeles and enjoys a charming climate, 
free from fogs or excessive' heat. It is in a great orange belt and is sheltered from 
the cold of the ocean by the surrounding mountains, namely Mt. Rubidoux and Old 
Baldy. Riverside abounds in tropical vegetation and flowers, with numerous drives and 
a profusion of magnolia, pepper and palm trees. 

The beautiful Glenwood Mission Inn is located in Riverside, California, with its 
beautiful gardens, old Mission settings and Mission relics brought from abroad, together 
with its priceless paintings and wonderful pipe-organ located in the chapel, make this 
one of the most unique hostelries in all America. It was the proprietor of this hotel 
who suggested and encouraged, together with other gentlemen the writing of that 
beautiful historical play by Mr. J. S. McGroarty, the "Mission Play." It was also the 
proprietor of this hotel, Mr. Frank Miller, who was the father of" the idea of holding 
sunrise Easter service on Mt. Rubidoux. It was at one of these services that the Hon. 
Henry Van Dyke read his poem, "God of the Open Air," which is characteristic of the 
people of all California, who live out-of-doors during the day and sleep out by night. 

Redlands, a beautiful Southern California city, lies at the foot of Old Baldy, or 
rather Mt. San Antonio. It is much higher than any of the other California cities, 
with a more tropical climate. It would be an excellent place for persons suffering with 
lung trouble or asthma. It is a picturesque city and, aside from its numerous orange 
groves, it is the home of "Smylie Heights." "^Mr. Smylie, coming from the Eaet in 
search of health, finally regained it in Redlands, and afterward gave to the city a large 
mountain acreage which he had beautified with drives and every specie of flowers, 
plants and trees. It is one of California's show places. He gave this beautiful park 
to the city of Redlands without money, to be used for the enjoyment of all, perpetually 
free, having endowed it and also a large library. Mr. Smylie also owned the hotel and 
grounds at Lake Mohonk, New York. "Smylie Heights" overlooks the San Timoteo 
Valley, where they successfully raise cotton. 



144 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

The homes of the wealthy in Kedlands are somewhat similar to those in Santa 
Barbara, with large acreage, but the flowers and trees are ten times more tropical. It 
is in Eedlands you see the beautiful Virginia crape myrtle, growing in all its glory 
beside all the tropical trees of the rest of the world. In the distance one can see the 
Arrowhead Hot Springs, with their Indian legends. 

San Bernardino is one of the cities which was created as a supply station during 
pioneer days. It is a beautiful city, lying very high up in the mountains which sur- 
round it with their snowy peaks. This city would be very bad for any one with a weak 
heart. The few colored people living there are contented and happy. It is the home 
of Mr. and Mrs. Mason Johnson, who are reputed to be worth fifty thousand dollars in 
real estate. It is a railroad center, and many colored people find employment in the 
Santa Fe shops. 

Imperial Valley, California, embracing the towns of Brawley, El Centro and Cal- 
exico, has a climate hot and dry enough to raise cotton for the markets. The first 
cantelopes of the season in the United States are grown in this valley. Colored people 
live in great numbers in this valley and are producers from the soil. They have their 
own churches and schools and apparently are happy and prosperous. 

The deserts of California, namely the Mohave and at Victorville, are government 
lands, and quite a few colored people have taken up homesteads on this land and are 
improving them. Some sections have been found to contain oil. Many of the colored 
people have bought this land and afterwards sold it for a good margin. 

San Diego, California, the first settlement of civilized men on the Pacific Coast, 
contains the first Mission in California, which was established here and was used as 
headquarters by Friar Junipero Serraj until after the discovery and return of the party 
from San Francisco. Notwithstanding its age and all of the early romance connected 
with San Diego, it has been more than slow in developing. It was given its first boom 
at the completion' of the Panama Canal, at which time it was decided to celebrate this 
great engineering feat with an exposition. San Diego tried to convince the United 
States Congress that it was the logical city to receive the honor, since it would De the 
first port of call, after the ships leave the Panama canal. They were not successful in 
winning the honor, but decided that they, too, would hold an exposition, and to that end 
enlisted all of the home-loving citizens of wealth to join them in the enterprise. These 
citizens used their private fortunes and did hold a creditable exposition. Seeing their 
courage, the Counties in the southern part of the State built a beautiful building on 
the grounds. 

It was the pleasure of the writer to review the grounds in company with one of 
the commissioners, who, after learning her mission as historian of the Negro in Cali- 
fornia, showed her special courtesies. The writer viewed for the first time the Bay of 
San Diego from the balcony of the California building on the exposition grounds. The 
atmospheric conditions were such that she turned to the commissioner, who was explain- 
ing to her the surrounding country, and said that the sight of the very blue, glistening 
waters of the San Diego Bay, with its expanse of waters joining the Pacific Ocean far 
beyond, made a sight to be remembered as much as the Bay of San Francisco, because 
both were historical. It was on this bay that, coming around what is now called "Point 
Loma," the ship "San Antonio" was first sighted by the missionary fathers who were 
about to abandon California as a hopeless place. Mr. McGroarty calls the bay the ' ' Harbor 
of the Sun and the Bright Shores of Glory." 

San Diego has the most equable climate in all of America. It is said that there are 
only six degrees difference between winter and summer, with neither fogs or blighting 
winds. It is quite tropical in both vegetation and flowers, without the excessive heat. 

The Panama-California Exposition, held there for two years, was truly a great 
blessing to this beautiful city. Men, seeing the confidence the people had in themselves, 
decided to invest their money, and soon there were great skyscrapers and business blocks 
and many other businesses which had been much needed for many years. 

The name of San Francisco, like that of California, carries with it a charm that has 
aroused in the breast of civilized men in all parts of the world a desire to see and know 
the city for themselves. The early Mission fathers were from the Franciscan College, 
San Fernando, Mexico City. They were given instructions to establish missions in 
honor of certain saints. Junipero Serra was very much surprised when he was not told 
to establish a mission for Saint Francis. We are told that Galvez, who was governor- 
general of the expedition, replied, "If San Francisco wants a mission, let him cause Ms 
port to be discovered." This statement showed clearly that Galvez did not regard 
seriously Drake's discovery of a bay under Point Eeys and at the time called San 
Francisco. It has been proven in a recent publication that Drake's voyages were in the 
interest of the English crown. This statement is quite valuable because of the fact 



OF CALIFORNIA 145 

that the Mission fathers did not consider seriously that Drake's Bay was the real Bay 
of San Francisco. If it is true that Sir Francis Drake made voyages in and by the 
instruction of and at the expense of the English crown, and had he found the large land- 
locked Bay of San Francisco, it is strange that the English Government did not claim 
California hundreds of years before the United States purchased it from Mexico. In a 
work covering years of careful research, Mrs. Zelia Nuttall has fully proven the claim 
that Sir Francis Drake did make discoveries in the interest of the English crown. There 
are writers who claim that when Sir Francis Drake landed in the bay under Point Reys a 
heavy fog closed the Golden Gate so that he did not see it during the thirty-six days 
of his stay. A more recent writer says that at the time the bay was discovered under 
Point Reys there was no bay of San Francisco, but that later an earthquake made a 
bay. Either of the last-named statements would be difficult to prove, but history does 
record the fact that Portola, on his trip of exploration, failed to recognize the Bay of 
Monterey and journeyed on up and through the Santa Clara Valley and over the hills 
of Berkeley, and from the "treeless slopes" of these hills he did discover the beautiful, 
large, land-locked Bay of San Francisco. In the language of Viceroy Mendoza: "So 
that as well as in the chusing of the entrance as well as in not being able to find the 
way it seemed unto all means that God has shut up the gate to all those who by human 
strength (force) had gone about to attempt this enterprise and hath revealed it to a 
poor and barefoot friar." 

Since the days of th& Mission fathers men have been willing to undergo all kinds 
of hardships if at the "end of the trail" it led to San Francisco. Men during the gold 
craze were willing to take their chance with fate. The trip was difiicult, long and 
fraught with many dangers, whether by ox-team or by the way of the Isthmus of 
Panama, or the longest way round "the Horn" to California. It will never be known 
the number of persons losing their lives in an effort to reach San Francisco, California. 
Those who did not come and remained on the other side of the Rocky Mountains were 
anxiously awaiting a chance to come, heeding not the hardships if the trip led to San 
Francisco, California. 

In pioneer days San Francisco was not very much of a city, consisting of sand dunes 
and a number of hills without streets. Even the houses were only shacks and tents. A 
few wooden houses were brought around the Horn and afterward rebuilt. Rev. Elavil 
Scott Mines brought from New York the first Episcopalian church to San Francisco 
around the Horn, and rebuilt it afterward. 

The climate of San Francisco is like perpetual spring, never very warm either in 
summer or winter, although it is a better winter climate than it is usually given credit 
for. The fogs are very much over-advertised, and while they are at times disagreeable, 
still they are, in a measure, an advantage because of the purifying effect on the air. 
There are several different kinds of fogs that appear around the Bay of San Francisco. 
Mr. George McAdie, who for years was the weather forecaster for the Bay region and 
lived in San Francisco, has a book in which he has given to the public his study of 
"Fogs and Sky of San Francisco," which gives the reader a wonderful idea of the great 
amount of good done through the fogs. This book also describes the various kinds of 
fogs and the wonderful sky effects, especially during the spring months. The nearby 
cities have more fogs during the winter than the City of San Francisco/and are much 
colder. The heaviest San Francisco fogs occur during the summer. 

There are many near-by cities within easy communication from San Francisco, 
namely, Sausolita, Mill Valley, San Raphael, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Elmhurst, 
Richmond, and down the peninsula to San Mateo and Burlingame. 

San Francisco of today is a city of beauty and cleanliness. Few cities in the State 
have more natural beauty. There are lovely vistas from the many hills overlooking the 
Bay and ocean, and from the mountains in the different sections of the city, namely. 
Lone Mountain and Twin Peaks. It has many parks, the largest being ' ' Golden Gate, ' ' 
which contains hundreds of acres of beautiful landscape gardens and a memorial 
museum given to the city by Mr. Mike de Young, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, 
a daily newspaper. In the center of this park rises majestically a small mountain 
called "Strawberry Hill." To some Calif ornians there is only one city in all the State. 
and that is San Francisco. It is a real city, with as many skyscrapers and business 
blocks (with the distracting noise left out) as either Chicago or New York. It has all 
the eastern styles and displayed at the same time they are in the East. 

San Francisco has been destroyed seven times by fire and rebuilt as often. The last 
destruction was by the earthquake and fire of April, 1906. They say that it has been 
rebuilt more beautiful than ever. It seems almost unbelievable that a city could be 
reduced to ashes, aside from the earthquake shocks, and yet the people would love it 
so that they would rebuild more beautiful homes and greater businesses than ever. The 



146 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

writer visited this city just three years after the fire of 1906, spending the winter 
studying the people, climate and the spirit of San Francisco, and left, returning to the 
East so filled with its spirit that ever afterward she has only spoken of it as " The City 
of Inspiration." The name, its spirit and atmosphere, seemed to carry with it an 
inspiration to do great things. In pioneer days it developed the spirit of adventure 
and possibilities of greater manhood in the individual. It had the same effect upon 
colored pioneers as it did upon other persons. Notwithstanding the numerous laws 
against the Negroes living in peace in California, he seemed to catch the spirit of 
San Francisco which enabled him to walk through his obstacles and to do the things 
that developed manhood in members of the other races then living in California. 

To prove the statement just given, the writer will cite one instance. The white 
citizens had their newspapers, The Californian, The American Flag, The Alta, and later 
The Bulletin; the colored people had also papers to champion their rights before the public, 
and we find among these early-day Negro papers such papers as The Mirror of the Times, 
The Pacific Appeal, and The San Francisco Elevator. 

The majority of the colored people during pioneer daysl lived in the City of San 
Francisco and the northern part of the State, namely, Sacramento, Marysville, Stockton 
and Eed Bluff. They were the fighters against adverse legislation, giving their time 
and money, rarely ever calling on the few colored people living in the southern part of 
the State for assistance. The colored people now living in the northern part of the State 
and around San, Francisco remind one much of persons living around Boston and other 
New England towns; they are so fond of their own little corner of the world; they are 
so self-satisfied. A portion of them, however, did move to Los Angeles after the great 
fire of 1906. The colored people living south of the Tehachapi mountains and farther 
south are such that you wonder in which part of the State the colored residenters are 
the most admirable, because they are all so loyal to their end of the State. 

The colored population living in San Francisco have several well-established 
churches, modern structures, often with a pipe organ. The largest churches are the 
Third Baptist and the Bethel A. M. E., and the church which is often called the old 
"Thomas Starr King Church," and known as the A. M. E. Zion Church. It was in the 
last-named church that during pioneer days aU the business of the "Franchise League" 
was transacted and the meetings of the executive committee of the Colored Convention 
were often held during those strenuous days. There was also another colored church 
whose pastor and flock were great workers m the fights for an opportunity to live m 
California, and that church was the Episcopalian church and its pastor Eev. Cassey, 
who spent much time and money in the meetings. 

The colored people of San Francisco now have several well-established and patron- 
ized lodges, many coming from the east Bay cities of Oakland and other places. San 
Francisco has a community of delightful colored citizens who have modern homes. They 
are descendants of pioneer families and have grasped every opportunity for a higher 
education for themselves and children. 

The following list of the businesses conducted by pioneer persons of color during 
early days in the City of San Francisco lia^s been copied from a file of old newspapers 
loaned to the writer through the courtesy of Mr. G. W. Watkins, author of "Prominent 
Afro-Americans on the Pacific Coast," and editor of the Pacific Appeal, of San Francisco; 
"Jonas H. Townsend and William H. Newby, editors of the first colored newspaper 
published on this coast, The Mirror of the Times, which was published in 1855 in San 
Francisco; Phillip A. Bell and Zadock Bell, editors of The San Francisco Elevator, 
which made its first appearance in the late fifties; Peter Anderson, editor of the Pacific 
Appeal, published in San Francisco from 1857 to the late eighties. 

"Fritz James Vosburg and James Eiker organized a company and manufactured 
'Cocoanut oil soap' in San Francisco; George Dennis, proprietor of a large livery 
stable; James P. Dyer, manufacturing 'Queen Lily Soap,' wholesale and retail dealers; 
Henry M. Collins, capitalist and owner of the steamship 'Princess Ann,' also a heavy 
stockholder in the 'Navigation Company of Colored men'; Daniel Seals, capitalist and 
a miner; Avenden Frances, wholesale merchant in dry goods; Monroe Taylor, proprietor 
of the ferry boat lunch counters; G. W. Waddy, laundry man; C. Harris, locksmith; S. 
Long, drayman; George Davis, livery stable; William H. Blake, musician and leader of 
band, dealer in band instruments; Gibbs & Pointer, proprietors of the Philadelphia 
store; C. Griffin, barber on the Panama steamers; Albert Bevitt, herb doctor, office 
corner Stockton and Powell streets, San Francisco; Mrs. Charlott Callander, sailors' and 
seamen's boarding-house; James Eichard Phillips, hair-dressing parlors and bath house, 
employing ten barbers and having twenty bathtubs; John Jones and James Eiker 
organized the 'Brannan Guards,' with the assistance of Alexander G. Dennison. Cap- 
tain Alexander Ferguson was connected with the 'Eichmond Blues' and was considered 



OF CALIFORNIA 



147 




MRS. ELLEN HUDDELSTUN 
Financier and Investor. 



148 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 





MRS. MAMIE CUNNINGHAM-WHITE 

First colored girl clerk in Los Angeles 

Postoffice. 



MISS GERTRUDE CHRISMAN 

Teacher of Spanish in Los Angeles 

City Schools. 





MRS. LOUISE CHRISMAN 

Owner Chrisman Apartments, 

Los Angeles. 



MRS. SALLIE RICHARDSON 
Social Worker. 



OF CALIFORNIA 149 

a great orator; Anthony Loney, manufactured cigars and smoking tobacco; Lester & 
Pointer, conducting the Philadelphia store of clothing; Mifflin Gibbs & Pointer con- 
ducted a wholesale and retail shoe-store and the only store of its kind in San Francisco 
during that period. They decided to open the shoe-store after turning over to Lester & 
Pointer the Philadelphia store. Mr. Whitfield, author of a work on the 'History of 
Masonry'; R. C. O. Benjamin, a distinguished lawyer and writer; Ellen Spach, fash- 
ionable dressmaker." 

It is to be regretted that the writer cannot give even a greater list for this present 
period of the history and life of the Negro in San Francisco, but there are but few- 
colored people in business of any kind today in the City of San Francisco. One of the 
reasons is that common labor, upon which the business man must depend for his trade, 
is not very remunerative for the Negro race in this city. With but few exceptions, all 
the avenues of trade are closed to the Negro workman through the powerful influences 
of the trade unions who rule San Francisco. During the past year business men, real- 
izing that the trade unions were ruining San Francisco, decided to try, if possible, to 
force an open shop. To that end the Chamber of Commerce and business men all over 
San Francisco subscribed to a fund which soon reached over a million of dollars to be 
used to fight for an open shop. Negro hotel waiters were employed for a while in all 
the first-class hotels, cafes and elsewhere. This lasted just long enough to make the 
Negro happy and hopeful that the pioneer days of good work and good pay were 
returning to the city and the Negroes could again earn a good livelihood. But, alas! 
their dream was soon over and before winter returned they were all out on the eold 
bricks hunting for a job, with good references from the men who had recently employed 
them, but were forced to manage their business at the dictation of the labor unions. 
There was a time when all the help in the Palace Hotel was colored, and many of these 
men served for years and today have good homes in other parts of California. They 
were not let out because of lack of efficiency, but on account of the labor union ^s 
demands. Hence they have gone to make their homes in Los Angeles, where there la 
open shop and a chance to make a living through the fight made for years by the late 
General Harrison Gray Otis of The Times. 

The Chinese and Japanese laborer is employed almost exclusively in many avenues 
in San Francisco. Some of these foreigners are more than the equal of white labor for 
the same purpose, having been trained in the schools of their native homes for general 
and special service, and they fill the exacting demands for the highest kind of service 
in whatever line they may desire to enter. It is an imposing sight to visit a home of 
those who employ Japanese cooks and see them in their white frocks, aprons and caps. 
They dress the same, whether washing or cooking, and the writer has even seen window- 
washers dressed in the same way. They have their own Y. M. C. A. and employment 
agencies. Help sent from these places work for the money and nothing else; they will 
not give you a minute over the time for which you employ them; they ask no favors 
and give no extra time; it is strictly business with him and nothing else. 

There are many colored graduates from the late Booker T. Washington's school who 
have acquired the highest point of efficiency of service, and who have told the writer 
how they have been forced either to move to other parts or give up the idea of finding 
employment at their well-fitted trades in San Francisco. 

Oakland, California, it has been said, was produced from the fire and calamity of 
San Francisco during 1906. This resulted in a large number of persons moving to 
Oakland and other east Bay cities to live, where they found a climate that was very 
different from the city of Saint Francis, which still was easily accessible, and they 
decided to build homes. At first men established temporary businesses which were so 
profitable that they have increased the same until today the future of Oakland does not 
depend upon the left-overs from San Francisco, notwithstanding, according to the rec- 
ords furnished by the Key system of ferries and railroads, that they transport together 
with other roads something over forty thousand commuters daily who make their living 
in the City of San Francisco. There is such a large number who do not contribute a 
penny to the maintenance of the City of San Francisco that there has been, for the 
past few years, a strong movement to annex the east Bay cities and call them ' ' The 
Greater San Francisco," as has been done in New York State. 

Oakland is fast growing into an independent manufacturing city and, with the 
deep water harbor, bids fair to rival any city in the State. It is a beautiful city, 
especially around Lake Merritt, upon whose shores fronts the beautiful million-doUar 
municipal auditorium, which is the most complete and thoroughly fireproof auditorium 
in the United States. 

Lake Merritt is a large body of salt water in the center of the city. Its shore- 
line has been beautified by numerous drives and parks, together with a public tennis 



150 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

court and a municipal boat house. The lake at all times can be plied by pleasure craft 
with perfect safety. There are many beautiful homes along its shores with their 
hanging and Roman gardens. In one of the numerous parks which make the immediate 
shore-line is located a band stand and music is rendered throughout the greater part of 
the year on Sunday afternons for the pleasure of all who may wish to enjoy it. On 
the lake-shore boulevard, aside from the homes of the wealthy, there are a number of 
artistically designed flats and apartment houses. This boulevard runs back into the 
hills, in which are located the beautiful suburban homes of the City of Piedmont. 
Adjoining are the Crocker Highlands. The location of the land makes this one of the 
most attractive suburbs in the State. 

Oakland and the east Bay cities do not have exactly the same kind of fogs as San 
Francisco. During the winter months they suffer with "low fogs," which drift down 
from the "tule lands of Sacramento." These fogs are most dangerous to traffic, espe- 
cially on the San Francisco Bay, yet few serious accidents occur. The east Bay cities 
also suffer during the winter months with northwest winds. Oakland and Berkeley 
especially suffer with the disagreeable winds. The climate is considered more equable 
than any outside of San Diego. 

The colored population have beautiful homes and own them. They also own more 
businesses of their own than the colored people do in San Francisco. They have several 
prosperous lawyers and two dentists and furniture stores, the business of which would 
be creditable to any community. 

Santa Cruz, California, is a city and also a summer resort with a most wonderful 
climate for the nerves. It lies between the ocean and the Santa Cruz Mountains, 
resulting in the air being always filled with the fragrance of the pine, madrone and 
redwood, mixed with the sea-air, making a restful and healing tonic for the nerves. It 
is just far enough from the smoke and annoyances of a large manufacturing center to 
give the air from the sea real saltiness and invigorating freshness. 

Santa Cruz has a manufactory for making cement and a deep-water pier extending 
about a mile out from land. The climate here is always mild, with little low togs, but 
considerable high fog during the summer months, which makes it a summer resort for 
people living in the San Joaquin valley. Santa Cruz lies so near the mountain ranches 
that few people cultivate gardens. This makes it a city with considerable business, 
beautiful homes, modern in every appointment; up-to-date business blocks and cleanly- 
kept, large streets, well-paved. There are few colored people living in Santa Cruz. 
Mrs. Albert Logan owns and keeps a hotel for colored tourists which is always filled 
during and out of season. The largest apple orchards in California are located less 
than fifty miles from thisi resort, which is in the Pajaro Valley, the largest town of 
which is Watsonville. 

Monterey and Pacific Grove lie south of Santa Cruz and are two very picturesque 
places. They are located about four miles apart, and one usually speaks of both at 
the same time, notwithstanding they are very different in every appointment except the 
climate, which is always warm and balmy. During the summer the climate is very much 
like San Francisco's, cool and refreshing, with high fogs, which makes the places a 
resort for those living in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. They are like Santa 
Cruz in that they are a powerful nerve tonic and lie between the beautiful Bay of* 
Monterey and the wonderful forests of Del Monte. 

Monterey Bay, with its beautiful blue watery and massive cliffs, together with the 
historical settings, makes it all very attractive. The first custom house, the first wooden 
house, and the first theater in all of California were located at Monterey. It was here 
that the headquarters of Consul Thomas O. Larkins and Lieutenant W. Sherman were 
located. It was also at Monterey that the much-beloved poet, Eobert Louis Stevenson, 
made his home and enjoyed its beauty and inspiration. As if to add to its romantic 
and historical setting, there is located only a few miles from the town of Monterey the 
beautiful, large, picturesque grounds of the Del Monte Hotel, the gardens of which cover 
some four hundred acres and, aside from being planted with the most tropical plants and 
flowers, are beautifully landscaped in every appointment. They are located far enough 
away from the bay and sheltered from the ocean by the massive forest of Del Monte to 
be protected from cold, blasting winds and frosts, which enables them to raise with ease 
these beautiful tropical plants and the most beautiful flowers. These gardens and grounds 
of the Del Monte Hotel are one of the show places of all California, and no one should 
ever consider that he has seen California until he has viewed the blue waters and cliffs of 
the Bay of Monterey and these wonderful gardens. 

A few miles south of the Del Monte Hotel grounds is located a colony of writers 
and artists at a village called "Carmel by the Sea;" a little villa or rather several 
villas, the homes of great minds who wish to be alone, believing "there is pleasure in 



OF CALIFORNIA 151 

the pathless woods and the music in the distant shore." They long for that quiet the 
poet meant when ho wrote, "Come, and let us go into the woods where none but God 
will be near, for I hate the sound and to breathe the thoughts of other men." But they 
are seldom alone, for, in spite of their desire and their determination not to improve 
either the roads or their homes, still, even so, the writer has been told that nothing 
less than eight hundred vehicles a day wend their way to Carmel by the Sea during the 
summer months. The people go there not only to see what a village of great minds 
would look like, but also to view the first Mission established in. Upper California, and, 
while the first Christian burial in all of California was performed at this Mission, it 
also is the last resting place for the bones of Friar Junipero Serra, which were re-en- 
terred in 1913, through the Native Sons and Daughters and with an escort of the Young 
Men's Institute, a Catholic society with branches or chapters all over the State. The 
sands of the bay of Carmel by the Sea are the whitest sands in all of California and, 
it has been said, in all the world. One must return to Monterey to reach the rest of 
the world, and, while resting from the drive, it is interesting to note that while this 
town is one of the first Spanish settlements in California, and the first capital of the 
American California, it has grown up with the times. The people, however, reverence 
its historical setting and memory, and have destroyed not one land-mark for more 
modern structures. 

The Presidio, established during the pioneer days by the Padres, is still standing 
and in use today, with but seemingly few changes, as United States army post, or 
Presidio. A short distance from here is located a little town called New Monterey, which 
is the home of retired Negro G. A. R., some of whom are ex-army officers. They are 
living comfortably and have a good church and are quite a factor in the community, 
especially Mr. and Mrs. Washington and Mr. Eodgers, a veteran of the Ninth Cavalry. 

Paso Sobles, California, lies south of the town of Monterey and is farther down 
the coast. The climate is considered fine for rheumatism. The famous sulphur springs 
and mud baths are located here, a statement which is not doubted for a minute after 
one leaves the train, because the smell of sulphur is so strong it reminds one readily of 
Mt. Clemens, Michigan. The town is quaint and has an atmosphere of contentment. 
The municipal bathhouse is a modern structure. There is also a bathhouse operated by 
a colored gentleman, a Mr. Wathington, which is patronized by the public. 

Santa Barbara, California, is where the wealthy people from the east come for rest 
and perfect climate to restore their nerve and brain fag. It has been said that no 
better climate in all the world can be found for such than at this beautiful seaside 
resort. Like Santa Cruz and Del Monte, it lies between the mountains and the sea. 
The St. Inez Mountains are located at the back of the town, and the ocean and the 
Santa Barbara channel on the southern exposure give the climate a wonderful mixture 
for healthfulness. 

The drives around the town are picturesque, with the settings of beautiful homes 
and the large, well-kept grounds which, it has been said, are more like the great estates 
in England than any other in America. This, they say, is especially true of the homes at 
Montecito with the landscape gardens and houses so' like English manor houses. The 
flowers are more beautiful because of the tropical climate of California, and they can 
be grown during the entire year. 

The stately, palatial Potter Hotel is located here with its wonderful rose and 
geranium gardens overlooking the ocean. Santa Barbara, with its soft, balmy, restful 
atmosphere, free from fogs and blighting winds, is also the home of the only monastery 
on the coast, the historical Santa Barbara Mission, which, of all the missions established 
by the Mission fathers during early days, has never been allowed to go to ruin and 
has been in constant use for over a hundred years, with its wealth of beautiful sacred 
paintings brought from Spain during the last century, and readily makes Santa Barbara 
the most delightful place on the coast for a home. 

There are few colored people living here, but the few are progressive and their 
businesses consist of establishments for cleaning and dyeing and auto stages. The pastor 
of the colored Baptist Church, Eev. Thompson, has a social settlement in connection 
with his church that would add to a larger community pride for the successful man- 
agement of the same. 

Fowler, California, is one of the most interesting districts in the San Joaquin. 
Valley. The holdings of the colored people in the district prove beyond a doubt that 
they are capable of pioneering. This progression was really started through the enthu- 
siasm of Mrs. Julia Bell, who came to Fowler, California, nearly thirty years ago. She 
and her husband worked for the family of Mr. Curby, who moved to California from 
Charlotte, North Carolina, bringing their servants with them. The town of Fowler, at 
that date, was only a wheat field, and Mrs. Bell planted the first tree in the townsite. 



152 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

After living in California for several years, she sent the price of a railroad ticket to 
her brother Jordan Young, who was Uving in South Carolina and desirous of coming 
West She was so hopeful of the possibilities of Fowler that she wrote to every one 
she knew to come to the town. She also invested heavily in property, using about every 
penny she could possibly spare for the purchase of real estate. In after years she sent 
for her father, Mr. David Jennings, who readily came to the State, and although he 
was ninety years old at the time, he made the trip safely and Uved to be one hundred 
and five before passing. , ^ ^^. , ^ a ■ 

Mr. Eeuben Wysinger, a native son, owns a good ranch of fifteen acres planted m 
Muscat! Tompkins and seedless raisin grapes. These grapes yield, on an average, a 
ton to the acre and are marketed for $50 to $100 an acre. He also has a peach orchard 
of the "Muir" and "Alberta" peaches which yield two tons to the acre and sell all 
the way from $100 to $150 an acre. 

Mr. Wysinger and two other colored gentlemen, realizing the possibilities of this 
section of California in the fruit industry, decided to procure a plot of land while the 
price was within their reach. They purchased a plot of eighty acres, paying $100 down 
and in five months paying another hundred dollars, which entitled them to a deed, with 
five years in which to pay the remaining indebtedness at 10 per cent interest. They 
paid twenty dollars an acre at the date of purchase, some fifteen years ago. Today one 
could not buy the same ground for several hundred dollars an acre. After securing the 
deed to the plot each man settled on his share and began the cultivation of the land. 
It will be impossible to give the experience o^ every one of the gentlemen, but that of 
Mr Wysinger can safely be taken as an example of them all. His experience and 
perseverance show what one can do with a will. He was employed during the day. 
After night, with the assistance of his wife, he planted his peach orchard and vineyard. 
Owing to their lack of experience, it required years of hard work before they were able 
to secure a crop of anything. They never faltered and finally conquered, and today 
they have a wonderful ranch that any one in the valley would be proud to own. The 
best part of it all is, they own a beautiful, modern home and an automobile from the 
products of a well-paying ranch. They have a family of three children, to whom they 
are giving the best education that the State afPords. They are also giving them actual 
experience in ranch life, so that, if they wish, they can remain on the ranch and be 
independent. 

Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Eason own eighteen acres in Bowles, which is another settle- 
ment of fruit growers just four miles from Fowler. Their ranch is planted in peach 
orchards and vineyards for producing raisins. They also own fifteen city lots. They 
moved from Atlanta, Georgia, less than fifteen years ago. When Mrs. Eason reached 
Fowler, she learned that through an error in checking her baggage she had lost all her 
belongings en route, and had only five dollars to her credit. Her husband had preceded 
her to California. They had left their daughter to finish her education at Clark's 
University, Atlanta, Georgia. Mrs. Eason soon secured work as a laundress, following 
the same with success for nine years, and with Mr. Eason working as a ranch hand, 
they together saved enough to buy a ranch from the earnings of which, they purchased 
the city lots. 

Jeremiah S. H. Ellard owns twenty acres in Monmouth planted in peaches and 
grapes owning the same for the past eight years. They came from Atlanta, Georgia, 
about thirteen years ago with, as they told the writer, "money enough to buy a pair of 
shoes ' ' Today his ranch is valued at $6,000. Mrs. Ellard, who was Miss Elizabeth 
Eason has been a wonderful help-mate. She told the writer that during the fruit 
season she has picked, day after day, three hundred trays of grapes, each tray averaging 
twenty-two pounds. At another time she has cut seventy-five boxes of peaches in one 
day They are paid five cents a box for peaches and two and a half cents a tray for 
grapes. It is considered a good day's work to cut fifty boxes of peaches a day. A 
box will yield fifty pounds. 

Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Abernathy, coming from Pulaski, Tennessee, own a ranch of one 
hundred and sixty acres. This ranch is very attractive, with its wonderful farm 
houses and modern home. It is planted as follows: Twelve acres in peaches, twenty 
in grapes, six in alfalfa, and eight in young peach trees, forty unimproved and eighty 
acres as a pasture for a dairy farm. Mrs. Abernathy was Miss Mary Young, a daughter 
of Jordon Young of Fowler. She thoroughly understands the managing of a ranch 
and showed the writer many points of interest. Especially interesting were the large 
stacks of drying trays which, she said, were worth at least $500. The sulphuring and 
drying of fruit was all thoroughly explained to the writer, who could scarcely believe 
the dried fruit of which we are so fond requires so much care before it is ready for 
the markets of the world. Mr, Abernathy also cares for the forty-acre ranch of Dr. 



OF CALIFORNIA 153 

Lowe, who lives in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, which i^ under cultivation, twelve acres 
planted in peach trees, eight in vines, and twenty in alfalfa. 

Mr. and Mrs. George Clark, moving from San Francisco three years ago, have 
purchased twenty acres, starting a dairy farm. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lee Crane own a ranch of five acres. They came from El Paso, 
Texas, a few years ago and first located in AUensworth, California, but, learning that 
Fowler would be a better place to carry on truck gardening, they decided to retain 
their holdings at the first place and moved to Fowler, where they decided to purchase a 
plot of land on which they have placed every available convenience, even their own 
motor engine for the pumping of water. Mr. Crane has the distinction of being the 
only colored man in Fowler who has a truck garden. He also successfully raises for 
the market chickens and hogs. He enjoys a modern home and a charming wife. 

Rev. Riddle owns five acres in Fowler planted in peaches and deciduous fruits, 
and has a large, modern home. Messrs. Willie, John, Thomas and George Smith, all 
brothers, own thirteen and a half city lots in Fowler and eighteen acres in Bowles. 
These boys, together with the sister, came to California from Grand Bass, Liberia, 

William Bennett owns three city blocks in Fowler. C. L. Brown owns twenty 
acres in Bowles. The following are the names of a few families and their real estate 
holdings in Bowles: William H. Boatman, twenty-two acres; Mr. Walker, one hundred 
and sixty acres; Marshall Sutter, William Asken, Hayes Patrick, John Maxey, S. P. 
Phillips, and H. Simmons own twenty acres each. The two last named live in Monmouth. 

Chapel Henry Nelson, living southwest of Fowler, owns a ranch of twenty-two 
and a half acres in peaches and vines and a flourishing poultry farm. He also owns 
his own ice plant, horse and buggy, and has an interesting family. He is an officer m 
the Odd Fellows lodge and a prominent member of the A. M. E. Church of Fowler. 

Mr. Clarence C. Orr owns a ranch of seventy acres. He has a modern dairy farm 
and also raises hogs for the market. His place is one of the show places of the settle- 
ment, with its modern home and barns. Adjoining this ranch is one of twenty acres 
owned by Mr. A. M. King. , 

Hanford, California, is the center sf the fruit industry. The largest vineyards m 
America producing wine grapes are located there. They are owned bv Japanese. The 
colored people, however, own good paying ranches and large holdings in city property. 
It is in this little inland city that the late Mr. Alex Anderson established, owned and 
managed the largest livery and feed stables in central California. Since his death his 
widow manages the stables, which are known as the "Seventh Street Stables." She 
owns between thirty and forty head of horses, besides race horses. All the leading 
stores and hotels board their horses at this stable, which employs never less than seven 
men. Mr. Anderson had been in business over thirteen years when he died. He had 
come to California from Council Grove, Kansas, about twenty-five years before. He 
was happilv married to Miss Mary Dobbins from Huntington, Virginia, a college gradu- 
ate and a music teacher of ability, who thorbughly understood business and was a great 
helpmate to him. She has a charming personality which readily endears her to every- 
one. They were married twenty-four years. 

Another interesting person in Hanford is Mrs. Ishour, who owns a ranch of one 
hundred and sixty acres on which she successfully cultivates alfalfa and grain. It has 
been said that one winter she marketed five tons of turkeys and a good crop of fruit. 
She is an active member of the A. M. E. Church and also owns, aside from her ranch, at 
least four houses in town. She has lived in California for twenty-seven years, coming 
from Saulsbury, North Carolina. 

The only amusement park in Hanford is owned and conducted by a colored man, 
Mr, George Smith. It contains an acre filled with tropical plants and wild animals. It 
is called "The Kings County Zoological Garden." 

Mr. J. W. Moulden, coming from Rentville, Tennessee, over twelve years ago, owns 
town property, a concrete house, and an interesting family of two girls and two boys, 
who have graduated from the public high school of Hanford. The gentleman is employed 
as city scavenger. 

Mr. and Mrs. John Welshar came to California from Council Grove, Kansas, thirty 
years ago. Mr. Welsher has been the janitor of the public school of Hanford for over 
twenty years. He has two children, a girl and a boy. He owns eleven town lots and 
thirteen and three-quarters acres one and one-half miles from town. 

Mrs. Cornelia Mason, coming from Tyler, Texas, owns her home and four town 
lots, and has two sons. 

Mr. Wyatt, coming to California from Kansas City, Kansas, over twenty-six years 
ago, owns two dwellings and twelve lots. There are many colored ministers living in 



154 THE NEGKO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Hanford who are well situated. Among them is Eev. McEachen, who, a few years 
ago, conducted a colonization party from North Carolina to California. Eev. G. W. 
Ayers, from Richmond, Virginia, living in California some twenty or mor^ years, and 
connected with the Second Baptist Church, owns a home and four city lots. Rev. 
Blakney, an A. M. E. minister, coming from Saulsbury, North Carolina, owns valuable 
town property. There are many others of the race living in Hanford who are doing 
well and own good ranch and town properties 

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon own good property. They are both well educated and a 
factor in the community. Mr. Gordon is head porter of the City Hotel. 

AUensworth, California, is a settlement of colored citizens located south of Han- 
ford in Tulare County. It was founded by the late Colonel AUensworth, who, together 
with a number of other colored gentlemen, in 1908 organized The California Colony and 
Home-Promotion Association. It was oflEiccred as follows: President, Colonel Aliens- 
worth (retired), chaplain of the Twenty-fourth Infantry of the United States Army; 
secretary. Professor W. A. Payne, formerly principal of Grant County colored school of 
West Virginia. The remaining members of the company were: Dr. W. H. Peck, J. W. 
Palmer, a Nevada miner, and Harry Mitchel. The company received its state corpo- 
ration papers in 1908 and immediately began to find a suitable location for a tract of 
land for colonization. Mr. Oscar O. Overr was one of a committee of five gentlemen 
sent out to look over the present tract with regard to colonizing the same. Mr. Overr 
was BO impressed with it that he purchased twelve acres immediately, but soon sold his 
holdings for a handsome margin, which enabled him to make another purchase of twenty 
acres. From this beginning has grown the prosperous town of AUensworth, California, 
which is destined to be one of the greatest Negro cities in the United States. 

The company of colored gentlemen who had made it possible for this colony, almost 
immediately placed the land on the market. They met with encouragement, colored 
citizens not only purchasing, but locating and building good homes. They were not 
only settlers, but pioneers in spirit and deeds, willing to toil and hustle for development. 

The rapid settlement of the colony necessitated the establishment of a school for 
the colored children of the colony. Through the county superintendent of schools, a Mr. 
Walker, of Visalia, in 1910 they secured a county school fori the colony of AUensworth, 
California, and a school house was built. The following are the names of the members 
of the first school board of the colony of AUensworth, California: President, Mrs. 
AUensworth; secretary, Mrs. Oscar Overr, and Mr. W. Hall, member of the board. 

In 1912, AUensworth was made a voting precinct school district, and in 1914 a 
judicial district, covering an area of thirty-three square miles. The school is a regular 
County school, the district being known as AUensworth school district, and ample funds 
are furnished to carry on the work. A State fund of $550 for every teacher employed, 
also a County fund of $120 per average attendance, and, when occasion demands, there 
is available a district or special fund. The work of AUensworth school, which has been 
equipped with all modern apparatus for school work, including a good piano, is on a 
par with that of any other district school in the State of California. The building is 
so arranged that it can be thrown into, an assembly room. It is truly the AUensworth 
social center. Services are conducted there on Sabbath, while a stage with two dressing 
rooms make it possible to hold entertainments in it. When the school was first estab- 
lished, through the influence of Mr. O. Overr the Pacific Farming Company donated 
enough lumber to build the school-house, the Alpaugh school district supplying the 
money for its teacher. To the surprise of this district the colony selected a colored 
teacher, Mr. William A. Payne. Later, when the school warranted, another teacher 
was appointed in the person of Miss Whiting from Berkeley. The rapid growth of the 
colony soon made it necessary to erect a large school-building to accommodate the 
children of school age. The colony having been declared a school, voting and judicial 
district by the County Board of Supervisors in 1914, the citizens of AUensworth voted 
bonds to the amount of $5,000 for a new school-house and furnishings. Upon the com- 
pletion of the building, Mrs. AUensworth donated the old building for a library. She 
remodeled it and dedicated it to the memory of her mother, Mary Dickinson, and the 
building is now known as "The Mary Dickinson Memorial Library" and reading room 
of AUensworth, California. 

Colonel AUensworth immediately gave his valuable private library of books to 
this library. Others of the race have followed his example, namely a Mrs. S. M. Bal- 
lard, of Fresno, giving a set of encyclopedia consisting of five volumes and a set of 
four volumes of Universal English Language and a number of other valuable books; a 
Mr. Greek, of North Dakota, a set of books on agriculture; Mr. Jerry Williams, San 
Francisco, two volumes of Dunbar's works; Mr. Welsher, of Hanford, ten volumes of 
the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and the writer, sending twenty-five standard works. The 



OF CALIFORNIA 155 

County of Tulare, seeing the effort made by the colony to have a library and reading 
room, decided to make it one of its circulating stations, sending them fifty books every 
month. The books are called for and delivered free to the station and, in addition, 
they also pay the current expenses of the library, the chief expense being that of the 
custodian, a young colored girl, Miss Ethel Hall, who is a resident of the colony. The 
library, as a branch of the free library of Tulare County, is quite a help and pleasure 
to the settlers in AUensworth, especially the periodical room, which carries all the 
latest magazines and papers. In a recent copy of the Visalia Delta occurred the fol- 
lowing: "AUensworth Folks Great Eeaders. From all branch stations have come 
requests for books dealing on questions of political economy and civic and other reform 
movements, the warring nations of Europe and a variety of technical books upon 
draughting and a score of other subjects. Particular interest is attached to the nature 
of books wanted by the AUensworth colony. Chief of reference books asked for by this 
branch library are those dealing with problems and interests of the colored race in 
America and elsewhere. According to Miss Herman, the librarian, the first people to 
take advantage of the University of California's extension course were residents of the 
AUensworth colony, who formed a club expressly for that purpose." The above quota- 
tion is quite gratifying to all race lovers, and, like the colony, cannot help but be 
inspiring to others to do likewise. 

Much has been said about water in AUensworth, and the following statements have 
been furnished the writer by Professor Payne, a gentleman who has been connected as 
secretary of the colony from its formation and who ought to know the conditions better 
thany any one else: "The land is excellent, water-bearing land, as subsequent facts 
will show. The main irrigation system is under the AUensworth Eural Water Company, 
a State corporation, owned and controlled by Negroes, with a capital stock of $45,000 
all paid in. There are three artesian wells, two of which are 1,200 feet deep and 
another is 300 feet. Two of these wells are pumped by gas engines. Contracts have 
been made for the placing of three, electric motors. There are three large reservoirs 
for the storage of immense quantities of water. Water for the town-site is supplied by 
an excellent artesian well and water mains have been laid throughout the residence 
district during and since 1912. Storm waters have no more fear or terror for the 
inhabitants of AUensworth than is experienced by persons living in the Sacramento 
Valley or Southern California. This town is included in the Deer Creek storm-water 
district and, with Alpaugh, Spa and other communities, is protected from any possible 
damage by an excellent system of dykes which is maintained by the County. The 
development of the County, with the increase of the use of water for irrigation and 
the establishing of new enterprises make possible the use of all water that may accumu- 
late. These dykes were built during 1910 and 1911." 

While hundreds of race men all over the State are anxious about employment, 
AUensworth citizens are given all they can do. Were there a larger population they 
could secure many contracts. Their steadiness, honesty and integrity make them much 
sought after in Tulare and adjoining counties. Not only are they given ordinary 
employment, but they have secured valuable contracts, to-wit: 

George Johnson, carpenter, has built many excellent houses in the vicinity, and 
was given the contract to build the school-house in the colony; Travis & Hedges, plas- 
terers, keep in their employ continually four men, and at present are completing the 
building of a forty-room hotel at Corcoran, doing the brick work and plastering; John 
Morris is a well driller and a driver of traction engines. He has continuous employment 
on large ranches; John Heitzig, a wealthy farmer, continually employs a force of Negro 
workmen; W. H. Dodson, formerly of Oakland, is manager of several acres and is 
king of the poultry business in that district; W. H. Wells constructed more than $6,000 
worth of irrigation ditches for the Pacific Farming Company; Oscar Overr is general 
manager of the Lambert-Detwiler interests and has a force of men continually under 
his supervision. A number of others find profitable employment in harvesting grain 
and sugar beets and in the gathering of fruits. Elmer Carter, a young man of business 
foresight, readily siezed the opportunity to open a livery barn in AUensworth. He has 
a number of excellent horses, good-looking vehicles and a good barn to keep them in. 
He takes care of the rapidly-growing traffic between AUensworth and vicinity. 

Mr. Zebedee H. Hinsman conducts a general merchandizing store. He has thor- 
oughly prepared himself by studying and graduating from the National Co-operative 
Eealty Company of Washington, D. C. He was appointed notary public for Tulare 
County by ex-Governor Hiram Johnson, and is the AUensworth agent for the Home 
Insurance Company of New York. Mr. Hindsman places the value of his stock in the 
general merchandise store at $7,000. He also conducts a coal and feed yard and owne 
four town lots. Mr. G. P. Black, coming from Cleveland, Ohio, owns twenty acres of 



156 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

land, ten of which he has planted in alfalfa and eight in grain which averages about 
twenty-five bushels to the acre. He also has raised twenty-nine turkeys from two turkey 
hens and has three cows, a beautiful span of horses, a modern home and a charming wife. 

Mr. Hedges, coming from Cleveland, Ohio, owns a modern cement house and has a 
chicken ranch with every modern improvement. It is not only thd most sanitary the 
writer has ever visited, but i9 a gem in its uniqueness. Mr. Hedges does cement work 
and is also a member of the Allensworth Water, Company. Mr. Powell, coming from 
Pueblo, Colorado, has ten acres in grain. He has a son who graduated from the high 
school of Alpaugh, California. 

Mr. Anderson Bird, formerly a member of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, U. S. Army, 
Company D, having been retired, moved his family to the town of Allensworth and 
purchased five acres of land. He is a very successful raiser of sugar beets. Mr. George 
Archer, coming from Logan County, Kansas, owns five acres on which he cultivates 
sugar beets and which yield three tons to the acre. He also owns a larger number of 
chickens and pigs and a' modern home. Mr. John and Mrs. Vena Ashby were among 
the first inhabitants of the colony, coming from Pueblo, Colorado. He is employed as 
section boss on the Santa Fe railroad, and is also a member of the Allensworth Water 
Company. Sergeant James Grimes, from the Twenty-fourth Infantry (retired), U. S. 
Army, owns eleven and a half acres. Mr. Wallace Towne came from New York City, 
because of poor health, never expecting to regain it. After a residence of three years 
in the colony of Allensworth he has fully regained his health and owns and manages 
a forty-acre ranch. He has planted one-half in wheat and the remainder in barley and 
hay. He has sold as high as one hundred and fifty sacks of wheat from twenty acres, 
at two dollars a sack. He owns six horses, eight cows, four heifers, four pigs, and 
one hundred and fifty broilers, thirty-five hens (he usually keeps two hundred hens), 
one hundred young ducks and four old ducks. Previous to coming to Allensworth he 
married Miss Annie Wanter, of Washington, D. C, who is truly a helpmate, so cheerful, 
kind and helpful to all in the colony. Mr. Towne is actively engaged in every move- 
ment for the interest of the colony and is a prominent citizen of the County. 

Mr. William H. W?lls, coming from Shelby, North Carolina, was the second person 
to locate in Allensworth, landing with ten dollars, a sick wife and three children. At 
the time the writer visited the colony his holdings were one hundred and eighty-two 
and a half acres, six head of horses, farm implements valued at four hundred dollars, 
two town lots with two developed wells. He was a most interesting person and thor- 
oughly understood the art of pioneering. When asked for a statement as to his success 
with so small a beginning, he replied: "I am trying to prove to the white man beyond 
a shadow of doubt that the Negro is capable of self-respect and self-control." He has 
a charming wife who, the writer thinks, has added much to the confidence and success 
of the farm, because she is from the great State of Ohio, having been Miss Anderson, 
of Xenia, Ohio, a town where the colored people know nothing else save thrift and no 
limit to their aim in life to advance. 

Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Miss Laura Smith located in Allensworth in 1910. There 
were only seven persons then living in the colony. They own two city lots and the 
best truck garden in the district, also raising Belgian hares for the market. 

James Coleman owns five acres and is a dealer in oil, gasoline and ice. Mr. 
Dunlap, coming from Erlanger, Kentucky, owns seven and one-half acres and two town 
lots. He and his wife conduct a successful laundry. G. W. Hicks, sergeant of the 
Twenty-fourth Infantry, U. S. Army( retired), owns three city lots and a ten-acre 
ranch in alfalfa. W. L. Perkins, coming from Buxton, Iowa, is the president of the 
Young People 's Society and the leader of a brass band. He owns thirteen acres planted 
in grain. 

There are many other property-holders living in the colony, and others who have 
vast holdings but do not live in California. Would that space permitted giving a 
sketch or the names of the same! Sufficient to say that the colony is a success, and a 
greater success than one living away from the State can imagine, especially since the 
Negro race is not given to pioneering. 

It would not be just to close this chapter without mentioning something concerning 
two gentlemen who, from the founding of the colony, have been untiring in their efforts 
to build the place up to the standard it has now reached. The first of these iS Prof. 
W. A. Payne, who was secretary of the California Colonization Home Company, and is 
the principal of the Allensworth public school. He is actively engaged in assisting in 
any movement for the betterment of Allensworth and is untiring in his efforts. He has 
been well prepared for the responsibilties he has assumed. He is a graduate from the 
Dennison University at Grandville, Ohio, having received the degree of B. A. and B. S. 
His Normal training was secured at the State Normal school, located at Athens, Ohio, 



OF CALIFORNIA 157 

and for seven years he held the position of assistant principal of the school in Rend- 
ville, Ohio. He married Miss Zenobia B. Jones, a niece of Professor James McHenry 
Jones, of the West Virginia Colored Institute of Virginia. He has a large and inter- 
esting family, owns ten acres under cultivation, carrying on truck-gardening during his 
spare time; and also a modern home located on a plot of one acre of land. He worked 
untiringly in an effort to have a polytechnic school located in AUensworth. Too much 
praise cannot be given to this untiring and unselfish worker. 

Mr. Oscar Overr is another person of whom too much cannot be said concerning 
his devotion and earnest work for the advancement of AUensworth. He owns twenty- 
four acres in the colony and is also taking up Government! land and has a claim of six 
hundred and forty acres located two and one-half miles east of AUensworth. He came 
from Topeka, Kansas, having lived in the State less than fifteen years. He has the 
contracting and developing of water for irrigation, four wells and one pumping-station 
or plant valued at $2,000. He has under his supervision thirteen hundred acres of land, 
four wells and two pumping stations, and other things necessary for that line of work 
which he values at $2,500. 

Mr. Overr owns a modern home located in a plat of land consisting of twenty acres. 
He raises in abundance chickens, turkeys and ducks and has several cows. He is quite 
enthusiastic concerning AUensworth, and, when asked for an opinion, replied: "It has 
passed the experimental and pioneering period, and, while it is still in its infancy, for 
many reasons it is the best proposition ever effered to Negroes in the State." Mr. 
Overr was the first colored person in California to be elected a justice of the peace, 
having been elected to that oflfice several years ago in AUensworth. In his untiring 
efforts to locate a polytechnic school in AUensworth he freely spent both his time and 
money and, while he did not succeed, still the people of the State after his lectures 
were more fully informed as to the conditions and future of the colony of AUensworth, 
California. 

The question will naturally appeal to the reader, how do the people of AUensworth 
entertain themselves after the day's work is over? The following organizations are 
their source of mental and physical relaxation: The Girls' Glee Club of the public 
schools, a brass band, the Women's Improvement Club, and the Singleton orchestra. 
The Girls' Glee Club donated a set of four assembly-room brass swinging lamps for the 
public school house. The civic business of the community is conducted by the AUens- 
worth Board of Trade. AUensworth being a judicial district comprising thirty-three 
square miles, they hold town elections and elect by vote a justice of the peace and 
constable, both of whom are colored. 

There are many districts in California where there are well organized Negro settle- 
ments, namely: Furlong Tract and Albia, but AUensworth is the only one governed 
by Negroes, and it is destined to become a real city. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Something op the Colored Churches 

All the movements for the uplift of the Negro race during pioneer days in California 
were strongly supported by all the ministers of the A. M. E. Church. It is befitting 
that a short survey of these trail blazers be given in this history. In view of the same, 
the writer is quoting from the Semi-Centennial Conference minutes held in Oakland 
during 1917, a copy of which was kindly furnished the writer by Eev. J. M. Brown, then 
pastor of the Fifteenth Street Church, that city. The sketch is as follows: 

"The California Conference was organized in what was then known as the Union 
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, San Francisco, California, April 6. 1865, 
Bishop Jabez Pitt Campbell, presiding bishop. The membership roll contained the 
following names: Rev. Thomas M. D. Ward, missionary elder; traveling preachers, 
Peter Green, Edward Tappan, James Hubbard, Charles Wesley Broadley, Peter Kiling- 
worth, James C. Hamilton, John T. Jenifer; local preachers, Barney Fletcher, J. B. 
Sanderson, the last named was the secretary, with James Hubbard, the assistant. 

"At the time we numbered: Missionary elder, 1; local preachers, 2; traveling 
deacons, 3; traveling preachers, 3; in full membership, 350; number of churches, 10 j 
total valuation of church property, $29,600. How or when we lost the two years in 
reckoning our age, I know not, but today our records make us fifty years old, when, as 
a matter of fact, we are two years in excess of the half -century mark, and as the result 
of fifty-two years of organic life we have presiding elders, 1; traveling elders, 16; 
traveling deacons, 2; licentiates, 3; local elders, 3; local preachers, 10; full membership, 
2,202; probationers, 376; Sunday-school pupils, 1,239; number of churches, 27; number 
of parsonages, 19; total valuation of church property, $368,049. 

"Seeing California as it is today, her metropolitan cities, her well-settled country, 
her factories, shops, schools, and stately churches, with her wonderful railway system, 
all but incapacitates one for the task of looking backward over a period of time, 
although short as fifty years, and properly realize from whence we came. For the 
darkest hour, for the task most difficult, to the lands most distant and for a people 
most needful, God has never lacked for the man who would say, 'Here I am, send me.* 

"With a population, in 1860, of 4,086 free people of color in the State, to elevate 
them and develop their manhood came Rev. Charles Stewart, preaching the fatherhood 
of God and the brotherhood of man. He sailed from New York December 1, 1851, on 
board the steamer 'Brother Jonathan,' arriving in San Francisco Bay February 11, 1852. 
The Sunday following, in company with his son who had come with him, a prayer meet- 
ing was held in the home of Edward Gomez, a West Indian, owning a rooming house, 
whom they met at St. Thomas. Present at this first service were Brother James Wilker- 
son, Henry Butler, James Barton and Henry Lewis. On the next Tuesday they met 
again at noon and for two hours prayer and discussion occupied their time, concluding 
with arrangements for a permanent place of worship. A vacant house was secured at 
a rental of $45 per month. Sixteen benches and a small pulpit comprised the furniture, 
and February 22, 1852, the First African Methodist meeting house on the coast was 
dedicated by Rev. George Taylor of Boston, Mass. Rev. Joseph Thompson, who had been 
ordained in England in the Wesleyan Methodist church, arrived in March and soon was 
installed as pastor. 

' ' He, with the assistance of Brother Stewart, employed a lawyer, secured articles of 
incorporation, presented them to the Mayor of San Francisco for his signature, who 
signed the document and pledged $100 for the erection of a new church. April 29, he 
left for Sacramento, the capital, to secure the signature of the Governor. Here he met 
the Eev. Barney Fletcher and other brethren, to whom he made known his mission. He 
preached for them on the Sabbath and received a collection of $50. On Monday he met 
the Governor, who signed the papers and gave him $100. He visited the Adams Express 
Company and the Townsend Banking Company, receiving from them $100 each, and 
from other various amounts, so he was able to return to San Francisco with $450. Here 
the sum was increased by $900, the church built, and on August 8 was dedicated by the 
Eev. George Taylor. 

"N. B. — To Rt. Rev. B. T. Tanner, D. D., in his 'Apology for African Methodism,* 
are we indebted for the historical data herein presented. 

"(Signed) J. H. WiLSON, Presiding Elder." 



OF CALIFORNIA 159 

The A. M. E. Church has been the leading spirit in the building of California for 
the Negro, notwithstanding the other denominations, such as the Episcopalian church 
and their pastors have worked shoulder to shoulder. The other denominations were not 
so ably represented on the coast in pioneer days. Those who were in California united 
their forces for the good of the race in those strenuous days of the transition period. It 
has been the object of the writer to secure sketches of as many pioneer ministers as 
possible. Hence the sketches that follow should, because of the self-sacrifice of these 
men and, the great good they have done, be considered really the Honor Eoll of all the 
pioneers in or of California, regardless of the '49ers. 

The following is a short survey of the Episcopalian Church of Northern California. 
There seems to have been no record kept of the work done among the colored people in 
San Francisco until after the coming of Rev. Peter Casscy. Rev. Flavel Scotts Mines 
came to California in 1851 and soon afterward established a mission for colored people. 
It has been impossible to obtain any definite data concerning the same, except from 
a few old pioneers who could not remember the date sufficiently exactly to record. The 
following concerning the Episcopalian Church for the colored has been kindly submit- 
ted by Rev. David R. Wallace, who, like Rev. Peter Cassey, is intensely interested in 
the uplift of the race: 

"St. Augustin Mission, Twenty-seventh and West streets, Oakland, California: 
Work of the Episcopal church among the colored people of the Bay region of San Fran- 
cisco, California, is no new thing, as an attempt was made forty years ago to establish 
'Christ Church Mission' in San Francisco; but the effort failed then, as it would now 
for lack of members. Then there were but few people, because they had not yet begun 
to migrate to California in sufficient numbers. Now there are but few in San Francisco 
because the former residents have, since the fire of 1906, become successfully established 
in other cities, especially Oakland, because of difficulty in securing employment. Oakland 
next to Los Angeles, has a population sufficient to warrant the establishing a mission and 
was wisely selected for that purpose. 

"St. Augustin 's Mission was begun by the Rev. E. C. Gee, then Rector of St. John's 
Church, Oakland, on the last Sunday in July, 1910, Bishop Nichols being present and 
preaching. Each Sunday evening at six o 'clock from that time evensong, with sermon, 
was sung in the Sunday-school room and classes for confirmation were prepared in the 
same place on Wednesday night. After the coming of the present Vicar the 'Holy 
Eucharist' was celebrated each Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday morning and on holy 
days in the chapel. The first fruits of the mission, eleven persons were presented to the 
Bishop of San Joaquin, May 18, 1911, by the founder of the mission and since that time 
the Rev. David R. Wallace, who was called to be Vicar in August, 1911, has presented, up 
to 1916, to the Bishop of California, 86 persons. Fifty others have been added to the 
communicant roll. Seventy-seven have been baptized, seventeen couples married, and 
fifty-one persons buried. 

"A building fund was started and some $600 accumulated in addition to moneys 
raised for missionary, benevolent, salary and other purposes. The mission could not, how- 
ever, have passed its first stage successfully without assistance, and we gratefully 
acknowledge free lights, heat, janitor service, vestments, and furnishings from St. John 'a 
altar and linens from the women's auxiliary; a monthly contribution from the Rev. Dr. 
Bakewell and a substantial sum from the convocation of San Francisco toward the 
building fund. 

' ' So well satisfied were the Bishop and Archdeacon with the results achieved and 
so convinced were they that the mission needed a plant of its own, which it could not 
itself provide, that, in February, 1913, it was decided to make St. Augustin 's a Cathe- 
dral Mission and purchase a lot and building for its use at the southwest corner of 
Twenty-seventh and West streets, Oakland. The lot cost $3,000 and is f,orty-five by 
ninety feet, with a high basement cottage across the back thirty-two by thirty-six feet. 
The congregation undertook to meet all expenses incidental to acquiring property and 
making the necessary alterations to the building thereon, which it has done to the 
amount of $4,600. A chapel has been provided thirty-two by twenty-five feet, with 
vestry, and kitchen in the rear and seating about eighty-five people. St. Paul's, Oak- 
land, aided with benches, pulpit, Bible, gifts and memorials from the people. Trinity 
Parish will cede the necessary territory when the mission becomes organized. 

"A fund for a new and permanent building was immediately started and now has 
reached $650 (1917). Now, after almost four years of combined success with the pres- 
ent inadequate equipment, the Archdeacon has authorized the drawing of plans and the 
starting of a campaign to raise six thousand dollars. The plans provide for a church 
seating two hundred people, with basement containing an auditorium, seating two hun- 
dred people, stage, kitchen and store room. It is planned to raise $1,000 more from the 



160 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

colored people, then to secure twice as much from the parishes of the diocese, and, 
finally, to appeal to wealthy individuals for the balance." 

The A. M. E. Zion church was founded August, 1852, in Stockton street, between 
Broadway and Vallejo streets, San Francisco, with Eev, J. J. Moore as pastor. From 
there they moved to Pacific street, where they built a brick chapel. In 1864 they 
bought the Eev. Thomas Starr King Church property. This church has been carefully 
pastored by Rev. J. J. Moore, D. D. (now Bishop), Rev. Lodge, Walters, Hector, A. B. 
Smith, W. H. Hillary and C. C. Pettey. 

The first A. M. E. Church established in California was in San Francisco and was 
known as St. Cyrian A. M. E. Church. It was located at the corner of Jackson and 
Virginia street. In 1854 the pastor raised the building and a school for the colored 
people was opened in the basement. The public school board leased it for one year, 
with the privilege of two years, at the monthly rental of $50, payable monthly in 
advance. Mr. J. J. Moore (colored) is the teacher. 

In Grass Valley Township, Nevada County, an A. M. E. Church was established in 
1854. "The trustees, during the past year, erected a small but complete school house 
on the church lot, the trustees of the church forming a society for the purpose of erecting 
this school. Rev. Peter Green, pastor, and the following named persons: Isaac Sanks, 
James Thomas, John Hicks, Harry Blackburn, and Isaac Bulmer." — Grass Valley 
Directory. 

Peter Powers, in Tehama County, began the building of a church in 1866. In 1870 
he went to Chico and bought property and planned and built a church on two beautiful 
lots owned by colored people. It was known as the A. M. E. Church. 

Mr. William Robinson, of Red Bluff, was one of the prime movers in building and 
organizing a church in Red Bluff, and boarded the pastor free for years. 

The first Baptist Church in the State was organized in 1854, in San Francisco. A 
Mr. Samuel Shelton purchased an old warehouse and personally paid for having it 
fitted for a church. 

Rev. Randolph, Mrs. Segue, Mrs. Blue, Mrs. McGowan and Mrs. Bland, were the 
founders of Mt. Olivet Church of Marysville, California. Mrs. McGowan was the 
treasurer for thirty years. 

Rev. Stokes organized a church at Rozenville Junction, with Mrs. Smith and Mrs. 
Scott, Mr. C. Alexander, Rosa and John Alexander, of Nevada City. 

"Religious Life of Los Angeles Negroes," by Rev. G. R. Bryant, in the Los 
Angeles Times, February 12, 1909: ". . . There are three distinct branches of the 
Methodists in this city — African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal 
Zion, and the Colored Methodist Episcopal. The African Methodist was the first of 
these to organize. . . . They started out with a small membership and labored 
under many disadvantages to pay for the old church property on Azusa street. They 
were at one time in such straitened circumstances for the payment for the property 
that one of the bishops advised the officials of the church to give up the property, but 
some of the faithful band held on until all could see the possibilities of paying the debt, 
which was done in 1902, under the pastorate of the Rev. J. E. Edwards. A new and 
better location for a church on the corner of Eighth and Towne Avenue was purchased 
and a large and beautiful house of worship was erected at a cost of over $20,000. In 
1907, the pastor. Dr. W. H. Peck, and his official board sold the old Azusa street property 
for enough money to finish paying for the new church on Eighth street and Towne 
avenue. They have almost nine hundred members, with two mission churches in the 
city. Some of the wealthiest Negroes in Los Angeles attend this church. 

"The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was organized soon after the 
African Methodist Church, with less than twenty members. In 1906 dissension arose 
which resulted in the removal of the pastor and the division of the church. Many of 
the communicants went to the African Methodist Church. Three years ago the talented 
Rev. W. D. Speight of Arkansas was appointed to this charge. He has been able to 
restore harmony and the church is in a prosperous condition, with one of the finest 
church edifices for Negroes in the State. 

"The Colored Methodist Church was organized in this city January 8, 1906, with 
eight members, by Rev. J. W. Reese. They have forty-five members and a parsonage 
and a lot on which a church is soon to be erected. Rev. S. L. Harris, of Texas, has 
recently been appointed pastor of this flock. May 4, 1888, the First Methodist Church, 
of which Dr. R. S. Cantine was pastor, on request of the few Negro members that 
belonged to it, and by appointment of the Methodist preachers' meeting, through Dr. 
Hugh, a superannuated preacher, organized Wesley chapel with eight members. Dr. 
Tubbs, a white man, was the first appointed pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. D. 
Mucker, a Negro. 



OP CALIFORNIA 161 

"September 14, 1892, a lot on the corner of Sixth street and Maple avenue was 
purchased at a cost of $2,520. In 1904 this lot was sold for $24,000, with which the 
present location was purchased and a building erected at a cost of $32,000. The lots, 
buildings and furnishings cost $45,000. After releasing a number of members to organize 
a church at Long Beach and Mason chapel in this city, Wesley chapel has more than 
500 members. 

"Mason chapel, organized 1903 through the assistance of the City Missionary 
Society, has a neat church and a parsonage, with a membership of less than a hundred. 
It is in a prosperous condition Rev. G. W. Pinkney, a graduate of Howard University, 
is pastor. 

"The Second Baptist Church was the first of the Negro demoninations to organize 
in this city. For more than eighteen years Rev. C. H. Anderson was pastor of this 
flock. Three other congregations were formed from this organization, Tabernacle, Mt. 
Zion and New Hope Baptist Church. In 1908 the Rev. McCoy, a graduate of Howard 
University, an able preacher and experienced pastor, was called to this church. His 
success has been great. There are five hundred members. Their church property is 
valued at $40,000. 

"Rev. J. D. Gordon, a graduate of Atlanta Baptist College, is the pastor of the 
Tabernacle Baptist Church. This congregation has a membership of 300, with a beau- 
tiful church edifice valued at $10,000. 

"The Mt. Zion Baptist Church has a large building on Third street and Stevenson 
avenue, worth $20,000. Rev. J. T. Hill, A. M., D.D., one of the ablest men of his 
denomination is pastor. They have about two hundred members. 

"December, 1907, Rev. C. H. Anderson resigned the pastorate of the Second Baptist 
Church and organized the New Hope Baptist Church with one hundred members who 
went with him from the Second Baptist Church. They have one hundred and seventy- 
five members and a building near Sixteenth and Paloma street suited to their needs 
worth $5,000, with very little debt on it. Rev. Anderson is a wise and successful pastor, 

' ' On request of some of the Negro communicants, the Presbyterians of this city 
organized the Westminster Presbyterian Church for the Negro people, October, 1904. 
Rev. Dr. Baker, an able man and a friend to the Negro people, was appointed pastor. 
He was succeeded May, 1908, by Rev. R. W. Holman, a graduate of Willingsford. Dr. 
Holman is a great preacher. His beautiful church of forty members, situated on the 
corner of Thirty-six and Denker streets, the only Negro church west of Main street, is 
a blessing to the West Side. The Presbyterian board is making no mistake in helping 
to sustain this church. 

"The Negro constituency of the Christian Church is grateful to Mr. Coulter, pro- 
prietor of Coulter's dry goods store, this city, for the gift of a neat church on East 
Eighth street near Central avenue. 

"The Mission of St. Philip the Evangelist, the last of the Negro churches to 
organize in this city, with less than a score of members, is worshipping in Scott's HaU. 
They are soon to have a house of their own in which to worship. E. L. Chew is iit 
charge of this mission. He has a class to be confirmed at an early date. Mr. Chew is 
eminently fitted for this work. He is a graduate of Mississippi State College and of 
the Gammon Theological Seminary at Atlanta, Georgia. He was dean of Turner Theo- 
logical School in Atlanta four years. He served as principal of Gray street public 
school in Atlanta for ten years. He owns considerable property in Los Angeles. He is 
deputy assessor and tax collector, the only clerical position held by a Negro in this 
city's government. Negroes are to be found in almost all the other Christian denomina- 
tions in Los Angeles. There are a large number of Roman Catholics, most of whom 
are members of the Cathedral parish, and their numbers are constantly increasing." 

The following are some extracts from the great mortgage burning of the historic 
Eighth and Towne Church, which took place in March, 1918. This is quoted from the 
California Eagle. ' The first is from an address delivered by Rev. Mrs. D. R. Jones on 
that occasion. She said: "The month of August, in the year 1893, was an eventful 
one in the annals of African Methodism on the Pacific Coast, The Twenty-ninth Annual 
Conference was held at Marysville, August 9 to 13, and was visited by two distinguished 
prelates. Bishop B. F. Lee, the presiding bishop, and Bishop James A. Handy, also a 
prospective bishop in the person of Dr. L. J. Coppin, and an aspirant for financial secre- 
tary. Dr. Phillip A, Hubbard. Both reached the goal to which they aspired. Bishop 
Coppin is at present serving the Fourth Episcopal district. Dr. Hubbard passed from 
the financial chair to his final reward, many years ago. 

' ' The conference was also graced by the presence of three prominent women. Sister 
Bishop Handy vice-president, W, M, M, Society; Sister Fanny Coppin, noted educator, 
and Sister Hannah Hubbard. From San Francisco, our former parish, after a few days' 



162 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

delay occasioned by the publication of the conference minutes, husband, daughter and 
myself proceeded to Los Angeles, our" new charge, arriving Sunday, August 27, about 
1 P. M. We went to my mother's home on Azusa street, near the church. 

"It being the custom to hold class immediately following the morning service, the 
meeting was soon dismissed and a number of the members came to the house to greet 
us, among them Father Cyrus Vena and Mother Norris (Elvira). The people were 
apparently pleased and received us gladly. The membership, composed of about 125 
persons, including probationers, scattered far and widel over the city noted for its vast 
area and its inclination to include in its corporate limits every pebble and stone between 
the mountains and the sea. Some members lived as far distant as Santa Monica, Long 
Beach, Pasadena, Monrovia, San Gabriel and Pomona. Though scattered from one end 
of the city limits to the other and beyond the limits, there was solidarity of thought 
and action, a unison of spiritual power and alertness, that made Stevens A. M. E. 
Church, as it was then known, a potent factor in the religious, moral, educational and 
civic life of the community. The people were in a receptive frame of mind, they 
seemed to be hungering and thirsting after righteousness. A revival was started at 
once At the first meeting, Sunday evening. Sister Carrie McClane held up her hand for 
prayer and was converted. A number of others followed and the interest grew until a 
score were converted and added to the church. 

". . . I recall some of the splendid men and women who were active in the 
church at this time. I will name them as they come to my mind, without comment: 
Cyrus Vena, Charles Clarkson, John Banks, John Sanders, Abraham Curtis, B. T. Talbot, 
Harry Franklin, Charles Parker, J. W. Marsailes, L. F. Fanner, Julius Maxwell, H. W. 
Spiller, A. B. McCollough, Jackson Harris, William Wells, Elvira Norris, Nancy Fulgen, 
Harriet McNeil, Bessie Owens, Eliza Posey, Eliza Warner, Fannie Warner, Emily Clark- 
son, Jennie Lewis, Mary E. Bronson, Mary Harris, Ellen Keen, Sarah Thompson, Vir- 
ginia Nelson, Sarah Thompkins, Emma Anderson, Amanda Spiller, Fannie Seals, Hattie 
Lewis, Ellen Huddelston, Mary Harney, Harriett Brown, Maria Duncan, S. W. Calvin, 
Eebecca Sanders, Eachel Lee, Polly Smith, Alvain Murphy, Nannie Buford, Minnie 
Cunningham, Mamie Newman, Emily Baker, Nannie Eeynolds, Julia Maxwell, Core E. 
Finney, Carrie White, and a host of others, enough to fill many pages, whom I found 
ready and determined to wrestle, fight and pray, 'the battle ne'er give o'er.' These 
by their sacrifices and labors of love made it possible for us to be here tonight. . . ." 

The following is an extract from an address delivered by A. H, Wilson, trustee 
and steward: ". . . In November, 1903, we moved into this grand old building. 
Our congregation was small because only a few people were in Los Angeles. The 
church began to grow. After Eev. J. E. Edwards left, Eev. Peck was appointed to this 
charge and he went to work and put in this great pipe organ. He finished his work; 
then came to us Eev. Jessie F. Peck, the great pastor of the day. He built up this 
great choir of ours, which stands as one of the greatest choirs in the United States. 

"The city put a great debt on us of $6,000. When Eev. J. F. Peck left us the 
indebtedness was upon us for $3,975. He built up a great congregation and left us. 
The next pastor found us in debt. He stayed with us two years, paid $815 on the debt 
and borrowed $300 from the Mutual Aid Association. When he left us we were in 
debt $3,460. Now the church of today, as we now stand: This great pastor, Eev. J. 
Logan Craw, came to us on the third day of Octobery 1915. He found the church in a 
very bad condition. You can see it today. He did not complain of anything, but went 
to work. Interest was due. He went to work the first Sunday and raised $121, which 
was $11 over the amount that was due. He found the basement in a very bad condi- 
tion. You can see it today. It is nicely fixed up and we call it our banquet hall. 
The'pastor saw that $3,460 was upon the church, and said to the people: "Let us pay 
off this debt.' We said 'Yes.' This great pastor has done a great work, with the 
assistance of his dear wife. I have never seen her equal as a pastor 's wife. May God 
bless both of you." 

The following is an extract from the financial report of Eev. Craw, as he was 
leaving for conference, August, 1918. It is taken from the California Eagle: "Dr. 
Logan Craw, successful pastor and financier of historic Eighth and Towne Avenue 
Church (First A. M. E.), this city, with his accomplished, Christian wife, wound up 
their third conference work here Sunday night and left on Monday evening for the 
annual conference, which meets with Eev. G. L. Triggs, pastor of Stockton, California. 
Three years ago, when Dr. Craw came to this metropolitan charge from Portland, Ore- 
gon, he found First Church here in a turbulent condition. The membership had split. 
A mortgage debt of $3,160 to the Security Bank and $300 to the Mutual Aid Society, 
and several other little outstanding debts confronted him. . . . Today the mortgage 
debt has been burned, all debts paid; . . . The church entirely beautified at nearly 



OF CALIFORNIA 163 

a cost of one thousand dollars; the membership brought back where it was before the 
awful split, and every vestige of trustee indebtedness wiped out. This church sings now 
in truth 'Free at last.' and Dr. Craw's annual report read for this year amid thanks- 
giving and joy Sunday night. . . ." 

It is impossible to give in full this lengthy report, which shows that none of the 
obligations to the general conference was neglected, but, on the other hand, was liberally 
supported. "Total money collected for all purposes, $8,120.59. Value of church and 
Sunday school property, $90,000. Indebtedness on the charge, none." It is gratifying 
to quote these extracts concerning this church. Well do they call it "Historic," for 
in the list of names of the bishops and lay members the writer has found many who 
were "Trail Blazers" in the "Pioneer History" of the State. It was through their 
suffering and sacrifices that the Negro of today is able to live comfortably in this State. 

The next sketch will contain the work of a notable "Trail Blazer" in the fight for 
the full citizenship of the Negro and his spiritual uplift. Eev. Bishop T. M. D. "Ward, 
tenth bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, September 28, 
1823. He was converted in 1838 at Philadelphia and joined the A. M. E. Church; was 
licensed to preach in 1843 at Harrisburg, Pa., by Eev. Lewis Lee, and, in 1846, was 
admitted to the New England Conference; was ordained deacon, 1847, and elder in 1849. 
After being ordained he was appointed missionary for the Pacific Coast, where he 
remained several years, organizing churches in that section, then but sparingly settled. 

"In 1868 he was elected bishop, ordained in Lexington, Virginia, and the rural 
schools; was licensed to preach in May, 1868, and returned as bishop to the Pacific 
Coast, where he remained four years. He was afterward assigned to Alabama, Florida, 
and Mississippi, and other districts in th& South, while he did much to build up the 
church and distinguish himself as pulpit orator of the first class. The degree of D. D. 
was conferred upon him by Wilberforce University. He died June 10, 1894, and was 
buried in Washington, D. C." (From the A. M. E. Centennial Review). Bishop Ward's 
name appears in every movement for the betterment of the race in California. He was 
instrumental in Eev. J. B. Sanderson coming to this coast, as the bishop came direct 
from his home town. New Bedford, Massachusetts. After Bishop Ward was ordained as 
bishop he returned to San Francisco and, on the occasion of the celebration of the 
Emancipation Proclamation, he delivered one of the greatest orations ever delivered 
since or before in California by a Negro on the subject of "The Aspects, Prospects and 
Eetrospects of the Negro Race." 

Eev. Jeremiah Burke Sanderson, the subject of this sketch, was born in New 
Bedford, Massachusetts. He was the son of a full-blood Gay-head Indian woman and 
a Scotchman. He came to California from New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1854. Sailing 
from New York to Aspinwall, stopping en route at Key West, Florida, crossing the 
Isthmus of Panama, he boarded the steamer "Sonora, " sailing to San Francisco, Cali- 
fornia. All the help on the steamer were colored. A Mr. Cowles, who was store- 
keeper, afterward became a distinguished pioneer colored citizen of San Francisco. 
Mr. Sanderson, upon reaching San Francisco, soon learned that the greater number of 
the colored people then living in California were located in Sacramento and the mining 
districts in the mountains. He soon left and located in Sacramento, where the colored 
residents, learning that he was an educator, extended him a call to conduct a school 
for their children. After a careful consideration, he decided to open a day and evening 
school for the education of the colored race. He met with great encouragement and, in 
time, decided that his school was not equal to the needs, being supported through private 
subscription from the colored people. Acting upon his own initiative, he wrote a letter 
to the board of education asking them to establish a colored public school. A copy of 
this wonderful letter will be found in the chapter devoted to "Education." 

The board of education of Sacramento erected a new school house for the colored 
in May, 1855. Mr. Sanderson was appointed as teacher and filled the position with 
credit until he received a call to a position as principal of a colored school in San 
Francisco. He accepted the position and retained it for eight years. Learning that 
the colored children in Stockton were without a school, he resigned his position in San 
Francisco and went to Stockton, where he established a school for colored children. 
Mr. Sanderson was the father of schools for colored children throughout California. It 
was while teaching in Stockton that his fame as an educator became so well known 
throughout the State. The following press notice from a (white) daily paper of that 
period will give the reader an estimate of his position as an educator: "We accom- 
panied Mayor Orr, city superintendent of public schools; Mr. Eandall, principal of the 
grammar schools, and Mr. Nelson, teacher of the intermediate school on Fremont Square, 
on a short visit to the colored school on Elk street, between Market and W streets. 



164 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

"Many professional teachers might be benefited by paying a short visit to the 
same place and noting the thoroughness of instruction given to the colored pupils by 
Mr. Sanderson, the colored school teacher. We hazard nothing in saying that he is one 
of the best teachers in the county; and it is only the prejudice which so extensively 
prevails against a sable skin that prevents him from occupying one of the highest 
positions as a teacher in one of the public schools. There are few men if any in the 
County who can excel him." — (StocTcton Independent.) 

The above quotation is self-explanatory and readily gives the reader the key as to 
his superb leadership among the race people then living in California. Mr. Sanderson 
was an active figure in every movement for the betterment of the race in the struggle 
against adverse legislation. He was a member of the first and subsequent Conventions 
of Colored Citizens, an active member of the "Executive Committee," the Franchise 
League, Educational Convention and the Young Men's Beneficial Society of San Fran- 
cisco. He assisted in organizing many churches throughout the state. It has been 
said of him that ' ' He was a delightful Christian gentleman. ' ' 

Mr. Sanderson's family did not accompany him to California owing to the lingering 
illness of his mother-in-law. Immediately upon her passing Mrs. Sanderson and the 
children came to California, arriving in San Francisco in 1859. The steamer arriving 
late, there was no one to meet them, whereupon Mrs. Sanderson remarked that it was 
prayer meeting night, and if shown to the colored church she would find her husband 
there. She was escorted to the church and the family reunion was such a happy one 
the prayer meeting was soon dismissed. Eev. Sanderson had not forgotten God and 
was found at his post of duty after an absence from his family of five years, while living 
in the "Wild and Woolly West," 

Neither time, money, position nor anything else counted with Mr. Sanderson if he 
could serve the best interest of the race by giving either, as will be seen from the 
following: While he was teaching in Stockton he heard of a colored girl being held 
as a slave on a ranch near by. Several of the colored people had at various times tried 
to liberate her, but in vain. The moment Mr. Sanderson heard of her, he dismissed 
school and, going to the sheriff of the County, together they drove out to the ranch 
and brought the girl into town. After a court trial she was liberated. 

It was while he was teaching in Stockton that the colored people throughout the 
State began to fully realize his worth as a teacher and sent their children from all parts 
of the State to be tutored by him. The thoroughness of the foundation he laid for 
their future education can best be judged if the reader is told that the greatest Negro 
financier of the United States was educated under Mr. Sanderson. This refers to Mr. 
Eobert Owens, of Los Angeles, California, who was a pupil and boarded in the home of 
Mr. Sanderson when he taught in Stockton; also Mr. Byron Eowen of San Bernardino 
was a student under this same teacher. 

Previous to coming to this coast Mr. Sanderson often filled the pulpit in his home 
town. The following quotation from William Nell's book, "The Black Man," says: 
"New Bedford, Massachusetts, has produced a number of highly intelligent men of the 
doomed race, men who by their own efforts have attained position intellectually which, 
if they had been of the more-favored class, would have introduced them into the halls 
of Congress. One of them is Mr. J. B. Sanderson, an industrious student and an ardent 
lover of literature, . . . He has mastered history, theology and the classics. 

"Mr. Sanderson, although not an ordained minister, in 1848 preached for one of 
the religious societies of New Bedford on Sunday and attended to his vocation (hair- 
dresser) during the week. Some of the best families were always in attendance on 
these occasions. ... In stature Mr. Sanderson is somewhat above the medium 
height, finely formed, well-developed head and a pleasing face, an excellent voice, which 
he knows how to use. His gestures are correct without being studied and his sentences 
always tell upon the audience. Few speakers are more happy in their delivery than he. 
In one of the outbursts of true eloquence for which he is noted, we still remember the 
impression made upon his hearers when he explained 'Neither men nor governments 
have a right to sell those of their species. Men and their liberties are neither purchas- 
able nor salable. This is the law of nature which is obligatory on all men, at all times, 
in all places.' " 

One need not wonder at the unity of action of the pioneers of color in California, 
when you consider such leadership among them as the subject of this sketch. He 
never tired in the fight for justice for the race. In the East he had worked with those 
of the "Underground Railroad." Rev. Sanderson was not only interested in the edu- 
cation and betterment of the race, but he saw to it that his own children were well- 
educated. This resulted in his daughters teaching in the public schools of California, 
one in Oakland and another in Visalia and also Red Bluff. 



OF CALIFORNIA 



165 





:mrs. ardella c. butleu 
Social Leader. 



HON. WALTER A. BUTLER 
President Northern California Branch 
National Association for the Advance- 
ment of Colored People. 




"Wrestacres, suburban home of Hon. Walter A. Butler, of Oakland. 



166 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 





MRS. HETTIE B. TILGHMAN 

President California Federated 

Colored Women's Clubs. 



MRS. J. M. SCOTT 
Distinguished Club Woman. 





MRS. ALBERT LOGAN 

Proprietor Tourist Hotel at 

Santa Cruz. 



MRS. A. C. HARRIS BILBRBW 
Elocutionist and' Poetess. 



OF CALIFORNIA 167 

Rev. Sanderson was ordained as elder of the A. M. E. Church by Bishop T. M. D. 
Ward, March 1, 1872, at Stockton, California. He was appointed pastor of the Shiloh 
A. M. E. Church of Oakland in 1875. While returning home from prayer meeting one 
evening, in crossing the Southern Pacific tracks he was killed by a local train. The 
sudden taking away of so useful a colored citizen as Rev. Sanderson resulted in the 
people throughout the State holding memorials in his honor and memory. The one 
held in San Francisco was in Bethel Church, and Mr. William H. Hall, the silver-tongued 
orator, was selected to give the oration. The L 'Overture Guards turned out in a body 
and were officered by Captain R. J. Fletcher; first lieutenant, Joseph Harris; second 
lieutenant, Charles H. Whitfield; secretary, W. J. Summers; treasurer, T. M. Watson; 
financial secretary, J. T. Abrams. 

The memorial exercises held in his memory in Oakland were at the Shiloh A. M. E. 
Church. The following persons were appointed to draft resolutions of respect, a copy 
of which were sent to the bereaved family. Abraham Gross, Cornelius Frances, Isaac 
Flood, John Johnson, I. N. Tripplett, chairman protem; Isaac H. West, secretary. The 
sketch and eulogy was delivered by William Powell. He left to mourn his passing a 
devoted wife and a mother who lived to see the fourth generation of children of the 
family. Rev. Sanderson also left the following children: Mary Sanderson-Grasses, 
who is mentioned in "Distinguished Women"; William Nell Sanderson, the only son, 
who was given an excellent education aside from learning the trade of plasterer and 
also barber. He was messenger to the sergeant at arms of the California Legislature 
in 1884. He married Miss Julia Brown. Unfortunately his wife died, leaving a family 
of six children, all small, but which he carefully reared and educated. His son, Jere- 
miah B, Sanderson, is a clerk in the postoffice of Oakland. Harry B. Sanderson is clerk 
in a hotel at Martinez. Arthur Sanderson, another son, was the first colored policeman 
of Oakland. 

Florence Sanderson-Wilson, the youngest daughter of Rev. Sanderson, was a delight- 
ful lady, true and sincere, and as good as pure gold. She was an active worker in the 
Fifteenth Street Church, a deaconess and superintendent of the Sunday-school primary 
department for a number of years, a practical, Christian lady. She looked much like a 
full-blood Gay-head Indian. She left a husband and daughter to mourn her passing, 
which came suddenly in the summer of 1916. 

Mrs. Sara Sanderson-Collins, another daughter, has the distinction of being the 
only colored girl to graduate from the kindergarten school of San Francisco during 
pioneer days. She graduated with honor from the Silva street school. Miss Kate Doug- 
las, or rather at that time Miss Kate Smith, who is now Mrs. Kate Douglas-Wiggins, was 
her principal. The closing exercises were held in Dashaway Hall, Post street, San 
Francisco. After her graduation she was given a position as assistant teacher in the 
same school. She also taught school in Visalia and Red Bluff. She afterward waa 
married to an eminent divine, the Rev. A. A. Collins, of California, a native son, born 
in San Francisco. The union was blessed by the birth of several children, to whom 
he gave the best college education as doctors of medicine and dentistry. The above 
statement was received through the courtesy of Mrs. Wilson. 

Rev. J. H. Hubbard, the subject of this sketch, was the son of Mrs. Ann Maria 
Booth-Hubbard. He was educated at Oberlin College by his uncle, Mr. Edward Booth. 
After his graduation he came to California and joined the ministry of the A. M. E. 
Church, under Bishop Ward, remaining in the California Conference until 1905, when 
he went to Colorado, where he continued in the ministry until his demise in 1912, leaving 
to mourn his passing three daughters and four sons: Mrs. Ida Williamson, Mrs. Ethel 
Morrison, Mrs. E. Gordon, of Furlong Tract, near Los Angeles; Mr. Edward Hubbard, 
an A. M. E. minister, and also James and Joseph Hubbard. 

Rev. Simpson, coming from Clark University, Atlanta, Georgia, to Riverside, Cali- 
fornia, for twenty-five years was missionary preacher of Southern California, during 
which time he organized and built many churches in Redlands, San Bernardino, Pomona 
and Riverside. At the last named place he and his wife bought the lot for the church. 
Rev. Simpson is a real "Trail Blazer." While organizing and building these different 
churches, he reared and educated a family of two girls and one son, namely, Walter J., 
Azalia, and Gussie. Mr. Simpson was elected by the Council of Riverside to the posi- 
tion of head scavanger and contractor, having under his control three wagons. He 
has filled this position with satisfaction for a number of years. He has a large, com- 
fortable, modern home situated at the foot of Mt. Rubidoux and fronting on Magnolia 
avenue, one of the most picturesque drives in Riverside. His son, Walter J. Simpson, 
during the past ten years has been engaged in farming at Blythe, Palo Verde Valley, 
California. Owning forty acres and acting as foreman in contracting and leveling and 
cleaning up land for the owners, having under his control at one time fifty colored men 



168 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

working the delta country, contracting. A daughter, Mrs. Gussie Simpson-Bacon (see 
Music chapter). 

Eev. T. A. McEachen, the subject of this sketch, was educated at Whiten 's Normal 
school, Lomberton, North Carolina, and at Biddle University. He left school in 1886, 
his eyes failing him, and in the spring of 1887 he came to California and united with 
the A. M. E Church at San Francisco Conference. In 1888 he was licensed to preach 
by the lamented Bishop Petty. He is one of the best known ministers on the Coast. 
When the church was as yet in its infancy in this State, undaunted he traveled from 
one end to the other of the San Joaquin Valley, zealously laboring for the uplift of the 
cause. He was the organizer of the first colored church in the San Joaquin Valley, at 
Fresno, California. For a number of years he was at the head of a colonization party 
and would go into the heart of the South and conduct parties of colored people to Cali- 
fornia and the San Joaquin Valley. 

Eev. J. Logan Craw was born in Navasota, Texas, November 21, 1874. With his 
parents he left the State of Texas when scarcely five years of age and located in Parson, 
Labetto County, Kansas. Here he received a high school education and graduated as 
valedictorian of his class from Hobson Normal Institute, May 24, 1894. In September, 
1895, he was elected as a teacher in the McKinley school in his home town, and for 
several consecutive years held this position of honor and trust. In May, 1902, against 
the will of the Board of Education, Professor Craw resigned as teacher to accept the 
high calling of the ministry, having been thoroughly converted in the A. M. E. Church 
at Parsons, Kansas, with the Eev. J. E. Eansom as pastor, at the age of nineteen years. 
Some three years were devoted to preparations for the work of the ministry and under 
Bishop Grant, at Omaha, Nebraska, September, 1904, he was admitted on trial to the 
Kansas Annual Conference at Hutchinson. Eev. Craw was ordained by Bishop Grant 
and began his active work in the pastorate assigned to the Olathe Circuit, Topeka 
District, Kansas Conference. On October 3, 1909, Eev. Craw was ordained elder by 
Bishops Grant and Lee, at Bethel A. M. E. Church, Leavenworth, Kansas. On July 1, 
1911, Eev. Craw was married to Miss Lillian Jeltz, of Topeka, Kansas, a most successful 
teacher and a consecrated Christian lady. 

After having pastored very successfully two years in Emporia, the seat of Kansas 
State Normal school, and two years in Lawrence, the seat of Kansas State University 
school, Eev. Craw was transferred by Bishop H. B. Parks, presiding bishop of the Fifth 
Episcopal District, in October, 1911, from the Kansas Conference to the Puget Sound 
Conference, and stationed at Bethel A. M. E. Church, of Portland, Oregon. Here Eev. 
Craw, aided by his brilliant wife, paid to the Church Extension Society in October, 1913, 
the largest amount ever paid at any one time' in cash, viz., $2,085, a loan which had 
been standing for sixteen years. The membership was tripled during the three years 
of Eev. Craw's pastorate and one of the most modern and beautiful churches in the 
Pacific Northwest nearly completed. Eev. and Mrs. Craw are now at Los Angeles, 
where he is pastor of Historic Eighth and Towne Avenue Church. 

The Declaration of Principles of the People's Independent Church of Christ reads 
as follows: 

"Eev. 21:3. — 'And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying. Behold the tabernacle 
of God is with men and He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people and God, 
himself, shall be their God.' 

"Now whereas. We, the members of the First Independent Church sincerely devoted 
with the warmest sentiment of Christian affection and duty, with minds deeply impressed 
with duty first to God, deploring the present and impending misfortunes of our former 
associations in the church militant, and having considered the same as naturally as time 
will permit, do esteem it our duty to make the following declarations: 

" (1) When in the course of human events it became necessary for the people to dis- 
solve the bands which have connected them with a certain religious dnomination and 
to assume a separate and equal station in Christian work to which the laws of God 
and man entitle them, a decent respect to mankind requires that they should declare the 
cause which impelled them to the separation: 

" (2) We, the adherents of this Christian movement, divorced of human potentates, 
rules and regulations repugnant to the best interests of our Christian lives, believe that 
all governments instituted among men derive their just powers from the consent of the 
governed, that whenever any form of religious denominational government becomes 
destructive to these ends, that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and 
constitute a reformation, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its 
powers in such^ form as to them is believed the safest vehicle to affect their Christian 
growth and happiness: 



OF CALIFORNIA 169 

"(3) We declare that we are actuated by the dictates of prudence, after long 
suffering of abuse of power, position or station assumed by church potentates who dis- 
regard the will of the people who created them, and upon whom they are dependent for 
support, and we further declare that this act is prompted by no light or transient cause, 
but from a long-increasing train of disregard of the will of the people by men in high 
places, and that it is our religious right and duty to throw off such yoke for our Chris- 
tian growth and for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby freeing our- 
selves from the greed and avariciousness of church despots, 

"(4) First of all, we invoke the blessing of Almighty God on this movement for 
church freedom. We pray unto God for us and our successors forever, who have con- 
firmed that this church shall forever be free from all demagogic or political rule what- 
soever and shall keep its rights intact and its liberties uninfringed upon, that there shall 
be freedom of the communicants in prayerfully directing the affairs of the church. 

"(5) Inasmuch as for the sake of our God, and for the betterment of our Chris- 
tian lives, and for the more ready healing of the discord which has arisen between us 
and the earthly church masters we have been serving, we here and now grant them our 
forgiveness, wishing and praying that they may have peace and Christian growth, 
working faithfully in the Master's vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men, such 
as is the will and purpose of this congregation of men and women who believe in the 
saving grace of our Lord and Master. We believe in the sovereignty of the will of 
the people; that all preachers and officers are the servants of the people who have hon- 
ored them with posts of duty in the house of God. 

"Whereas, therefore, we have herein published our action and the cause leading up 
to the same, and having invoked the blessing and favor of Almighty God upon us, 
pledging our allegiance, and our love and faithfulness to His service, with abiding faith 
in His promise that where a few of His believers are assembled in His name He would 
be in their midst, to own and bless them, we do declare ourselves the 'Independent 
Church of Christ of Los Angeles, California,' and pray God to have mercy upon our souls. 

"We here and now make known to all Christians and to the people at large that 
we welcome you to services in which there shall be no discrimination against those who 
profess to love and serve the one living and true God, everlasting, without body or 
parts, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the maker and perserver of all things 
visible and invisible and in unity of this God-head there are three persons, of one sub- 
stance, power and eternity— the FATHEK, the SON and the HOLY GHOST. 

"We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth, and in 
Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of 
the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; the third 
day He arose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of 
God, the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 

"We believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, 
the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. 

"The foregoing declarations were unanimously adopted by the congregation assem- 
bled Sunday, October 23, 1915. 

"Eesolution: Be it Eesolved, That the chairman and secretary be, and they are 
hereby authorized to tender the Pastorate of the First Independent Church to Rev. 
N. P. Greggs, of the City of Los Angeles, California. 

"Adopted: 

"J. H. Shackelford, 
"President of Organisation. 

"Respectfully submitted: 
"P. J. Alexander 
"Mrs. B. B. Prentice 
"F. H. Crumbly 
"G. W. Whitley 
"Mrs. L. E. C. Shaffer, 

"Committee." 

This church represents the members who left the Historic Eighth and Towne Ave- 
nue Church of Los Angeles in 1915. For a while they were known as "The Faithful 
Forty-nine," since there were just that number who united and finally organized. For 
two years they worshipped in halls, but finally erected a church edifice at Eighteenth 
and Paloma streets. They have annual conference meetings at which the presidents 
of the different boards report to the people the spiritual and financial condition of the 
church. Each section of the city has been divided into districts to look after the 
spiritual and financial growth of the church. They have a membership of many hun- 



170 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

dreds and a splendid choir. It is a united, live, spiritual, working church of the people 
and for the people. The services are always refreshing, in that Eev. Greggs is evan- 
gelical, has a wonderful command of language, is a splendid orator and a Christian 
gentleman. 

Eev. N. P. Greggs, pastor of the People's Independent Church of Christ, was 
reared and received his high school education in Columbia, Tennessee. It was while 
he was attending the A. and M. College, located at Normal, Alabama, that the Et. Eev. 
Charles Todd, quintard bishop of Tennessee Episcopal Church, discovered that the sub- 
ject of this sketch was an exceptionally fine student, and would, as he thought, make a 
great Episcopalian priest. Through the recommendation of this bishop the diocese 
decided to educate this colored lad. They paid all his expenses and sent him as a day 
student first to Fiske University and then to Hoffman Institute, to study theology. 
The latter school is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and represents the Episcopal Church. 

After his graduation he served for a time in the Episcopal Church in the South, 
but finding that his work was not reaching the masses of the people, whom he believed 
he could save, he resigned his charge. Notwithstanding he had been reared and edu- 
cated in the Episcopal Church, his determination was so great to serve the masses that 
he joined the A, M. E. Church Conference of Tennessee, in 1903. He^ pastored for a 
time in Tennessee, East Tennessee and the California Conferences. It was because of 
his desire to serve where the harvest would be great and the fields full and ready for 
the word of the Master that he subordinated the will of the bishop of the California 
Conference and refused the appointment to go to San Diego in 1915. The People's 
Independent Church of Christ extended him a call to serve as pastor in October, 1915. 
Since his acceptance of the pastorate of this flock they have built a great edifice at a 
cost of $35,000 and in one single collection at a recent rally they collected in money 
the sum of $4,200. 

The Eev. W. T. Cleghorn is a native of the Islands of St. Kitts, British West Indies, 
where he received his earliest education. Winning a scholarship in St. George's School, 
of that Island, he entered Lady Mico College, St. John, Antigus, and graduated there in 
1899. He was successively appointed principal of St. John's and St. George's Schools, 
and later served as assistant principal in the Frederiksted high school (1902-1905), in 
the island of St. Croix, Danish West Indies, now owned by America. Here he entered 
the ministry, and came to the United States in 1905, taking his A. B. degree at Oska- 
loosa College, Iowa. 

He was ordained deacon in 1908 and priest in 1909 by the Et. Eev. William N. 
Brown, D. D., bishop of Arkansas, in which State he organized several missions, chief 
among thern^ being St. Mary's, Hot Springs, and St. Andrews, Pine Bluff. He came to 
the diocese of Los Angeles, under orders of the Et. Eev. Joseph N. Johnson, D. D., and 
organized a mission and erected the first church edifice west of Denver for colored 
churchmen. He is now priest in charge of this church, and is also actively interested 
in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as an executive 
member, and in the Y. M. C. A. work as one of the directors, as well as in other institu- 
tions for the progress and welfare of his people. 

The following additional history concerning the organization of St. Phillip's 
Church (Episcopal) is quoted from The New Age Magazine: "St. Phillip's Church 
had its birth about three years ago in the house number 1428 East Fourteenth street, this 
city (still standing). When Archdeacon Marshall oi'ganized a Sunday-school and asked 
Mr. E. S. Williams of the Brotherhood of St. Andrews, a man entirely without race 
prejudice, to lend his support in reaching the colored people of the city, a conference 
was soon called at St. Mark's Church. Among others interested in the missionary work 
of the church as well as in these people were Mrs. Janivier, Mrs. Burr, Eev. F. N. 
Bugbee, Archdeacon Marshall presiding and Mr. Williams acting as secretary. Scott's 
Hall, 564 Central avenue, was rented, and services were held every Sunday morning and 
evening as a result of this meeting. This arrangement continued for a year or more, 
and to secure the permanence of the work the bishop, after several months of inquiry 
and deliberation, called the present clergyman, the Eev. W. T. Cleghorn, who arrived 
February 1, 1910, to be priest in charge. With wide experience in the work, he quickly 
took hold of the situation, negotiated for a valuable lot, and by prompt action and 
systematic plans secured a loan of $1,000 from the bishop and enough in subscriptions 
from members and friends to erect the present church (chapel). On October 9, 1910, 
the first choral mass with vested choir was sung. The outlook for this church among 
our people is very bright. The priest in charge says: 'It is a star in its ascendancy.' " 

There is one ministerial Trail Blazer to whom the writer must not forget to give 
befitting mention, namely, the late Eev. John Pointer, who came to San Francisco, 
California, in the early sixties. He secured a position on the Sacramento Eiver boats 



OF CALIFORNIA 171 

as steward. In 1877, he became united with Bethel Church, of San Francisco, and served 
as leader of the choir in this church and superintendent of the Sunday-school in Zion 
Church, that city. In 1887, he became a local preacher in San Francisco, and took 
charge as pastor in the A. M. E. Church, at Los Angeles, under Bishop Grant, thence 
to St. Andrews, of Sacramento, for five years, building the parsonage and paying for 
it, after which he was promoted to presiding elder by Bishop Wesley Gains. He held 
charges at various times in Oakland, Fresno, Stockton and Marysville. 

He was superannuated in 1909, and passed to his reward, well beloved and highly 
respected by all who knew him, on the morning of January 2nd, 1917. The funeral was 
held the following Sunday and lasted four hours. Ministers from all over the State of 
California attended and paid homage to this grand saint of God. 

There are many Baptist ministers who have been "Trail Blazers" in this State. 
Among this number Rev. Allen leads the list as having served as missionary worker for 
the Baptist faith for over thirty years, during which time he has done some very good 
work. Rev. Hawkins, of Oakland, and also Rev. Dennis, of San Francisco, have done 
some wonderful work in the State for the development of the race as weU as the saving 
of souls. 

The Rev. David R. Wallace was born in Cleveland, Ohio, September 30, 1878. He 
attended the schools of Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Chicago. After graduating from 
the old South Division high school, Chicago, he entered the summer school of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago. The inspiration to study for the ministry came to him at this time 
as a fulfillment of the wish of his deceased mother, and he entered the Western Theo- 
logical Seminary, Chicago, from which he graduated in 1901. He was ordained a deacon 
in July of that year and, going to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was proctor of Hoff- 
man Hall and in charge of the local church, was ordained priest in 1902. 

He was called to Boston shortly thereafter to assist the Cowley Fathers at St. 
Augustine's Church, where he remained until 1908. Going again to Tennessee, he 
started a mission in Chattanooga, and took charge in Columbia. He then was called 
to assist at St. Thomas' Church, Chicago, where he remained a year. In July, 1911, he 
was called to St. Augustine's Mission, Oakland, California, where he is now engaged in 
leading a splendid congregation of 145 souls in the building of an edifice to cost $6,000. 
So efficient has been the work of this congregation that the bishop has just paid the 
mortgage on the property as a token of appreciation. Rev. Wallace has always found 
time to aid in all community activities, and was four years vice-president of the North- 
ern California branch, N. A. A. C. P. 



CHAPTER XV 

Education 

While statesmen were passing laws to retard the progress of the pioneer Negroes 
of California, they never for a moment considered that the Negroes were planning and 
striving to improve their mentality and become good citizens when the time came for 
them to be admitted as such. This calls to mind an editorial the writer once read in the 
Los Angeles Times from the pen of Mr. John Stevens McGroarty, author of the "Mis- 
sion Play." The paper is the largest published on the Pacific Coast, and, as a special 
feature commemorating the hundredth birthday anniversary of the martyred President, 
Abraham, Lincoln, on February 12, 1909, devoted eight pages of the paper to colored 
writers. Each article was written by some one who was a master in his or her line, 
and would tend to show the progress of the colored race in Southern California. Mr. 
MeGroarty at the time was on the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times, and was 
assigned the duty of writing an introduction to this special feature, explaining it to 
the reading public. It is with a great degree of pleasure that the writer quotes from 
this just and humanitarian editorial, which is as follows: 

"When out of chaos earth was hurled 

And God's great mandate spread; 
When he made the races to fill the world, 

Yellow and white and red, — 
There was one made black, and the other three, 

Seeing him, asked to know 
Whence from what darkness cometh he 

And whither doth he go? 

"What is the destiny of the American Negro? Whither does he go? Is he to 
survive, or is he to be ground between the upper and nether millstones of time to be 
blown as dust by the winds of fate; to disappear as the American Indian is disappearing, 
and as many another race has disappeared since the world began? It is a timely ques- 
tion to ask on this the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, 
the great emancipator. . . . Men will answer this question each in his own way, 
according to his faith in the Negro or his prejudices against him. No one ever seems 
to think it worth while to ask the Negro himself for an answer. The Times, however, 
does think it worth while, and has accordingly invited the Negro people of Los Angeles 
and Southern California and the great Negro leader, Booker T. Washington, to speak 
for themselves. This they have done through the columns of the Times this morning. 
. . . As a rule the white man 's knowledge of the Negro is superficial. We know 
our brothers in black only from meeting them on the highways or the jokes that are 
printed about them in the comic papers. Some times our impressions are gained from 
none too friendly sources, from those who hate the Negro blindly and without reason," 

What a world of thought this editorial arouses in every self-respecting Negro, for 
we know better than any one else. We are more often judged unjustly than otherwise. 
We are hated, as Mr. MeGroarty says, "blindly and without reason." It was thus 
when the pioneer Negroes were struggling to obtain an education in California. The 
struggle was difficult, but they believed in the saying of Daniel Webster, who said: 
"Were I so tall that I could reach from pole to pole and grasp creation in my span; I 
still must be measured by my soul. The mind's the standard of the man." In order 
to develop the mind one must have an education. 

The First public school in California was made mention of as a public school in 
San Francisco, and is recorded in Bancroft's history of California, which reads: "The 
first public school after the American occupation was established in San Francisco. 
The number of persons in June, 1847, under twenty years of age were 107, of that num- 
ber 56 were of school age. On the 24th of September of that yeaii the town council 
appointed a committee consisting of William A. Leidsdorff, William Clark and William 
Glover to take measures for the establishing of, a public school. A school house was 
erected on Portsmouth Square dignified by the name of Public Institute, and on the 
3rd of April, 1848, a school house was opened by Thomas Douglass, a Yale graduate, 
who received a salary of $1,000 a year. From this beginning has grown, with some 
interruptions, the public school system of California." 

Mr. Bancroft, in another chapter, in speaking of the life of Captain William Leids- 
dorff, says: "He was a mulatto, the offspring of a Dane by a mulattress." Jacob 



OF CALIFORNIA 173 

Wright Harlan, in his "California from 1840 to 1888," in speaking of Captain Leids- 
dorfF, says: "He had a dash of Negro blood." Thus the first public school in Cali- 
fornia had as a committeeman in its organization a person with a dash of Negro blood 
in his veins. The dash of Negro blood did not in those days count against a man, for 
more than one writer of pioneer times in California mentioned Mr. Leidsdorff in the 
highest terms, never failing to mention the "dash of Negro blood." 

The colored population in San Francisco did not attend the public schools until 
1854, notwithstanding the annals of San Francisco, in recording the census for the State 
of California for the year 1853, gives the number of Negroes as 2,000, and of that 
number 1,500 lived in San Francisco. The State had been admitted into the Union as 
a free State. The colored people, however, were anxious for an education. Through 
the courtesy of the family of Rev. J. B. Sanderson, who was a teacher of pioneer days 
in San Francisco, the writer has been permitted to quote from his diaries concerning 
the history of the colored schools in San Francisco for the year 1854. 

"Something of the history of the colored schools in San Francisco for the year 
1854. This school was first opened May 22, 1854; under the superintendency of William 

0. Grady. It was located on the corner of Jackson and Virginia place in the basement 
of the St. Cyprian A. M. E. Church. The annual report of the school board of educa- 
tion in San Francisco, for the year 1854, presented to the Common Council September 

1, 1854, the following: 'A school for the colored population of our city has been estab- 
lished. It is located at the corner of Jackson and Virginia street, in the basement of the 
St. Cyprian Methodist Episcopalian Church. The patrons of the church have raised 
the building and fitted it up for a school. The lower room, which is eleven feet high 
and fifty by twenty-five feet surface, is well lighted, ventilated and has its walls hard- 
finished. This we have leased for one year, with the privilege of two years, at the 
monthly rental of fifty dollars, payable monthly in advance. Mr. J. J. Moore (colored) 
is the teacher. The school commenced on the 22nd of May, with 23 pupils. It now has 
44 pupils registered. It has been thus far conducted quite satisfactorily and bids fair 
to be prosperous.' (N. B.) — Mr. Moore had taught a private] school. Mr. William O. 
Grady was principal of the Rincon Point school one year and a half. He was appointed 
superintendent of the public schools of San Francisco October 25, 1853." 

The writer has been unable to find a record of the colored school after the one just 
quoted until the report as recorded in the Municipal Reports of San Francisco, begin- 
ning 1859 and 1860. In the school reports for this year the following appears: "J. B. 
Sanderson, teacher; number of pupils, 100; average attendance, 39. Primary report for 
1861: The same teacher; 88 pupils; daily average, 42; primary class, 60; grammar, 50 
pupils. The board of education in its report for 1863-4 and 5 speaks of a new building 
for the colored children. 

"During the year three new school buildings have been erected in San Francisco; 
one on Broadway, for the colored children. The lot on which the colored school stands 
has 693% feet on Broadway and a depth of 91^/4 feet. The lot cost $600. The building 
is frame, one-storied, and divided into two recitation rooms each 28 feet by 32 feet, 
with ceiling 15 feet in the clear; separate halls and clothes rooms are provided for each 
sex. The building is well lighted and ventilated. The building and fence cost $4,435, 
and the furniture, which is of the improved style, $498. The colored children richly 
deserve their present comfortable and neat school-house after having continued unmur- 
muringly for many years in their former squalid, dark and unhealthy quarters. ' ' 

This new school required the appointment of an additional teacher, and in the 
report for the year 1864 and 1865 the following appears: "J. B. Sanderson, principal; 
Mrs. Precilla Stewart as teacher." The report for the year 1861 showed the method 
employed by the school board of San Francisco to obtain the very best teachers for the 
schools of that city. "The boara of education strives by subjecting candidates foi 
positions as teachers! to a rigid examination of their natural and acquired abilities and 
by offering a fair pecuniary compensation for services rendered to secure the best pro- 
fessional talent in the State for the education of the youths of the city." In the report 
for the year 1863 and 1864, the following appears: "By an act of the Legislature, 
Negroes and Mongolians and Indians are excluded from the public schools, although 
the penalty for admitting them to the schools for the whites has recently been abolished 
and a more ample provision has been made for their education in separate schools." 
The report for 1865 and 1866: "The Broadway school was taught by S. D. Simmonds, 
with Mrs. Washburn primary assistant. Fifth street school, J. B. Sanderson, teacher; 
length of time in the department, eight years. Colored school in San Francisco for the 
year 1868 and 1869: One principal, one assistant and one probation teacher; first grade 
pupils registered, 161; attendance, 98; Mrs. Georgia Washburn, Mrs. H. F. Byers, Miss 
Adrianna Beers. The report for 1869, colored school, located northeast corner Taylor 



174 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

and Vallejo streets: Pupils registered, 68; average attendance, 26; Miss Georgia Wash- 
burn, teacher." 

The first colored class to graduate in the colored schools of San Francisco was 
under J. B. Sanderson. This class began its first instruction under the same teacher 
during his term of teaching in Sacramento and previous to his accepting the position in 
the San Francisco schols. The names of the first San Francisco colored graduates were: 
Mary Whittaker, Cornithea Johnson, Ella Dorsey and Lucy Caulwell. The last named 
afterward married Mr. Dizard and still lives in Oakland, California. This class while in 
Sacramento was taught, after Mr. Sanderson, by J. B. Handy and Peter Powell. 

The following is a partial list of names of pupils of J. B. Sanderson while he taught 
in San Francisco, some of whom are still living and are the heads of highly respected 
families: Bell Freeman, M. A. A. Drew, William Nell Sanderson, Addie Hall, M. E. J. 
Bolmer, M. A. Alberger, William M. Blake, Madge Vosburge, A. Grubbs, Alice Eeams, 
Louise Bryant, Eveline Evans, Elsie Brown, Lucinda Bryant, Lenna Haws, Sara Brown, 
Josephine Miles, Mrs. M. J. Johnson, Ella Wells, Mary Groesbeck, Lauretta Southers, 
Florence Brown, Laura Millen, Clara Shorter, Claress Waters, George Shepard, Sara 
Carroll, George Fletcher, Henry Undly, Mrs. Keithly, Frank Ewing, Martha Green, 
Edward Yantes, Isaac Washington, Frederick Sparrow, 

The first colored school in Sacramento was commenced by Mrs. Elizabeth Thorn 
Scott, May 29, 1854. Through the courtesy of her daughter, Mrs. Lydia Flood-Jackson, 
the following has been copied from her school register: "Elizabeth Thorn Scott com- 
menced school for the promotion of colored children. May 29, 1854, Second street between 
M and N streets, Sacramento, California. Names of the pupils were George Booth, 
Lauretta J. Bryson, Edward Yantes, Mrs. Mary Ann Burns, Laura M. Luckett, Richard 
Brown, Thomas Allen, Cornelius Campbell, George Waters, Reubin Johnson, Alice 
Mitchell, Chesterfield Woodson, Abraham Goodlow, Frederick Sparrow. ' ' 

Their teacher, Mrs. Scott, after the first year, became the bride of Mr, Isaac Flood, 
The school was then for months without a teacher. The colored people in Sacramento 
on August 7, 1854, organized the first public school established for colored children in 
Sacramento in the A. M. E. Church on Seventh street, and employed Mrs. Scotc as the 
teacher at a salary of $50 per month. 

"The colored school committee for school number one: Dennis Brown, Abraham 
Simpson, John L. Wilson, William Hall, Moses Rodgers, William Robinson, Mrs. Yantes 
and J. B. Sanderson, raised through subscription the money with which to purchase the 
lot and house in which Mrs. Elizabeth Thorn Scott opened the first private school for 
colored children and dedicated it to the education of colored youth." 

Some time after Mrs. Scott married, the school committee decided to employ Mr. J. 
B. Sanderson as the teacher and re-open the school. The following has been quoted 
from his diaries: "Sacramento, California, April 20, 1855. Today I opened a school for 
colored children. The necessity for this step is evident. There are thirty or more 
colored children in Sacramento of proper age to attend school and no school provided 
for them by the board of education. They must no longer be neglected, left to grow 
up in ignorance, exposed to all manner of evil influences, with the danger of contracting 
idle and vicious habits. A school they must have. I am induced to undertake this 
enterprise by the advice of friends and the solicitation of parents. I can do but little, 
but with God's blessing I will do what I can." 

Mr. Sanderson, realizing that the colored children were entitled to a public school, 
sent a letter to the board of education of Sacramento, asking them to assist in main- 
taining or establishing a school for the colored children. His letter is really a history of 
the struggle the colored people were then making in an effort to have a school for their 
children. The letter is as follows: 

"To the Honorable Board of Education of Sacramento, California. 

Gentlemen: Allow me to call your attention to the subject of the school for colored 
children in Sacramento. This school has been operated now about thirteen months, 
having been commenced on the eighteenth day of April, 1855. I will briefly state its 
history: At the time it was commenced no provision whatsoever had been made by our 
city authorities for the education of colored children, so that this school was started 
necessarily as a private school. In March, 1855, the grand jury recommended the estab- 
lishing of a fund for the support of a school for colored children. In consequence of 
that recommendation and the advice of several friends of education, the undersigned 
presented a communication to the board of education, soliciting the attention of the 
members to the subject. They at once took the matter under advisement, favored an 
appropriation and laid the question before the Common Council for its action and 
approval. After some delay, on the 21st of October, 1854, the Common Council passed 
an ordinance authorizing the board to make such appropriation as they might deem 



OF CALIFORNIA 175 

necessary for the support of one school or more for the colored children in Sacramento. 
Funds were exceedingly scarce; it was only with great difi&culty the board could meet 
the expense of their own schools; they could do nothing for us. 

•■'But in February, 1855, the board voted to appropriate $50 toward the support of 
our school for the last quarter of the term in office. Besides this, for the last three 
months, a few of the colored parents, seeing the difficulty surrounding the school, have 
resumed the responsibility of paying the teacher of the children $40 per month, which 
sum they have raised by contribution among themselves. This is briefly the history of 
the colored schools in Sacramento. Mr. Edward Knight, the school census marshal, 
stated in December, 1854, that in taking the census of school children in Sacramento 
(though not authorized to include colored) he had ascertained incidently that there were 
over eighty colored children in Sacramento. The school kept by the undersigned has 
numbered 30 pupils during the past two months, and twenty-two has been the lowest 
number of children at any time for the last month. The number of children is 
increasing; the necessity for a permanent public school grows more imperative. 

"Gentlemen, you have just been elected the board of education for the City of 
Sacramento. The parents of the colored children appeal to you; they respectfully and 
earnestly ask your attention to the school for their children. They ask you to take it 
under your protection and patronage and to continue such appropriation for its support 
as in your wisdom and liberality may seem required to make it permanent and efficient 
for the training of their children's minds, than whom they know none need instruction 
more than those children that they may become upright and worthy men and women. 

EespectfuUy submitted in behalf of the colored parents of Sacramento, California, 
by the teacher of the colored school. 

"J. B. Sanderson. 

"July 10, 1855." 

The board of education acted upon the letter sent to it by Mr. Sanderson and 
decided to take over the colored school, whereupon the teacher, Mr. Sanderson, sent 
them another letter. The board of education at that date was composed of the following 
gentlemen: F. Tucker, superintendent; ex-Mayor R. P. Johnson, John F. Morse, H. 
Houghton, J. N. Hatch, G. W. Wooly and G. Wiggins. 

Mr. Sanderson's second letter to the board of education was to ask permission to 
stand the examination for the position as the teacher of the colored school. He was 
examined and having met the requirements was employed as the teacher. The board of 
education of Sacramento built for the colored children a new school house in May, 1856, 
The writer has no record of the colored school from that date until 1865, but an old 
history of Sacramento of that date gives the following account of the colored schools: 
"Sacramento, 1865. Colored boys and girls of school age, 92; colored school teacher, 
Mrs. Julia Folger, principal. School located on Fifth street between N and O (brick), 
47 pupils. Sacramento, 1868. Colored school, "William H. Crowell, principal; Miss Annie 
M. Yantes, assistant; located between H and Tenth streets; number of pupils, 55. 
Sacramento, 1869. The following pupils passed a satisfactory examination and were 
recommended to the high school: Mary Owens, Ernest Small, Eobert Small, Tiracy 
Mooris, Natty Christopher, Hiram Jones; the teacher, Miss Aubury. 

"In August, 1873, Miss Sara, Jones was given a position as teacher in the colored 
schools (M street school). Shortly afterward, when the schools became mixed, she 
was appointed as the principal and retained this position until her retirement in 1915. 
Miss Jones is a graduate of Oberlin College, in Ohio." 

The colored people in San Jose were anxious to obtain an education and, like all 
the other cities then in California, they had to struggle to have schools for the colored 
children. Nothing daunted the courage of the colored people in the fight for an educa- 
tion. They at all times were able to accomplish their desires. There were only a few 
colored people then living in San Jose. Even so they were desirous of educating their 
children. Through the efforts of Eev. Peter Cassey a private school was opened, but it 
needed money for furnishings. It seemed that the colored people were always able to 
solicit the assistance of some loyal white person in any undertaking. Their friend on 
this occasion was Professor Higgins, the music teacher of the white school. He offered 
to teach the colored children music and give a concert in the town hall. Among the 
pieces he taught the children, was "Marching Through Georgia." The city band, at 
the hour of the concert, was playing on the plaza and caught the? strains, resulting in 
the town hall not being able to accomodate the crowd. The sum of two hundred dollars 
was raised at the concert. 

This school was organized by Rev. Peter Cassey in 1861. The gentleman was the 
rector of Christ Episcopal Church for colored, located in San Francisco. Many of his 
parishioners sent their children to his school, which was private boarding school for the 



176 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

higher education of colored youths. The following statement by Eev. Cassey setting 
forth the object and aim of the school has been copied from an old copy of The Elevator 
of that period: "The design is to establish a high school for colored children. This is 
a public good which all must acknowledge is one of the necessities of the age. I ask 
the assistance and co-operation of all. Board and tuition per term of four weeks, $16 
to $20. All the English branches and vocal music without extra charge. Piano or 
melodian, with the use of instrument, per month, $6." 

This school afterward, through the organization of a convention of colored citizens, 
was given prestige and financial support of a large number of race-loving people living 
in the San Joaquin Valley. It was given the name of "Phoenixonia Institute of San 
Jose, California." This convention met in San Jose December 11, 1863. The names 
prominently mentioned in connection with it were the following: Eev. Peter Cassey, 
William Smith, James Floyd, S. J. Marshall, A. Bristol, A. J. White and G. A. Smith. 
This convention met every year, and at one of their meetings held in San Jose, July 31, 
1867, the following resolutions were passed setting forth their position in regard to the 
education of colored youths on the Pacific Coast: 

"Whereas, The convention of colored citizens of California, called by The Phoenix- 
onia Institute, having assembled in San Jose, July 31, 1867, to consider the subject of 
education, industrial pursuits and the elective franchise; and Whereas, Education means 
improvement; improvement is the guiding of the Deity; to whom is improvement more 
desirable or more necessary than to those who from long oppression are just merging 
into the light of liberty; and Whereas, The education of oui* people as a man has been 
sadly overlooked, owing to a variety of causes, and as this convention has for one of 
its objects the educational interest of the rising generation, therefore, be it 

"Eesolved, That we endeavor by every means within our reach to carry out its 
designs, that we devote our time and our means and be prepared to make any sacrifice 
consistent with our circumstances to elevate our people in this particular. Eesolved, 
That the facilities for the education of the colored children on the Pacific Coast are not 
in proportion to our necessities; and with a view to elevate them we will build upon the 
foundation already laid in this city, San Jose, until its educational advantages shall be 
fully equal to our necessities and will compare favorably with the best." 

The Stockton colored public school was taught by J. B. Sanderson. He resigned 
from the San Francisco colored schools at the spring term, 1868, and went to Stockton, 
where he established, through the assistance and co-operation of other race-loving men, 
a school for colored children. Mr. Sanderson's reputation as a teacher was so well- 
known that colored people sent their children from all parts of the State to be tutored 
by him. Among the out-of-town pupils who attended the colored Stockton school was 
Eobert C. Owens, of Los Angeles, and Byron and Walter Eowen, of San Bernardino. 
These students today are a fair example of the careful instruction given by Mr. Sander- 
son, because they are both successful business men, well respected by all. Mr. Owens 
is one of the very best financiers of the race in California, if not the wealthiest. 

The colored people were sincere in any movement that would assist them to improve 
their mentality. While the members of the race were perfecting plans for the success 
of the institute in San Jose, those living in San Francisco were organizing a plan by 
which at some future date they hoped to have even a better institution or college. 
They planned not to have their project spoiled for the lack of funds, hence they decided 
that they would not open this college until they had a certain sum of money. They 
aimed so high that they were never able to carry out their plans and, after a period of 
ten years, they had a meeting and returned to the stockholders their monev. The fol- 
lowing quotation from an old copy of the Elevator will more fully explain their 
workings: 

"The meetings to organize the Livingston Institute were held in the vestry of the 
A. M. E. Church, in San Francisco. Among the names prominently mentioned in con- 
nection with the project were: Barney Fletcher, who was elected president; J.J.Moore, 
financial secretary and traveling secretary. The trustees were John A. Barber, William 
Hall, James Sampson, William Eingold, D. W. Euggles, and W. H. Carter. At a 
special meeting of the board of trustees of the Livingston Institute held at num- 
ber 54, Merchants Exchange, San Francisco, January 7, 1873, they decided to return 
the money to the stockholders, since the conditions had so changed the Institute was 
no longer needed. They returned the money contributed with 132 per cent interest, 
N. Gray, H. H. Collins, E« T. Houston, Peter Anderson, E. F. Houston, John A. Barber, 
S. D. Simmonds, trustees." 

The Marysville colored school was established by Eev. Eandolph, who was assisted 
by Miss Washington, who was the first colored child born in MarysviUe and had been 
sent by her parents to Canada to be educated. 



OF CALIFORNIA 177 

Chieo colored school was organized by Peter Powers. 

Nevada County, California, colored school, as given in Bean's History of Nevada 
County: "A building was purchased last fall on Pine street for the colored school, and 
has been fitted up for the purpose. This school was opened on the first of January, 
1860; G. A. Cantine, teacher; number of pupils, 18; average attendance, 14." 

"Grass Valley Township, Nevada County. There is made mention of an African 
Methodist church in 1854, and speaks of the trustees during the past year erecting a 
small but comfortable school house on the church lot, the trustees of the church forming 
a society for the purpose of erecting this school. Rev. Peter Green, the pastor, and the 
following named persons: Isaac Sanks, James Thomas, John Hicks, Harry Blackburn, 
Isaac Bulmer. " 

The Red Bluff colored school was taught by Miss Sara Brown, daughter of John 
Brown, of Harper 's Ferry fame, and a Mr. Craven taught a colored school in the country 
ont from Red Bluff. It was very difiicult for the children to drive out from Red Bluff 
during the rainy season to attend school. Through the united effort of the well-known 
colored citizens of Red Bluff, Mr. A. J. Logan, William Robinson, and P. D. Logan, they 
succeeded in calling the attention of the school board to that section of the State school 
laws which read: "Section 58. Where there shall be in any district any number of >.- 
children other than white children whose education cannot be provided for in any other 
way, the trustees, by a majority vote, may permit such children to attend schools for 
white children, provided that a majority of the parents of the children attending such 
school make no objection in writing to be filed with the board of trustees." The board 
recognized this law and, there being no objection, Miss Clara Logan, a colored pupil, 
was enabled to continue her studies in the Red Bluff high school, graduating in the 
pioneer class. 

Afterward she stood the county examination and passed, and the board of education 
appointed her to teach in the school with Miss Sara Brown. This student today is a 
well-known society matron and charity worker among her people in San Francisco. 
The writer refers to Mrs. Frazier. Attending the Red Bluff colored school at the same 
time Miss Clara Logan attended were her sisters and brothers, namely, James and 
Thomas Logan, Clara, Will and Ella Robinson; also Miss Laura Robinson, who today 
is Mrs. Albert Tooms, a prominent lady in San Francisco., 

The first colored school in Alameda County, California, was organized as a private 
school by Mrs. Elizabeth Thorn Scott-Flood. She opened a school for colored children 
about 1857, in the old Carpenter school house, corner of Seventh and Market streets, 
Oakland. This school had been used for white children, but, becoming crowded, they 
built them a new building, after the completion of which this colored lady was allowed 
to use the abandoned building for a colored school. Among! her first pupils was a lady 
by the name of Miss Lyncholm, who lived in Oakland and still is a resident of the 
county. Her present name is Mrs. Walter Edmonds. 

The first public school for colored children was opened under the California statutes 
of 1865 and 1866, page 398, which read: "An Act to provide for a system of common 
schools. Section 56. Any board of trustees or board of education, by a majority vote, 
may admit into any public school half-breed Indian children and Indian children who 
live in white families or under guardianship of white people. 

"Section 57. Children of African or Mongolian descent and Indian children not 
living under the care of white people shall not be admitted into public schools except 
as provided in this act, provided that upon the written application of the parents or 
guardians of at least ten such children to any board of trustees or board of educatioi» 
a separate school shall be established for the education of such children, and the educa- 
tion of a less number may be provided for in separate schools or in any other manner. 
The same laws, rules and regulations which apply to schools for white school children 
shall apply to schools for colored children." Under this law the trustees of the public 
schools of Oakland opened a school for colored children in the old Manning house, 
located in Brooklyn. This district is now known as East Oakland. This house is now 
owned by Mr. Wilds. 

The first public colored school had as its first teacher Miss Mary J. Sanderson. She 
was considered a very good and kind teacher, much beloved by her pupils. The writer 
had the pleasure recently of reviewing a program rendered by her pupils at the closing 
exercises held at Shattuck Hall. It seemed that nearly every child in her school was 
on the program, and, as she told the writer, she could not bear the thought of slighting 
any little one. This lady is just as thoughtful of others today and still manifests the 
same kindly spirit. Miss Mary J. Sanderson taught the colored school in Oakland until 
the parents of the colored children began to move from the district. They were com- 
pelled to go where the heads of the families could make the best living. The distance 



178 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

usually was too far for the children to attend the colored school. The law required that 
there must be at least ten children attending any colored school to remain open. After 
the removal out of the district of the families of Lewis Whiting, J. P. Dyer, and Isaac 
Flood, they practically emptied the district and forced the closing of the colored school. 
But it also robbed their children of the privilege of attending another school, on account 
of their color, and the distance compelled them to give up the idea of even trying to 
attend the colored school. 

The parents of these children were not desirous of raising their children in igno- 
rance, and appealed to the board of education of Oakland, asking the admittance of 
their children into the Oakland school nearest to the different families. The following 
is quoted from the San Francisco Bulletin, under date of October 5, 1871: 

"Oakland public school matter. Colored school room wanted. A breeze has been 
sprung in peaceful Oakland on the question of admitting colored children into the 
public schools. There is no school set apart for them. A few have been admitted to one 
of the schools, and some of the parents of the white children have withdrawn their 
children on that account. The superintendent of the schools has brought the matter 
before the board of education to have the matter settled. The board discussed the 
matter and finally refused to adopt the following resolution which was presented by one 
of its members: 

" 'Whereas, The parents of certain colored children residing in Oakland ask that 
their children be admitted to the public schools of this city, and whereas, there are not 
within the bounds of the city a sufficient number of such colored children to require the 
establishment] of a separate class for colored children as required by law of this State; • 
and whereas, the school laws of this State expressly prohibit the admission of such 
children into the classes as now organized in the department; Eesolved, That the super- 
intendent be instructed to refuse admission to any colored children applying for admis- 
sion to the schools as now organized in conformity with the law of this State.' This 
refusal to adopt goes for nothing, however, as the next action of the board was to 
instruct the superintendent to furnish to all the teachers a copy of the new manual, 
with instructions to have it strictly followed: Section 97 of the Manual reads: 'The 
education of children of African, Mongolian or Indian descent shall be provided for in 
accordance with the California school laws.' " 

In commenting on the action of the board of education in regard to admitting 
colored children to the public schools the editor of the Pacific Appeal said editorially: 
"We will here state that the colored citizens will be compelled ere long to take this 
whole public school question before a State or United States court; to have their chil- 
dren driven from the] free schools in each county for which they are taxed in common 
with other citizens to suport is becoming unbearable, and the sooner a test case is made 
in one of the courts of some county the better, even if it has to be followed up to the 
Supreme court of the United States for a final decision. There is no State in the Union 
which has such mean proscriptions against school privileges for colored children as at 
present exist in this State, where, at the best, nothing higher has been allotted to them 
than isolated primary schools." 

The colored pioneers were very patient in their suffering, but when they finally did 
decide to act, they organized, and no army of soldiers ever worked in more unison than 
they. They decided to call a convention, the proceedings of which are quoted from the 
Pacific Appeal: 

"District Educational Convention, Stockton, November 20, 1871. Pursuant to pre- 
vious notice, colored citizens met at Second Baptist Church (colored) to take into con- 
sideration their educational interests; Eev. Peter Green, temporary chairman; I. B. 
Barton, secretary pro tem; the following committee on credentials: Messrs. George John- 
son, William Eobinson, Thomas Hutchingon; on permanent organization, Phillip A. Bell, 
J. B. Sanderson and Emanuel Quivers. They recommended the following permanent 
officers: President, Eev. Peter Green; vice-president, J. B. Sanderson; secretary, Peter 
Powers; I. B. Barton, J. H. Hubbard. 

"The evening session was opened with prayer by Eev. J. B. Sanderson, after which 
the following resolution was adopted: 'Eesolved, That a petition be sent to the Legisla- 
ture of California at the ensuing session, praying that Section 56 of School Law of this 
State be annulled by striking out the words "Children of African descent" from the 
said section, and that said children be allowed educational facilities with other children. 

' ' ' Eesolved, That an educational executive committee be appointed by the president 
of the convention; that the executive committee be empowered to bring test cases before 
the United States court and to make collections throughout the State to defray the 
expense thereof. 



OF CALIFORNIA 179 

" 'Eesolved, That the members of the educational committee residing in Sacramento 
be appointed to attend to the printing of the petition.' 

' ' ' Resolved, That the members of the executive committee in San Francisco be re- 
quired to have a bill drawn up in accordance with the proposed resolution.' 

"The following are the names of the executive committee living in different parts 
of the State: San Francisco County, Phillip A. Bell, Henry M. Collins, S. Peneton, E. 
A. Clark; Sacramento County, A. J. Jackson, J. H. Hubbard, C. M. Dougal; San Joaquin 
County, J. B. Sanderson, R. H. Munn; Santa Clara County, Peter Cassey; Yuba County, 
E. P. Duplex; Sierra County, John Johnson; Eldorado County, James Price; Shasta 
County, William Johnson; Merced County, A. E. Tally; Mariposa County, S. A. Monroe, 
Perkins Bctris; Nevada County, Isaac Sanks; Tuolumne Countv, W. Suggs; Amador 
Countv. C. Hawkins; Solano, G. W. Miller; Tehama County, N. Balsh, C. A. Delvechio; 
Santa Cruz, Joseph Smallwood. 

"Whereas, The colored citizens of California are being deprived of educational 
rights for their children equal to those granted to other children, v,^e, therefore, repre- 
sented in convention assembled, passed the following: 'Resolved, That we declare that 
the Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and the Civil Rights Bill give 
us full educational privileges, which we cannot obtain in the caste schools as now 
organized, and unless these privileges are granted us we will appeal from the unjust 
public sentiment to the highest tribunal in the land.' 

"The executive committee of the Educational Convention held in Stockton was 
successful in having introduced in the State Senate and also the Assembly bills to 
enable colored children to enter the public schools. The bill provided that where there 
are less than ten colored children to constitute a separate school they shall be admitted 
to white schools. 

"Mr. Thompkins added a few words in support of the bill. He did not consider 
ignorance as a bar to improvement; it was the highest interest and the highest duty of 
every other citizen in advancement and especially to aid the humble and the poor. He 
hoped there would be no voice in the Senate against so just a proposition. 

"Mr. Vanness said that whenever he was willing to vote for the education of white 
children he was willing to vote, for the education of colored children. Mr. Wheaton 
presented a similar bill in the Assembly. The San Francisco Bulletin said: 'Mr. 
Wheaton has, in compliance with the petition of a convention of colored people held in 
Stockton, introduced a bill providing that all school children, regardless of color, shall 
be admitted to the public schools. This bill was presented to the Assembly Feb- 
ruary, 1872.' 

"The evening following the day this bill was introduced by Mr. Finney for the 
education of colored children, the board of education of the City of Oakland held ai 
meeting and decided to allow colored children to enter the public schools. The members 
of the educational committee of the Colored Convention living in Oakland were very 
anxious to have their children enter the schools, and had, previous to the introduction 
of this bill, made a second appeal to the school board for their admission. The following 
account of their meeting appeared in the Pacific Appeal: 'Educational committee met 
in Oakland at Shiloh A. M. E. Church, Seventh and Market streets, president, Isaatf 
Flood; secretary, R. Wilkerson. The committee appointed to wait upon the board of 
education on petition in compliance with resolution of the last meeting, praying that 
our children be admitted to the public schools of Oakland subject to no other restriction 
than those imposed upon white children, was received and acted upon and had been 
presented to the school board by Mr. Fred Campbell. It was resolved by the board 
that after the commencement, on the 7th of July, all children of African descent who 
may apply for admission to the public schools shall be received and assigned to such 
classes as they may be fitted to enter.' 

"The following resolutions were offered by the educational committee of the Col- 
ored Convention, living in Oakland, Isaac Flood, R. Wilkerson, Peter Anderson, com- 
mittee: 'Resolved, That this meeting tender our thanks to the superintendent and the 
board of education of the city of Oakland for their independence in conceding to us 
our rights. 

" 'Resolved, that this meeting tender our thanks to the committee for the able 
manner in which they performed the duty assigned to them. Resolved, That a special 
vote of thanks be tendered to Mr. Peter Anderson for his kindness and assistance as a 
member of the committee that waited on the board of education and for devoting his 
time in coming over to Oakland to attend our meetings.' " 

The Legislature was not so favorable to the colored people educating their children 
as the school board of Oakland. The two bills introduced in the Legislature were 
defeated. Phillip A. Bell, the editor of the Pacific Appeal, said editorially in an issue 



180 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

of the paper under date of April 6, 1872: "The colored citizens of this State made a 
test of the Legislature by the introduction of two bills relative to the schools in both 
houses. The democratic Senate choked them both to death, but the colored citizens are 
not dismayed. They have done their duty in respectfully asking the Legislature to 
allow the colored children equal privileges and admittance to the public schools. It is 
now at the pleasure of the colored citizens whenever they choose to seek the remedy in 
the State and United States courts, under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to 
the Constitution of the United States and the Civil Eights Bill." 

The school laws of California will more fully explain the necessity for legislative 
enactment to remove this caste. The seventh proviso of the California school laws of 
1855, in regard to establishing schools, reads: "Seventh proviso. Provided that the 
Common Council on the petition of fifty heads of white families, citizens of the district, 
shall establish a school or schools in said district and shall award said schools a pro 
rate of the school funds. An Act amendatory of and supplementary to an Act to estab- 
lish, support and regulate common schools and to repeal former acts concerning same. 
Approved May 3, 1855. Approved April 28, 1860." The California school laws of 1860 
reads: "Section 8. Negroes, Mongolians and Indians shall not be admitted into the 
public schools; and whenever satisfactory evidence is furnished to the superintendent 
of public instruction to show that said prohibited parties are attending such schools, 
he may withdraw from the district in which such schools are situated all share of the 
State school funds; and the superintendent of common schools for the county in which 
such district is situated shall not draw his warrant in favor of such district for any 
expense incurred while the prohibited parties aforesaid were attending the public 
schools therein; provided, that the trustees of any district may establish a separate 
school for the education of Negroes, Mongolians and Indians and use the public school 
funds for the purpose of the same." 

The school laws for 1866 read: "Section 53. Every school, unless otherwise pro- 
vided by special law, shall be open for the admission of all white children between five 
and twenty years of age residing in that school district, and the board of trustees or 
board of education shall have power to admit adults and children not residing in the 
district whenever good reason exists for such exception. ' ' 

School laws for 1865-66, page 398: "An Act to provide for a system of common 
schools. Section 56. Any board of trustees or board of education, by a majority vote, 
may admit into any public school half-breed Indian children, and Indian children who 
live in white families or under guardianship of white people. Section 57. Children of 
African or Mongolian descent and Indian children not living under the care of white 
people shall not be admitted into public schools except as provided in this act; provided, 
that upon the written application of parents or guardians of at least ten such children 
to any board of trustees or board of education a separate school shall be established for 
the education of such children, and the education of a less number may be provided for 
by the trustees in separate schools or in any other manner. The same laws, rules and 
regulations which apply to schools for white children shall apply to schools for colored 
children." The statutes of 1869-70 read: "The education of children of African 
descent or Indian children shall be provided for in separate schools; upon the written 
application of the parents or guardians of at least ten such children to any board of 
trustees or board of education a separate school shall be established for the education 
of such children, and the education of a less number may be provided for by the trustees 
in separate schools or in any other manner. ' ' 

The Californians classed the Indian, Mongolian and the Negro all together and legis- 
lated so as to include them all. The colored people were not willing to have their 
children go through life ignorant of educational advantages. They decided that they 
would make a struggle for their education. The pioneer Negroes were fortunate in that 
their leaders were all men who had been blessed with a good education previous to 
coming to the West. There were, however, others who came with their masters and 
were not so fortunate, but were willing to aid in the struggle by contributing money. 
Their leaders, with few exceptions, came from either Canada or Massachusetts. Their 
one great wish was to come to California to help those living in this far-away land who 
were members of the Negro race. The most of the men were ministers of the gospel. 
They were sincere in uniting the people, and had a wonderful effect by their own lives 
in shaping the destiny of the Negro race in California. 

The trustees of the public schools in Oakland, ^ realizing the injustice of either 
forcing the colored children to walk miles to attend a colored school or do without an 
education, said, "Let the children enter the schools." The executive committee of 
the education colored convention, grateful for the independent stand of these trustees, 
still realized that the same conditions existed in other parts of the State, notably in 



OF CALIFORNIA 181 

Sacramento. Mr. B. A. Johnson was making the fight to have his children enter the 
nearest school. The Negro pioneers were determined to educate their children and 
decided that if they could not be permitted to enter the nearest school they would make 
a struggle to have the doors of all the schools opened to them. Let the reader review 
the struggle the Negro children had in an effort to secure an education in San Francisco. 

The board of education closed the Broadway street school, not because there were 
not enough colored children attending to keep it open, but because, as one member of 
the board of education said: "It was a nuisance." When asked to explain more 
fully his remark, he said "It was too close to a white school on the same street." The 
school was ordered closed and another school for colored children was also ordered 
closed, resulting in all the colored children living in San Francisco having to go to the 
school on "Eussian Hill" or do without an education. Although the schools furnished 
the colored children were ungraded, still they were better than nothing; but the reader 
will remember that the years this struggle for an education was being waged by the 
colored in San Francisco there were neither street cars nor jitneys. The only way to 
traverse the hills was either to own a horse and vehicle or walk. One can Imagine 
school children trying to climb ' ' Eussian Hill ' ' during the rainy season. They were 
very anxious for an education, and more than one colored child climbed it, notwith- 
standing they often had walked miles before reaching the hill. 

The colored people tried to fight out the issue in the legislature, but were not 
successful. They were determined to educate their children. Mr. John Swett, in his 
"History of Education in California," speaking of the education of the colored chil- 
dren, says: "The first legal recognition of the rights of colored children is found in 
the revised school laws of 1866." The author then gives a section of this law, and 
adds: "Under this provision most of the colored children in the State were admitted 
to school privileges, though in a few outlying districts, notably the City of Oakland, 
they were excluded from white schools and were not allowed a separate school." The 
Legislature of 1870 repealed Section 56. 

In September 28, 1872, a test case was entered in the Supreme Court of the State 
for the admission of colored children into the common schools of the State of California. 
The following is an account of the case as reported in the Pacific Appeal of that date: 

' ' Mary Frances Ward, by A. J. Ward, her guardian, against Noah F. Flood. Please 
take notice that upon papers, with copies of which you are herewith served, I shall 
move the superintendent of the schools of California at the court room in the capitol at 
the City of Sacramento, on the second day of October, A. D. 1872, at the opening of the 
court on that day, or as soon thereafter as counsel can be heard in the same, for a writ 
of mandate commanding and enjoining you as principal having charge of the Broadway 
grammar school described in said papers, to receive and act upon my appointment to 
be received as a pupil in the said school. Also to examine me as such pupil and if 
found qualified to enter said school as a pupil to receive me as such. Also for such 
further or other mandate as I shall be entitled to in the premises. 

"Dated, September 2 4, 1872, 

"Maey Frances Waed, 

"By A, J. Waed, Her Guardian. 

"J, W. Dwindelle, 509 Kearney street, San Francisco, California, Attorney for Counsel. 
"It appears that the plaintiff, her attorney, and counsel and the defendant all 
reside in the city and county of San Francisco, It is ordered that the witness of appli- 
cation for writ of mandate in this action be shortened to fifteen days, September, 1872, 

"Wallace, C. J, 

"Argument of J. Dwindelle before the Supreme Court of California on the right 
of colored children to be admitted to the pubUe schools." After a statement of the 
case, the learned counsel gives the following: 

" 'These colored children of African descent who are citizens have the right to 
be admitted to all the public schools of the State and cannot be compelled to resort to 
separate schools for colored children. We shall discuss this point solely and shall not 
address ourselves to questions of ethnology, political or poetical justice, nor to any 
sentimental question whatsoever.' He then referred to the constitutional provisions, 
statutes and regulations, citing the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Con- 
stitution of the United States; also citing the Civil Eights Bill, He also in this connection 
quoted the school laws of California on the subject of the education of children of 
African descent. Section 56-7-8, and the following regulation of the board of education 
of the city and county. Section 117, 'Separate schools. Children of African or Indian 
•descent shall not be admitted into the schools for white children, but separate schools 



182 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

shall be provided for them, in accordance with California school laws.' The learned 
counsel referred to eight cases before the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio; also 
cited the case lately decided in the State of Nevada in which a mandamus was granted. 

"His closing argument: 'But we are told that by a just exercise of the police 
power of the Legislature these distinctions of color may be lawfully made and enforced. 
The police power! Gracious heavens! this is the power always invoked in desperate 
cases. Just as the Hindu convert prays to his Christian God for rain and, failing to 
receive the genial showers, then invokes the god of his ancient idolatry. The police 
power — the last resource of tyrants, the last weapon for the assassination of written 
constitutions and of free institutions! Urge it in Eussia, or to the despot who simulates 
republicanism in France, but here it is not worth an attempt at argument!' 

"Decision. Separate schools for colored children. The act of the Legislature 
providing for the maintenance of a separate school for the education of children of 
African or Indian descent and excluding them from schools where white children are 
educated, is not obnoxious to the constitutional objection. Eights of colored children to 
attend schools with white children; but unless such separate schools be actually main- 
tained for the education of colored children, then the latter have a legal right to resort 
to schools where children are instructed, and cannot be legally excluded therefrom by 
reason of race or color. 

"Application of Writ of Mandamus. The facts are stated in the opening John W. 
Dwindelle, of the petitioner. William H. Thornton, for contra. Mary F. Ward versus 
Noah Flood, principal of the Broadway grammar school of the city and county of San 
Francisco. No. 3532. Filed February 24, 1874. This decision was pursuant to the 
provision of Subdivision 14, of Section 1617 of the Political Code, Writ of Mandamus. 

"Wallace, C. J. 

"We concur. 

"NiLES, J. 

"Crocket, J. 
"I concur in the judgment on the ground first considered in the opinion of the 
Chief Justice. 

"McKlNSTRY, J.' " 

This case was argued September 22, 1872. The decision was rendered February 26, 
1874, just two years after it had been submitted to the judge for a decision, whichf 
resulted in the following law being passed by the Legislature of the State through the 
recommendation of the code commissioners of the "Political Code of the Eeversal Laws 
of the State of California (1872-74, page 246), which reads: "Schools for Negroes and 
Indian children. Section 1669. The education of children of African descent and 
Indian children must be provided for in separate schools (Section 1670) upon the written 
application of parents or guardians of at least ten such children. The education of a 
less number may be provided for by the trustees in separate schools or in any other 
way. If the directors or trustees fail to provide such separate schools, then such 
children must be admitted into schools for white children." 

The decision of Chief Justice Wallace caused great rejoicing among the colored 
people, especially in San Francisco. The editor of the Pacific Appeal, the leading organ 
of the colored race at that time in the State, said editorially, in commenting on the 
decision: "The Federal court secured to all children the right to attend public schools." 
The editor then quoted a section of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of 
the United States. 

The executive committee of the Colored Convention did much in every county to 
aid in securing for the colored children better educational facilities. The colored citi- 
zens of Marysville held a meeting of rejoicing after the decision of Chief Justice Wallace 
rendered in the school case brought in San Francisco. The Marysville committee was 
composed of the following colored gentlemen from the educational convention: Eev. 
Thomas Eandolph, Eev. J. B. Handy, E. P. Duplex, Eobert Saline and others. In 
speaking of the Supreme Court decision of the San Francisco colored school, Eev. 
Thomas Eandolph, among other things, said: "They worked with a oneness of purpose 
and a unity of action until the object was accomplished." 

The colored schools throughout the State were closed in 1875, and colored children 
were supposed to attend the schools in the district in which they lived. Nevertheless, 
we find Mr. Wysinger making the fight in behalf of the education of his children in 
the schools at Visalia. He was the proud father of six boys and two girls, and was 
determined not to allow them to grow up without an education. He went before the 
school board of that county and asked them to established a school for his children. 
After a struggle they opened a school for the education of colored children, and a Miss 



OF CALIFORNIA 



183 




MME. ELLA BRADLEY-HUGHLEY (deceased) 
Vocal Instructor, Lyric Soprano. 



184 



THE NEGKO TRAIL BLAZERS 





MALCOLjM HARVEY PATTON 
Lyric Tenor. 



PROF. WM. T. WILKINS 
Wilkins School of Music 




PROF. ELMER BARTLETT 
Pipe Organist. 



OP CALIFORNIA 185 

Sara Sanderson was appointed as teacher. When Mr. Wysinger's oldest son, Arthur, 
was ready to enter the high school, he was refused admission, resulting in his father 
being compelled to enter suit against the county school board of education in the 
Supreme Court of the State before he was finally admitted into the high school. Mr. 
Cady, of Sacramento, on March 31, 1877, had trouble in entering his children in the 
school in the district in which they lived instead of the colored school. 

There are many colored people living in California today who, in consideration of 
the deep prejudices of pioneer days against the Negro, the harsh legislation, and the 
long, bitter struggle to reverse these laws, and because the California schools are con- 
sidered among the very best in the United States, believe it will be the best for the 
future of the Negro race to maintain mixed schools as a jjowerful medium in erasing 
lines of prejudices. But there are others of the Negro race living in the State today 
who would like to teach and wish to have colored schools. Their desires have been the 
means of the introduction before the State Legislature, during 1913-4-5, bills to create 
separate schools for colored children. The one introduced by Senator Anderson, Janu- 
ary 20, 1913, was fought vigorously by the colored people throughout the State. The 
one introduced by Mr. Scott, of Hanford, in 1915, was at the request of a colony of 
colored people at Allensworth. The colored people also fought this bill because of 
its framing. 

The colored people all over the State reverence the name of the founder of the 
town of Allensworth, who was Colonel Allensworth of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, 
U. S. Army, a man beloved over all the world by the race, and while the colony is a 
credit to the Negro race, still they were unwilling to allow the passage of a bill, which 
would require all the colored children desiring to attend a polytechnic school to go to 
Allensworth. 

The town of Allensworth is very near Visalia, the county seat, was another argu- 
ment used against the bill, because of the bitter fight made by that county against the 
admission of colored children into the public schools long after other counties throughout 
the State had admitted them. The town of Allensworth some day will be one of Cali- 
fornia's great centers for the raising of sugar beets and poultry. It ia no longer a 
colony, having been made a voting and school district. The people interested in the 
passage of this bill, giving Allensworth a polytechnic school, argued that because of the 
high standard and efficiency of its citizens it favorably compared with Wilberforce 
University for the colored, located at Wilberforce, Ohio. In their argument it was for- 
gotten that this institution was founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Church of 
the entire United States and maintained by them, by the giving of the prestige and 
financial support of that body for nearly a quarter of a century before the great State 
of Ohio gave it an appropriation for an industrial or polytechnic department. It was 
also not mentioned that this institution was the home of the late Bishop Arnett, the 
father of a bill to abolish colored schools in the great State of Ohio. This bill was 
framed and introduced by the then Mr. Arnett who, as a plain minister of the gospel, 
entered politics for the one purpose, and that was to reduce racial lines of prejudices 
through abolishing colored schools throughout Ohio. The next general conference of the 
African Methodist Episcopal Church, recognizing the great value to the race of Eev. 
Arnett, raised him to the dignity of a bishop of that body. He was a thorough race 
man and at his first opportunity he used his influence to secure an appropriation for 
Wilberforce Institution for industrial training in the school. The great body of bishops 
in electing him did so with the perfect confidence that he would not forget the race 
in its struggle, but that his influence would be greater in his recognition by that body 
of his true worth. The writer is proud to state that she comes from the great State of 
Ohio and knew personally the late Bishop Arnett, who more than once told her of the 
men of prominence who had come to his home seeking his advice, and that he never 
forgot his race while giving his advice to such men as the late President William 
McKinley and others of like prominence of that date in Ohio. 

Allensworth has a creditable colored school, since it is principally a colored colony 
with a few white residents. It is also a voting district, and in order that Allensworth 
might build a larger and better school, it was made a school district. The school 
trustees of the county gave the residents of Allensworth permission to issue school 
bonds for that purpose. Their new school cost $5,000. They employ two colored 
teachers, Mr. William Payne and a Miss Prince, who have complied with the laws gov- 
erning the public schools of California requiring a course in the State Normal school. 
The town of Allensworth is a judicial as well as a school district, and bids fair to 
become a great city some day not far distant. 

There are several schools taught by colored teachers in California, namely, the one 
at Furlong Tract, near Los Angeles, another colored colony. The names of the teachers 



186 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

employed in this school are Miss Bessie Bruington and Miss Sinola Maxwell. In the 
Imperial Valley there are two schools taught by colored teachers, one at El Centre and 
another at Brawley. The following teachers, graduates of the State Normal schools 
have taught in these schools, namely, Mr. G. W. Simms, Miss Ella Kinard, Mrs. Davis 
Mrs. Lorena Hunter-Martin, Miss Eva Whiting, Miss Gertrude Chrisman, and Miss 
Baber, The Rev. J. A. Stout of the C. M. E. Church has been a strong factor in securing 
positions for colored school teachers in the various districts where their services were 
needed. 

The principal products of the Imperial Valley is the raising of cotton, tobacco and 
cantaloupes. A large majority of the settlers are colored people coming from Louisiana 
and Texas, and, while they are not enough to really make separate colonies, still with the 
Indians, Spaniards and Mexicans they manage to establish separate schools. The temper- 
ature of this part of California is very much like that of Mexico, since it is near the 

border line. . , tt -i. j 

The schools of the State of California are classed among the best m the United 
States, both in scholarship and equipment. They maintain this standard by demanding 
the teachers to take a course of two years training in the State Normal schools before 
being permitted to teach. The student who wins laurels in the California schools wins 
not because of favoritism, but purely on scholarship, after a rigid test. The reader in 
reading of the following honors won by colored students, may feel proud of their 
achievements. 

In pioneer days colored children were only permitted a primary education in isolated 
schools. The moment that they were permitted better advantages they not only seized 
them, but never stopped until they graduated from the high schools with honor. The 
writer records the name of Emanuel Quivers, the first colored boy to graduate from the 
San Francisco public schools. The first colored girl, Minnie Dennis, in a class comprising 
fifteen hundred white students, was not daunted because she was the only colored 
member of the class, but graduated with honors, mastering Spanish and the Chinese 
languages. She taught for four years a class in a private school for Chinese, teaching 
them the English language. She was afterward offered the position as court interpreter 
but decided instead to marry. Her daughter by this marriage in after years graduated 
from the San Francisco commercial high school as the valedictorian of the class, and 
was the only colored member in a class of several hundred, Margaret Benston, who is 
now Mrs. Evans. Miss Sara Sanderson had the distinction of being the only colored 
girl in a class to graduate in kindergarten at Silva street school in San Francisco. 
Miss Kate Smith was the principal. The closing exercises were held in Dashaway 
Hall on Post street, San Francisco. Miss Sanderson was afterward employed as an 
assistant teacher. The first colored boy to graduate from the high school of San Joaquir 
County was Daniel D. Hart, of Stockton. His father was a "Forty-niner." Danie^ 
Hart afterward moved to San Francisco, stood the civil service examination and received 
an appointment as clerk in the San Francisco postoffice. The first girl to graduate from 
the Fresno high school was Miss Elfleta Chavis. The first boy to graduate from the 
same school, William Bigby, is now studying pharmacy. Arthur Wysinger was the first 
colored boy to graduate from the public high school in Visalia. 

The colored pupils attending the California public schools are constantly winning 
honors, thereby adding to the laurels for the advancement of the education of the Negro 
race. The following is of especial interest because it shows the ability of a colored 
girl a pupil in the Santa Monica Polytechnic high school, located at Santa Monica, Cali- 
fornia. The school offered a prize to the pupil) who could design a seal for the new 
high school. This seal was to be made from the school's initials, S. M. H. S. There 
were three hundred and seventy competitors and the honor was won by a colored girl, 
Miss Hazel Brown, who, aside from her design, which was artistic, made from the 
initials the words. Sincerity, Manliness, Honor and Service, words that are worth remem- 
bering for if all scholars who attend school were sincere, manly and honorable the 
service they would render, both to the community and State, would not only be honorable 
but wide in its effect for good to mankind. Miss Hazel Brown is modest, unassuming, 
and has great ability in wood-carving. She bids fair to win a place for herself along 
those lines, if not in the literary world, having during the past year edited with credit 
and satisfaction the Federated Clubs' Journal. 

Miss Victoria Shorey won a gold medal for speed on the Eemington typewriter, 
writing sixty words a minute, making only four mistakes. She also won a certificate for 
efficiency on the Underwood machine. These contests were held while Miss Shorey was 
a member of the Commercial high school of Oakland. 

University graduates among the Negro race in California are frequent, few, how- 
ever, leave the State for an education except in music. The first colored university 



OF CALIFORNIA 187 

graduate in the State was Ernest H. Johnson, of Sacramento, who graduated from the 
Leland Stanford Junior University located at Palo Alto, California. Ernest Johnson 
graduated in the pioneer class of that institution, majoring in law after completing a 
course in social science and economics. The University of California, located in Berke 
ley, has also had many Negro graduates. The first colored boy to matriculate in this 
university was Mr. Dumas Jones, who entered to study civil engineering. Dr. Lytle, 
graduating from the College of Dentistry, is successfully practicing in Oakland. Mr. 
Benjamin Young, of Fowler, graduating from the College of Pharmacy; Miss Grace 
White, graduating in science and letters, is now teaching in the East. Miss Vivian 
Rodgers, graduating in the class of 1909, majoring in science and letters, afterward 
taught in the public schools of Hilo, Hawiian Islands. Miss Beatrice Rice, majoring in 
science and letters; Mr. Raymond Maddock, from the College of Agriculture and Natural 
Science; Leonard Richardson, from the College of Law, majoring in science and letters; 
C. E. Carpenter, from the College of Law. The University of Southern California has 
many who have won degrees. Among the number has been a lady dentist, Mrs. Vada 
Somerville. The writer has been told that there are over twenty-five women in Southern 
California who have graduated for teachers from the Normal school. The first to grad- 
uate was Miss Alice Rowen, and the second, Miss Bessie Bruington. She was in a class 
of five hundred and held sixth place with a general average of ninety-seven. 



CHAPTER XVI 

Department of Law 

In introducing this department to the reader, it has been with the object of giving 
some idea of the great legal battles fought by the pioneer Negroes in California, and 
the splendid legal talent of the present day Negroes in the State. The pioneer Negro 
fought all of his legal battles through the service of white attorneys. The race had 
many legal battles of harsh prejudices to fight for the privilege of living in beautiful 
California. This required the services of attorneys who had both exceptional talent 
and great moral courage to defend the Negro at that period of his history in the State. 
This was due to the slavery question, which made it most unpopular for a white person 
to be considered a friend to the Negro. The State law did not permit the testimony 
of either a Negro, mulatto, Chinese or Indian person in any of the courts of justice in 
the State. Notwithstanding these harsh restrictions, the pioneer Negroes fought and 
won some of the greatest court trials known in the pioneer history of the State of 
California. This is especially true in the celebrated Archy Lee case (see "Slavery in 
California"). 

The pioneer Negroes at this period had a most effective organization among them- 
selves which was known as the "Executive Committee of the Colored Convention." 
All the colored people then living in the State who were free were members of it. They 
contributed freely of their "diggings," thereby raising funds to aid in covering the 
expenses of court trials. The executive committee was formed at the first Colored Con- 
vention, which was held in Sacramento, California, in 1855. The duties of this com- 
mittee were not alone to raise the necessary funds, but to be constantly on the watch 
and report discrimination and cruelty to any member of the race. There was a member 
of this committee in every county of the State. There was no rapid mail or telegraph 
service in those days in California, hence it was diflSicult to transmit news from one 
part of the State to another. The Negro members of the executive committee formed 
a secret code and transmited their news by the way of the barber's chair. This was 
accomplished because all the barbers in the State were Negroes. The general method 
of transportation was by the river or ocean-going vessels. It was an easy method to 
give to some customer going, say, from San Francisco to Sacramento and on up into the 
mines, a message to give to the best barber in the town upon his arrival. This method 
was most successful in transmitting news all over the State. It really corresponded to 
the "Underground Railroad" of anti-slavery days in the eastern part of the United 
States. This was a secret organization pledged to defend escaping slaves to the North 
and other free Negroes who might be again returned to slavery. So, like the "Under- 
ground Railroad," the "Executive Committee of the Colored Convention" learned of 
any movement for or against the Negro settlers, whether it was introduced in the State 
Legislature or on the local streets. They readily learned of it through this effective 
channel, the executive committee secret code. 

The Executive Committee of the Colored Convention employed, in the celebrated 
Archy Lee case, the services of Attorney Winans in the first court trial. This gentle- 
man came to California in 1849, after graduating in law from Columbia College. He 
was very popular and influential in organizing the San Francisco Bar Association 
George Wharton James says of him: "His word was worth more than the biggest 
bond his richest client could give." What a splendid selection the Executive Com- 
mittee of the Colored Convention made in employing such reliable counsel. In the 
second court trial of this same case they employed the late Col. Edward E. Baker, a 
personal friend to the immortal Abraham Lincoln. He was a deep, dyed-in-the-woo^ 
Abolitionist, and was the first officer to lose his life in the Civil War, dying at the 
battle of "Ball's Bluff." It has been told the writer that the Archy Lee case cost 
the executive committee the sum of fifty thousand dollars. 

There were other victories to the credit of this Executive Committee of the Colored 
Convention. They were "The Right of Testimony," the "Homestead Law," and the 
fight for equal public school privileges for Negro school children. The "Right of Tes- 
timony" was won through a bill which was introduced at the request of this committee 
• by Senator Perkins in the California State Legislature. This was followed by every 
member of the Legislature receiving a petition from the executive committee asking 
his support of these different measures. These different members of the Legislature were 
asked and did make speeches favoring the legislation asked for. This was especially 
true in the fight for the "Right of Testimony," which was kept before the public and 



OF CALIFORNIA 189 

the Legislature for years, when it finally became a law, whereby the Neg^o was given 
the "Right of Testimony" in all the courts of the State. (See Eight of Testimony, 
and Ward vs. Flood.) 

The present day Negro of California, like the pioneer, does his greatest fighting 
against discrimination through an organization. This ig one similar to the Executive 
Committee of the Colored Convention. It is known as the National Association for the 
Advancement of Colored People. It was organized in New York City during 1911. It 
is officered by influential white and colored citizens, with headquarters in New York 
City. They have branches in nearly every city of importance in the United States. 
They publish a magazine monthly called The Crisis. This magazine chronicles the 
activities of the Negro race throughout the world, together with the different persecu 
tions and proscriptions against the race in every part of the world. 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is very influential 
in California. This State is so very large that for convenience it has been divided by 
this organization into a northern and a southern branch. The active organized branch 
in Oakland acts as headquarters for Northern California; and the branch in Los Angeles 
for the, southern district of the State. Both branches are governed by laws issued from the 
National headquarters in New York. The organization is supported by a membership 
fee of one dollar per year, one-half of which goes to the National headquarters and the 
other half remains with the local branch to create a fund to fight discrimination in the 
local districts against the Negro race or an individual of the race. 

The Northern California branch has fought and won many legal battles of dis- 
crimination. They have, in a measure, been fought out in the council chamber of the 
cities of Oakland and San Francisco. This has been accomplished through the members 
of the executive board having appeared before the councils of these cities and personally 
plead the cause and justice of their demands. They have rarely been known to lose a 
fight, either preventing an ordinance of discrimination from becoming a law, or blocking 
its passage by the city council. 

The Northern California branch is a live organization having over a thousand 
members. The executive board has as their most efficient secretary, a Mrs. Hattie E. De- 
Hart, a lady whose heart, energy, time and money are in the work. This secretary is so 
earnest and sincere that she has in a manner so organized the forces that it has not 
been necessary for the branch until very recently to employ an attorney. Mrs. H. E 
DeHart is untiring and irrepressible in her fearlessness. Her enthusiasm has brought to 
the organization the working support of many white ladies of prominence around the 
Bay cities. 

The Northern California branch is a well balanced organization. It was organized 
by Mr. Roy Nash, the former secretary of the National Association for the Advance- 
ment of Colored People. The first president of this branch was a Mr. Christopher Reuse 
who at the time was a truant officer of the City of Oakland. During his administration 
there was advancement of the branch in membership and subscribers to the Crisis. The 
branch, however, did very little active work, as it was a new feature for the people, 
who, for a long time, thought it only necessary to pay their money, but did not take 
any interest in the monthly meetings. Mr. Reuse was hopeful and encouraged the few 
who did attend the public meetings to hold on, and after a season the colored people 
would awake to their own interest and attend. They were thoroughly aroused when the 
branch was addressed by Major Lynch (retired) of the United States Army. His 
address was clear and convincing as to the foundation and the great necessity for such 
an organization. There were no more dull meetings from that night. They were con- 
vinced that it was not a political organization for the scheming politician of old, but 
that its only political aim was to see that only men who were friends to the Negro were 
elected with the aid of the Negro vote. 

Previous to the coming of Major Lynch the branch had elected to the office of 
president a colored gentleman by the name of Mr. Walter A. Butler, a man of education, 
a race lover, true and loyal to the cause of justice and the advancement of the Negro 
race, a man of wonderful executive ability; a man who commands the confidence and 
respect of the white and Negro population of the Bay cities, where he has been reared 
from early boyhood. He has by his conduct, careful study and attentiveness to business 
won for himself a position of great trust in the financial world among both the white 
and Negro races of the Bay cities. With such a man to guide the ship of destiny of the 
Northern California branch it has accomplished wonders for the Negro people. It has 
also won for Mr. Butler the hatred of all the politicians who had been in the habit of 
using the Negro vote as they chose. These politicians did not become interested in the 
organization until there was a thousand members working in unison. 



190 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

The first test of Mr. Butler's ability as a race lover and president of the Northern 
California branch of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People, 
came with the first appearance of the photo-play, "The Clansman," or better known as 
' ' The Birth of a Nation. ' ' The moment it was billed to open at the McDonough theater 
of Oakland Mr. Butler called a public mass meeting, at which meeting resolutions were 
passed condemning this race-hating, mischief -making film. As a result of this meeting, 
and the respect with which the president of the organization was held by the influential 
white citizens, there was immediately a campaign launched against the play's showing 
in the City of Oakland. The daily papers were constantly filled with letters of protest 
from citizens of influence showing the injustice to the Negro people of California in 
allowing it to appear in any city of the State. The writer, at the time, was a special 
feature writer on the Oakland Tribune, and this paper, more than any other, published 
both editorials and special letters against the play, thereby creating sentiment in favor 
of the Negro race. 

Father David E. Wallace, rector of the St. Augustin Episcopal Mission, and also 
vice-president of the Northern California branch and a strong defender for the rights 
of the Negro race, personally organized a vigilante committee, who succeeded in having 
a restraining order issued by the mayor of the City of Oakland, which compelled the 
play to stop in the midst of a performance. Through some technicality of the law, the 
order was rescinded the next day. But Father Wallace did not stop the fight until he 
had succeeded in having some objectionable parts removed from the film before it was 
again permitted to show. 

Another event in stimulating confidence in the Northern California branch was 
the reception given by it to and in honor of Hon. George Cook, dean of the law depart- 
ment of Howard University, of Washington, D. C, and his distinguished wife, together 
with the widow of the late Senator B. K. Bruce, all of whom are members of the 
National executive board of the organization. Mr. Walter A. Butler personally invited 
many white persons of distinction, as well as out-of-town distinguished colored people to 
attend this reception. He also acted as personal guide to these persons of distinction, 
while they were in the northern part of California. His efforts were rewarded by an 
overwhelming attendance at this public reception, which was held in the historic Fif- 
teenth Street A. M. E. Church of Oakland. There have been few affairs more enjoyable 
and inspiring to the Negro race and the public in the City of Oakland. Hon. George 
Cook delivered one of the best addresses, up to that date, ever delivered on the organi- 
zation in the city. He told of many hard-fought battles won, hitherto unknown by the 
average member of the organization. Also the talks by Mrs. Bruce and Mrs. Cook were 
all great. Mrs. Corline Cook is so pleasing in her manner that all were sorry when she 
had finished, for her message was well received and inspiring. On this occasion the 
former president, Mr. Christopher Eeuse, who had resigned his position in Oakland and 
had entered the ministry and was holding a charge in Fresno, California, several hun- 
dred miles away, readily responded to Mr. Butler 's telegram, and arrived in time to 
attend the reception and introduce Mrs. Bruce, since her son was a class mate of his at 
Harvard University. His introduction was a masterful address that helped to add many 
new members to the already increasing roll. Among others things, Mr. Reuse said on 
that occasion was that while it was deplorable the ' ' Clansman ' ' had been permitted to 
show, still it had acted like a slap in the face to the colored citizens who had been 
awakened to their responsibility to fight to maintain their rights as citizens of the 
United States and to secure full justice in any community. 

Since then the Northern California branch of the N. A. A. C. P. have succeeded ir 
having removed from the windows of restaurants discriminating signs and the preventing 
of photoplay houses from discriminating in the seating of colored patrons. A notable 
case of the kind was won by a member of the executive committee of the northern 
branch, a Mr. Leonard Eichardson, who had but recently graduated from the law depart- 
ment of the University of California. It was his first ease after being admitted to 
practice. It was against discrimination being shown by the management of the hand- 
some photoplay house known as the T. and D. in the City of Oakland. One of its 
attractions is that it has the largest pipe organ on the coast. They began segregating 
colored patrons. 

The Northern. California branch also succeeded in securing a stay of vote in the 
Oakland city council in regard to an ordinance introduced by the Santa Fe Tract. This 
ordinance was drawn similar to the Baltimore and Louisville land segregation laws in 
regard to Negroes purchasing property in white neighborhoods. After securing a stay 
of vote, the executive committee, acting upon the advice of the president, Mr. Walter 
A. Butler, and through the untiring efforts and time devoted to the cause by the secre- 



OP CALIFORNIA 191 

tary, Mrs. H. E. DeHart, they traced the origin of the trouble to an alien enemy of the 
United States Government. This man was a German salesman in one of the large stores 
that was well patronized by colored people. He was an unnaturalized resident of the 
United States. Mr. Butler and Mrs. DeHart were told by officials that if they wished 
they could have this man interned for the duration of the war. The activities and 
bitterness of the Santa Fe people were such that it was feared that there would be^ in 
Oakland a repetition of the East St. Louis massacre. In view of the same, the executive 
committee, acting upon the advice of the president, went in a body to the store and told 
the proprietor of their findings. The committee consisted of Mr. "Walter A. Butler and 
Mmes. Gilbert, DeHart, Tilgman and Brown, Father Wallace and Mrs. Tob Williams. 
The last named, like Mrs. DeHart, is a thorough race woman and fearless in any fight 
for th'e uplift of the race. This alien was brought face to face with the proprietor and 
this committee. It is needless to say that the Negro people of Oakland rested 
more peacefully after the report of this committee. There were some who feared that 
Mrs. DeHart and Mrs. Tob Williams would, by their fearlessness, make martyrs of 
themselves before it was through. Mrs. DeHart solicited influential white ladies of 
Berkeley and two of our own race (near white) to attend the secret meetings of the 
Santa Fe Tract people and report the minutes to her. She then had Mr, Butler, the 
president, call a public meeting and plan a reception in honor of a distinguished guest 
in the city, Hon. S. W. Green, chancellor of the K. of P. lodges of the world. 
The meeting lasted way beyond the time usual for closing such meetings. Mrs. DeHart 
appeared before the people and asked them if they would not wait just a little longer, 
as there was an important report to be made. During the long wait there were many 
voluntary speeches made as to preparedness and unity of action. Mrs. Tob Williams 
made one that would have done credit to a warrior of old. This Committee arrived and 
made their report and, coming directly from this Santa Fe tract stormy meeting, gave 
the facts in such a convincing manner that when the secretary, Mrs. DeHart, made an 
appeal for new members, the people came in such droves to sign and register their 
names that Mr. Bicks had to be called in to assist. In less than a half -hour over thirty- 
six people had paid their membership fee and they were after midnight still coming to 
register. 

Mr. Butler commented on the seriousness of the occasion and what unity meant if 
a crisis should come, and, if it did, what the home office in New York would do to assist 
them in th&ir struggle to protect their homes. He made this speech while every one 
was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the committee. He was cool and dignified in 
making these statements and every one felt that his ruling during the entire evening 
had been as a warrior leading a mighty host to battle, and that we had actually reached 
the firing line. This speech instilled confidence in the people in his ability to truthfully 
guide them in any dark hour and with an organization that would do the things he had 
said they would do with such leadership, there would never be an East St. Louis repeti- 
tion in Oakland, and that we would not surrender without a sacrifice if necessary. He 
was both eloquent and inspiring. All were proud of his conduct of the meeting, for 
every man in the audience was, by his coolness and plain words, brought face to face 
with the issue — that they were American citizens and therefore did not believe that 
they had a, right to consider the politics of any man. They were not currying favors, 
but simply asking for what was due them. This meeting was pronounced the greatest 
meeting ever held in Oakland since the celebrated Archy Lee case of 1858. It was 
great and inspiring for race unity. 

The executive committee of the Northern California branch of the National Asso- 
ciation for the Advancement of Colored People, after this meeting, finding that the whole 
work was that of an alien enemy, succeeded in securing a stay of vote by the city* 
council. To their surprise the ordinance was again introduced on the morning the first 
Negro drafted boys were leaving Oakland to offer their lives as a sacrifice for democracy. 
This was indeed the severest blow of all because, just a few evenings previous, the 
branch had held a public reception for the boys. On this occasion the mayor of the 
city and a member of the city council who had opposed the Negro fight and had en- 
couraged the members of the Santa Fe tract in their persecution, was a speaker at the 
reception for these boys. He spoke of his surprise at the appearance and the intelli- 
gence of the audience. We had all hoped that the patriotic address delivered by Father 
Wallace would impress this councilman and, if not, then that the one by Mrs. Hettie 
Tilghman, who was the promoter of the reception, would finally win him over to the 
Negro's side in the fight. But nevertheless while the mayor was bidding the Negro 
boys God-speed and an honorable return to Oakland, and nearly every Negro man, 
woman and child in Oakland was at the depot bidding the boys goodby, this ordinance 
was again introduced to the city council at this same hour. 



192 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Father Wallace, who is really the watchman on the wall, left the depot the moment 
the boys departed, and on his way home stepped into the council chamber. He was in 
time to hear the ordinance read before council. When the crowd returned from the 
depot, the first issue of an evening paper had head lines stating the news to the public. 
That evening the branch received a telegram from Washington, D. C, stating that the 
Hon. Morefield Story had won a favorable decision before the United States Supreme 
Court with a full bench in "vetoing segregation as it affected property rights of 
Negroes as American citizens." It was welcome news to all throughout the Nation, and 
none welcomed it more than Mr. Walter A. Butler, president of the Northern California 
branch of this organization which, as a National body, had made the fight for the good 
of the American Negro. 

It has been said that the time produces the man for the occasion or event. If the 
pioneer Negroes in California were compelled to employ white attorneys to fight their 
battles of discrimination, the friend and counselor-at-iaw of the present day Negro of 
California is one of their own blood, well educated and an active\ member of the South- 
ern California branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People. Notwithstanding, he is a naturalized citizen, having been born in the beau- 
tiful island of Nassau, the Bahama West Indies. He was educated and then came 
across the continent from New York to California before beginning his career as an 
attorney. This refers to the Hon. Edward Burton Ceruti of Los Angeles. He is the 
official attorney for the Southern California branch of this National organization and 
recently has been elected to represent the Pacific Coast as a director on this National 
board. He is the leading criminal attorney among the Negro people in California. 

He was of great assistance to the Northern California branch of this National As- 
sociation for the Advancement of Colored People in their struggle to save the life of 
a race prisoner who had been sentenced to death. The people and the warden of the 
penitentiary did not believe him guilty. Mr. Ceruti worked earnestly on the case for 
weeks in an effort to secure a reversal of sentence or a new trial. He was unsuccessful. 
Nevertheless the earnestness with which he conducted his efforts was quite satisfactory 
to the Northern branch who immediately wrote him for his bill for services reiidered. 
To the great surprise of the executive committee, he donated his services, only allowing 
them to pay for the telegrams, sent during his research and the typing of his briefs in 
the case. This amounted to practically nothing compared to the vast amount of work 
done by Attorney Ceruti on this case. Such acts by him in many instances have en- 
deared him to every race lover in California. He is like Mrs. DeHart in that he is so 
unselfish in his work for the branch. 

His work with the Southern California branch of the National Association for the 
Advancement of Colored People, has been principally in fighting discrimination in the 
refusal of moving picture houses and cafes to serve patrons of the Negro race the same 
as they would any other American citizen. He is so thorough and sincere that he has 
thoroughly established the facts in the courts of Los Angeles and Pasadena; that Sec- 
tion 51-2-3-4 and 5 of the California Civil Code can and will be enforced. His last case 
of this kind was won in Pasadena where he plead before a mixed jury. 

Aside from these suits of discrimination won by Attorney Ceruti, he has won some 
remarkable criminal court trials, that have attracted the attention of the bar of the 
entire state. Among these trials was the one of "People vs. Burr Harris." The reader's 
attention is called to the second trial for murder of Burr Harris, in which Attorney 
Ceruti attempted to prove the insanity of the prisoner through hereditary influence and 
an irresistible impulse to commit crime. The learned trial judge allowed the evidence, 
yet, when instructing the jury, it was ruled out (see "Notes on the Text"). Attorney 
Ceruti, being convinced that if the laws of California did not recognize such evidence, 
then the laws for the criminally insane were faulty, anxiously awaited an opportunity 
to prove to the courts, and to the public that it was wrong to hang a criminally insane 
prisoner. His opportunity came when he was called to defend Thomas Miller at Santa 
Barbara, California, at the second trial for murder (see "Notes on the Text"). Santa 
Barbara is the home of many retired millionaires with large and magnificent estates 
similar to England. They are owned by many who are descendants of pioneer Califor- 
nia families. Because such remembered that during pioneer days the Negro people 
fought for ten years through the courts to gain the "Right of Testimony" in the Courts 
of Justice, they considered it a joke and treated it as such when challenged as to their 
fitness to serve on a jury to try a Negro murderer. They gave neither the Negro mur- 
derer nor his attorney any consideration except to frankly express themselves as to 
their willingness to hang the Negro. But ah, when the Negro attorney, week after 
week against such terrible odds, stood before the bar of justice and whose pleading3 
equalled that of any attorney, black or white, his arguments meant more to the aris- 



OF CALIFORNIA 193 

tocratic residents of Santa Barbara than the flow of mere oratory. It caused them to 
pause and consider, not only in this city, but all, over the State, for even while the 
trial was in progress, petitions were being circulated by club women to abolish capital 
punishment, in California. Notwithstanding no mention was made of the forceful argu- 
ments of this Negro attorney, or the case he was then pleading in beautiful Santa 
Barbara. The truth had been sent home to them that California has more criminally 
insane murders than any other kind. It is the firm belief of the writer who followed 
the case with continued interest, that the sincere and intelligent pleadings of this 
Negro attorney, Edward Burton Ceruti, was the direct means of arousing the great 
humanitarian minds of the great State of California, to pause and begin to think that 
after all he was right. The way to wipe out crime, is to remove the cause for pro- 
ducing criminally insane, or else legislate to treat such persons as human beings with 
defective minds. The greatest reforms the world has ever known have been started 
by men who had the power to cause the great minds to stop and think. We all move 
in groups, and when a thought is once grasped by any one group it does not require a 
very long time before it becomes a fixed fact, and leads to a successful execution. John 
Brown, of Harper's Ferry, did not succeed in emancipating the Negro slaves; but he 
started the minds of the great humanitarians to thinking in the right way. He found 
his own group and in time the thoughts of that group crystallized in the final emanci- 
pation of the Negro slaves of America. 

The heroic legal fights made by Attorney E. B. Ceruti in these two murder trials in 
an effort to prove that the California laws for the criminally insane conflict with the 
laws of humanity, and cannot be strictly just although legally right, in time resulted 
in a member of the Legislature introducing a bill which was, however, defeated. It was 
introduced just one year from the beginning of this history making second trial of 
Thomas Miller of Santa Barbara. This bill was introduced in the California Legisla- 
ture by Senator Rominger of Los Angeles, California. Its aim was to reduce the per- 
centage of alcohol in wine and all liquors to the extent that it will not cause drunken- 
ness. Dr. Hatch, superintendent of the State hospital, and also head of the lunacy com- 
mission, in commenting on the bill, among other things said: "Whatever we do to pre- 
vent the excessive use! of alcohol, personally I place my greatest hope on the proper 
education of the young of the dangers accompanying the use of alcohol. They should 
be taught to look on it as a drug, a poison without which they can get along in life; 
that partaking of it is an acquired habit that often grows until it enslaves.***NowherQ 
are the bad and lasting effects of alcohol on the individual shown more clearly than in 
our hospitals for the insane. There you find young inebriates whose purpose in life has 
been side-tracked by drink, also the chronic alcoholic whose life is hopelessly wrecked; 
and men and women with actual mental disease due to excessive use of alcoholic stimu- 
ulants." During all these court trials Attorney Ceruti had the moral support of the 
entire colored population of California and especially the Southern California branch of 
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

The Southern California branch of the National Association for the Advancement 
of Colored People has done some very effective work through the leadership of Attorney 
Ceruti. For two years they earnestly worked in investigating conditions affecting the 
admission of colored girls to the training school for nurses connected with the county 
hospital, of Los Angeles County, California. At the psychological moment they asked the 
various societies and clubs of the county, representing the best interest of the Negro 
race, to co-operate with them, in presenting a petition to the board of supervisors, to ask 
for the admission of Negro girls to train for nurses on the same terms as white girls. 
These various organizations held a joint meeting with the Southern California Branch 
of the N. A. A. C. P. and they presented the findings after their two years of earnest 
work. This joint commmittee voted to employ Attorney Edward Burton Ceruti, to in- 
troduce the petition to the board of supervisors, asking for the privilege of colored 
girls' admittance to train for nurses on the same terms as white girls. The writer by 
chance heard of the meeting and attended in time to hear Attorney E. B. Ceruti make 
his masterful plea. He was voluntarily followed by Judge Forbes, who, upon hearing 
of the object of the meeting, had followed the crowd, and made a speech that was as- 
tonishing to the writer. He fully explained every possible reason why in justice to the 
negro girls, as American citizens, they should be admitted to train for nurses. The 
gentleman told of being a descendant of an old Abolitionist family who fought for the 
freedom of Negro slaves. No one doubted his statement after listening to his address. 
He was followed in a closing argument by Mr. Ceruti who gave the technical points of 
law as to the justice of their admittance and closed by adding that if they had been 
admitted five years ago, today we would have Negro girls trained nurses in France 
caring for our boys who are giving their lives for democracy. The supervisors granted 



194 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

the request without a dissenting vote. This was a great victory, not only for the 
Southern California branch of the N. A. A. C. P., but for the Negro race women through- 
out America. The Los Angeles Times, one of the largest daily papers published in the 
United States, the next day paid the speaker and the colored people of Los Angeles a 
great tribute in their victory and repeated Edward Burton Ceruti's remarks concerning 
our girls caring for soldiers in France. It is a strange coincidence, but in less than ten 
days afterward the War Department, through Captain Emmitte Scott, announced that 
they were sending Negro nurses to the cantonments in the United States through the 
influence of the Eed Cross National organization. The writer wonders if, after the con- 
stant pleadings of the Negro people for years to win a place as trained nurses, the ear- 
nest pleadings of Attorney Ceruti had not caused them to stop and consider if they 
were treating the Negro women squarely when they were not even given a chance to 
nurse the Negro soldier, whose life was just as dear to him as is the white soldier's. 
In less than a month from the masterful plea and argument advanced by Edward Burton 
Ceruti favoring Negro trained nurses, the National Counsel of Defense issued a state- 
ment to all the local boards in the different cities of the United States, asking that they 
use their influence wherever there was a county hospital to admit Negro girls to train 
for nurses, thereby releasing the nurses who were already trained for service in France. 
When the writer read this statement she wished that the late General Harrison Gray 
Otis, could have lived to have seen this day for he had done so many things of value 
to the Negro race, and having served in the Civil and Spanish-American Wars with 
Negro soldiers, would have rejoiced to know that after years the nation was awakening 
to judge the Negro for what the individual represents and not by the worst in the race. 
The paper which he founded and which is still owned by his heirs. The Los Angeles 
Times, published this address of Attorney Ceruti, calling the attention of the board of 
supervisors to the fact that had Negro girls been admitted to the training schools five 
years ago. today they would be in France nursing wounded soldiers. The eastern readers 
of the Times are as numerous as the Californian, and weigh whatever it says. The 
writer sincerely hopes that some day the Negro race will be benefited by the able coun- 
sel of Edward Burton Ceruti in the halls of the United States Congress, for he is so 
sincere and honest in his desire to see the race have justice that he carries the force of 
his arguments to the heart and consciousness of the American people. Would that the 
race had many more of this old school of losing self in the interest of the race. 

The present day Negroes in California have many good lawyers who have won 
history-making cases. There is one who won a favorable verdict in regard to the pur- 
chase of land by Negroes against segregating. He won this case February 4, 1915, 
which was identical to the Louisville case which the National Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Colored People carried to the United States Supreme Court, through the 
able consul, Hon. Morefield Story, and won a favorable verdict in 1917. 

The present day Negro of California can boast of ai foreign consul and a justice of 
the peace whose duties in the Negro township of Allensworth, Tulare County, is on 
equal footing with a judge. He has never had a decision reversed. 

All of the above men have been admitted to practice law in California. Many of 
them have studied and graduated from the law departments of the universities, the one 
at Berkeley and the Southern California in Los Angeles. During pioneer days the 
prejudice was so great that a Negro boy could not be admitted, notwithstanding he 
had read law under good instructors who had previously examined and considered him 
qualified for admittance, as was the case of James Wilson, the first Negro boy to apply 
for admittance to the bar in Alameda County, California. He lived to see afterward 
others of his race admitted to the bar and he was appointed and served as deputy 
sheriff of Alameda County, California, for years. 

There is onQ branch of the law represented by the present day Negro, and it is 
worthy of more than a passing notice. That is, the Negro foreign consul for the Eepub- 
lic of Liberia, at the port of San Francisco, a Mr. Oscar Hudson, whose practice is 
among the best Spanish families in San Francisco. He is intelligent and speaks and 
writes Spanish, Italian and English. He is an active member of the National and Local 
Northern branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 
a distinguished member of the Sixth Christian Science Church of San Francisco. The 
list, dear reader, may be long but there are many more who could be cited from the list 
in Los Angeles alone, who have had history-making cases and have been an honor and 
credit to the race and the betterment of humanity, as will be found in the life of the 
first Negro boy to matriculate in a law school in California, in the University of South- 
ern Califoriiia, a Mr. James M. Alexander, whose sketch will show the kind of men that 
have mastered the science of law in the State. 



OF CALIFORNIA 195 

The pioneer Negro attorney in California was a real Trail Blazer in that he was the 
first Negro attorney to practice in the courts of the State and shared an office with a 
well-known white firm. The following sketch has been quoted from his career, as given 
by Dr. W. J. Simmons in his book, "Men of Mark," who said: "Mr. Robert Charles 
O'Hara Benjamin was born on the Island of Saint Kitts, West Indies, March 31, 1855. 
Education being compulsory on the island, he was sent to school while very young, and 
at the age of eleven was sent to England under a private tutor who prepared him for 
college. 

"While yet a boy he entered Trinity College, Oxford, where he studied for three 
years and left without taking a degree; * * * visiting Sumatra, Java and the Islands 
in the East Indies. He then returned to England after a two years' tour. He next took 
passage on a vessel coming to America and arrived in the city of New York, April 13, 
1869. Ten days after he shipped as a cabin boy on the bark Lepanto, Captain Cyrus E. 
Staples, and made a six months' cruise to Venezuela, Curacoa, Demara and other West 
Indies ports. 

"Returning to New York in the fall of the same year he concluded to abandon the 
sea and settle there, working at anything he could get to do. In the meantime he took 
an active part in public affairs which brought him in close association with such prom- 
inent politicians as Dr. Highland Garnett, Cornelius Van Cott, Dr. Isaac Hayes, the 
Arctic explorer, and Joe Howard, the well known newspaper man. 

"Mr. Howard, then editor of the New YorTc Star, employed Mr. Benjamin as a 
solicitor and agent. When not at his work he was assigned to office duty. In the course 
of a few months business led him into the acquaintanceship of Mr. J. J. Freeman, editor 
of the Progressive American, who made him city editor of his paper. In the same year 
(1876) he appeared before the Court of Common Pleas and was naturalized. Soon after 
he was given a position of letter carrier in the New York postofifice, but, finding the 
work too laborious, after nine months' trial he was compelled to give it up. He then 
went south and engaged in school teaching. It was while engaged in this business that 
he took a notion to become a lawyer. In Kentucky he read law with County Attorney 
David Smith, afterward State Senator, also ex-Congressman Reid, and in Alabama with 
Judge Sineral Clark. He finally placed himself under Hon. Josiah Patterson, an eminent 
lawyer of Memphis, Tenn., through whose influence he was admitted to the bar, Janu- 
ary, 1880. Mr. Benjamin's achievements as a lawyer, journalist and lecturer are un- 
rivaled. The territory over which his legal services have extended aggregate twelve 
different States. * * * 

"He is highly esteemed by the members of the California bar and is regarded by 
both black and white citizens of the State as an able scholar and an honorable Christian 
gentleman. At Los Angeles Mr. Benjamin was a member of the well-known law firm of 
Barham and Stewart. This might be regarded as an honor when we consider that the 
firm is among the most prominent on the Pacific Coast. * * * Mr. Benjamin is the only 
Negro lawyer on the Pacific Coast. At the same time Mr. Benjamin filled the position 
as city editor of the Los Angeles Daily Sun, the first Negro in the United States, so far 
as we know, to hold so prominent a position on a white paper. 

"Soon after the inauguration of President Benjamin Harrison the members of the 
bar of Southern California, with whom Mr. Benjamin came in contact daily, the Judges 
of the Supreme Court, the mayor of the city of Los Angeles and the members of the 
city council, together with the city officials of superior ability, petitioned Senator Stan- 
ford and the congressional delegation, asking that Mr. Benjamin's name be sent to the 
President of the United States for an appointment. Accordingly the entire delegation 
indorsed and presented his name for the position of United States Consul of Antiqua, 
West Indies. The State Department, not caring to make a change of officials in that 
particular consulate, offered him, several months later, through the congressional dele- 
gation another equally prominent position which he declined; preferring to remain at 
the editorial helm of the San Francisco Sentinel which he then edited and which he 
made one of the brightest race journals in the United States. 

' ' Mr. Benjamin is an intense race man, and his manly stand and eloquent speech in 
behalf of the race before the Republican convention at Sacramento, his fearless edi- 
torials in his newspaper demanding recognition for the race, and the able manner in 
which he defended his race before the courts have all tended to endear him to the 
colored people of California. * * * Mr. Benjamin has been an earnest member of the 
church for some years, but some months ago he concluded to give church work and book- 
publishing more of his attention. He therefore resigned the editorship of the Sentinel 
and turned over the major part of his lucrative practice of law to a San Francisco 
attorney, appearing himself only in the criminal courts, and has entered actively into 
the ministry. * * * He is presiding elder of the California conference of the A. M. E. 



196 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Zion Church, his territory covering the State of California, Oregon and Washington." 

The office of Foreign Consul stands alone and distinctive. It is comparatively little 
understood by the average person, but is strictly an appointment made by the President 
of the United States. The person selected to fill the office must be of more than average 
intelligence, must know something of law and the different languages and must possess 
great diplomatic abilities. 

The duty of a Foreign Consul is not only to represent the country for which he has 
been appointed in every social function, but he must listen to every complaint of any 
of the citizens who may come to the port where he is located. It is his duty to adjust 
any differences coming between a citizen of the country he represents and a citizen of 
the country where he is located. It is his duty to adjust these differences cautiously lest 
he cause a diplomatic break between the two countries. 

The Foreign Consul is often called upon by the country he represents to attend to 
the purchase of large supplies for their home use. If a citizen from a foreign govern- 
ment should find himself in distress by lack of funds, or require identification, he imme- 
diately applies to the Foreign Consul representing his government at the port where he 
might be at the time. 

There are few Negro Foreign Consuls at the present time because of the fact that 
the Eepublic of Liberia is the only Negro-governed country now in existence. In view 
of the above the writer considers it a pleasure and honor to be permitted to present the 
sketch of a Negro Foreign Consul, Mr. Oscar Hudson, who is the consul for Liberia at 
the port of San Francisco. 

Hon. Oscar Hudson has been well-qualified through education and travel to fill the 
office with credit to himself and honor to the Negro race. He is a splendid example of 
what a boy can make of himself if he but tries and wills to be somebody. Mr. Hudson 
was born in Missouri, January 4, 1876, and attended a country school until he became 
an orphan at the age of eleven years, at which time he was forced to shift for himself. 
He went to Mexico where he again attended school and secured a good education with 
a splendid knowledge of the Spanish, Mexican and many other foreign languages. So 
thoroughly did he master these languages that when the United States Government was 
at war with Spain, he was selected as Spanish and English translator in Cuba. 

After the Spanish-American War he located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where 
he lived for several years, during which time he was owner and editor of a paper called 
the "New Age" which voiced the interest of the Negro race. He was elected delegate 
at large to the Eepublican State Convention, of New Mexico, in 1911. This was the 
first Eepublican State Convention ever held in that State. Hon. Oscar Hudson was ap- 
pointed a delegate to the Negro National Educational Congress held in St. Paul, Minne- 
sota, in July, 1912. This appointment was conferred upon him by the then Governor, 
William C. McDonald, of the State of New Mexico. 

During all the years he lived in New Mexico he had a great desire to master the 
profession of law, and, thinking he saw an opportunity to study in California; he re- 
moved to Los Angeles during the winter of 1907-8. During his stay he established and 
published the "New Age," a paper whose policies were for the uplift of the Negro race 
in California. He published it for a year when he sold out and moved back to New 
Mexico. 

The charm of California was so great, notwithstanding he had many honors con- 
ferred upon him after his return to New Mexico, still, even so he returned to California 
and stood an examination and was admitted to practice law in 1911 by the Appellate 
Court of the First District of California. Since then he has been granted the right to 
practice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. 

Mr. Hudson decided to locate in Northern California and was for sometime engaged 
in the real estate business in Alameda County, during which time the Governor of the 
State appointed him notary public for Alameda County. It was while serving as such 
that the Hon. President Woodrow Wilson appointed him as consul for Liberia at the 
Port of San Francisco. The 1917 annual edition of the San Francisco Daily Chronicle, 
the largest paper published in San Francisco, devoted one page to "Foreign Consuls 
holding important places in the life of the community." In speaking of Mr. Hudson, 
among other things, it said: "Many honors have come to Oscar Hudson in his chosen 
profession, the law. Not only does he enjoy a splendid and successful practice in all 
the courts having jurisdiction in California, but he is also consul for the Eepublic of 
Liberia at the Port of San Francisco. He is the first and only Negro to hold a member- 
ship in any bar association in the State of California, and he has the respect and esteem 
of not only the bench and bar but of the public at large. * * *" 

The writer considers the above quotation a fine tribute to the subject of this sketch, 
for Mr. Oscar Hudson is not only the Liberian Consul at the Port of San Francisco, 



OF CALIFORNIA 197 

but he is also the greatest public-spirited Negro in Northern California. He has the 
bearing of a king without being haughty. The writer, in studying him, often recalls a 
remark made to her by the late Hon. Theo. Hittell, in referring to the late Col. E. D. 
Baker, in which he said: "His very presence commanded attention." Mr. Hudson aims 
high in everything he undertakes for the uplift of the race. This was particularly true 
in his earnest work to try and secure a Negro regiment in California. 

Shortly after the United States Government declared war on Germany, Mr. Hudson, 
realizing that the Negroes of the Pacific Coast were without a military organization, 
immediately began to try and stimulate an interest in his fellow raccmen to obtain a 
regiment. This required upon his part a personal sacrifice of both time and money in 
traveling over the State and preparing an appeal which he personally presented to the 
California Legislature, asking for permission to organize this Negro regiment. It was 
at a tremendous sacrifice that he succeeded in arousing the Negro men and in organ- 
izing four companies in Los Angeles which were officered by ex-United States Army 
officers who had served in the Spanish-American War. In the northern part of the 
State many men signed up for a unit of two companies. So confident was Mr. Hudson 
that he would have the required number that he told the glad news to Mayor Kolph of 
San Francisco, who, like a true San Franciscan, wishing to distinguish the "City of 
Inspiration," hastily donated a beautiful silken United States flag to the First Volun- 
teer Negro Kegiment of California. After this enthusiastic act on the part of the 
Mayor of San Francisco, every Negro who had enlisted for this regiment wished to be 
chief boss. Before they finally settled their differences the order came from Washing- 
ton, D. C, stating that no more such regiments should be organized, as it would inter-, 
fere with the operation of the Draft Law. Thus a great opportunity to give the bravo 
men in these different companies an opportunity to distinguish themselves was lost. 

It is also gratifying to note that a number of the men who did sign their names 
to serve in this volunteer regiment were not content to wait for the draft and secured 
assignment to the separate training camp for the training of Negro United States 
Officers and graduated from the same with honor and now hold commissions in the 
Officers Reserve, and are at this writing serving with the National Army in France. 

Mr. Hudson is happily married and his wife is a registered Christian Science Prac- 
titioner. She has been a great aid to the subject of this sketch in his struggle for 
distinction. She has a winsome personality and wonderful executive ability. 

The following is quoted from The Bench and Bar of California, edited by J. C. 
Bates, who, in speaking of Attorney Willis Oliver Tyler, said: "Residence 831 San 
Pedro street. Office 325-26 Germain Building, Los Angeles. Born July 19, 1880, in 
Bloomington, Indiana; son of I. and Mary Jane (M. S. Caw) Tyler; moved to California 
in January, 1911. Graduated from the University of Indiana in 1902, received the 
degree of A. B., and from the Harvard Law School in 1908 with the degree of L. L. B. 
Admitted to the Bar of Illinois, October, 1908. Commenced the practice of law in asso- 
ciation with B. F. Mosely at Chicago, April 24, 1911. Attorney for the Robert C. Owens 
Investment Company since October 1, 1911. Corporal of Company "B, " Indiana Col- 
ored Volunteer Infantry, from July, 1898, to January, 1899. Practices his profession 
alone in Los Angeles to date. Member of the Harvard Club of Chicago, Illinois." 

Charles Darden, the subject of this sketch, is the son of Charles H. and Dianah 
Darden, a large and most prominent family of Wilson, North Carolina. His father is 
the pioneer undertaker of that city. Their son, Charles, was educated in the public 
schools of his home town. After graduating from the high school, was sent to Wayland 
Seminary, and later to Howard University, at Washington, D. C, where he graduated 
in law. He afterward traveled extensively throughout the United States, Hawaiian 
Islands and the Orient. Attorney Charles Darden located in Los Angeles, California, 
where he was immediately admitted to practice in all the courts of the State. During 
a visit east in April, 1915, and while in Washington, D. C, he had the honor of being 
presented and admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. The 
motion conferring this honor upon him was made by a former teacher, a Professor Hart, 
who holds the chair of Criminal Law, Procedure and Corporation in Howard University. 

Attorney Darden is socially popular and is a distinguished member of the Knights 
of Pythias lodge, also the Masons and Elks. He is reserved, rarely ever giving an 
opinion in conversation on any subject. His evasive attitude has caused many to wonder 
at the great court trials he has succeeded in winning, the most noted of which was the 
one in regard to segregation or race restriction in the purchase of land by Negroes. 
Attorney Darden has made a specialty of land litigation. This case will show his thor- 
oughness in such matters because he is persistent in carrying all his cases to the court 
of last resort in the State for a final decision. He has the honor and credit of winning 
a favorable decision in regard to race restriction clauses in the sale of property to 



198 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Negroes almost two years before the Hon. Morefield Story won a favorable and final 
decision from the United States Supreme Court on the same subject. It is strange to 
relate that while Attorney Darden was the first attorney in the United States to secure 
Buch a verdict it has not been commented upon except in few papers beyond the Eocky 
Mountains. The race papers of California proudly acclaimed his success, realizing that 
in due time other men of the race all over the United States would win such vital 
verdicts. 

The following is quoted from a race Los Angeles paper in regard to this great vic- 
tory for Attorney Darden: "Eestriction against race holders of title to lands in this 
State has been declared void by John W. Shenk, who rendered a decision in favor of 
Mr. Benjamin Jones and Mrs. Fannie Guatier, plaintiffs against the Berlin Realty Com- 
pany. Announcement of this decision so far-reaching to the Afro-Americans of America 
is made by Attorney Darden, able counsel, who handled the case for Mr. Jones and Mrs. 
Guatier. The decision obtained is so direct in its effect and consequences upon the 
much-mooted question of the validity of such race restriction that it establishes a real 
precedent, it being the first decision obtained directly upon the question involved in a 
Court of Justice in the United States, and was rendered by Judge John W. Shenk, ex- 
city attorney, and former candidate for mayor of Los Angeles City." 

The California Eagle then further states the proceedings of the case in such a clear 
and impartial manner the writer has deemed it correct that it be quoted. It said: 
"Mr. Jones and Mrs. Guatier purchased of the Berlin Realty Company one acre of land 
in the tract known as The Moneta Garden Land Tract, in the city of Los Angeles, by 
mailing to the Berlin Realty Company their check as the initial payment, which was 
accepted by the Berlin Realty Company. The company then mailed a contract to Mr. 
Jones and Mrs. Guatier containing the following covenant and restriction: 'Said prop- 
erty shall not be sold to or be occupied by any person not of the white or Caucasian 
race.' Immediately upon receipt of the contract by Mr. Jones and Mrs. Guatier, and 
their discovery of the restriction above set out, Mr. Jones notified the Berlin Realty 
Company that such was objectionable to himself and Mrs. Guatier and demanded a new 
contract with the elimination of the restriction. Then the Berlin Realty Company dis- 
covered that Mr. Jones and Mrs. Guatier were persons not of the white race and the 
company immediately returned the check to Mr. Jones and repudiated the contract. 

"Mr. Jones and Mrs. Guatier at once consulted Attorney Darden, an expert on the 
law of real estate, who has instructed and guided them to final victory through the 
courts. Mr. Darden immediately filed suit in specific performance, and reformation of 
the contract demanding that a deed be delivered without the objectionable restriction, 
claiming that there was no authority in the law warranting a refusal to issue the deed 
demanded and that the restriction in question was a violation of the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment to the Constitution of the United States and contrary to public policy of the State 
of California and the United States, which contentions were upheld by Judge Shenk, 

"The Berlin Realty Company is a company composed of Jews organized for the 
purpose of subdividing and settling people on land in California and said company in 
its brief contended that the plaintiffs were merely attempting to extort money and in 
answer to that contention we quote from Mr. Darden 's full and exhaustive brief the 
following: 'The plaintiffs in this case are persons of high integrity and are, as the 
court must have observed, quite intelligent; that from their reputation in this com- 
munity they would not have entered into a scheme or any scheme to extort money from 
any person or people whose condition and circumstances in many places, particularly in 
Russia, are similar to the Negro, and the plaintiffs are unable to understand how a 
corporation composed of Jews, who are almost universally similarly circumstanced as 
the Negro could enter into or become a part of any iniquitous scheme such as the Berlin 
Realty Company had entered into to further degrade the Negro. ' 

" 'A leopard cannot change his spots, and the said quotation is not only an axiom 
but a truth well-known in human nature that Negroes cannot change their skin; they 
cannot be assimilated into the white race and nature did not intend the two races to 
intermingle.' This last quotation is from Ingall W. Bull's brief as attorney for the 
Berlin Realty Company. 

"In further reading the brief prepared by Mr. Darden, the paragraph which more 
than any other in the brief was far-reaching in its effect and consequences upon the 
mind of Judge Shenk is the following: 'If the defendant in this case were to prevail, 
it would be possible for large land owners of the State of California and the United 
States or for large syndicates to buy up or acquire all the land in the United States, 
and then make an arbitrary selection of the residents who are to occupy and settle the 
same. They could even say, with the same authority of the law to support them, that 
no white man could own or acquire title to any land in the State of California or the 



OF CALIFORNIA 199 

United States and absolutely supplant th*^ Caucasian race, if they felt so disposed. 
■Til * i.« thr' "cason the State of California and the United States have adopted con- 
stitutions and made laws and rendered judicial decisions protecting property rights of 
the citizens.' 

' ' In prosecuting the case Mr. Darden relied upon the broad ground of public policy 
and in his brief is found relative thereto the following: 'The only authentic and ad- 
missible policy of the State upon any given subject arc its constitution, laws and 
judicial decisions. The public policy of a state of which courts take notice and to 
which they give effect, must be decided from those sources and not by the varying 
opinions of laymen, lawyers and judges as to the demands of the interests of the public. 
(U. S. vs. Tran. Miss. Freight Association, 1G6, U. S. 290.)' The brief continues: 'AH 
persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof 
are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside. No State shall 
make or enforce any law which will abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens 
of the United States. 

" 'This Court being an officer and representative of the State of California and 
acting in judicial capacity for said State in the case at bar cannot construe and declare 
valid the restriction in question or refuse to eliminate the same for the reason that 
sucli a holding and declaration or refusal to eliminate would have the effect of enforcing 
a law which would abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United 
States, and would therefore be void as in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the 
Constitution of the United States and against the public policy of both the State of 
California and the United States. 

" 'Even if the law was not discriminating in terms, yet if it were even applied, 
administered or enforced by public authority so as practically to make unjust discrim- 
inations between persons similarly circumstanced in matters affecting their substantial 
rights, the law should be held invalid as being a denial of equal protection of the law, 
coming within the prohibition of the constitution of the United States; tha1» our con- 
tractual rights and guarantees would amount to nothing, and that is the reason why 
the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was made a part 
of the fundamental law of the land.' 

"Attorney Darden concluded his able brief with the following: 'The defendant, 
Berlin Eealty Company, will freely sell to whoever will buy, providing the buyer be 
not of the Negro race. The vendee may be a gambler, pugilist, his hands may be stained 
with human blood, and he may have committed every crime only that of suicide; he 
may be so densely ignorant of our form of government that if asked concerning same 
to answer that a kingdom is ruled by a king and a republic is ruled by a notary public, 
and the purchase of such one will be viewed with delight, while that of an educated 
and refined colored man devoted to his country and venerating its flag will be subject 
to the machinery of the law. It needs no argument to show that this is an instance of 
narrow race prejudices, born of intolerance, opposed to good citizenship and finds no 
support in the law.' 

"Judge Shenk, in rendering his decision, declared that the brief filed by Mr. Darden 
in the case was as able and exhaustive as any he had ever seen or read in any case." 

The case just quoted is one of many similar cases won by Attorney Darden in land 
litigation. The New Age of Los Angeles had the following to say concerning this attor- 
ney: "Mr^ Darden, the first of his race to go before the Supreme Court of this State, 
has three victories before this court of last resort to his credit." 

Mr. Charles Darden has won another important decision the first time ever won by 
any attorney in the State of California. This case and verdict will affect the rich even 
more than the poor Negro people in that it establishes a precedent that "A married 
woman can sell community property without the consent of her husband, especially 
when the title to same is vested solely in her name." The race papers in the entire 
State were elated over the victory. The New Age had the following, in which it said: 
"This decision or procedure secured by Mr. Darden 's legal ingenuity is not only far- 
reaching in its effect, but sets precedence for the organic law of the State, and it will 
enter into the pleadings of every attorney in the State who goes before the Superior 
courts of the State with similar questions to be litigated touching upon that peculiar 
phase." 

The ease involved in winning this verdict was as follows: "Case of M. Eandall 
vs. Jane Washington and Samuel Washington her husband. The facts in the case are 
as follows: Mrs. Washington purchased three lots from a married woman by the name 
of Delcia Donnelson, whose huband, at the time of the sale, was confined in the county 
jail charged with embezzlement. The money from the sale of the property was to be 
used in the defense of the husband. Subsequently Donnelson secured his liberty and 



200 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

went back to the family dwelling-place, and re-fuged to vacate, claiming that he had 
not signed or joined with his wife in the deed of conveyancP -':-f ths property. A.^ ?. 
matter of fact the property was community property, and Mr. Donneiso.i had not 
signed the deed." 

Mr. Darden brought suit in the Superior Court, charging "unlawful detention of 
premises," and at the trial secured judgment, and Donnelson was subsequently evicted 
from the premises. Donnelson then regained possession and it became necessary for 
Mr. Darden to file his second suit in ejectment. This suit resulted in a second judg- 
ment in Mr, Darden 's favor. The Donnelsons then jointly made a deed to ex-Judge M. 
Eandall, who is himself an able attorney, who, they claim, paid them a fair market price 
for their interest in the property. Mr. Randall immediately brought suit against the 
Washingtons, Mr. Darden 's clients, to quiet title. That suit came on for hearing about 
July 8, 1909, and judgment was rendered in favor of Mr. Darden 's clients, making it a 
victory of magnitude for Mr. Darden, for it was the third winning of suits at law on 
the same property, covering a period of nearly two years' hard litigation. From the 
Superior Court an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the State, which court, on 
the third day of October, rendered an opinion in favor of Mrs. Washington, which 
opinion, being rendered by the Supreme Court of the State, is absolute and final. The 
whole time covered in hard and fierce litigation upon the property above mentioned was 
nearly five years. 

Attorney Darden has won many cases in the criminal courts. One attracting con- 
siderable attention was the Edward Silva case, which Attorney Darden carried to the 
Supreme Court three different times and, while not winning a reversal of the verdict, 
succeeded in having his sentence changed to life imprisonment instead of the death 

penalty. ... 

Attorney Darden has also won many cases of discrimination against the race m 
Los Angeles, the most notable of which was the one against the Ealphs' grocery store, 
a large retail store in that city. The one here referred to is one of their stores located 
at 631-35 South Spring street. These stores serve light lunches at the soda fountains. 
A white lady and her colored maid, together with the chauffeur, all entered the grocery 
for their lunch, since they were downtown at lunch time. The grocery lunch counter 
refused to serve the colored maid. Whereupon the lady, who was Mrs. Briggs, feeling 
humiliated and embarrassed, brought suit against the store, and Attorney Darden was 
employed to prosecute the same. He won a favorable verdict for his client. 

Attorney Edward Burton Ceruti, the subject of this sketch, was born in faraway 
beautiful Nassau, of the Bahama West Indies. When he was four years old, his parents 
moved to the United States, at which time the father became a naturalized citizen, 
that his son and namesake might have a career under the Stars and Stripes. This son 
was given the best education possible. "He took a course in the St. Augustine Normal 
and Industrial Institute. He also studied at Shaw University, Ealeigh, North Carolina; 
Howard University, Washington, D. C; the Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, N. Y., and 
the St. Lawrence University at Canton, N. Y. From the latter institution he was 
graduated with the degree of bachelor of law." 

After graduating from this institution, he came across tlie continent to Los Angeles 
before beginning his career as a criminal attorney. "At the beginning of his career 
he trained for the ministry in the Episcopal church, served a congregation as catecnist 
f'or a season and even now, while deeply engrossed in a rapidly increasing business, he 
finds time to serve as lay reader of St. Phillip 's parish of Los Angeles, California. ' ' 

Edward Burton Ceruti was admitted to practice law in Los Angeles County, Cali- 
fornia, January 12, 1912, and in the United States District Court, March 10, 1912. It 
was then that he began his career as an attorney. He has distinguished himself and 
won a conspicuous place in the legal profession along the Pacific Coast because of his 
notable achievements. 

"He is essentially a criminal lawyer. In criminal cases he has won for himself a 
standing second to no other criminal lawyer in California. He is a man of pleasing 
personality, of generous impulse and has been equipped for his work as a lawyer. 
Attorney Ceruti has demonstrated in many instances that his preparation for the prac- 
tice of law has been most thorough. His versatility evinces wide reading, profound 
study and an intimate comprehension of human life and psychology of human action. 
He is considered the most competent attorney among the colored profession in California 
* * * and has won the respect and confidence of the leading attorneys and courts of 
the State, * * * 

"Attorney Ceruti 's first famous case was that of People against Burr Harris, a 
murder case, in which the defendant, a Negro, was charged with having killed Mrs; 
Haskins, a white woman of this city. It was by his ingenious management of the 



OF CALIFORNIA 



201 




MRS. OWEXS-BYNUM 
Real Estate Dealer and Investor. 



202 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 




HON. THEODORE W. TROY 

Investor and Promoter of Mines, and 

Furniture Dealer in IjOS Angeles. 




ATTORNEY HUGH E. MACBETH 

(Harvard) 

Member of the Executive Committee of 

the Morals Efficiency Association 

for Southei-n California. 



OF CALIFORNIA 203 

defense that Burr Harris was acquitted of the crime. But about two years later this 
same Burr Harris was again arrested charged with a more horrible murder than that 
of Mrs. Haskins. Under the most brutal circumstances, it was discovered that Mrs. 
Gay, a white woman and a Christian Science practitioner, was found murdered. Harris 
confessed to this murder and many other crimes, including the Haskins tragedy and 
was finally convicted. 

' * This case became one of national interest. It attracted the attention of alienists 
throughout this section of the country, some of them firm in their belief that Harris was 
afflicted with some strange form of recurring insanity. Attorney Ceruti waged a bitter 
fight in the Supreme Court in defense of Harris, attacking with great severity the 
existing law respecting the criminal insane. His conduct of this case was one of the 
most remarkable exhibitions of legal knowledge that has been witnessed in the courts 
of California for a number of years. * » » The most notable of the recent cases 
handled by Mr. Ceruti was the Thomas Miller case, recently concluded at Santa Barbara, 
California. This case has gone down into history as one of the greatest criminal trials 
that has ever taxed the courts of the State. The elements which conspired to make it 
a great criminal case were these: First, Thomas Miller did kill a man and a woman 
in Santa Barbara. Second, he was tried and convicted and sentenced to be hanged. 
Third, an appeal was taken for a new trial. Fourth, Miller's acts created intense feeling 
among all the people of Santa Barbara. The feeling was so bitter that not a single man 
or woman, white or black, could be found who would tell anything he or she knew 
about Miller and his eccentricities that would aid in any way the defense in its plea of 
insanity. Fifth, by diligence, by painstaking effort on the part of Attorney Ceruti, 
Thomas Miller was finally given a life sentence. 

"It was without hope of reward that Attorney Ceruti seized this opportunity to 
demonstrate his thorough knowledge of criminal law. * * * He took what appeared 
to be an absolutely hopeless case, * * * which promises neither remuneration, praise 
nor commendation, and when the odds were overwhelmingly against him. But so con- 
vincing were his arguments, so skillful his examination, so painstaking his selection of 
jurors that he was able to break down the thick wall of prejudices against his client 
and secured the verdict above mentioned. * * * Three hundred and eighty men, many 
of them prosperous business men representing the progress and advancement of Santa 
Barbara County, were examined to serve on the jury. * * * Twelve men finally 
qualified. One man, engaged in a popular business, * * * stated frankly to the court 
that he believed Miller guilty simply because he was a Negro, the inference being that 
all Negroes are criminals. * * * This frank admission brought forth the rebuke of 
the court. * * * 

"Mr. Ceruti deserves the heartiest praise of every member of the race for the 
manner in which he conducted this history-making case. For embodied in this man are 
social feelings and hopes for the Negro race which are rare in professional characters. 
* * * Mr. Ceruti made a great sacrifice of time, energy and money to save the life of 
this poor Negro man who, under a fit of insanity, committed the terrible crime with 
which he was charged. 

"A verdict was rendered which reflects great credit upon the legal skill of Attorney 
Ceruti * * * The vigor, the courage, the persistence, the undaunted devotion of 
Attorney Ceruti in this instance marks him as one of the greatest criminal lawyers in 
the State. * * * In July, Thomas Miller, weak-minded from his youth, suffering 
some strange mental aberration at all times, on this fatal morning attacked with an 
unaccountable turn in his mental troubles, shot and killed, for no known reason, a man 
whose name was Bert Baker, in Santa Barbara. He wounded the same morning, while 
in his fit, a companion by the name of Smith, and later went to his rooming-place and 
killed his landlady, Mrs. Howard, by shooting her six times. These acts created great 
excitement in the beautiful little city by the sea, and racial feeling ran high on account 
of the fact that Miller belonged to the Negro family. 

"In September Miller was placed on trial. He was found guilty and sentenced to 
be hanged. He was carried to the State jjenitentiary to await execution. In the mean- 
time pressure was brought to bear. Attorney Ceruti was urged to appeal the case 
and secure, if possible, a new trial. * * » Sentiment was violently opposed to Miller. 
He had no friends among the people; both races were against him. * * * The brief 
period of time between Miller and the gallows could be counted in short hours. But 
Attorney Ceruti, * * * moved by the noble Christian impulse that values human life 
above everything else, consented to defend this poor, unfortunate, condemned man. No 
one believed that he could save his life. 

' * The appeal was granted^, Miller was given a new trial. For six weeks this trial 
engrossed the serious attention of the people of Santa Barbara. Both races were 



204 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

interested in the outcome. Attorney Ceruti became the chief attraction each busy day, 
and while sentiment was clearly against his cause, he was, nevertheless, regarded by all 
who visited the court as a great lawyer and a noble hero. The plea of insanity was 
made. Testimony was brought to bear on this issue. Witnesses were called from all 
parts of the State. The argument made by Attorney Ceruti was one of the most eloquent 
and convincing ever heard in Santa Barbara. He proved clearly that Thomas Miller 
was not a sane man; that his acts were without reason or motive; that he did not know 
at the time he committed them that he was committing unlawful acts. Few lawyers 
have so unremittingly given themselves to so hopeless a task or have sacrificed as much 
in behalf of a client. Attorney Ceruti won a victory when he secured the verdict of 
life instead of death. He saved a life and, considering all the circumstances in this case, 
he accomplished a wonderful thing indeed. 

"Beside these great criminal cases. Attorney Ceruti has been very successful in 
the handling of discriminating suits in California. Just recently he won the case of 
Williams versus New China Cafe. In this case the New China Cafe refused to serve 
Williams and his wife. He also won the case of Conners versus Clune's Theater, the 
largest and most attractive in Los Angeles. Conners and his wife were refused seats, 
for which they had purchased tickets, in the main body of the house. 

"The most recent success was the case of Columbus versus La Petite Theater at 
Santa Monica, on November 1, 1916. The case of Mrs. J. Columbus versus La Petite 
Theater was tried in the justice's court in the township of Santa Monica. Justice 
Frank Shannon, of Sawtelle, presided. This was a suit for damages in which Mrs. 
Columbus alleged discrimination on account of her color at the company's theater on 
the Ocean Front avenue, Santa Monica, in that the theater people refused her seats on 
the main floor of the auditorium. On Monday, November 13, 1916, the justice rendered 
his decision against the defendant company for the sum of $50 and costs, the amount 
demanded by Mrs. Columbus. Attorney E. Burton Ceruti represented the plaintiff in 
this action. In speaking of this case, Mr. Ceruti said: 'This decision is another stone 
in that foundation on which rests our confidence in the courts generally and in Justice 
Shannon particularly. The justice allowed the full amount prayed for in the plaintiff'^ 
complaint. This amount was small; in fact, the minimum sum allowed by law. Unless 
the circumstances are aggravated or there be substantial injury incurred, no excessive 
or speculative damage should be sought in these cases. It is not proper that we should 
make capital of these offenses. An insult to our honor or dignity cannot be measured 
in dollars and cents; money does not heal a wound. The end or aim of these actions 
is to stop discrimination; to convince the wrong-doers that the law can and will be 
enforced. This can be just as effectively accomplished with small judgments as with 
larger ones. The compelling force lies in the certainty with which such offenses will 
be punished. No good business man will subject his enterprise to a series of expensive 
and vexatious lawsuits, especially when his chances of success are slim.' " 

Since the above cases cited were won by Attorney Edward Burton Ceruti, he has 
been called to Pasadena, California, to fight a suit of discrimination in that city. The 
California Eagle had the following, in which it said: "California made safe for the 
Negro " Again it has been established that discrimination in this State will not and 
should not be tolerated. On Tuesday, May 14, 1918, in the Superior Court, before Judge 
Paul J. McCormick, Attorney Ceruti scored a victory over the apostle of discrimination. 
A mixed jury awarded his clients, Mrs. Banton and Mrs. Steward, damages in the aggre- 
gated sum of one hundred dollars. On January 1, 1917, Mrs. Banton and Mrs. Steward, 
prominent residents of this city, visited the Crown City Theater in Pasadena. Despite 
the fact that the regular admission fee was ten cents, they were forced to pay twenty- 
five cents. After entering the theater they learned on inquiry that, every one else had 
paid a dime, and that all seats were ten cents. They were convinced that they were 
the objects of discrimination. This they resented by filing suit for damage for the 
sum of five hundred dollars. Thus began the long and bitter legal controversy which 
ended in their favor. 

"The case is noteworthy because it is the first of its kind ever tried before a 
mixed jury. But it is of a yet more vital significance because it proves that Sections 
51-2-3 and 54 of the Civil Code can be enforced and that all who dare restrict the 
privileges of citizens on account of race, creed or color must expect adequate and just 
legal punishment. 

"Mrs. Banton and Mrs. Steward, together with their intrepid attorney, are to be 
congratulated on the perseverance and courage they have shown in the fighting of this 
long and perhaps disheartening struggle. They have, through their efforts established a 
judicial precedent favorable to the race, and thereby 'Made California safe for the 
Negro.' " 



OF CALIFORNIA 205 

William Lenton Stevens, the subject of this sketch, is a native of Texas, coming 
to California in August, 1903. He was appointed patrolman after taking the Civil 
Service examination on April 25, 1905. As soon as the detective department of the 
city was placed under civil service, Mr. Stevens took the examination and was appointed 
October 16, 1912, being tlie first colored man placed in this department on the Pacilic 
Coast. 

He has made some of the most important arrests and assisted in the prosecution of 
some of the greatest criminals that the city and State have known. Having been highly 
commended for bravery and efficient work in The Police Bulletin on different occasions, 
Mayor Alexander, during his administration, recommended that Mr. Stevens be given a 
medal for bravery. 

Detective Sergeant Stevens is a thirty-second degree Mason, Shriner and Forester. 
He enjoys the highest respect of all the leading citizens of both races for his dutifulness, 
integrity and progressiveness. 

Mr. Sidney P. Dones, the subject of this sketch, has a life filled with inspiration 
for those who think that poverty is a bar to success. He is practically a self-made man, 
and, while young in years, for he was born in Marshall, Texas, February 18, 1887, he 
attended the rural public schools until he was fifteen years old, when he decided that 
he wished a better education. To accomplisli this meant to attend some preparatory 
department of a race college. He worked nine months in the year, picking cotton or 
anything else on the rural farms, and attended school the remaining three months. The 
small sum he was enabled to earn did not equal enough to supply him with the luxury of 
a coal oil lamp, whereby he could study at night. Nothing discouraged him and he 
studied by night, using a pine torch. 

Mr. Sidney Dones by the time he was sixteen years of age had by hard study pre- 
pared himself to stand an examination and to be admitted to Wiley University at 
Marshall, Texas. Entering the academic department, he later graduated after mastering 
an English course. He then entered the college department and studied for two years, 
when, on account of his father 's death, he had to assume the responsibility of the family, 
and gave up college. 

Later he came to Los Angeles, and worked as a plain day-laborer, which enabled 
him to further assist the family. It was while thus working that he fully realized that 
he had sufficient education to go into business for himself. He wished an office of his 
own, but his business was not sufficient for him to pay rent. Not being too proud to 
work, he did the janitor work for the building, thus paying for his own office rent. 
}lo v.-as determined to climb. This has resulted in that today he is considered the 
leading young real estate dealer in Los Angeles, having a suite of offices in the Ger- 
main building. 

While he was climbing in the real estate business, he read law for six years. This 
prepared him so that today he is the head of the Bookertee Investment Company, deal- 
ing in real estate and insurance. 

On June 18, 1913, he married Miss Bessie Williams, a musician of prominence. The 
union was blessed by the birth of a daughter, Sidnetta. He owns a beautiful home and 
a touring car. He was a candidate for the City Council of Los Angeles during the 
spring of 1917, but was defeated. He has been an active worker for all of the Liberty 
Loans, and untiring in his efforts to fully explain to the people the advantages of the 
Loan. It is the wish of his friends that some day he will represent the race in the 
legislative halls of the State. 



CHAPTER XVII 

A Song of Old Dreams in the Musical, Life of the Pioneer and Present 

Day Trail Blazers 

"Sometimes amid the tumult and the throng. 

We hear an old sweet song, 

A broken strain from one we used to hear 

Back in some yester year; 

A melody borne through the drifting haze 

Of life's forgotten days. 

The tumult dies around us, strangely thrilled 

With roar of traffic stilled; 

Our eyes are dimmed — our hearts turn back — and then 

We dream old dreams again. 

' * Sometimes beneath Love 's new-found, smiling skies 
Remembered perfumes rise; 
An incense from the violet or rose, 
Where summer's south wind blows; 
Lost fragrance from old lanes of mignonette, 
That love cannot forget; 
And in the twilight or the dawn we turn 
To where old altars burn; 

And new-found love must bide its moments; then — 
We dream old dreams again." — Anonymous. 

Thus we of today in beautiful California, as we study the history of the pioneer 
colored people, with their trials and discouragements; and, as we review the sketches 
given of their children in the musical world and in letters and science reaching such 
great heights, we truly feel like singing with the poet just quoted that "We dream 
old dreams again. ' ' We measure a man 's success in life by the distance he has climbed 
to the position he wins for himself and thereby honors his race. 

Let the reader review the musical career of Madam Sara Miles-Taylor and her 
brother, William Blake. They are children of an early-day Negro miner. The life of a 
colored miner was filled with numerous hardships, but more than one endured it all 
that they might give to their children a good education. These two persons just men- 
tioned were given the best education then possible in California, after which they went 
east and builded upon the foundation laid in California. In after years they became 
renowned musicians in the several branches they decided best suited to their liking. 
Mr. William Blake became a great band master and instructor of musical instruments in 
San Francisco, while his sister, Sara Miles-Taylor, was acknowledged a great singer and 
artist in the musical world of two continents. She married Mr. Alex Taylor, who was 
an excellent performer on the piano. They realized the value of thorough training and 
went east to better prepare themselves for a musical career. 

After becoming sufficiently trained, they toured the United States, and then England, 
France and Germany. While in Prague they were blessed by the birth of a son. The 
first colored child to have been born in that city, whereupon the ruler and his wife 
acted as the child's godparents, and gave it for a christening gift a sum of money 
that would equal two hundred and fifty dollars in United States currency. 

There were others who distinguished themselves in the musical world in pioneer 
days. They, in after years, returned to California, crowned with honors, to spend the 
remaining 'days of their lives. The writer has in mind the "Famous California 
Vocalists," who, after touring the world, returned to the United States and to the State 
of California, with all the laurels that a critical musical public showered upon them. 
In a book by Mr. James Monroe Trotter, called "Music and Some Highly Musical 
People," in referring to these singers,, among other things said: "The Famous Cali- 
fornia Vocalists, Anna Madah and Emma Louise Hyer, made their debut before an 
audience of eight hundred people at the Metropolitan Theater on April 22, 1867, at 
Sacramento, California. On this occasion, as on others afterward in San Francisco and 
other places in California, their efforts were rewarded with grand success. The musical 
critics and the press awarded them unstinted praise and even pronounced them 
wonderful. ' ' 



OF CALIFORNIA 207 

The author then quoted from the Sati Francisco Chronicle of that date, which said: 
"Their musical powers are acknowledged and those who heard them last evening were 
unanimous in their praises, saying tliat rare natural gifts would insure for them a 
leading position among the prima donnae of the age. Miss Madah has a pure, sweet 
soprano voice, very true, even flexible, of remarkable compass and smoothness." 

These words of praise can be more fully appreciated when the reader learns that 
her program was a "Wagnerian one." The critic's comment on her rendition of a 
selection from the "Rliine Maidens" said: "Her rendition of a selection from this 
number was almost faultless and thoroughly established her claim to the universal com- 
mendation she has received from all lovers of melody who heard her." 

In commenting upon the voice of her sister, the critic said: "Miss Louise is a 
natural wonder, being a fine alto singer and also the possessor of a pure tenor voice. 
Her tenor is of wonderful range, and in listening to her singing it is difficult to believe 
that one is not hearing a talented young man instead of the voice of a young girl." 
These criticisms were made, as the reader will note, without a single reference to the 
singers being of the African race, which is conclusive evidence that they were judged 
according to their merits. The singers thereby established their claim as musical artists 
of that period to sing such high-class music and win critical musical favor. 

While the writer was traveling over the State in quest of data for this book, she 
had the imexpeeted pleasure of meeting in Sacramento one of tlie singers, Miss Madah, 
who is now the wife of the well-known and highly respected Dr. Fletcher, located in 
that city. The writer immediately told the lady her mission and attempted to interview 
Mrs. Fletcher, but, like most great artists, slie was retiring and did not care to talk. 
But after convincing her of the good she could do for struggling musicians by telling 
that many years ago there lived in Sacramento, California, a young colored girl, scarcely 
in her teens, who had given a ' ' Wagnerian ' ' program in che city theater, in which she 
had won unstinted praise from the musical critics of the daily press, Mrs. Fletcher 
consented to tell the writer of her travels all over the world, and showed some highly 
interesting newspaper clippings which spoke in the highest terms of her artistic singing 
and the wonderful range and sustaining tones of her voice. It was interesting to listen 
to her tell of her trip across the continent with her parents to Boston for additional 
training. While in Boston she sang before the world renowned Madame Adelina Patti. 

After spending years in training, the sisters toured the United States, and then 
they joined the late Sam Lucas in "Out of Bondage" and toured Europe, and later 
joined John W. Isham's "Famous Octoroons." While members of this company they 
went to the Hawaiian Islands and Australia. It was while in this company that the 
papers spoke of Miss Madah as the "Bronze Patti." Mrs. Fletcher has a charming 
personality and is a delightful conversationalist. 

After the interview the writer was introduced to Mrs. Fletcher's mother, who, in 
speaking of her daughter's career, said that on their first appearance in the Metropolitan 
Theater in Sacramento she sang with them. Her maiden name was Miss Cryer and she 
married Mr. Sam P. Hyer, who came to California before forty-nine. 

Mr. Denis Carter, a pioneer musical artist on musical instruments, came to California 
before forty-nine. He followed mining for a short time, when he decided to return to 
the profession he practiced at his home in Philadelphia. He was a musical instructor 
on musical instruments. Mr. Carter readily formed classes in a circuit of cities, 
beginning with Grass Valley and ending in San Francisco. Mr. Dennis Carter was a 
master of the bass viol, and among his pupils he had the distinction of having Mr. 
Markus Blum, who in after years become a distinguished band master in San Francisco. 
The pioneer persons remember and tell with pleasure of the Blum Band which was the 
joy of old San Francisco before the fire of 1906. A Professor Mueller acted as pianist 
in Mr. Dennis Carter's school of music. Among Mr. Carter's colored pupils the fol- 
lowing names have been given: Preston Alexander, John Adams, William Cantine and 
Abraham Holland, 

John G. Coursey, another music teacher of pioneer days, had the distinction of 
being a member of the Pacific Board of Musicians of San Francisco, in 1866. Among 
his pupils are the names of Miss Ophelia Eandall and Virginia and Louise Campbell, 
who were considered fine singers. He had other pupils who in after years were inter- 
nationally distinguished. In this list occurs the names of Cyrus Smith, the Purnell 
Sisters and Mr. and Mrs. Sampson Williams, all of San Francisco. The last-named were 
no less persons than Madam Selika and her husband, who had the best and most won- 
derful baritone voice of any Negro singer in America. 

There were many organizations doing good work in those days to encourage the 
study of music among our people. The Pacific Musical Association was organized in 
1877, and met every Monday night in the West Indian Benevolent Society hall, on 



208 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Pacific street, San Francisco. The following named persons were officers and members: 
President, William H. Carter; vice-president, Harry Givens; treasurer, J. S. Kipwith; 
Secretary, George W. Jackson; musical director, D. E. Jackson; members, J. H. Smith, 
Sara E. Miles, prima donna; Mary Josephine Miles, contralto; piano, William Blake; 
tenor, D. B. Jackson; baritone, Sampson Williams; soprano, Mrs. Sampson Williams; 
baritones, Mrs. Perkins, and M. S. Sampson; mezzo-sopranos, Fanny Master, Mary Appo, 
Ophelia Randall and Miss Tennie Edmonds. 

There are many others who might be added to this list of organizations and persons 
who distinguished themselves in a musical career during pioneer days, but it will be 
impossible to continue this period of the musical life of the "Negro Trail Blazers;" 
and yet it cannot be closed with justice and not mention an account of the musical 
career of one who distinguished himself long after that period, and yet was of that 
period. This refers to Mr. Joseph Green, who had the distinction of being the only 
trombone player in the Alphia Orchestra of San Francisco. He served with them for 
thirty-five years, during which time he played in the celebrated Palm Court of the Old 
Palace Hotel before the fire of 1906. Mr. Green's trombone playing was one of the 
attractions of the orchestra, and, like the Palace Hotel of San Francisco, was loved 
over the world. The popularity of this hotel and the continuous playing of this Negro 
musician for so many years recalls to mind an expression made to the writer through a 
letter from the distinguished white musical director of Oakland, California, Professor 
Alexander Stewart. The v»'riter had extended an invitation to the different musical 
directors of the white race around the Bay cities to attend a concert given by the great 
Negro musician, Professor Robert Jackson, director of music of the Western Reserve 
University of Kansas City, Missouri. The concert was given in Oakland, and, after its 
rendition, one of the directors sent the following letter, in which he said: "It is very 
gratifying to me to find the colored people doing so much in music that is worth while. 
We certainly owe them a debt of gratitude already for their contribution to musical 
art. I honestlyi believe that music is to play a very important part, if not the most 
important part, in the future development of the colored people toward higher* ideals. 
* * * Yours sincerely, — (Signed) Alexander Stewart." 

Coming down to more recent date, we find the "La Estrella Mandolin" club playing 
for the millionaires on "Nob Hill" before the fire of 1906, and a Mr. D. W. McDonald, 
a leader of an orchestra likewise employed. Mrs. Laura Logan-Tooms, who was not 
only a good musician and teacher, but an organizer of church choirs, especially during 
her residence in San Jose, now has a daughter recently graduated from the girls' high 
school of San Francisco who has a wonderful voice and is having it trained. There was 
another lady of that period who was an excellent musician and won fame throughout 
the United States, and that was a Miss Jose Morris. 

In connection with music, there was another line that sent out to the world many 
persons who won distinction in the dramatic art. Miss Cecilia Williams, who was a 
Shakesperian tragedienne. She also wrote good verse, as will be seen from some of her 
poems in the literary chapter. The Bay Cities Dramatic Club, of San Francisco, did 
much to encourage the young colored men and women in California. It was this club 
which discovered and did much in developing the possibilities of Mr. Bert Williams, of 
Williams and Walker. Mr. Williams has long won the distinction of being the greatest 
comedian on the American stage. 

The above, giving an account of the activities of the "Pioneer Musical Trail 
Blazers," is no less interesting than "The Present Day Trail Blazers" in the musical 
world. The present day musician hap not allovred any of the advantages gained by the 
pioneers to slip from his grasp. He has gone even further and has won distinction in 
conservatories while competing with white students. In this particular, one girl won a 
diamond medal. There will not be found in this department one single sketch except of 
those who have spent time in actual study to make finished artists of themselves. 
One of the conditions to admit a sketch in this department has been that the person be 
a real musical student. The writer realizes that far too many persons call them- 
selves musicians who have never trained a single day and have never even had their 
work criticized by persons capable of giving an opinion of value. Such persons are not 
much to encourage the study of the art of music. Hence the writer is heading this 
department with a sketch of one who recognized the necessity of such training from a 
scientific standard. The first sketch, as the reader will note, is that of Professor William 
T. Wilkins, who deserves great credit. He is the greatest pianist and teacher of the 
same in California. 

The next sketch is that of Professor Elmer Bartlett, the greatest pipe organist of 
California. His sketch shows plainly what one can do and the reward coming from such 
thorough study. He is the best trained Negro organist, in the writer's idea, of any 



OF CALIFORNIA 209 

Negro in the United States. Tlicre are other men who may be better known, but none 
■who have had better training in the art of pipe organ playing and instruction. 

The next sketch is of Mrs. Corrine Bush-Hicks, who studied in London, England, 
and then Mrs. Florence Cole-Talbert, who won a diamond medal. This one is followed 
by one from Miss Pearl Hinds, who won distinction in music at Oberlin College and at 
the Conservatory of Music in Boston Massachusetts. 

Then Mrs. Gertrude Pillow-Kelley, who has been wonderfully trained, both in 
Canada and in Los Angeles. Then there must be made special mention of Mrs. Teat, 
•who has the distinction of being the only teacher in California who has been trained 
in Boston to teach the Fletcher Copp method for beginners; also Miss Marie H. Ford, 
who has won distinctive training at the Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and has 
successfully promoted concerts for the race in Los Angeles, taxing the capacity of the 
Trinity Auditorium. Mention could be made of each contributor in the chapter, but 
the reader perhaps would not care to read these interesting sketches. 

The writer considers it a privilege to present to the reader this sketch of the 
Musical Trail Blazer, Professor William T. Wilkins, of Los Angeles, California, a man 
of whom the race can feel justly proud. We often read of musicians as geniuses. The 
writer calls the subject of this sketch an artist. The word "genius" too often is used, 
especially in speaking of colored persons in the musical world, to denote their super- 
natural gifts in the art of music, without the hard and careful study which is absolutely 
necessary to produce a real musician. This man has won his right to the title of artist 
or professor, in that he has been willing, at the advanced age of twenty years, to bogin 
at the very beginning to learn music by note. He had the determination to win for 
himself a place in the musical world and considered it a pleasure to surmount any 
difficulties to accomplish this aim. 

Professor Wilkins is the son of a musician and leader of a band in which he had all 
three of his children play. His father is a musician of the old school and taught his 
children to play by ear. Young William at the age of three years, was placed on a box 
and taught to play a bass drum in strict time. When he was older he played the snare 
drum in his father's fife and drum corps. 

His father is a tinner, sheet-iron and hardware worker and was anxious that his 
son William learn the trade also. He was ambitious to advance his children's oppor- 
tunity in life, and for that reason moved with his family from Little Rock, Arkansas, 
to Oklahoma. Later, finding the schools not as advanced as he would have liked, he 
moved to Los Angeles, California, where he entered his children in the magnificent 
Bchools of that place. 

Before leaving Oklahoma he taught William how to play a few chords on the piano, 
and thus accompany him on the piccolo, and after this William learned to play the 
cornet. When they moved to Los Angeles, William's musical education was not given 
any more consideration. Instead he was taught thoroughly the trade of tinner and 
mechanic. This resulted in William, at the age of thirteen years, building a stationary 
engine which was so perfectly done that he readily sold it. The money thus obtained he 
used to further his studies iii engineering. He invested the entire sum in a scholarship 
in the American Correspondence School of Electrical Engineering. 

William readily advanced in his studies. When he entered the Polytechnic school, 
he spent his recess period in playing on the school piano. This attracted his teacher, 
and then the music teacher of the school, Mr. M. H. Grist, gave him a few private les- 
sons in the art of reading music by note. During the years he attended the Polytechnic 
school he at the same time pursued a course of study through the American Correspond- 
ence school. When he received his diploma from the Polytechnic school he almost at 
the very same time received a certificate from this correspondence school for an electrical 
engineer. He readily found employment with the Edison Electrical Light and Power 
Company of Los Angeles. 

His thirst for a musical education finally led to his consulting the well-known 
musical instructor. Professor Von Stein, head of the conservatory, by the same name. 
Having saved the money earned by working for the Edison Company, he was enabled 
to immediately begin the desired instruction. The long hours required for practice work 
on the piano compelled him to resolve that he would resign from his position, notwith- 
standing he was the first Negro boy to find employment with the Edison Light and 
Power Company. He worked for them as line inspector for ten months, when he 
resigned his position. 

William, having saved his money while employed by the Edison company, thought 
this sum would see him through a course of music. But he was soon doomed to disap- 
pointment, since he had gone to the highest-priced teacher in the city. His father being 
determined that William should follow the trade of an electrical engineer, made no 



210 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

effort to assist him to study music by note. William, being equally determined to be a 
musician, thought long and seriously as to how he could earn the price of his lessons and 
also have time to practice. The only practical door opened to him was the cutting of 
lawns. He canvassed the fashionable residence districts of Los Angeles, and, securing 
enough customers, he retained them for years. 

His faithfulness to duty soon won him friends among his customers, who, after 
learning of his ambition to become a musician, invited him to come in and play for 
them and their guests. It was then that William discovered that he had advanced to 
that place where he needed a good piano. His father was unimpressed, and William, 
still being determined, asked a friend, a Mr. Hill, to permit him to practice on his good 
piano. After this event William T. Wilkins won his father to realizing that he was 
sincere in his desire to become a great musician and purchased him a good piano. 
William, however, earned the price of his lessons by the cutting of lawns for over six 
years. After which Professor Von Stein gave liim a certificate and advised him to teach 
music to his people or any one wishing his services. 

Professor Wilkins had set his determination to not only teach, but some day become 
a great piano soloist. He secured a few pupils and immediately placed himself under 
the instruction of another well-known musician, Professor Brahm Van der Berg, also of 
Los Angeles. This instructor is the well-known Belgian solo pianist, who at one time 
was connected with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and also associated with Emma 
Calve and Theo. Leschetizky. 

Professor Wilkins' success as a teacher was so great from the very first that he felt 
safe on September 1, 1916, in opening a music school. This has been such a success 
that today he employs ten teachers, has five pianos and two of these are grand pianos. 
His school has departments where he has competent teachers in the giving of voice cul- 
ture, the piano and violin. During the coming year he contemplates adding dramatic 
readings. 

During the long years of his struggles to master the art of music he has won and 
retained the highest respect of the best members of both races in the City of Los 
Angeles. He has been shown the distinction of having the first Negro sketch accom- 
panied by a photograph tc^ appear in the oldest musical journal published on the coast, 
Tlie Pacific Coast Journal of Music, having solicited and published the same in a recent 
issue. In the same issue appeared the pictures and sketches of white musical artists of 
international fame. Among this number was Mr. James Goddart, of Covent Garden, 
London, England, Royal Opera Company. 

Professor William T. Wilkins gives a public students' and teachers' recital every 
May. After the one given in 1917 he received a letter from Mr. Carl Bronson, a musical 
critic for the largest daily papers of Los Angeles, and also director of the First M. E. 
Church Choir Association, which consists of one hundred and fifty voices, many of whom 
are world-renowned. In his letter to Professor Wilkins, Mr. Bronson said: 

Los Angeles, California, May 24, 1917. 

"My Dear Mr. Wilkins: After having inspected your system of teaching, I am 
thoroughly convinced that you are giving your people the exact science of music in a 
manner as simple as it is unaffected, and that every attentive student will acquire the 
principles of that art as laid down by the greatest standards of the world. I am 
amazed at your achievements and feel that somehow you are divinely endowed to carry 
life's greatest message to your people. May you ever prosper. 

"Devotedly yours, 

"(Signed) Carl Bronson. " 

Professor Wilkins' recital for 1918 was given in the Lyceum Theater, which will 
easily seat a thousand persons. The admission price was fifty cents. A few hours 
before the recital came an unusual occurrence, the first in many years, when the City of 
Los Angeles was visited by a thunderstorm, rain, snow and lightning. This storm 
lasted all afternoon. The recital opened on time with standing room only. In the 
audience were recognized many white eminent musical instructors and their families. 
The pupils played a ditficult program with ease and confidence. The class consisted of 
one hundred and fifty students, many of whom were white. The race people were 
thrilled with pride and delight over this acknowledgment of the ability of one who is 
genuinely representative of the Negro race. He has by his ability broken down a great 
barrier for the race. This recital was attended by Professor Carl Bronson, who, after 
the close of the program, addressed the audience and highly complimented Professor 
Wilkins and his students. Professor Ray Hastings also sent a good letter: 



OF CALIFORNIA 211 

"Ray Hastings 
"Organist, Temple Baptist Church, Clune Auditorium Theater 
"2764 Roxbury Avenue, Los Angeles, California. 
"Mr. William T. Wilkins. " Mav 16 1917. 

"Dear Friend: Your program last night was indeed a treat. The result of your 
teaching was astonishing. However, after attending two of such recitals, and when I 
remember your exceptional talent, splendid training and inclination to really 'do things,' 
I'll expect it always to be 'number one.' You are doing a great work. 

"Success to you, 

"(Signed) Ray Hastings." 

"P. S. — Miss Wilson, in her absolute poise and masterful style, is certainly a 
'wonder.' " 

"Los Angeles Polytechnic School. 
"Department of Music. Mrs. Gertrude B. Parsons, Head of Department. 

"Los Angeles, California, June 18, 1917. 
' ' Mr. Wm. T. Wilkins, 

"1325 Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California. 

"Dear Mr. Wilkins: I take great pleasure in expressing to you my appreciation 
of the splendid work done by your school music students at the recent recital given in 
Lyceum Hall. The assurance, precision and good taste exhibited in the work of the 
young people was delightful to witness, and the fact that they played and sang from 
memory was most commendable. I congratulate you upon the wonderful work you are 
doing with your people, and certainly tlie highest praise is due you for your years of 
indomitable perseverance — ^which are now bearing fruit. May success always crown 
your efforts. 

' ' Most sincerely, 

"(Signed) Gertrude B. Parsons." 

This lady was a former teacher of Professor Wilkins. 

"Juvenile Court, Los Angeles. 

' ' Sidney N. Reeve, Judge. 

"Probation Department, Tenth Floor, Hall of Records. 

"Los Angeles, California, June 21, 1916. 

"To Whom It May Concern: Mr. William T. Wilkins has in his possession several 
very good letters of praise and recommendation from prominent people, and I am very 
glad to say a word in his behalf. I have known the young man, who is now twenty-nine 
years of age, since he was twelve years old. I have watched his career as he has 
climbed up step by step, working his way through high school and into his present 
position and musical attainments. He is worthy of every encouragement that the people 
of Los Angeles can give him, and I am sure that he will some day be recognized as a 
genius. 

' ' Respectfully, 

" (Signed) Mrs. A. J. Bradley." 

"Department 10, with the Juvenile Court." 

The daily papers have been most kind to Professor Wilkins, as will be seen from 
the fact that, at the opening of the musical season of 1914, the Los Angeles Tribune- 
Express, October 14, of that year, appeared with the following head-line: "Los Angeles 
Negro Musical Genius. Concert season opens October 20." The article concerning this 
Negro musician appeared at the right of the page with a full two-column, cut of the 
professor at the piano. Opposite his picture was that of Madam Olive-Fremsted, the 
soprano singer of the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York. 

The Trihune-Express proprietor the following Christmas gave a dinner to a thousand 
newsboys. For their entertainment he invited the best singers and other musicians in 
the city. Among this number he included Professor William T. Wilkins. He was 
honored previous to hia appearance with a two-column write-up which appeared in this 
paper. After the dinner, the following letter was sent to the professor by Mr. Noah 
D. Thompson, who is on the editorial staff of the Tribune-Express. 

"Tribune-Express Editorial Rooms, 

"Los Angeles, California, December 27, 1914. 
"Dear Mr. Wilkins: I am sending you today under separate cover several copies 
of the Express and Tribune which speak of your excellent performance at the Christmas 
dinner given in honor of one thousand newsboys by Mr. Edward T. Earl, owner and 
publisher of the above daily papers. 



212 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

"It is very gratifying for me to note that one thousand hungry newsboys stopped 
eating to listen to your compositions.Thanking you on behalf of the management of 
the papers for your contribution toward the success of the dinner to the local newsies, 
I am, yours truly, 

"(Signed) Noah D. Thompson." 

The day will come when not only the musical public of his own race, but others, 
will acclaim Professor William T. Wilkins a great pianist. He has written several 
musical compositions that musicians say if published will be well received, especially 
"The Path of Destiny." At this writing he is studying under the greatest authority 
on Eussian music in America, Professor Jaroslaw de Zielinski, who is so noted that he 
has already had his name given prominence in the Encyclopaedia of Music. He is 
spoken of as an author, composer and pianist. He writes for the Etude and is director 
of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, an institution which has been established 
for over thirty-five years. 

Professor Elmer C. Bartlett, the subject of this sketch, was born March 18, 1887, 
at Galena, Cherokee County, Kansas. He was educated in the high schools of that city; 
came to Los Angeles in 1903; studied the piano under Professor Henry Amiraux, of 
Paris Conservatory, for three years. Professor Elmer C. Bartlett, after this foundation 
was so splendidly laid, decided that he would begin the study of his chosen life's work 
and began the study of the pipe organ under the best teacher in America, Professor 
Ernest Douglass, F. A. G. O. This teacher has founded a method of organ playing that 
is used in five leading colleges in America. He is at the head of the Douglass School of 
Organ Playing. Mr. Bartlett studied under this renowed teacher for five years, and at 
the present time is preparing to take the examination to become a member of the 
American Guild of Organists. 

Professor Elmer C. Bartlett has held the position as pipe organist of the First A. 
M. E. Church since 1909, in Los Angeles, California. He is a successful teacher of the 
piano and pipe organ, and enjoys a large and intelligent class of pupils. He married, 
in 1910, Miss Gertrude Bruce and has a beautiful home and studio at 936 Pico street, 
Los Angeles. 

There is not a sketch in the entire book that the writer enjoys more giving to the 
reader than the one concerning Professor Bartlett. He is, in her opinion, the best pipe 
organist of the Negro race. He understands and( is able to get the soul of harmony 
from the instrument. He is a finished performer. The writer bases this opinion on the 
following knowledge: Having attended a summer session of pipe organ musical lecture* 
given at the University of California through the American Organist Guild to stimulate 
and encourage an appreciation of the pipe organ, she afterward attended a fall and 
winter course of musical lectures and recitals by the world-renowed Professor Clarence 
Eddy, given on the pipe organ. This knowledge has enabled the writer, although not a 
performer, to judge and fully appreciate a good and soulful performer on that grand 
instrument, the pipe organ. Professor Bartlett may not be as well-known as a number 
of other Negro pipe organists, but the day will come when the world will acclaim his 
ability, thus adding another star to the glory of the Negro race. 

The next sketch of interest is that of Mrs. Florence Cole-Talbert, diamond medalist, 
who comes from a long line of ancestors who were musicians. She is the daughter of 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Cole, who moved to Los Angeles from Detroit, Michigan, with 
their daughter when she was ten years old. Her father is a son of the well-known real 
estate holder, the late Hon. James H. Cole, who died leaving large and valuable real 
estate holdings in the City of Detroit, Michigan, having made his wealth as a black- 
smith and carpenter. Her mother was a member of the Original Fisk Jubilee Singers 
and the daughter of Mrs. Hatfield-Chandler, who was the organizer and sang in the first 
colored Baptist church choir' in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her grandfather, Mr. Hatfield, was 
associated with Levi-Coffin, of Cincinnati, as an active member of the "Underground 
Eailroad." 

The reader will note that Mrs. Florence Cole-Talbert was fortunate in having been 
born with a splendid foundation for a musical career. The mere fact of her grand- 
father having been an active member of the "Underground Eailroad" would endow 
her with a spirit of undaunted courage to ever do the best for herself and the race. 
Her parents, coming from a long line of musicians, and being musical artists, early 
recognized their daughter's talent for music. They also recognized the value of a good 
education. Their daughter was thoroughly educated in the public schools and the 
University of Southern California. 

Her musical training began with the best teachers available, placing her under the 
instruction of Madame Windsor, of Los Angeles. When she had advanced suflElciently, 
they continued her studies at the conservatory, after which she accepted a position as 



OF CALIFORNIA 218 

leading soprano or the prims^ donna of the "Midland Jubilee Singers." She filled the 
position less than six months when she married one of the managers. 

Her husband is a son of the late Rev. Talbcrt, the former traveling financial secre- 
tary of Wilberforce College, Ohio. He readily recogniz.cd her wonderful voice, which 
resulted in her instantly leaving the stage to continue her musical studies at the Chicago 
Musical College. 

While a student of the college she won a partial scholarship and was presented in 
student's recital during her first semester. She graduated with the class of 1916. In a 
public competition before thirty members of the faculty and judges, she won first place 
out of a class of sixty students, and was the only Negro member of the class. Her course 
at the Chicago Musical College consisted of Italian, composition, harmony, and vocal. 
She averaged one hundred in each subject. She also won the first prize, a diamond 
medal, the first time it was ever won by a colored student. The winning of the medal 
gave her the honor of singing at the commencement exercises accompanied by the Chicago 
Symphony Orchestra of one hundred pieces. Her selection on this occasion was "Caro 
Nome," from "Rigoletto," sung in Italian. The following are some of the musical 
criticisms she has received from musicians of both races: 

"Chicago Musical College, 
"624 Michigan Boulevard. 

Chicago, Illinois, October 9, 1917. 
"To Whom It May Concern: Mrs. Florence Cole-Talbert has studied in the Chicago 
Musical College in the voice and theory department and has accomplished highly 
remarkable results in her work. She won the diamond medal of her class and sang 
with the greatest success at the commencement exercises of the institution. There can 
be no doubt that she should become a very successful vocal artist. 

"Yours very truly, 

"Felix Borowski, President." 
"Pedro T. Tinsley, 
"Author of Tone Placing and Voice Development, 
"6448 Drexel Avenue. 

"Chicago, Illinois, October 6, 1917. 
"Esteemed Mrs. Talbert: There are two things I wish to speak of concerning your 
art. First, your singing appeals to me because you seem to sing without trying. We 
all like to hear singers sing, and not work at it. Second, the most artistic thing about 
your work is the interpretation of the text. With good wishes, I am 

"Sincerely yours, 

"Pedro T. Tinsley." 
"Andre Tridon, 
"Lecturer and Critic. 

"New York City, August 4, 1917. 
"Dear Mrs. Talbert: One of the things I have enjoyed this summer (on Com- 
munity Chautauqua) was the opportunity to listen day after day to your very luscious 
voice. A voice as well trained as yours, and with such an unusual range, should finally 
gain recognition outside of the very narrow circle to which barbarous superstitution 
is endeavoring to limit it. My friend Josef Transky and Modest Altschuler will hear 
about you as soon as I reach New York. Your day will come I am sure, and that day no 
one will feel happier than tlie man who has watched you closely doing your very best in 
things generally unworthy of your talent. That fact is a guarantee that you will succeed. 

"Yours very cordially, 

' ' Tridon. ' ' 
After receiving such wonderfully encouraging letters, Mrs. Florence Cole-Talbert 
decided to take the advice of the emine.nt vocalist, Madam Azalia Hackley, and tour 
alone. The following letter is self-explanatory: 

"Mrs. Florence Cole-Talbert is my ideal of what a colored singer should be. She 
has arrived at an earlier age and with more musicianship and educational equipment 
than any artist the race has known. When she won the diamond medal in one short 
term at the Chicago Musical College, I was not surprised, for she has the combination 
of beautiful voice and musical intelligence that may only be found among the great 
artists of the country. I have known her all her life and have planned this tour for 
her that she may be heard by more of her own people; as heretofore her efforts have 
have been confined to the lyceum and Chautauqua circuits. I hope that every promoter 
and school will avail themselves of the opportunity of hearing Mme. Talbert. She is 
most worthy of your patronage. 

"E. Azelia Hackley." 
(Eminent Vocalist, Directress and Author.) 



214 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Since receiving this sketch, Madame H. Talbert has been called by the daily press 
the "Bronze Galli Curci, " and has received highly commendable letters from Mr. 
Harry Burleigh and many other high musicians. 

Mrs. Corrine Bush-Hicks, the subject of this sketch, was born and educated in 
the public schools of Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio. Her mother discovered her musical 
ability when she was entering her teens, and immediately employed a celebrated vocalist 
to instruct her daughter, Madame Jennie Jackson Dehart, a former member of the First 
Fisk Jubilee Singers, whose own voice had been so well trained that she won the title 
of the "Black Swan." The mother of Miss Bush recognized the value of instruction in 
voice culture from a teacher whose own voice had been correctly placed. The success 
of her selection can be judged when it is known that she correctly placed Miss Corrine 
Bush's voice so that in after years she developed and retained all its qualities as a 
genuine lyric soprano. 

It was while the subject of this sketch was in high school that Mrs. Dehart had the 
privilege of introducing her pupil to a Miss Heuson, who, as an advance agent, was in 
America in search of a soprano voice to join the "Louden Fisk Jubilee Singers." This 
troop, at the time, was traveling under the personal direction of Mr. F. J. Louden, the 
celebrated bass singer. Mrs. Dehart convinced Miss Corrine Bush's parents of the 
advantage to their daughter of a tour abroad. The young lady signed a contract for a 
two-year tour through Europe. Her mother, Mrs. Bush, making one demand, that she 
continue her musical studies abroad under the best teacher available. 

Miss Corrine Bush, upon reaching London, England, began the study of vocal 
music under the daughter of the late celebrated tragedian and writer. Miss Ira Aldridge, 
who had been named after her father Ira. The reader will readily recall that, notwith- 
standing his African descent, he was during his day, considered the greatest tragedian 
of England. During Miss Bush's stay in Europe she sang in all the cities, great and 
small, of Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. 

Mrs. Corrine Bush-Hicks has the distinction of having sang before the late Queen 
Victoria and her royal court, and afterward was again in London and was invited to 
sing at a memorial for the late Queen. This was held in the Spurgeon Tabernacle of 
London, England. It was at this time in .London, England, she sang before the late 
S. Coldridge Taylor, whose musical writings have since been pronounced the greatest 
production of the age, especially his "Hiawatha Wedding Feast." While in England 
she was frequently asked to personally sing in the homes of titled persons. 

The Fisk Singers, after a tour of two years in Europe, returned to the United States, 
and Miss Corrine Bush, remembering her pledge made some time before, became the wife 
of Mr. William Hicks, of Salem, Ohio. They immediately moved to Pasadena, California. 
They have lived there for the past fourteen years. Mrs. Hicks has meant much to the life 
of the clubs, both white and colored in Pasadena and Los Angeles. She is often invited 
to sing before these clubs. She sang for a season at the Chautauqua held in Monterey, 
California. 

During the last visit of the late Booker T. Washington to Southern California, the 
people of Pasadena, gave a reception to him in the auditorium of the Pasadena high 
school. Its seating capacity is rated as over two thousand, and was crowded. Mrs. 
Corrine Bush-Hicks on this occasion was the soloist. Afterward Mr. Washington per- 
sonally thanked her for her delightful singing, which he said he thoroughly enjoyed. 
Notwithstanding all the honors Mrs. Hicks has had heaped upon her, she is as unassuming 
in telling about her success in singing in grand operaj as she is about telling of any 
other engagement. She has a wonderful and pleasing personality, is quite active in 
club life and has held many state ofl&ces in the Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. 
At this writing she is an active worker in both the colored and white Eed Cross societies 
of Pasadena. 

It IS with pleasure that the writer is presenting to the reader the sketch of Miss 
Marie Hilda Ford, of Pasadena, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1895. Her 
parents moved to Pasadena when she was a year old, where she was reared and educated 
in the public schools. She was an apt student in music. Her parents, however, insisted 
that she continue her own study in music, notwithstanding she was capable of and did 
teach at the age of twelve years. This resulted in Miss Ford later taking a thorough 
course of several years' study at the Chicago Musical College, 

Miss Ford entered this college in the beginning of 1914, and graduated in June 15, 
1915, with the following honorable record, and was the only colored girl in the class 
studying the piano forte: She received a teacher's certificate or diploma with a general 
average of ninety-seven; piano, ninety-six; concerto, ninety-five; harmony, ninety-six; 
science of music, ninety-nine; history of music, ninety-seven. Her diploma was signed 
by President F. Ziegfeld. 



OF CALIFORNIA 215 

The charm of this sketch is that our subject, while receiving such a high average, 
did not stop there, but immediately re-entered the same college the next term, and at the 
end of one year again graduated with the following excellent high record: Concerto, 
ninety-three; harmony, ninety-six; composition, ninety-six; general average, ninety-five. 
Her diploma was signed by Felix Borowski, president. It was at this time that another 
colored girl graduated with great honors from the same college in the person of Madame 
Florence Cole-Talbert. Each was the only Negro member of their respective classes. 

After their graduation Miss Marie Hilda Ford and Madame Florence Cole-Talbert 
jointly gave a recital for their own race under the auspices of the Missouri State Club, 
at the St. Mark's M. E. Church of Chicago, Illinois. Upon this occasion Miss Ford 
played such difficult numbers as "Polonaise" (Opus 9), by Paderewski, and "Lieb- 
estraum," E major, by Liszt; Etude in F major, by Chopin. The Chicago daily papers 
and also the race papers spoke of her work in the highest praise. 

While in Chicago Miss Ford was made a member of the "Ideal Bureau, Choir and 
Concert." This bureau acts as a clearing house for colored talent and those who seek 
them. Since her return to Pasadena she has received numerous calls through them to 
teach music in the East and Southern States. She is loyal to California and has steadily 
refused to leave the State. 

Miss Marie Hilda Ford is very modest and unassuming concerning her work and 
the success she has met with since completing her course at the Chicago Musical College, 
but is more than generous in giving her services for charity. Recently she gave a 
recital for the benefit of the Second Baptist Church of Riverside, California. Among 
the many creditable press notices she received on this occasion was the following: 

"Mile. Marie Hilda Ford, of Pasadena, late of the Chicago Musical College, 
appeared in a piano recital last Friday night at Mercantile Hall, Riverside, for the 
benefit of the Second Baptist Church. Every available seat in the building was taken, 
many having to stand. This was in the face of inclement weather. Miss Ford proved 
her genius as a pianist upon this occasion. In the audience were musicians of high 
standing of the white race. Mrs. Porter (white), a teacher of music, was present and 
spoke of the accomplishments of Mile. Ford. She said, Miss Ford was the best she had 
ever heard. Mayor Horace Porter was also present, and spoke in glowing terms of Miss 
Ford's ability. Nearly one-half of the audience was white. This is the second time 
Miss Ford has appeared before the people of Riverside." 

While studying in Chicago Miss Ford had the honor of being a member of the 
Chicago Treble Clef Club, which was a part of the chorus of the Lincoln Jubilee and 
Half-Century Anniversary Exposition, held in the Coliseum of Chicago from August 22 to 
September 16, 1915. This celebration was in commemoration of the Half Century of 
Freedom for the Negro, and there was gathered together during that one month the 
most talented and brainiest of the Negro race throughout the United States. Miss 
Ford at the present writing is teaching with great success, having large classes in both 
Riverside and Pasadena, California. She has also promoted some large concerts with 
success and has been solicited by artists in the musical world to secure them an audience 
in the State of California anywhere she might deem it profitable. The writer personally 
has great hopes for Miss Ford's future on a broader scale than heretofore attempted 
by one so young. She has our best wishes to mount upward and onward. 

Mrs. Lillian Jetter-Davis, daughter of Rev. Henry M. Jetter, of Newport, Rhode 
Island, was educated in the public schools of her home town, after which she attended 
Neff College of Oratory, of Philadelphia, receiving a certificate in oratory and elocution; 
studied music under the widely-known Professor Frederick A. Fredericks, of Newport, 
Rhode Island. She mastered the piano forte. 

Mrs. Davis, for a number of years has been recognized as a finished artist, both as 
an elocutionist and teacher of the piano. She has trained several large choruses and 
successfully directed large church choirs and presided at the pipe organ. She is inter- 
nationally known as a promoter of entertainments, and has successfully given recitals 
in all the large cities of the United States, filling an entire evening's program with her 
music and elocution. 

Mrs. Lillian Jetter Davis married Rev. Taylor Davis in 1904. The union has been 
blessed by the birth, of five children, four of whom are living. Notwithstanding her 
large family, she keeps up her teaching of the piano. Recently her class of students at 
a recital in Fresno presented her with a wrist watch as a token of appreciation. Mrs. 
Davis has appeared on the program with nearly all the leading musicians of today who 
are identified with the Negro race. 

Miss Pearl W. Hinds, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wiley Hinds, of Oakland, is a 
native daughter, and was born in Farmersville, Tulare County, California. She was 
educated in the public schools of Oakland, taking a literary course in the high school. 



216 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Her parents early recognized her musical ability and placed her under the instruction 
of the late Mrs. Pauline Powell-Burns of Oakland. 

After her graduation from the Oakland high school, Miss Hinds attended a summer 
session of music at the Conservatory of Music of Boston, Massachusetts, making a 
specialty of the piano, after which she entered the Oberlin College of Music, connected 
with the college of the same name in Ohio. While attending this college she completed 
a course in harmony, the history of music and theory. She specialized in instruction on 
the piano, pipe organ and voice. This instruction fitted her for an instructor of public 
school music. 

While in Oberlin, Ohio, she had charge of the M. E. Church choir of that city. Miss 
Hinds also wrote the music to one of Mr. Eicks's poems, "To a Bird," which was sung 
at a recital of original songs given in the Conservatory of Music of Oberlin College. 
After graduating. Miss Hinds accepted a position as director of the musical department 
of the State Normal College of South Carolina, located at Orangeburg. In connection 
with her work, she gave private instruction and did considerable work in the churches. 
At the present writing she has decided to remain with her parents in Oakland, where 
she will give private lessons, much to the delight of her friends. 

"Mrs. E. C. Owens, the wife of the Negro capitalist, has devoted many years of 
ardent study to the cultivation of her remarkably strong, clear voice under the guidance 
of Mrs. Ben F. Thorpe. Ellen Beach Yaw, in a recent interview, declared that Mrs. 
Owens had a most beautiful natural voice and she firmly believed Mrs. Owena would 
meet with great success as a grand opera singer. Miss Yaw was very enthusiastic in 
her praise of Mrs. Owens devotion to the study of music, and hoped personally to see 
her appear in a well organized company of grand opera singers composed of the members 
of the Negro race. 

"Mrs. Thorpe recently introduced Mrs. Owens as a singer to the Women's Monday 
Afternoon Club of Covina. Her rendition of 'Eesignation,' by Caro Eoma, and 'Spring 
Dreams,' by Schubert, and several other numbers, was much appreciated and heartily 
encored. Aside from her musical ability, Mrs. Owen is well-known for her charitable 
and loving disposition. She has encouraged and assisted several girls of her race 
through school. She is the social leader among her people in Los Angeles. Booker T. 
Washington and Mrs. Washington and most all of the noted Negro visitors to the city 
have been entertained by her. The appointments of her home proclaim her refined and 
artistic taste. She has carefully chosen an extensive library and with her two charming 
daughters spends a large portion of her time in study and travel." — ^(From Los Angeles 
Times, February 12, 1909.) 

It is with pleasure that the writer adds to the above that she listened to Mrs. Owens 
sing shortly after this article appeared in the Times, but, not knowing Mrs. Owens, 
inquired if she was not a professional singer, her lack of self-consciousness and ease of 
manner, together with her sustained tones, readily gave one the impression that she 
had appeared before the footlights. It seems too bad that Mrs. Owens did not make a 
tour of the eastern cities as a " lyric soprano, ' ' for such talent should enrich others by 
its beauty. 

Instead of a musical career Mrs. Owens has chosen, after all, the better part, for, 
while she has traveled extensively, it has always been with her daughters, that they 
might have the advantage of such knowledge aside from instructions in the best schools. 
There is no greater calling than to be a successful "queen of the home." This position 
Mrs. Owens has filled with all the simplicity of greatness, as will be seen in the sketch 
of her daughters. 

Miss Manila and Miss Gladys were given all the advantages of the public schools 
of Southern California, after which they were sent to the Historic Fisk University of 
Nashville, Tennessee. Mrs. Owens choosing this high-standard colored school that her 
daughters, notwithstanding the wealth of their father, would not be autocrats. This 
school furnished them with a truly democratic education, aside from its excellent school 
system of imparting knowledge. In this particular Mrs. Owens is to be congratulated. 
She has left nothing undone to give) her daughters every advantage, thereby she has 
given to the Negro race two girls who by careful training, travel and companionship of 
their mother will develop into well balanced womanhood. 

Miss Manila has been given especial training in music. Previous to going to Fisk 
she studied music under Mrs. Newman, and, while attending Fisk, she mastered the pipe 
organ. Eecently, since returning to Los Angeles, she appeared in public recital with 
Professor Elmer Bartlett, the greatest Negro pipe organist on this Coast, She has also 
appeared in recitals in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Mrs. Ella J. Bradley-Hughley, the subject of this sketch, was born in Dallas, Texas, 
March 1, 1889; was reared under the discipline of Christian parents, receiving her col- 



OF CALIFORNIA 217 

lege education in Bishop's College, of Marshall, Texas, graduating in the class of 1907. 
She was married in Dallas, Texas, in 1911, to Mr. David H. Hughley, shortly after which 
they moved to Los Angeles, where she lived until her sudden passing in February, 1918. 

Madam Hughley was well and favorably known by every one in the City of Los 
Angeles. She was a favorite in the musical circles and had fully established her place 
as an artist upon her first appearance before the public in Los Angeles. Her first 
appearance was at a concert given by Rev. J. T. Hill at the Wesley Chapel. The con- 
cert was of an artistic nature, being the rendition of the beautiful oratorio, " Stabat 
Mater," by Rossini. The beautiful but most difficult solo was given to Madam 
Hughley. One of the papers afterward, in speaking of the concert said: "The solo of 
•Inflammatus' was never sung by any one with more feeling and artistic temperament." 
Her rich, well-trained voice seemed to be suited for such high class work. She had 
trained for and did sing in the most pleasing manner the most difficult grand opera 
numbers. The critical music lovers of Los Angeles and Southern California from hence 
acclaimed her the "Queen of Song," and she never gave them cause to regret the confi- 
dence bestowed upon her. 

Madam Hughley was at the head of the voice-culture department of the Wilkins' 
Conservatory of Music, a position she filled with credit and satisfaction to all. Previous 
to coming to California she had studied voice culture. After locating in Los Angeles 
she immediately placed herself under the training of the best teachers of the voice in 
the city. She at one time studied under Professor J. Jurakian, vocalist and voice-placing, 
pure-tone production instructor, and also Professor George Carr, at his voice-produc- 
tion studio in the Mozart Theater building. Both of these teachers are well known in 
Los Augeles. Madam Hughley liad made arrangements to study voice-culture under 
Constantino, director of the California Temple of Arts. 

Madam KughTey often rendered to the delight of concert-goers many operatic 
selections which were always commented upon in the race papers and journals.' An issue 
of the Feace Guide, a magazine at one time edited by Professor Biggers, had the fol- 
lowing to say concerning her singing in an article under the head, "In the Musical 
World": "Madam Hughley, of Los Angeles, most popular dramatic soprano. Madam 
Ella J. Bradley-Hughley is not only a leader of choir and chorus work but is a favorite 
as a soloist. She has a phenomenal voice of extra high range and extraordinary power." 
During the time she was at the head of the voice-culture department of the Wilkins 
School of Music it was such a great success that it became necessary to have a waiting 
list before a new pupil could be accepted. It is indeed sad that one so gifted should 
have to leave the world at so early an age. It is gratifying to those left that she still 
retains a sweet memory in the hearts of the public, 

Mrs. Gussie Estell Simpson-Bacon, the subject of this sketch, is one of the sweet 
singers of Southern California, although she was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She came 
to California when a small girl with her parents, who located in Riverside, where she 
was educated in the public schools of that city. Mrs. Bacon from a child had a sweet, 
natural mezzo-soprano voice. Her parents early recognized the value of it and placed 
their daughter under the best vocal instructor then in California, a noted singer, in the 
person of Mrs. Agnes Overton Hall. The motto of this instructor was " Self -Forgetf ul- 
ness," which made her pupils always ready for any audience. After studying for 
several years under this noted instructor, who laid the foundation for her voice with 
sustaining tones, Mrs. Gussie Simpson-Bacon was sent by her parents to study voice- 
culture under the noted Canadian vocal instructor, Professor J. W. Gage. She filled 
some noted engagements under his direction, such as the "Spring Carnival," at the 
Glenwood Mission Inn, the most beautiful and leading hotel in all of California, and 
also several of the leading white churches of Riverside. The M. E. Church (white) 
wanted to send her to Italy to be educated in voice culture. She had the distinction of 
having sung at the Booker T. Washington memorial services held at the Glenwood 
Mission Inn. 

Mrs. Gussie Simpson-Bacon married Mr. Henry Bacon of Riverside, and they moved 
to Los Angeles to live. Since living in that city she has studied under Mme'. Norma 
Rocka, a vocal instructor of note. Since coming to Los Angeles Mrs. Gussie Simpson- 
Bacon has sung on the program with noted colored musical artists such as Mme. Azalia 
Hackley and Mme. Patti Brown upon her first appearance on this Coast. Madame 
Hackley was very anxious that she return East with her to study for a concert singer, 
but Mrs. Bacon is happily married and the union has been blessed by the birth of three 
children. She and her husband own a beautiful modern home in Los Angeles. 

Mrs. Gertrude E. Pillow-Kelley, the subject of this sketch, was born in Great Bend, 
Kansas, coming to California with her parents when an infant. They located in Pasa- 
dena, where their daughter was reared and educated in the public schools of that city, 



218 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

graduating -with honors. After leaving school her parents sent her to Toronto, Canada, 
where she entered the Toronto Conservatory of Music and for five years she studied the 
art of music under Professor J. D. Tripp, the most noted Canadian pianist, at the end' 
of which time she returned to California and married. 

Mrs. Kelley longed to acquire a certificate to teach music and immediately made 
arrangements to enter the Von Stein Conservatory of Music of Los Angeles, where she 
studied the art of the piano forte and specialized in harmony. After two years of such 
study she received a certificate to teach the piano forte. 

Mrs. Gertrude E. Pillow-Kelley is an accomplished musician and instructor, a 
delightful performer on the piano, with a pleasing personality, modest and unassuming. 
She immediately impresses one with her ability which has made her a great success as 
a teacher. 

Mme. Catherine Marion Carr-Teat, the subject of this sketch, is one of the best 
educated teachers of music for children in the State of California, at least the writer 
has failed to find another who teaches the wonderful "Fletcher-Copp" method for 
beginners. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Nancey Carr, of Nashville, 
Tenn, They moved to Topeka, Kansas, when their children were quite young. The 
subject of this sketch graduated from the Topeka high school, after which she imme- 
diately married Mr. Isaiah Allen Teat, of Silver Lake, Kansas. She entered the next 
term as a student of Washburn College of Music, attending the same for four years, 
when she received a diploma to teach the piano forte. 

After graduating from this college she took a teacher's course at the Topeka 
Teachers' Institute, making a third-grade certificate to teach. Mrs. Teat accepted a 
position to teach in the public schools of Oklahoma, Kings Fisher County, teaching there 
for two years in a mixed school having fourteen Avhite and seventeen colored pupils. 
Mrs. Teat, being anxious to advance m music, resigned her position and, with her hus- 
band, moved to Pasadena, California, where even the charming climate of this beautiful 
place did not change her determination to advance in music. 

After residing there for a few years, she gave up her rapidly-growing class to go to 
Boston Conservatory of Music, where she studied "The Fletcher-Copp Method" for 
beginners, mastering that method together with harmony, counterpoint, technique and 
Spanish. Mrs. Teat then returned to Pasadena and again began teaching the art of 
the piano forte. Notwithstanding her high musical training, she ia modest and unas- 
suming in her manner, and quite gracious in playing for charitable purposes. She has 
played before many distinguished persons, among whom was ex-President Theodore 
Eoosevelt when he was vice-president of the United States. The State Federation of 
Colored Women's Club of Kansas was holding their annual meeting in Topeka and 
the vice-president was in the city. He was extended an invitation to address the 
Federated Clubs at their annual reception. He accepted the invitation and Mrs. Teat 
was asked to perform on the piano as a part of the program for his entertainment. 
Upon this occasion Mrs. Teat played from memory Moskowski's "Valse Brilliante. " 
She afterwards was highly complimented by Vice-President Eoosevelt. Mrs. Teat is 
happily married and has oiie son. She and her husband own a beautiful home, a modern 
cement house which sets in a plot of land of several acres planted in fruit trees, both 
deciduous and citrus, and also English walnuts and beautiful flowers. She has a large 
class in Pasadena and in Los Angeles, taking an active part in both church and club 
work, and is generally liked and is noted for her hospitality. 

There are many persons who have developed great musical talent through inspira- 
tion. The following sketches will give the reader the value to children of parents who 
have a highly cultivated talent for music and the classics. This value is only estimated 
for good and lasting results if the parents are constant companions of their children. 
Too often parents withhold from their children the priceless boon of their companion- 
ship and expect the children to develop because of their inheritance in some particular 
art. This has not been the case with Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Patton. 

Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Patton, formerly of Chicago, now of Los Angeles, California, 
are the parents of Juanita and Malcolm Patton. The father, Mr. Malcolm-Patton, was 
formerly a baritone singer of note and also an actor, having a strong voice previous to 
having it trained. He received his musical training at the Kimball Conservatory of 
Music and the Chicago Conservatory, both of Chicago, Illinois. The latter institution, 
with its reputation for correct placing and developing the voice, was the means of 
giving Mr. Patton a voice of artistic finish. He traveled for a while as a professional 
singer with several companies and quartets, and, while successful, after meeting Miss 
Alice Harvey, of Chicago, decided to marry. Mr. Patton selected for his life partner 
a lady of equallv good musical ability whose education thoroughly fitted her for the 



OF CALIFORNIA 



219 








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DR. JOHN S. OUTLAW 
Physician and Surgeon. 



DR. ALVA C. GARROTT 
Dentist. 





S. P. JOHNSOX 
Undertaker. 



DR. HENRY W. BROWNING 

First Lieut. Dental Reserve Corps, 

National Army. 



220 



THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 





DR. WILBUR CLARENCE GORDON 



DR. JOSEPH BALL 





DR. JOHN ALEXANDER 

SOMMERVILLE 

Dentist. 



DR. VADA SOMMERVILLE 
Dentist. 



OF CALIFORNIA 221 

mother of his chiklren. This union was richly blessed by the birth of two children 
whose sketches will follow. 

There arc many children who acquire distinction in music among their own race, 
but it requires a real "Trail Blazer" to win distinction in both races. This is espe- 
cially true in the public schools of California, where they have to compete with so much 
fine white talent. These musical sketches will plainly show to the reader the great 
blessing to a child of having parents who are both of such a strong type of what an 
educated and cultured parent should be that they reflect in their children the finished 
artist through constant and careful companionship and home training. 

These children, Juanita and Malcolm Patton, began their musical careers at the 
age of four and six years of age. At a very tender age they made a public appearance 
on the theatrical stage, rendering a whole program. After entering the public schools 
they steadily advanced. Their ability was recognized by their teachers, notwithstanding 
colored children were not accustomed to appearing in festivities in music with their 
classes. The Patton children not only appeared with their classes but were always 
favorably mentioned in the weekly school paper. 

Juanita began her career at the age of four and a half years, and from the begin- 
ning she had a strong, rich sojjrano voice. At the age of eight she could render the 
most difficult pieces, classical, religious or popular, with perfect case and technique. She 
graduated from the Fourteenth Street Intermediate High School of Los Angeles and 
then from the Manual Arts High School, graduating with the class of the summer of 
1917, at which time she was assigned a part in the play "Representatives of Nations" 
(white). The Manual Arts "Weekly said: "Among the rich, melodious voices heard on 
the Manual Arts stage, Juanita Patton 's voice can be classed as one of the finest, and 
those who had the joy of hearing her declared Miss Patton 'a singing exceptional." 
This quotation can perhaps be better appreciated when it is known that the stage in 
the Manual Arts school is one of the largest stages of any public school west of Chicago, 
and the auditorium in proportion. 

The Patton children have been taught by their parents to give their best to the 
race for its pleasure and appreciation. Hence they have repeatedly appeared on the pro- 
gram of various organizations for charitable benefits of worthy causes. Miss Juanita 
was the youngest soloist in the rendition of "Fifty Years of Freedom," given for the 
benefit of the Young Men's Christian Association during the summer of 1915. Her 
voice, which is a strong, sweet lyric soprano, filled the immense Shrine Auditorium, 
She plays the piano and is fluent in both speaking and translating the Spanish language. 

Dr. Wilber Clarence Gordon trained over one hundred voices to render "Hiawatha's 
Wedding Feast" for the benefit of the Old Folks' Home. It was rendered in the Trinity 
Auditorium September 5, 1916. Professor Jackson, superintendent of music in Quindara 
University, Kansas City, coming to Los Angeles to conduct the production. Malcolm 
Patton had been given the part of "Pau-pau-kee-wes," which is the most difficult and 
the leading role in "Hiawatha." After the concert, in commenting upon the singers, 
Professor Jackson said he had never witnessed a finer interpretation of the character 
than was given by Malcolm Patton. The city and race papers all spoke in the highest 
praise of his dancing, pronouncing it wonderful for a child. 

Both the Patton children have graduated from the Fourteenth Street Intermediate 
High School of Los Angeles. When Malcolm Patton graduated he was on the editorial 
staff of the school magazine. The Blue and the Gold. He was assigned the class oration 
on the "History of Music." The principal of the school was asked to say a word in 
regard to the Patton children. The letter arrived after he had gone to attend a con- 
vention of the California Superintendents of the Public Schools at Riverside. Not- 
withstanding he held an important position in the convention, he found time to send 
the following letter to the Patton children for this bock: 

"Glenwood Mission Inn, Riverside, California, December 30, 1916. 

"To Whom It May Concern: I take great pleasure in stating that Miss Juanita 
Patton and her brother, Malcolm, completed their work in the Fourteenth Street Inter- 
mediate school some two years ago. Both were eminently satisfactory students, and in 
addition showed marked musical ability, their services in this line were much appreciated 
by the school and community. Their voices showed the results of careful training and 
their numbers were always of a high order. It is to be hoped that they continue their 
musical work, both vocal and instrumental, and develop their talent to its fullest extent. 

"(Signed) Frank BoxJELLA, 
' ' Principal Fourteenth Street Intermediate School of Los Angeles, California. ' ' 



222 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Since the receipt of this letter Miss Juanita has graduated from the Manual Arta 
High School of Los Angeles. Malcolm has graduated from the Los Angeles High School 
in the winter class of February, 1919. During his many years attending the school he 
has won many honors for himself and the school. The most prominent of which is that 
he is the only Negro boy who is a member of the First Battalion Cadets of the school. 
He is a member of the High School Choral Club and assists the Glee Club on special 
occasions. He is a violinist in the High School Senior Orchestra. During the mouth of 
April, 1918, the combined choral and glee clubs, together with the Senior Orchestra, 
rendered in the high school auditorium the beautiful cantata of "Joan of Arc," by Gaul. 
The honor of singing the principal baritone solo was given to Malcolm Patton. The 
school paper, The Blue and White, in commenting on the rendition, said: "The entire 
composition was an ideal musical and educational event. It was presented with the same 
artistry which characterized all other concerts given by the two musical clubs. "The 
Ring Song," the vocal solo by Malcolm Patton, and the intermezzo by the orchestra 
were particularly effective." Malcolm Patton upon this occasion was accompanied by 
a thirty-one piece orchestra and an Italian harpist. His piece was Recitative and Aria. 
The successful rendition of the cantata was the means of an invitation from the Young 
Women's Christian Association deciding to invite the school to repeat it for their 
"Allied Market Day." One of the daily papers in speaking of the affair said: "The 
Third Allied Market Day of the Y. W. C. A. is being held today with an impressive 
program. It is designated as 'Lily of France Day' and the French atmosphere waa 
intensified with an elaborate production of Gaul's cantata 'Joan of Arc,' produced by 
the music department of the Los Angeles High School." Among the names of the soloists 
appeared the name of Malcolm Patton. The race people of Los Angeles are especially 
proud of the Patton children in that they have been "Trail Blazers" in opening a door 
for the recognition of Negro children and their talent in the musical activities of the 
public schools of Southern California. It is a great advantage to a child to be given 
any prominence in these magnificent schools with so much fine talent to compete with 
and the prejudice which usually is ready to crush the ambition of aspiring Negroes 
everywhere. The California Eagle, a race paper, in commenting upon the solo by 
Malcolm Patton, in the cantata of "Joan of Arc," said: "Upon this occasion, as upon 
others when he appeared in this connection, he did honor to his school, parentage and 
the race." 

The greatest work in the musical feature has been rendered by these children out- 
side of the school room. They have made many public appearances before white 
churches and organizations. While singing for the Stanton Post, G. A. R. (white) they 
appeared on a program of artists at Sawtelle, California, the home for soldiers. On 
this occasion there was an audience of hundreds of old soldiers and several distinguished 
army officers on a tour of inspection from Washington, D. C. At this time and on 
another similar they were repeatedly encored and received a military salute. The race 
is looking forward to greater achivements by the Patton children in the musical world, 
especially if they have blazed a trail and lowered the bars of prejudice in competing 
with white school children. These children have been trained only by their mother. 

Mrs. Bessie William-Dones, the subject of this sketch, is a native of Atlanta, 
Georgia. Coming to California with her parents at the age of five years, she attended 
the public schools of Riverside until graduating from the grammar school, when the 
family moved to Los Angeles and she entered the Los Angeles high school. During 
her attendance at the high school she was given instruction on the violin by Professor 
Meine, who, after two years of training, wrote a very commendable letter concerning 
Miss Williams' future outlook as a violinist. 

After that period Miss Williams studied under the well-known instructor of the 
violin, Professor J. Clarence Cook, of Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, after which 
she traveled throughout the Middle West, giving recitals which were very successful. 
She later accepted a position as instructor of the violin in the Wilkins' School of 
Music in Los Angeles. She has the honor of giving the first instruction to the prom- 
ising violin artist, Owen Troy, whose sketch will follow. Miss Williams, in 1913, became 
the wife of Mr. Sidney P. Dones, who is a successful real estate dealer in Los Angeles. 
The union has been blessed by the birth of one daughter, Sidnetta. 

Master Owen Austin Troy, a native son, having been born in Los Angeles, ia the 
son of Theodore Troy, formerly of Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been educated exclusively 
in the Seventh Day Adventist schools of this State. He graduated from the Academy 
of San Fernando, and also from the conservatory of music connected with the school, 
receiving a diploma from the music department covering theory, harmony and the 
history of music. 



OF CALIFORNIA 223 

Master Owen Troy began his musical training on the violin with Mrs. Dones for 
two years, after which he was so advanced that he was immediately accepted as a 
pupil by the celebrated instructor, Professor Oskar Selling. At this writing he is a 
student at the Pacific Union College located at Saint Helena,, California, where he is 
studying to become an evangelist in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. 

Leviticus Nelson Evercll Lyon, the subject of this sketch, was born in San Fran- 
cisco in May, 1894. He was educated in the public schools of Oakland, after which he 
took a course in general history and economics at the University of California in 
Berkeley. It was while attending tlie university tliat he discovered that he had talent 
for music, immediately placing himself for voice culture under the instruction of Misa 
Katherine Urner and Dr. George Bowdin, of the University of California. The last 
named was a former professor from London, England. 

Mr. Lyon also decided to study the piano under Professor Emile Stinegger, a former 
pupil of Leschetizky. He also studied the piano under Mr. Guyla Ormay. His many 
years of training under these excellent musicians has produced in this young man a 
wonderful voice of real lyric tenor. The public some day will hear from him as one 
of the greatest Negro men-singers in America, because he has trained and fully prepared 
himself to fill the role of an artist, having mastered five languages. 

The opportunity of living near the University of California and San Francisco has 
given him many advantages, which are seen in his repertoire covering the Italian, 
French, German and English schools. He specializes in sustained singing and particu- 
larizes iri music of the "Italian seventeenth century." This young man actually has 
a voice that can with credit be called a lyric tenor. The writer was charmed with his 
wonderful rendition of some old Italian ballads at a musical recently held in Oakland. 
She also attended a winter course of musical lectures by Professor Clarence Eddy on the 
pipe organ, and noted this young man's careful and critical attention at every lecture, 
and eventually located him, securing the material for his sketch. She hopes that he 
will favor the public ere long with a tour, that all may know of this California native 
sou musician with the rich lyric tenor voice. 

Soon after the above was penned and mailed to Mr. Lyon for criticism he was 
solicited by some friend to appear in a song recital at the Knights of Columbus Hall in 
Oakland. The following appeared in the OaMand Bulletin of April 17, 1918: "Customs 
Employee in Singer's Kole. An elevator operator with ambitions to become a concert 
singer has been discovered in the employ of Uncle Sam at the custom house in San 
Francisco. He is Leviticus N. E. Lyon, a Negro twenty-three years old, with a lyric 
tenor voice which lie has cultivated in the face of many obstacles. He will make his 
first appearance with a program of his own at the Knights of Columbus Hall, in Oak- 
land, on Saturday evening, April 27, 1918. His recital will be one of classic songs 
calculated to test his knowledge of the world's best music." Later, white friends of 
San Francisco to the number of forty, signed their names to buy tickets if he would 
give a recital in San Francisco, which he did in May at the Yoseniite Hall, Native Sons 
of the Golden West Building, San Francisco. The OaMand Sunshine, in speaking of 
this concert, said: "Mr. Leviticus N. E. Lyon's recital was given in San Francisco on 
Tuesday night. We went across the bay to attend the recital given by Mr. Lyon, 
assisted by Messrs. Walter Dyett, violinist, and Merrill Brown, accompanist. * * * 
On reaching the hall we found a pleasing audience sitting spellbound as these young 
men gave number after number from the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

"Their rendition was superb and the time sped by as in dreamland when the angels 
have sung a lullaby. Mr. Lyon has undoubtedly a future full of promise. We can say 
of a truth that all three of these young men, if they continue, will write their names 
among the stars and the world will lie at their feet. We shall do all we can to encour- 
age them." The Hon. Oswald Garrison Villard has arranged to pay for the singer's 
training in New York City. He has accepted the honor and is now in the Eastern city 
studying. 

There are many promising young persons in California who are preparing them- 
selves for a musical career. Among this number the writer has discovered the following 
young man in Los Angeles: Mr. John A. Gray, who is the organist at the St. Phillips 
Episcopalian parish of that city. This gentleman was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 
1889. His father gave him his first lessons on the piano. These lessons were supple- 
mented with a few by mediocre teachers until the death of his father in 1902. Since 
then he has been shifting for himself, coming to Los Angeles about nine years ago, 
during which time he has worked by day and attended night school, thereby earning 
his living. He has studied the piano, pipe organ, harmony, and counterpoint, also com- 
position. He has also learned to read and write French, and is studying Spanish and 
Italian. He expects to master five different languages at least. His ambition is to 



224 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

become a teacher and composer, and he is fitting himself for a musical career. He is 
sincere and is willing to work for success. Mr. Gray served in the world war, winning a 
commission and distinction in the National Army. 

The writer considers that too much attention cannot be given to teachers of begin- 
ners, because a musical career can be made or spoiled by a bad teacher. The subject 
of this sketch, Mrs. Pinkie Callender-Howard, is the descendant of a pioneer family of 
San Francisco, and has been thoroughly trained for a teacher of beginners. She was 
the first colored student who attended and won honors at the Lada Conservatory of 
Music, in San Francisco. She was considered the best sight reader in her class. 

She has been before the public for years and has performed before large audiences 
of both races, displaying a thorough artistic education in music. She has given special 
attention to beginners and has been a successful teacher. Her success has been remark- 
able owing to special attention and good humor. At her last recital given in Oakland, 
her juvenile class showed wonderful training and played with exactness. The advanced 
pupils displayed great technic and great rapidity. She is very grateful for her musical 
education to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John T. Callender, pioneers of San Francisco. 

California has many persons of color living in the State who, while they may not 
be classed as Trail Blazers, nevertheless have lives filled with so much of interest that 
the writer has deemed it of value to give a sketch of at least one who, during the past 
few years, has been located in Los Angeles. This refers to Rev. Charles Price Jones, who 
has wonderful ability to write Gospel songs. 

Dr. Jones was born December 9, 1865, in North Georgia and reared principally about 
Kingston. He was the son of Mary Jones-Latimer. She was a slave of William Jones, 
of Floyd County, Georgia, and was a God-fearing woman who prayed fervently for the 
salvation of the soul of her son and Divine guidance through life. Dr. Jones believes 
that God has so wonderfully blessed him in answer to her sincere prayers. The son of 
this slave woman was taught by his mother to be mannerly to all, which won him 
friends, among whom was a young man, a student from Talledgea College, named J. E. 
Bush, who gave him some school advantages. 

Later he went to night school. Shortly afterwards his mother died. This caused 
the lad to shift for himself, which he did with success. He went to Chattanooga, Ten- 
nessee, where he found employment, and later to Arkansas, and thence to Cat Island, 
Arkansas, where he picked cotton. At this he was above the average; he believed in 
excellency in whatever he attempted to do. 

While young Jones was on "Cat Island" he was converted, in October, 1884, and 
on the first Sunday in May, 1885, he joined Locust Grove Baptist Church on "Cat 
Island" and was baptized by Elder J. D. Petty. In the fall of the same year he went 
to preach the gospel of Christ. An impression now came upon Brother Jones to go to 
Africa and teach the Africans the way to God. He went to Helena, Arkansas, for 
counsel of Elder E. C. Mooris, whose counsel was that Brother Jones should first go to 
school. Accordingly Brother Jones went to Little Rock, January 3, 1888, and entered 
the Arkansas Baptist College. He worked his way most of the time. In the summer 
of that year he taught school in Grant County and paid back aid kindly received from 
Professor Joseph A. Booker, the president of the college. 

Later he was ordained at Mt. Zion Baptist Church by Elder C. L. Fisher, D. D., and 
a committee of reputable men, white and colored. He soon became prominent and was 
elected corresponding secretary of the Baptist college from which he graduated in 1891. 
There was much talk of his candidacy for president of the Arkansas Baptist State Con- 
vention. He was elected editor of the Baptist Vanguard, the college and State organ. 

Dr. Jones has held charges in some of the largest Baptist churches in the South. 
He has aimed to lead his people to a higher plane of living and in an effort to do this 
he conducted a publishing house and published a religious magazine called Truth. His 
plant was located at 329 East Monument street, Jackson, Mississippi. He was later 
burned out by a mob. 

Dr. Jones believes in prayer, and it was through long prayer and fasting that he 
was blessed by the power of the Holy Ghost to write songs. It is most interesting to 
hear him tell of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon him. He first wrote songs with- 
out music, and then both words and music. His songs are sung throughout the civilized 
world. He has written and published five Gospel hymn books and a book of poems. 
His first song book was "One Hundred Hymns" (words only); his next book, "Select 
Songs," "Jesus Only" (words and music); "The Harvest Is Past," "O Israel, Return 
Unto the Lord," "Stretch Out Your Hands to God," "Deeper, Deeper," and many 
others. 

Dr. Jones does considerable evangelical work, and always conducts the singing. 
This blessing of the gift to write songs led him to seek more spiritual uplift and finally 



OF CALIFORNIA 225 

led to his reaching a higher plane of service to God, which has been named "The Holi- 
ness Body of Worshippers." "In June, 1897, according to the leading of the Lord, the 
pastor called the first Holiness meeting in Jackson, Mississipj)!. This proved to be the 
most wonderful meeting in the Spirit hitherto held among the ministers and laymen in 
this section of the country. * * * And then after that the annual llolincs.s meeting 
at Jackson, Mississippi, and in many other places among the saints became an important 
part of the work among the saints." This meeting has grown until at this writing there 
is quite a demonination of churches that has grown out of this higher life ministry 
headquarters at Jackson, Mississippi. 

Dr. Charles Price Jones came to Los Angeles to escape overwork. He is now over- 
seer of Chureli of Christ and was given the honorary title of doctor of divinity by the 
Baptist College at Little Rock. He is at present associate editor of the Citizen Advocate 
of Los Angeles. 

Rev. Jones is not the only song-writer among the race people living in Los Angeles. 
He will have to share the honors with the gifted and very talented daughters of Rev. 
Frowd. This gentleman needs no introduction to the average reader, for he is con- 
sidered one of the best, if not tlie best, educated Negro Baptist minister in America. He 
has given to his daughters the best education possible, especially in music and languages, 
French and Spanish. Miss Lillian, the youngest daugliter, is a writer of poetry and has 
written the words to many songs which her sister, Miss Ellen Consuello Frowd has set 
to music. These songs are popular and have met with ready sale. Their father, Rev. 
Frowd, is pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles. 

Professor W. T. Wilkins, of Los Angeles, has written several instrumental pieces 
which have merit, among them being "The Path of Destiny." 

Mrs. Pearl Lowery-Winters, the subject of this sketch, is one of Los Angeles' 
favorite daughters. She has a voice and winsome disposition second to none. The 
following is quoted from the California Eagle: "While touring the State and singing 
before some of the largest obtainable audiences in many of the white churches and 
high schools, Mrs. Winters was very favorably criticized by the Women's Harmony 
Club, of Bakersfield. The Oakland Sunshine and Rev. Coleman of the North Oakland 
Baptist Church presented Mrs. Winters but a few months past and were so highly 
pleased with her ability that they strongly recommended her to other audiences." 

"In 1912, while touring the East, Mrs. Winters sang in Convention Hall, Kansas City, 
Kansas, before twenty-five thousand persons, where she was loudly applauded, and 
before the National Federated Colored Women's Clubs at Hampton, Virginia, where she 
received the plaudits of Booker T. Washington, Mrs. Washington, Major Moton and 
Miss Armstrong. Other persons of note and musical ability who favorably criticized 
Mrs. Winters as an artist of ability are the following, whose criticisms we print in part: 

" 'My friend, Mrs. Lowery-Winters, has a rich contralto voice with organ-like 
depth which surpasses any other contralto of her race.' — Mme. Florence Cole-Talbert. 

" 'Mrs. Winters possesses one of the most beautiful natural contralto voices I have 
ever heard and is an artist of rare ability.' — F. Constantino (world's greatest tenor). 

" 'Mrs. Winter's voice as a contralto has sweetness, soul and power.' — Professor A. 
G. Jackson, Western University. 

' ' ' Having been a teacher of Mrs. Winters for three years, I find that she possesses 
one of the most beautiful natural contralto voices I have ever heard.' — Professor Wm. 
Jas. Clark. 

" 'Mrs. Winters has one of the best contralto voices I have heard.' — William 
Marion Cook. 

"We have watched this young woman for a number of years. We not only consider 
her the race's best contralto in the whole West, but one of the best in the country, 
and one of the most unselfish artists we have ever been privileged to meet. ' ' — California 
Eagle. 

Mrs. Pearl Lowery-Winters, of Bakersfield, has written both words and music of 
songs which she has published. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

Distinguished Women 

Mrs. Josephine Leavell-Allensworth is equally as much of a worker for the better- 
ment of the race as was her husband, the late Lieutenant-Colonel AUensworth. She has 
a very fine education and in every sense of the word is a Christian gentlewoman. She 
practically reared her two daughters in the army, having spent nearly if not twenty-five 
years in the United States Army with her husband, during which time she lived at the 
different forts with their children. 

While Colonel AUensworth was serving in the capacity of chaplain, Mrs. Aliens- 
worth resumed the responsibility of furnishing amusement for the men and their wives. 
This would be an easy task were it not for the fact that the majority of the forts are 
located away from any large city. Nevertheless Mrs. AUensworth furnished the soldiers 
and their wives with good, wholesome and instructive amusement. Her faithfulness 
won a place in their hearts never to be effaced. Their confidence in Mrs. AUensworth 
was demonstrated when Colonel AUensworth and the Twenty-fourth Infantry were in 
the Philippine Islands. The wives of the soldiers made her their treasurer, and she 
received their moneys from their husbands, distributing the same to the proper persons. 
This money, on every pay day, amounted to thousands of dollars. She was always 
showing them acts of kindness. Neither did they forget her, for when Colonel AUens- 
worth was retired and the Twenty-fourth Infantry returned from the Philippine Islands, 
the soldiers and their wives presented Mrs. AUensworth and her daughters with a hand- 
some carved silver tray and candelabra. 

After thei plotting of the townsite of AUensworth, Mrs. AUensworth began the 
study as to what she could do to benefit the community. She was instrumental in 
organizing a Women 's Improvement Club. This club was instrumental in 
establishing a children's playground and many other improvements for the town of 
Alleusworth. When a new school house was erected, the old building was donated to 
Mrs. AUensworth, and she purchased the ground upon which it now stands, had it 
remodeled and fitted out for a public reading room. Later she solicited the Rural Free 
Circulating library, to furnish them books. Colonel AUensworth and many others, 
including the writer, gave many books. The custodian of the free reading room is 
a colored girl who is paid by the County. Mrs. AUensworth has named the reading 
room a memorial library in honor of her mother, Mary Dickson. Mrs. AUensworth is 
president of the school board, and spends a portion of the year in AUensworth doing 
whatever she can for the betterment of the race and community. 

Mrs. AUensworth is a sincere club worker, but the greatest work she has ever done 
was when she reared, with all the simplicity of greatness, two daughters who reflect, 
with credit, the strong personality of herself and husband. The writer refers to Mrs. 
Harrie Skanks and Mrs. L. M. Blodgett, who were the Misses Eva and Nella AUens- 
worth. They are thoroughly educated and are genuine gentlewomen of the old school 
of aristocracy, and have children whom they are rearing in the same delightful manner. 

Mrs. John M. Scott, the subject of this sketch, was reared and educated in Atlanta, 
Georgia. During her school days she took an active part in church work. She was married 
at an early age to Mr. John M. Scott, who at the time was one of the leading successful 
oil dealers of Atlanta. After a few years of married life Mr. Scott, wishing to advance 
in business, answered to the "Call of the West" and he and his wife moved to Los 
Angeles, California, where he entered the business world by building the first hall for 
fraternal meetings in the State. It is still in use and is known as the "Scott Hall," 
located at 561 Central avenue. This hall was used by all of the race organizations in 
the City of Los Angeles until the erection several years later of the Odd Fellows Hall. 

Mr. Scott for years has held the responsible position as mail clerk for the Santa 
Fc railroad division stationed in Los Angeles, having his own offices and handling 
thousands of pieces of mail daily. Through his decision to make Los Angeles his home 
the State and city have been richly benefited through the activities of his wife, who is 
untiring in her efforts to advance her race on a higher plane of living. Tliis has been 
especially noticeable after she accepted the honor of an election to the presidency of the 
Sojourner Truth Club, of Los Angeles. The object of this club was to, at some future 
date, build a home for self-sustaining women. Mrs. Scott realized that such an under- 
taking, while noble in its purpose, could only be successfully done by beginning the 
work properly. Since much would depend upon her as president of the club to guide 
the ship through the journey, she decided to fully prepare herself by studying the work. 



OF CALIFORNIA 227 

in other organizations. To do this she made a trip east, going directly to New York, 
where she registered at the "White Rose Mission," stopping as any other traveler and 
stranger in the City of New York. This gave her a splendid opportunity to study the 
workings and the value to the community of such an institution. 

En route back to her home, she stopped in Philadelphia and Chicago, visiting in 
these cities similar institutions for self-supporting women. Returning to Los Angeles, 
Mrs. Scott was so filled with enthusiasm as to her tripf of investigation and study of 
institutions, it was not long before the club was convinced of the immediate need of 
such an institution in the City of the Angels. 

This resulted in launching a campaign for funds which was very successful in 
raising $11,000, which enabled them to make their first payment on a lot. At the 
expiration of her term of office Mrs. Scott positively refused to accept the office of 
president, but the succeeding year she was again elected as president. She then imme- 
diately launched another campaign for funds which was a success to that extent the 
club completed paying for a lot costing $2,750. At the next election she began months 
in advance to state that she positively would not be a candidate for re-election. To 
show how the club appreciated her services, when the day arrived for election of 
officers, the following newspaper clipping will more fully explain. It is headed 
"Sojourner Truth Club Election": 

" 'Hoop-a-la, Hoop-a-la! 
Who are we? 

We are the members of the S. T. C. 
Do we want a new president? 
We do — not! Scott," Scott, Scott! 
Hoop-a-la, Hoop-a-la! Scott, Scott!' 

"With this yell, led by little Honore Moxley, Mrs. Scott was overwhelmingly 
re-elected president of the Sojourner Truth Club. This spirit of unity also elected the 
same day a splendid set of officers who, like the president, would support and work for 
success; it is well to give their names: President, Mrs. J. M. Scott; vice-president, Mrs. 
Offut; second vice-president, Mrs. M. Bates; Mrs. Ada Jackson, secretary; Mrs. Mary 
Smith, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Bernice Alexander, treasurer; Mrs. Lucy Carter, 
chaplain, and Mrs. Mary Hicks, pianist; executive board, Mesdames Shackelford, Mox- 
ley, Young, Campbell, Pool and B. L. Turner," 

With such a splendid set of officers and through the co-operation of the citizens and 
friends of Los Angeles, the club during that year built a clubhouse costing $5,200, con- 
sisting of nine bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining-room, reception hall and library. 

The appreciation of the citizens and friends of the building of this clubhouse for 
self-sustaining women was shown by their furnishing it throughout without cost to the 
club with new and substantial furnishings. 

It must not be forgotten that no one showed their appreciation for the home more 
than the Negro press of the State, and their space was liberally used at all times for 
the good of the cause, as the following will show. When the club decided that they 
were about ready to build, one of the race papers in Los Angeles had the following to 
say: "Few organizations have thrived as has the Sojourner Truth Club under the 
leadership of its present president, Mrs, J. M. Scott, and her noble corps of followers. 
When taking into consideration the fact that Mrs. Scott has marshaled the reins as 
president during the uncertain financial period, it is commendable. Her success has 
been such that the members have been steadily climbing from one summit to another 
in order to keep pace with her advanced ideas. The real work and what it means to the 
cause of noble womanhood has been the incentive, jealously guarded inspiration causing 
unceasing effort on the part of the members" Another race journal said: "The 
Sojourner Truth Club is forging to the front. The advisory board met last Monday 
night to discuss matters of importance. The society's financial affairs having increased 
so rapidly under the present president, Mrs. J. M. Scott, that an early investment for 
a home-site is anticipated." 

After the clubhouse was built and furnished and the club had taken full possession 
in May, Mrs. Scott's term of office expiring in June, she would not accept the office 
again. During the following three years the office was filled by three different members 
of her grand working board, namely, Mesdames Offut, Jackson and Campbell. 

After having been retired for three years Fate decreed that Mrs. Scott should again 
be elected president, and the "Star of Hope" that had led her on in previous administra- 
tions brought the club to the realization of the cancellation of all indebtedness and a 
balance for future work. The club has always appreciated the sincere and valuable 



228 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

services given by Mrs. Scott. They tried to show a part of that appreciation at the 
burning of the mortgage on the lot, at which time one of the race papers said: "Club 
presented to the president, Mrs. J. M. Scott, a beautiful diamond brooch; upon a plain 
but beautiful background rested a wreath of Victory composed of forget-me-nots. In 
the center glittered a beautiful diamond. Above the diamond was the year 1912; 
around the diamond were the initials 'S. T. C. ' " 

Mrs. Scott, having seen the clubhouse built and paid for, has been able to give some 
of her time to other interests of equal value to the race such as being a member of the 
executive board of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement 
of Colored People, and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Welfare Commission, which is doing a 
wonderful work in looking after the interests of the families of soldiers now fighting- 
in France. Would that the race had many such grand, noble and self-sacrificing women 
as the subject of this sketch! 

Mrs. Archie H. WaU is one of the most active workers in the California Federated 
Colored Women's Clubs. She has been elected for seven years as state treasurer. She 
is president of the city and district work of the Orphanage. Aside from that, she has 
been active along other lines in organizing the Spanish-American War Auxiliary, and 
at present holds the office of president in the organization. She was instrumental in 
organizing the King's Daughters' Circle, State vice-president of the S. M. T. and 
president of the Art and Industrial Club of Oakland, California. 

Mrs. Wall is best known by her enthusiasm and work in building the Orphanage 
in Oakland. When the California Colored Women's Federated Clubs decided to fed- 
erate, they also determined to do some monumental work of interest to the race, in 
both the northern part of the State and also the southern. The Sojourner Truth Home 
clubhouse was the work selected for the southern part of the State to assist in accom- 
plishing. The northern part was undecided for years until enthused by Mrs. Wall, who 
worked long and untiringly with an uphill pull until she finally accomplished the desired 
result, which will ever stand as a great monument to her efforts. 

Mrs. Hettie Blonde Tilghman is a native daughter, having been born in San Fran- 
cisco, and is the daughter of the deceased and distinguished pioneers in the persons of 
Captain and Mi's. Eebecca Jones. She was their third daughter and was educated in 
the schools of San Francisco, living in that city until about fourteen years old, when 
her family moved to Oakland. She married in 1890 Mr. Charles F. Tilghman, the son 
of a California pioneer, Mr. Robert Tilghman, who came to the State in 1850. At the 
time of Mrs. Tilghman 's marriage she was both secretary and organist of the Bethel 
A. M. E. Church Sunday school of San Francisco. She also taught a private school for 
Chinese boys, having been given permission by her mother to conduct the school in their 
home. She taught these Chinese students the English branches and language. 

The union of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tilghman has been blessed by the birth of a 
son and daughter; after which Mrs. Tilghman retired from active church and club life 
until the children were quite advanced in life, preferring to consider them as a gift 
from God which should receive the undivided attention of their mother. After they 
were advanced in school she became active in the club, church and lodges, as the fol- 
lowing record will show, making up for lost time in her intense work to aid and build 
up a good, wholesome club life in which the community would be benefited. 

Her first active club work was with the Fanny Coppin Club, and from that to an 
active worker in the Federated Clubs of the State, having served faithfully and con- 
scientiously as an executive officer and assistant editress for two club journals, corre- 
sponding secretary, and also recording secretary of the State. At the present writing 
she is State president of the Federated Clubs of Colored Women in California. She is 
an untiring worker in the northern section of the State Federated Clubs' efforts to build 
and establish an orphanage. 

The persons who have the pleasure of knowing Mrs. Tilghman admire her the most 
in the successful rearing and educating of two lovely children, Miss Hilda, who gradu- 
ated from the Oakland Commercial high school with honors, having made a record 
"A 1" in stenography and bookkeeping; Charles (junior), who has graduated from the 
Oakland high school at an unusually young age, and before he was sixteen published and 
set his own type for a Directory of Distinguished Colored Residents of Oakland. He 
since has been called to the colors. It is sincerely hoped that because of the excellent 
work Mrs. Tilghman has done in rearing her own children she will be one of the board 
of directors for the Orphanage in Oakland. 

The writer especially admires Mrs. Tilghman for the unselfish work she did in 
visiting all the exemption boards during the first draft for the National Army. During 
this time Mrs. Tilghman visited these boards, thereby securing the names of all the 
Negro boys who were drafted in the Bay Cities. After learning their addresses, she 



OF CALIFORNIA 229 

presented them to the executive board of the Northern California branch of the National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who immediately called a public 
meeting and invited the public to a reception for the "First Liberty Boys," the like 
of which has never been equaled in Oakland. It was Mrs. Tilghman who afterward 
urged the club women of the State to send these boys a Christmas box of good cheer. 
The box was sent in the name of the Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. Mrs. Tilgh- 
man is very intense and an untiring worker in anything she undertakes. 

Mrs. Eva Carter-Buckner, the subject of this sketch, was born in Washington, 
Iowa, and, when quite young, her parents moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and from thence 
to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where their daughter was educated in the public schools. 
It was while living in this city that the subject of our sketch won first prize in a 
contest instituted by the wife of the mayor of the city, a Mrs. J. D. Robinson. This 
contest was presented to the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Reading Class of Colorado Springs, 
of which Mrs. Buckner was a member. The lady instituting the contest selected for 
her judges prominent white persons. When the poems were presented to these judges, 
who were recognized as able literary critics, and their decision read, it was found that 
Mrs. Eva Carter-Buckner had won first prize. This decision rendered by judges of 
known ability immediately established Mrs. Eva Carter-Buckner 's place as a writer of 
verse. Previous to this she had contributed verse to the papers. 

Mrs. Eva Carter-Buckner has had the distinction of having her verse appear in 
such weU-known and widely read papers as the Deliver Post, The Colorado Springs Sun 
and the Western Enterprise. When she lived in New Mexico she was honored by having 
her poems appear in the American and Neic Age, papers published there. Since moving 
to California she has published poems in many of the race papers, especially the California 
Eagle, New Age and the Advocate. Among the white papers, The Daily Tribune, one of 
the largest white papers published in Los Angeles. 

The greatest honor coming to Mrs. Eva Carter-Buckner was when some of her poems 
appeared in a book called "Gems of Poesy," a book of short poems by American 
authors. Mrs. Buckner is best known by her inspiring club songs, among which is the 
"Colorado and California State Federation" songs for Colored Women's clubs. She 
has written many interesting short stories and articles for the press. Her poems are 
soul inspiring appeals for the uplift and a square deal for the Negro race. She is sincere 
and quick to the defense of the Negro, as will be seen from her poem, "What Constitutes 
a Negro?" This poem was inspired in defense of Joe Gans, the prize fighter, when a 
Avhite writer had published a poem in which he attempted to prove that Gans was not 
a Negro. The white papers refused to publish Mrs. Buckner 's poem, but the California 
Eagle published it in full. 

Mrs. Buckner has given much time to suffrage and the study of psychopathic and 
charity work. She is an artist of no mean ability, member of the local branch and a 
strong advocate of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 
During the Morefield Story drive for new members, she secured a very large number of 
new members and penned a beautiful poem which she; dedicated to Dr. Dubois^ Mrs. 
Buckner is beloved by all who know her, and has a pleasing and winsome personality. 
Would that the world had a few more such women with such sterling character! 

Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, the subject of this sketch, the daughter of John Glasgow 
and Jane Ferguson, was born in Sedalia, Missouri, where she lived until three years 
old. The family then moved to Kansas City, where their daughter was placed in the 
colored public school, which she attended until made an orphan at the age of fourteen 
years. She was self-supporting until she married Mr. John Brown at Fort Robinson, 
Nebraska, Chaplain Prioleau of the Ninth Cavalry performing the ceremony. When 
the Spanish-American War was declared her husband was given a commission in the 
Ninth Immunes as second lieutenant. When he left to participate in the Cuban cam- 
paign his bride, Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, remained with his relatives in Washington, D. C, 
until his return. She went to Fort Grant, Arizona, and then later, when the Philippine 
insurrection began, her husband was given a commission in the Forty-eighth Infantry 
Volunteers, a regiment of colored soldiers. While the regiment was preparing to be 
mustered into the LTnited States service, Mrs. Brown joined her husband at Fort Thomas, 
Kentucky, and came across the continent with the regiment, which sailed from San 
Francisco, California, to the Philippine Islands. 

While in California she visited Oakland and decided it would be a good place to 
buy a home. She purchased an elegant home on Thirty-fourth street. She immediately 
became an active worker in every movement for the betterment of mankind and the 
uplift of the race, in church, lodge and club work. She is a member ef the Eastern 
Star, and has the honor of being the past grand matron of the jurisdiction of California. 
At the present writing she is grand treasurer, having served the ofiice for the past eight 



230 THE NEGEO TRAIL BLAZERS 

years. She is also a member of the Household of Euth, past most noble governess, 458, 
of Oakland; past daughter. Ruler of the Daughters of Elks of Mizpah Temple, and 
deputy of the State for five years; member of the Scottish Rite. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Brown is a great club worker, as the following with show: She 
has served in every capacity of the California State Federated Colored Women's Clubs; 
as their second, first vice-president, and has the honor of being past president of the 
Federation and the sixth honorary president. 

The honor of establishing the northern section for children's home-work must be 
given to this lady, who conscientiously worked for three years, which work has not yet 
reached its goal. Mrs. Brown is very proud of her work in the church, being a member 
and active worker of the Fifteenth Street A. M. E. Church, of Oakland; president of 
the Mite Missionary Society and vice-president of the Church Aid for years, during 
which time she has raised, through church fairs, hundreds of dollars to release the church 
mortgage. She is an active member of the Old Folks' Home board and a very much 
interested and active worker of the executive board of the Oakland branch of the 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She is the mother of one 
daughter, Frances. It is hoped that she may grow to be as useful and distinguished as 
her mother and father. 

Among the distinguished women of Los Angeles who have lived a life of service for 
humanity and the betterment of the Negro race stands out in bold relief the name of 
Mrs. Malcolm Patton (nee Alice Harvey), formerly of Chicago, Illinois. She has lived 
in Los Angeles, California, for over thirteen years. She is one of the best educated 
colored matrons in Los Angeles. Mrs. Malcolm H. Patton is one of the first colored 
graduates of the Chicago Normal schools, graduating with honors, and received a schol- 
arship for special course in drawing at the Prang Institute of Boston, Massachusetts. 

Mrs. Patton has the distinction of being the first and most efficient clerk of Provi- 
dent Hospital, in Chicago, Illinois, having served as such for four years, during which 
time she was practically the superintendent. Her untiring efforts to place the institution 
on a firm foundation is a part of the history of Provident Hospital. The establishing of 
a hospital for the training of Negro nurses at the time was considered an experiment, 
hence the necessity for careful handling of both the management and the general public 
to instill confidence. While at Providence Hospital she attended the lectures and clinics 
in the institution, and also at the Northwestern Medical University, located in Chicago, 
Illinois. 

Mrs. Alice Harvey-Patton 's activities for the betterment of the race while a resi- 
dent of Chicago were many. She was secretary of the Ida B. Wells Club, serving as 
such for many years. While a resident of Chicago she successfully passed two civil 
service examinations and was offered an appointment by the government, when she 
decided to marry. 

Mrs. Alice Harvey-Patton, after her marriage, accepted the position as principal 
of the Normal department of Paul Quinn College, located at Waco, Texas. She also 
filled the chair of Geology in the college at the same time. While connected with the 
college she was appointed without an examination by the State Superintendent of schools 
of Texas, a Mr. James Carlisle, to do summer Normal institute work in Texas. 

Since locating in Los Angeles she has been identified in active club work of the 
community, having served as president of the Sojourner Truth Club for self-supporting 
women. She was identified for eight years as the treasurer of the (white) Parent- 
Teacher's Association of the Fourteenth street intermediate school, and an active mem- 
ber of the (white) City and State Parent-Teacher's Association, thereby blazing a trail 
for the recognizing of the talent of colored school children. 

Those who have the pleasure of knowing Mrs. Malcolm Patton in her home pro- 
nounce her truly a "queen of the home," as will be seen from the careful rearing of 
her own children as given in the music chapter, their sketches are a true tribute to the 
word "mother" and true womanhood. Mrs. Alice Harvey-Patton has filled these posi- 
tions with honor and credit to the race, a pleasure to her immediate household and 
pleasing to Almighty God. Would that the race had many such women! 

Mrs. Mary Sanderson-Grasses, the subject of this sketch, is one of the daughters 
of the late Rev. J. B. Sanderson, the pioneer minister of Oakland. She was the first 
colored public school teacher in Oakland, having taught a school in the part of the city 
which in pioneer days was known as Brooklyn, and at this writing is called East Oak- 
land. The writer had the privilege of reviewing a program which was rendered by her 
class at Shattuck Hall, Oakland. It was quite evident that no little one was slighted. 
This same spirit still lingers with Mrs. Grasses, who is kind to everybody. None knew 
her but to love her. 



OF CALIFORNIA 231 

Mrs. Grasses is active in church work, having sung in the choir of the Fifteenth 
Street Church (A. M. E.) for over thirty years. She has devoted many years of hard 
and unselfish work to maintaining the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People. Few 
people ever realized how much she sacrificed to keep t^ic home in the hands of the race. 
Recently she resigned from her position as vice-president and has given tlie work over 
to younger and we hope equally as self-sacrificing a body of women. Mrs. Grasses has 
one daughter, Miss Kate, to whom she gave the best education California afforded. 
She has traveled all over the United States as an elocutionist. At this writing she has 
the distinction of holding a position as the only colored woman clerk in the San Fran- 
cisco postoffice. 

Mrs. Kate Bradley-Stovall, founder and president emeritus of the Southern Cali- 
fornia Alumni Association, was an inspiration to the educational life of Southern 
California. A few years ago while the writer was making a trip over the State in quest 
of data for this book, she was greatly interested in a copy of the Los Angeles Times 
under date February 12, 1909, in which her attention was called to the eight pages 
devoted to the Negro in Los Angeles. Among these was a page edited by Mrs. Kate 
Bradley-Stovall. I^nfortunatdy this dear one had just passed to the great beyond. 
Before' the writer left Los Angeles she secured a copy of the New Age containing a 
complete account of her funeral, which we quote: "A most interesting obituary was read 
by Mrs. Thomas J. Nelson, president of the alumni. At Austin, Texas, on August 4, 
1884, a little girl was born to Mr. and Mrs. Allan Bradley. Mr. Bradley was known 
to be one of the most prosperous business men of the community. This first little girl 
was named for a sister of Mr. Bradley's to whom he was much attached. Sister Kate 
grew up to be a great favorite of her aunt and, while quite young, came to Los Angeles 
to make her home with Tier. Carefully this aunt trained her for womanhood and with 
loving interest watched and encouraged the progress she made in her educational work. 
Upon her graduation, in 1903, from the Commercial high school, on account of her 
excellent record she was one of four chosen from her class to give orations. The com- 
mencement was commented upon in the Los Angeles Times. Among other things the paper 
said: 'Colored lass eloquent. Commercial high school's striking oration. It was a 
high compliment to Kate Bradley that she was chosen as one of the four orators to 
represent the graduating class of the Commercial high school, » * * and it was a 
distinguished honor the class conferred upon itself by its magnanimous action. 

" 'Kate Bradley in the execution of her trust did it with distinguished honor to 
herself and the class. She is a tall, lithe, good-featured colored girl; her oration was 
eloquent, concise and strong; and her topic, "The New South," was one that enlisted 
her sympathy and brought out the warmth of her naturei toward her race, though no 
mention was made of any race. 

" 'Miss Bradley talked warmly of the progress in the South and its rapid strides 
toward a place of greater importance in the commercial world. "This progress," she 
said, "may be well termed wonderful, for it did not begin with the Constitution of the 
United States." This sentence brought the first applause and it was the nearest ref- 
erence she made to the problem. Her summary of the industrial progress and coming 
commercial importance of the New South was worthy of a statesman, both in subject 
matter and manner of delivery. 

" 'Miss Bradley received no bouquets as she stepped back to her place, but the 
audience, perceiving the probable thoughtless omission, redoubled its applause, and no 
more fragrant nor complimentary bouquet could have been tendered her in the numoer- 
less masses of bouquets that banked the front of the stage. There no doubt were a 
goodly number for her as well as for the other graduates. ' 

"On November 1, 1904, Kate Bradley became the wife of William Stovall, a young 
man of excellent family and sterling worth, who has proven to the community his high 
qualities in the way in which he has stood up under the strain of illness and affliction. 
Two especially bright children, Wilalyn and Ursula, brightened the union of these young 
people. Mrs. Stovall became a factor in race progress in Los Angeles, being intensely 
interested in fraternal, religious and secular affairs. 

"Her first thought was always toward the work of educational uplift among her 
people, and especially did she wish to inspire hope and enthusiasm in the minds of the 
young. Working on this line and acting upon the suggestion of her husband, she 
organized the Southern California Alumni Association, in 1909, and served that body 
as its very able president for four years, until forced by ill-health to resign. At the 
time of her death she was president emeritus of the organization and her thoughts and 
hopes were always for its progress. 

"On August 5th, the morning after her thirtieth birthday her last sleep came to 
her. Though barely past her girlhood, her ambitious life has been so full of good and 



232 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

energetic purpose that her influence will ever remain, especially to the members of the 
Southern California Alumni Association to whom her life has meant much. This associa- 
tion passed beautiful resolutions of condolence and respect reflecting the great loss to 
the organization in the passing of their first president, Mrs. Kate Bradley-Stovall." 

Mrs. S. Wright, the subject of this sketch, came to California over thirty years ago, 
and has identified herself with every movement of interest to the race. She lives in 
Santa Monica, but takes an active part in fraternal organizations in Los Angeles. She 
was one of the charter members of the Ohio Club, president of Court of Calantha, 
S. M. T. worthy princess; most excellent queen of the Ancient Knights and Daughters 
of Africa; vice preceptress. Pride of Peace Tabernacle; a member of the Sojourner 
Truth Club, Day Nursery, and the Pioneer Club. She is a favorite and much beloved 
lady wherever she is known. 

Mrs. Willa Stevens came to California in September, 1903, with her parents, Mr. 
and Mrs. George Rowland, from Georgia. Beginning a course in dressmaking when 
very young, she completed the course under one of the best modistes of the City of Los 
Angeles, after which she engaged in business for several years and made a phenomenal 
success, being the designer of some of the most gorgeous gowns worn by the elite of Los 
Angeles, planning throughout the most elaborate weddings of which the city can boast. 

Mrs. Stevens has also finished the trades of millinery and tailoring. She is the wife 
of Detective Sergeant Stevens, and is at present the president of the Phy-Art-Lit-Mo. 
Club, which ranks as the leading culture club among colored women in Los Angeles. 
She is a member of the Eastern Star and Women's Day Nursery Association, and the 
Soldiers' and Sailors' Welfare Commission. She is active in all movements for the 
social and moral uplift of colored womanhood and the race in general. 

Mrs. Mary I. Firmes, the subject of this sketch, is the wife of Captain Thomas A. 
Firmes and daughter of Elizabeth Wilson and the late J. B. Wilson of Oakland. Mrs. 
Firmes is a native daughter and a graduate of the Oakland high school. She is an 
expert stenographer, having been employed as stenographer by a large law firm in San 
Francisco for a number of years previous to her marriage. 

When the government opened the Officers' Separate Training Camp at Des Moines, 
Iowa, Mrs. Firmes was the only colored girl employed as stenographer, the other two 
being white. While at the camp, Mrs. Firmes won the distinction of being the most 
proficient of the three stenographers. She is a devoted member of the St. Augustin 
Episcopalian Mission of Oakland. 

The following is quoted from the Western Outlook and is a part of a very excellent 
letter that was written by Mrs. Sarah Severance, of San Jose, and published in the 
San Jose Mercury as a memorial on the death of Mrs. Overton, who was a distinguished 
citizen of that city and one of the distinguished women of the race in California. It 
said: 

"August 24, 1914, passed to rest Sarah Massey Overton. She was born in Lenox, 
Massachusetts, in 1850, and, as a young girl, came to California with her family, living 
first in Gilroy and soon moving to San Jose. She was educated in the seminary of the 
Rev. P. T. Cassey, then located at Williams and Fourth streets. In 1869 she was married 
in Trinity Church to Jacob Overton, a native of Kentucky, who came to San Jose with 
Dr. Overton and for years was a trusted and highly esteemed employee of the Knox 
family. 

"Both have filled a large place in the useful industries of San Jose. Mrs. Overton 
made a model home for her husband, her son, Charles, and daughter, Harriet. She 
was gifted in household arts, but she cared for all good things, such as peace and tem- 
perance. For years she was a member of the Political Equality Club of San Jose, and, 
in the campaign of 1911, at her own exprtise she went accredited by the club to several 
cities throughout the State to arouse the interest of the Afro-American voters, and 
doing more perhaps than any other member, as she was a good speaker. 

"She was second vice-president of the San Jose Suffrage Amendment League. She 
was also president of the Victoria Earle Mathews Club, a branch of one founded in 
New York, designed to protect imperiled girls from those who prowl for their destruc- 
tion, and she also worked to uplift Negro girls. When the Phoenixsonian Institute was 
planned, to give African children a chance for education, to be\ located where Christ 
Church now stands, Mrs. Overton canvassed California and Nevada with success, but 
probably through the sentiment she aroused, the California legislators passed a law 
giving the Negro children the right to attend the public schools, so the institution was 
not founded. 

"Not only was our friend interested in public work, but she was a capable church 
member. The Rev. E. L. Mitchel wishes it recorded that she was an invaluable worker 
of that church, from which she was buried. The husband, daughter and son have our 



OF CALIFORNIA 233 

deepest sympathy, but this Christian woman livcth still; she has simply turned the 
corner a little ahead of us." 

Mrs. Julia A. Shorey, the wife of Captain Shorey, and mother of Miss Victoria, is 
a native dauf^hter, coming from an old pioneer family. She is the daughter of Mr. 
Frank Shelton, who was one of the founders of the first colored Raptist Church in 
California. She was given the best education possible in pioneer days, receiving the 
same in Rev. Peter Cassey 's boarding-school for girls located at San Jose. This school 
taught high school English branches and also music. 

After completing her education in this school, she returned to her home in San 
Francisco. She had been thoroughly taught the art of French embroidery while attend- 
ing boarding-school. This resulted in lior readily securing employment with Miss 
Eldridge, who at the time had an establishment in the Samuels building in San Francisco. 
When Miss Eldridge had a display of handiwork at the "Mechanics' Fair" in that city, 
she selected some of the work of Miss Julia Shelton, which resulted in opening the 
doors for other colored girls to enter this school for the study of fine art French 
embroidery. For years, even after she became Mrs. Shorey, she would fill exquisite 
orders for Schowasher 's, who have a shop across the street from the White House in 
San Francisco. 

Mrs. Julia Shorey has lived an intensely active life for the benefit of the race. 
She is the most active officer and member of the organization known as the Home for 
Aged and Infirm Colored People of Oakland. She is past district grand most noble 
governor of California, holding the office of the district of California for two years; a 
member of the Household of Ruth; Good Samaritan; charter member of Knaresbourgh 
Circle, president of the Old Folks Home for sixteen years. Notwithstanding the active 
life Mrs. Shorey lives in the club and fraternal organizations, she must be given the 
credit of being an excellent mother and wife, and is directly responsible for the success 
of both her husband and daughter. 

Miss Victoria Shorey, the sub.ieet of this sketch, has been given every educational 
advantage. During her student days at the Oakland Polytechnic high school she was 
the only colored girl member of the basketball team, playing with the team at all their 
games between the different high schools in the Bay cities, even with the fashionable 
private school of Miss Head, in Berkeley. 

The students of the Oakland Technical high school have a special contest every 
term in typing. At one of these contests Miss Shorey won a gold medal from the Rem- 
ington Typewriter Machine Company, her record being sixty words a minute. Previous 
to this contest she won a diploma from the Underwood Typewriting Machine Company, 
and also received a certificate of qualification for efficiency in typewriting, her speed 
in shorthand equalling one hundred and twenty words a minute. She graduated with 
the winter class of 1917, receiving her diploma in business and English. 

It gives the writer great pleasure to present to the reader the following sketch of 
Miss Ruth Masengale, of Oakland, California. She is the daughter of the highly- 
respected citizens, Mr. and Mrs. John Masengale. She is a native daughter and has 
the distinction of being educated in the excellent public schools of California. The 
value of this statement will be appreciated as you review her sketch. 

Miss Masengale is an accomplished musician. She graduated from the grammar 
school of Oakland in June, 1912, and, notwithstanding in poor health, she immediately 
re-entered school the following August, graduating from the high school December 2, 
1914. After taking a two-year business course, consisting of English, Spanish, short- 
hand, typewriting, commercial correspondence, bookkeeping and gymnasium. 

She returned to high school August, 1915, to continue her studies, took up algebra, 
English, history and Spanish. The last semester she worked in the office of the Spanish 
teacher, who was also the supervisor of Spanish in the public schools of Oakland. 
When she left school she had completed three and a half years of Spanish. The writer 
has in her possession a letter which was written by the supervisor of Spanish of the 
Oakland schools. In this letter he speaks of Miss Masengale 's efficiency in the Spanish 
language, and also as his private secretary for six months. This was a recognition of 
her ability, because she was selected from a school containing many thousand white 
students. Miss Masengale is careful and thorough in anything she undertakes. The 
writer is glad to state that' she has translated many very old Spanish documents for 
their use in the preparation of this book. 

Afterward Miss Masengale was employed by Attorney Oscar Hudson, who, while 
he is consul for Liberia at the Port of San Francisco, is also an attorney who enjoys 
a large clientage among the) Spanish people. She successfully served Mr. Hudson for 
over a year, when she took the civil service examination and passed with a high per- 
centage, receiving almost an immediate appointment from Washington, D. C, and was 



234 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

ordered to the custom house in San Francisco, where she was engaged in making out 
passports. At this present writing she holds a position as stenographer in the county- 
clerk's office of the City of Oakland, the first time the position has been held by a 
colored person. * 

Mrs. Ivah L. Gray came to Oakland, California, from Cheyenne, Wyoming, some 
twelve years or more ago. She is an active member of the Fifteenth Street Church; 
president of the Fanny Coppin Club, a social, literary and musical club of Oakland. 
She is the State organizer of the northern division of the Federated Clubs; an active 
member of tlie Ada Young Eed Cross Auxiliary and a member of the Soldiers' Comfort 
Committee. Mrs. Gray is the mother of an interesting family of three children to 
whom she is quite devoted and a companionable mother. She is an artist with the 
needle, making fine laces and hand-embroidery. She has charge of this department of 
the Fanny Coppin Club. Many ladies have received instruction from Mrs. Gray. She 
is sincere and faithful in any undertaking she may engage in. 

There are many colored ladies in California who are great artists in both oil and 
also the art of china-painting, but while the writer has solicited their sketches, the 
following is the only one received in time for this book: "Patricia Garland was 
born in New York on March 17, 1882 Following her father's death, which occurred a 
few years later, she and a younger brother accompanied their mother to San Francisco, 
where they arrived in 1888, after a| long trip down the Atlantic, across the Isthmus of 
Panama and up the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay and city. 

' ' Miss Garland attended the public schools of San Francisco and was graduated in 
1899. Even at this early age she managed to master a trade through serving as an 
apprentice after school hours to Mrs. Phillip Johnson, from whom she learned the art 
of hair-dressing, manicuring and hairwork entirely. 

"In 1903 the family moved to Oakland, and the following year Miss Garland took 
a nurse-training course in the San Francisco Foundling and Lying-in Hospital, under the 
direction of Dr. Harrison and Dr. Layne. She followed her profession of nursing for 
a number of years, but at the same time in conjunction with her mother, Mn,. Lyon, 
she maintained a model home for the care of young children, in which enterprise she 
has received the enthusiastic endorsement of prominent people and met with pronounced 
success. Her home for boarding children at present is under the State Board of Charities 
and Corrections of California. 

"Not content with the usual amount of work she was able to crowd into her busy 
days, she decided through the medium of the Oakland evening high school to add 
bookkeeping, stenography, Spanish, French and typewriting to her other accomplish- 
ments. The night school work has been carried along with her other activities for 
several years. Previously she had been a member of an art and industrial club organ- 
ized by Mrs. Mary Wilkinson, of Oakland, and had studied all the branches of hand- 
work. Her entire outfit was presented to her by Mrs. Wilkinson. In October, 1908, 
this club was admitted into the National Federation of Colored Women's Clubs and 
Miss Garland contributed Spanish drawn-thread work, embroidery, crochet-work and 
many pieces of hand-painted china to its first exhibition. Later on she further per- 
fected herself in this work through a course in the Arts and Crafts School under 
Professor Myers, of Berkeley. 

"Through 'a fortunate chance Miss Garland was enabled to gain further valuable 
experience in the studio of Miss Alvira Miller, where she started work in the kiln-room 
and soon became so useful that she was often placed in charge of the entire studio and 
its valuable stock' of china painting and gold coin during the owner's absence from 
town. She was a valued assistant in this work for four years, and during this period 
she took further lessons, covering the entire course in designing, realistics, conventional, 
raised paste, etching, enamels, semi-metallics, firing and the mending of china. She 
painted the designs on an entire set of one hundred and fifty pieces of china for one 
of the wealthy women of Oakland, California. 

"An account of Miss Garland's varied life and talents would not be complete 
without referring to her love of music and her ability to play both the mandolin and 
violin, also the cornet. It would be difficult to say wherein lies Miss Garland's greatest 
ability, so varied and broad has been her training. But she is above all a credit to 
her race, in spite of the fact that in order to achieve the enviable progress she has been 
compelled to overcome many obstacles and has always been handicapped by lack of 
funds. It is the example of such lives which is helping more than anything else to 
break down the barriers." 

Mrs. Eoberta Batie, the wife of the late Captain Henry Batie, comes from an old 
pioneer California family. Her mother was no less person than Mrs. Sara Johnson, 
who was a real "Trail Blazer" in opening a way for Negro people in Los Angeles to 



OF CALIFORNIA 235 

own homes in respectable neighborhoods. She purchased a piece of property in what 
was known as the Alexander Weild tract in pioneer days. The few white people then 
living in the tract entered a protest and threatened to burn lier out, but she held her 
ground and today not only white but colored people live in the tract and in peace. The 
Negro residents own beautiful horned and many apartment-houses that are modern in 
every appointment. 

Mrs. Batie is thoroughly educated and owns much valuable personal property. She 
has been an oflScer and active worker in the Sojourner Truth Home for Working Girls 
and in many other movements of value to colored women of California. Since the 
death of her husband she has studied and mastered the art of chiropody, being the first 
colored woman to scientifically study the subject in the State. She enjoys a large 
practice among the exclusive rich. She is a delightful lady whom everybody admires. 

Mrs. Louise M. Chrisman is the widow of Lewis Edward Chrisman (deceased), 
Civil War veteran, and aunt of James Franklin Bundy (deceased), formerly secretary 
of Howard University Law Scliool, of Washington, D. C; pioneer "Trail Blazer;'' 
holder of extensive timber lands in Idaho and Oregon and, with her daughters, owner 
and manager of the Chrisman Apartments of Los Angeles, one of our most modern 
and beautiful apartments for race families. 

Mrs. Gladys Reo Harris, a native daughter, having been born in Pomona, is the 
daughter of Mrs. Lydia Harris, of Pasadena, graduating from the Pasadena high school 
in art and literature, in 1913. She entered the University of Southern California in 
1914, majoring in sociology course. In March, 1918, she stood a county civil service 
examination for relief work. There were sixty-seven who stood the examination, sev- 
enteen passed, and Miss Harris, the only Negro, passed and received an immediate 
appointment in Los Angeles County for outdoor relief work among the colored people. 

Mrs. J. Logan Craw is the daughter of Mr. Fred L. Jeltz, of Topeka, Kansas, one 
of the prominent settlers of that place and editor of the Kansas State Ledger for 
twenty-two years. He is the oldest Negro editor in Kansas. His daughter, Mrs. Craw, 
was given the best education possible. She graduated from the high school of Topeka 
and the Teachers' Normal school of the State of Kansas. During her school days she 
was an active member of the Philoihetorian Reading Club, after which she studied for 
four rears in Mrs. Menninger's Bible School, of Topeka, Kansas. She graduated with 
honors from this school. Mrs. Craw is credited with organizing the first Bible class in 
Kansas. She is an enthusiastic Bible student wherever her lot is cast. For seven 
years she was a public school teacher in the Washington school of Topeka, Kansas. 

When Mrs. Menninger's Bible school graduated the class of which Mrs. Craw was 
a member, the Christian Herald (white), in commenting on the different members of 
the class, said: "Among these pupils several teach Bible classes and several teach in 
the public school. MisS Jeltz, though young in years, has taught in the city schools. 
She is principal of the Sunday school primary department, and her intelligent encour- 
agement and example were of great help to Mrs. Menninger. " 

Miss Lillian Jeltz was married to Rev. J. Logan Craw July 1, 1911. The Centennial 
A. M. E. Review had the following to say concerning Mrs. Craw: "* * * Most 
successful teacher and consecrated Christian lady, an ideal minister's wife, and has 
been president of the Puget Sound Conference Branch W. M. M. Society." During 
Rev. Craw's pastorate at Eighth and Towne A. M. E. Church, Mrs. Craw has produced 
two plays, products of her own pen. They were highly appreciated by the public. The 
first was "The Temple of Fame" and the other "The Kermisess of Brides." She not 
only wrote these plays, but staged them as well. She is an active member of the 
Sojourner Truth Club and the Harriett Tubman Red Cross Auxiliary, and is a delightful 
and lovable lady. 

Mrs. Beatrice Sumner Thompson, the subject of this sketch, was born in Boston, 
Massachusetts, in 1880. Her parents moved to Denver, Colorado, where, she was edu- 
cated in the city schools. After graduation she received a clerical appointment in the 
County treasurer's office of that city, where she remained for ten years, during which 
time she held the position of assistant bookkeeper and other positions of trust in 
the office. Since then she has been actively engaged in educational work, especially 
along civic lines. Among other prominent offices, she has held those of secretary and 
president of the Women's Civic and Protective League, an organization of colored 
women having for its object the study of the intelligent use of the ballot and the 
making and enforcement of laws for the protection of colored citizens. She is an 
enthusiastic advocate of woman suffrage, especially as it affects the women of the race. 

Mrs. Thompson is at present secretary of the Los Angeles branch of the National 
Association fgr the Advancement of Colored People and also secretary of the Colored 
Division of the Los Angeles branch of the California War History Committee. 



236 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Mrs. Eebecca Averett, the subject of this sketch, is known as one of the best 
educated colored ladies living in Oakland. She is a sister to the late George Mitchel, 
whose sketch appears in this book. Like her brother, she believes in accumulating 
property. She and her husband own many valuable pieces of property in Oakland, and 
their home in Oakland is both modern and elegantly but modestly furnished. Mrs. 
Averett has lived a life of usefulness for the benefit of the race. When a resident of 
San Francisco she was the leading contralto singer in the Bethel Church choir. After 
moving to Oakland she continued her church activities, but with the church of her 
husband's belief. She takes an active part in the choir and the giving of church 
entertainments. Some of the most spectacular entertainments ever given in Oakland 
have been staged by Mrs. Averett for the benefit of North Oakland Baptist Church. 
Previous to coming to Oakland, California, she taught in the public schools of Virginia, 
and until this day in whatever she does she uses the exactness and precision of a school 
teacher. She is sincere in all her dealings with others. 

There is not an individual in this department more deserving than Miss E. Gertrude 
Chrisman, the subject of this sketch. This young woman is a real "Trail Blazer." 
She has a will second to none. She is of Indian extraction, and her parents came 
across the plains in pioneer days and took up two Indian claims in Idaho. Miss Chris- 
man was educated in the public schools and State University of Idaho. Later she 
attended the University of Puget Sound, of Tacoma, Washington. 

After her graduation she stood the civil service examination and was given an 
appointment in the postofl&ce in Seattle, Washington. It was during her stay in this 
position that she attended the drawings for government lands held in Spokane, Wash- 
ington, and secured a successful number for a homestead plot of land in Idaho. The 
government requires that one live on the land for two years to secure title. This did 
not daunt this young woman, who immediately resigned her position and decided that 
she would live on her plot, and with hammer and nails built her own shack. She stood 
all the hardships of homesteading for two years, during which time she discovered that 
the timber on her plot was very valuable. 

In the meantime, the health of her mother becoming impaired, the family decided 
to move to Los Angeles, California. It was then that she was besieged by lumber 
dealers to sell the timber on her homestead plot. This she did by telegraph after the 
lumbermen decided to give her what she considered a fair market price. The family 
turned the money immediately into the building of a modern apartment house, after 
which she accepted a position where she worked at a fair wage and saved the same, 
attending the California State Normal school, from which institution she was graduated 
in March, 1916. Miss Chrisman was teacher, and then principal of the Brooker T. Wash- 
ington school at El Centre, Imperial Valley, California, for two years. During the summer 
she returned to Los Angeles, where she spent the summer vacation with her mother and 
sister. She also attended the summer sessions at the University of California, where 
she continued the study of the Spanish language and other subjects. At the present 
time she is employed as teacher in the Palo Verde school, one of the Los Angeles city 
schools in the North Broadway district. 

Miss E. Gertrude Chrisman is teaching in a school with eight white teachers. She 
is teaching Spanish and other languages. She is the most wonderful girl the writer 
has ever met. Several years ago, when she spoke of her intention to teach in the public 
schools of the State, the writer seriously advised against even the attempt, believing 
it would result in another race-issue concerning mixed schools, and remembering the 
struggle the Negro people of the State had made to obtain equal school facilities and 
the fight made against locating a Negro Polytechnic school at Allensworth; she could 
not in justice advise her differently. My motto is, "My race first and my best friend 
afterward." But I bow in proud recognition of the ability of this grand woman who 
has broken through the strong wall of prejudice in spite of the fact that at this writing 
the County Hospital nurses have defiantly refused to obey an order of the supervisors 
to admit colored nurses for fear of an equality of position and a possibility of just 
being human. 

Miss E. Gertrude Chrisman is the honor "Trail Blazer" for education of the 
present day Negro people in California. Since the writing of this sketch the writer 
has been informed that the nurses at the County Hospital Training school threatened to 
strike because the superintendent of nurses has examined and placed on the eligible 
list Negro student nurses. They rank "eleven, twelve and thirteen on a list consisting 
of thirty, and in the ordinary course of events will be reached at or before the end of 
the year." (Quoted from the Citizen Advocate, as reprinted from the Los Angeles 
Express.) 



OF CAIJI-'OKMA 






^'V 






MME. SUL-TE-WAN 
Motion Picture Actress and Dancer. 



238 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 



HON. JOHN \\i:SLEY COLEMAN 
The Old Reliable Employment Agent of Los Angeles. 



OP CALIFORNIA 239 

The writer in giving this the history of the Negro in California has, by careful 
research, endeavored to secure the name of every "Trail Blazer," from the first Negro 
guide with an exploring party, to the having of Spanish documents translated for the 
truthfulness of statements made by other writers concerning the Negro in California. 
At great expense she has solicited and entreated persons of the race who have blazed a 
trail in any particular line to allow this history to give their experience for the encour- 
agement of the race. Often the desired information has been withheld through a false 
pride as to the struggle and hardships encountered in their upward climbs. They seem 
to forget that they owe it to the future generation of Negroes to tell of this struggle 
that it might aid them to not Iosq heart. This has not been the policy of "Madam 
Sul-Te-Wan," who has secured her place in the motion picture world. 

The motion picture, which we have all learned to appreciate as a mode of advanced 
entertainment, has but few Negro players who serve with white companies. In Cali- 
fornia it is a great industry. Many of our women make good wages serving motion 
picture actresses. There is one and only one Negress motion picture actress in "stock" 
on the Pacific Coast. She is employed at a good salary by Mr. D. W. Griffith, the 
producer of the film "The Clansman." This little lady. Madam Sul-Te-Wan, is a 
legitimate actress and her upward climb into the motion picture world is most interesting 
and worthy of the pen of a great writer. Nevertheless the author will attempt to give 
the reader some of the facts in her upward climb to this high position, for she is glad 
of the fact that she is a true representative of the race and her sketch will show that 
she has reached this position on merit alone. 

There are some persons in the race who do not like to speak of their lowly birth 
because of the poverty of their parents, forgetting that honest poverty is no disgrace. 
Madam Sul-Te-Wan is proud of the fact that her mother was a washerwoman and, as a 
widow, washed for actresses that she might secure good prices and ready pay. This 
little lady, as a girl, would deliver the washing to the actresses at the stage door, and 
thereb}^ was often permitted to remain and see the show. This was in Louisville, Ken- 
tucky. The next day she would rehearse the act at school and tell her classmates that 
some day she, too, would be an actress. 

The mother was too poor to have her daughter trained either to sing or dance. But 
all the time she was delivering the washings to such well-known actresses as Mary 
Anderson and Fanny Davenport, two of the best teachers possible and who could not 
have been employed for any sum as a teacher. These renowned actresses and singers 
became very much interested in this nut-brown daughter of their washerwoman. So con- 
vinced were they that she had talent that they enlisted the assistance of the then 
Mayor of Louisville, a Mr. James Wbalen, who had charge of the Buckingham Theater. 
He gave this little colored girl a trial, and used, as an attraction at his theater, twenty- 
five little colored girls who did singing and dancing. He offered a prize for the best 
"buck and wing dancer." The first prize was a granite dishpan and granite spoon. 
It was won by the sub.iect of this sketch. This gave her confidence in herself. Her 
mother was very proud of the granite dishpan and spoon, and decided to allow her 
daughter to fill other engagements. After she was fully convinced that she did have 
talent she moved with her to Cincinnati, Ohio. 

The move to Cincinnati was a good venture for this widow washerwoman, for it 
gave her daughter a broader field in which to develop her talent among strangers. This 
little dancing protege of Mary Anderson and Fanny Davenport readily found work for 
weeks at a time at the Dime Museum, located on Vine street, Cincinnati, Ohio. After- 
ward in the family theaters "Over the Ehine," as a section of that city is known. 
This led to her finally joining a company called the "Three Black Cloaks." She 
played under the title "Creole Nell" while in Cincinnati and won recognition. By 
assuming this title she soon again came in communication with Miss Fanny Davenport, 
who sent her a telegram to secure for her some colored players to take some minor part 
in a play she was playing, as she was coming to Cincinnati. 

Her experience in Cincinnati, and the aid given to Miss Davenport, gave this little 
actress supreme confidence in her own ability, and she, too, decided that she could and 
did organize a company which was known as "The Black Four Hundred," which 
employed sixteen performers and twelve musicians. She traveled throughout the eastern 
States with this company, meeting with great success. The next season she organized 
and staged another company which she called ' ' The Rair Back Minstrels. ' ' The success 
attending this adventure was so very great that she was besieged to marry and did 
marry. 

But alas, the marriage of an actress or singer does not always spell success and 
happiness! The subject of our sketch came to the Pacific Coast and, after a residence 
in California of about two years, her husband deserted her with three little boys, the 



240 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

youngest being three weeks old. She became so reduced in finances that she was 
compelled to go before the Forum Club and beg for assistance, which they gave her 
three different times. She was presented to the Forum by Mr. J. W. Coleman, the 
employment agent. She was accompanied by her three children. When the time came 
for her to address that grand body of gentlemen, she began to cry, whereupon her 
oldest son, who was not yet seven years, looking up into his mother's face, said: 
"Mother you are not begging. We are going to sing and earn what they give you." 
He and his little brother sang as they had never sung before and greatly impressed 
the Forum Club. 

Madam Sul-Te-Wan was living in Arcadia, and her husband not only deserted her 
with these three children, but he failed to pay the rent with the money she had sent 
home from her singing and dancing. She was left with ten months' back rent to pay. 
The Associated Charities of Los Angeles brought her into town and rented a place for 
her and her children. It is pitiful to hear how she then struggled to obtain work. 
Madam Sul-Te-Wan had never done anything else from a little girl but sing and dance. 
She knew nothing about housework, for she hired some one to stay with her children 
while she danced in the East and for a while in California. The first time in her life 
she was confronted with a mighty problem, how to become an immediate bread-winner 
for herself and three children. The white theatrical booking companies did not give 
her any engagements, claiming that they did not make independent bookings, and other 
excuses. She did not wish to become a charge on the charity of the neighbors and her 
children must have bread. She finally secured an engagement at the Pier Theater of 
Venice, California. This short engagement did not pay very much and it did not require 
long for her to use the money up. Then there was a long, long spell of idleness and 
tramping the streets to try and secure something to do. Finally, as a last resort, she 
decided to go to Mr. D. W. Griffith, who at the time was producing "The Clansman." 
She had heard that he was employing a great number of colored people. She personally 
went to Mr. Griffith and presented her card. He immediately hired her at three dollars 
per day, which seemed like a fortune to her at the time. After the first day's work 
he immediately gave her five dollars per day. He was so impressed with her acting 
that he immediately had written a separate sketch for "The Clansman" in which she 
appeared as a rich colored lady, finely gowned and owner of a Negro colony of educated 
colored citizens, who not only owned their own land, but she drove her own coach and 
four-in-hand. This scene was to show the advancement of the Negro from ante-bellum 
days to this present period. After the picture was made (and Madam was so proud 
of the money she had earned), the censor cut the part out in which she appeared as a 
rich colored lady, and other parts, leaving only the bitter-gall portions for the insults 
of the Negro race throughout the nation. Madam also appeared in the mob scene in 
"The Clansman," and carried a fan given her by Mary Anderson when she was a 
school child carrying the washing to the stage door. During her acting in the mob 
scene she lost the fan and stopped her acting, whereupon Mr. Griffith called through 
the speaking trumpet, "Go on; I will buy you another fan. Your acting is good; go 
on." After "The Clansman" was finished there was nothing else for her to do, and 
the three little children miisf "have bread and rent must be paid. So one day she 
decided that she wanted the money that Mr. Griffith would give for the purchase of a 
new fan, as he had said on that particular day. She went out to the studio and asked 
him if he would not give her the money that he would give to purchase her another 
fan, as she needed the money worse than the fan, even if it was a keepsake gift from 
Mary Anderson, whereupon Mr. Griffith gave her a check for twenty-five dollars and 
placed her on the pay-roll at five dollars per day, work or play. He then went to New 
York with the picture, "The Clansman." 

"The Clansman" at the same time began' to play in Los Angeles and the Negro 
people preceded to have the censor cut out some objectionable features of the film. The 
next week's pay envelope contained a notice, "You are no longer needed." She 
inquired of the manager in charge why she was being discharged, and at first he would 
not give her a hearing. Then told her some white actress had lost a Christian Science 
book and thought that she had stolen it and that she was responsible for the colored 
people fighting the film, "The Clansman." Madam Sul-Te-Wan was very angry and 
replied that her struggle for bread for her three children had prevented her from 
coming in contact with the educated members of the race who had time to read and 
study as to whether the film was detrimental to the race. She came seeking an oppor- 
tunity to honestly earn bread for her three little children, and the work in "The Clans- 
man" was the only door open for her to earn it. Madam further replied to the man- 
ager in charge that she would immediately get in touch with some of the educated and 
influential Negro people of Los Angeles and ask them to defend her from the accusation 



OF CALIFORNIA 241 

of being a thief and the arousing of unpopular sentiment against "The Clansman" 
after it had given her bread. She knew that they would deal justly with her as they 
were able to do with the film "The" Clansman." 

She left the studio and decided to go to that great humanitarian and lawyer, 
Edward Burton Ceruti, who, without cost to her, defended her, sending a letter to Mr, 
Griffith in New York and the manager in Hollywood at the studio. This resulted in 
Madam being reinstated on the pay-roll and later was featured in "The Marriage 
Market," in the film "Intolerance." She was also featured in "Happy Valley's Oldest 
Boy" and "Up from the Depths." 

Last Spring the thought occurred to her that it would not be a bad idea to ask for 
a letter of recommendation, which Mr. Griffith readily consented that she was entitled 
to and instructed his manager to write the same. Afterward he relieved Madam Sul- 
Te-Wan's fears that she might not secure work with other companies by introducing 
her to some of the leading motion picture film producers on the Pacific Coast, who have 
given her work in some of the best and most popular pictures made in the State. He 
also introduced her to Thcda Bara and was the means of her employing Madam Sul- 
Te-Wan's middle son, John, to feature in "Madam DuBarry." The letter referred 
to is as follows: 

' ' Fine Arts Film Company. 

"Majestic Motion Picture Company Producers. Studio: 4500 Sunset Blvd. 

"D, W. Griffith, General Manager, Frank E. Woods, Assistant to General Manager. 

"J. C. Eppeny, Business Manager. 

"Los Angeles, California, April 4, 1917. 
"To Whom It May Concern: This is to certify that the bearer, Madam Sul-Te- 
Wan, is a colored actress of exceptional ability and has been a member of our stock 
company for the past three years. She has played a number of very good parts in our 
pictures and gave very good satisfaction. * * * 

"Yours very truly, 
"MAJESTIC MOTION PICTURE COMPANY. 

"By Frank E. Woods." 

Mrs. Sadie Chandler-Cole, the subject of this sketch, is the daughter of Abraham 
Washington Chandler and Sarah Hatfield-Chandler, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father 
was one of the founders of the Mound Street Baptist Church of that city and a con- 
ductor of the "Underground Railroad." Her mother attended the first high school for 
free colored people in Cincinnati, Ohio, and her grandfather bought a scholarship in 
Oberlin College, in Ohio. Her mother sang in the select choir of the Academy of Music 
established by the abolitionists and friends of free colored people. Her mother also 
attended school with Governor Pinchback, and many other persons who have since 
become notable. 

Mrs. Sadie Chandler-Cole was given a fine education by her parents. She was 
especially trained as a singer and was a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, with whom 
she traveled for years. After her marriage she located in Detroit, Michigan, from 
where, after a residence of several years, she and her husband, Mr. Thomas A. Cole, 
who is a son of James H. Cole, the late wealthy real estate holder of that city, they 
moved to Los Angeles. They have lived in this city for the past eighteen years. 

Mrs. Cole is a teacher of, modern and vocal music and a great social worker. She 
is a thorough race woman, and has done much in Los Angeles to create favorable senti- 
ment for the race. She was the first person to have removed an objectional sign, 
"Negroes not wanted." This was many years before the activities of the N. A. A. 
C. P. Mrs. Cole went into a lunch-stand on Broadway and asked for a glass of butter- 
milk. They first refused to serve her and then they told her it would cost fifty cents. 
They sold it to others for five cents. She told the writer that she was determined to 
break up the discrimination if she had to die, and proceeded to break up the man's 
place of business. They called the police and when he came and inquired the trouble 
he demanded that the proprietor serve her without extra charge. This was a direct 
opening wedge in removing objectionable signs. 

Mrs. Cole, at the time, was engaged as deputy registrar for the City of Los Angeles, 
and a member of the executive board of the Dry Federation of the State of California. 
Her actions created favorable sentiment throughout the State and Nation for the Negro 
race. Mrs. Cole has always been a great race woman. While living in Detroit, Michi- 
gan, she framed a memorial and had the State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs 
send it to the Congress of the United States, asking them to give indemnity to Mrs. 
Baker, whose husband, Postmaster Baker, was assassinated in his home in South Caro- 



242 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

Una. This was during the McKiuley administration, and before the late President 
McKinley could act upon it he, too, was assassinated. 

Mrs. Cole is one of the first women to organize a club of women who have gone to 
the jails and prayed with unfortunate colored women. She has a wonderful personality 
and is the mother of four children. One son is now serving in France with the National 
Army, and her daughter, Florence Cole-Talbert, is the diamond medalist of the "Music" 
chapter. 

Mrs. Sadie Cole's mother, Mrs. Chandler, lives with another daughter in Los 
Angeles, Mrs. Wildred Chandler-Williams, who has the distinction of being the first 
colored woman in Los Angeles to be recognized as a modiste by the exclusive rich. She 
is an artist in her line and has employed as high as ten colored women who were also 
artistic needle women. She has lived in the City of Los Angeles for thirty years and 
is fully recognized by the world of fashion as an artistic modiste. Her mother is past 
ninety, but with a mind very bright and has a keen interest in the passing events. 

Mrs. Sadie Chandler-Cole has the distinction of having for a, brother the leading 
Negro Baptist minister in the ITnited States, Eev. Arthur Chandler, who has been won- 
derfully educated. He first graduated from Dennison University, at Granville, Ohio, 
and later at the school located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, finally going to Boston, where 
he studied and graduated in the Newton Seminary as a theologian. He, together with 
his interesting family, live in Detroit, Michigan. His daughter. Miss Anna, graduated 
last June from the Central high school of that city. 

Mrs. Pool, the subject of this sketch, came to California some fourteen years ago 
from Leadville, Colorado, with her mother, who was then ill. She is a native of Leav- 
enworth, Kansas, and, at the age of seven, became connected with the A. M. E, Church. 
Since coming to California she has identified herself with every movement which has 
for its object the betterment of the Negro race. She has been active in the building 
of the Sojourner Truth Home and has served that club as treasurer and, at this writing, 
is vice-president. Mrs. Pool is a member of the St. John Lodge Chapter (Electric) and 
one of the Forty-niners of the Independent People's Church of Christ of Los Angeles. 
She and her husband own many valuable pieces of property. Mrs. Pool is a staunch 
friend and an enlerprizing race woman who is well liked and respected by all. 

Mrs. Billingsley-Jones, a native of Greenville, Tennessee, came from Dayton, Ohio, 
to Los Angeles, California, sixteen years ago. She is a great worker in charity and 
benevolent societies. She has been a member of the M. E. Wesley Chapel for many 
years until the founding of the Independent People's Church of Christ, when she joined 
to be with her husband, who holds an office in this body. She is a member of the choir 
and an active worker in all the other branches of the church. She is also an active 
member of the Household of Ruth and is a well-respected and distinguished citizen of 
Los Angeles. 

Mrs. Howard Skanks is another distinguished pioneer citizen who stands for enobled 
womanhood and is actively engaged in aiding all lone women who are struggling for an 
existence. She is modest and unassuming, giving freely of both time and money In any 
movement for the betterment of Ne^ro women. She owns a beautiful home in the St. 
.James district of Los Angeles- and has entertained nearly all the distinguished colored 
people coming to the Coast. Mr. and Mrs. Shanks are New Englanders and are among 
the most reliable and highly respected people living in California. 

Mrs. Fern Ragland is a great club woman, active in charity work and the Day 
Nursery. She and her husband came from Meridian, Mississippi, over thirty years ago 
and have built one of the first apartment-houses owned by colored people in Los Angeles. 
They have twelve apartments, with all modern improvements. They have three children, 
Reskin, Mary and Charlie. Mr. Ragland is a hotel man and a devoted husband. 

Mrs. Amanda Shelton-Green, the subject of this sketch, came to California fifty 
years ago from Orange County, Virginia. She was one of four children whose mother 
had died, and their father, Mr. Edward Shelton, brought his young family to his father 
and mother, who at the time were living in San Francisco, California. Her father, 
Mr. Edward Shelton, followed blacksmithing and gave to all his children the best educa- 
tion possible. There were three girls and one boy, namely, Moulton, Amanda, Carrie 
and Julia. The oldest, Amanda, married Mr. Joseph Green, of Wilmington, North Caro- 
lina. Mr. Green was a great musician and for twenty-five years was a member of the 
Alphia Orchestra which played in the Palm Court of the Palace Hotel of San Francisco. 
The union was blessed by the birth of four children, two girls of whom are still living, 
namely, Cecil and Lauretta. 

Mrs. Sallie E. Taylor-Richardson was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the 
daughter of Mr. Henry and Harriett Taylor. They moved from Kentucky when the 
subject of this sketch was quite young, locating in Woodlawn, Illinois, where the 



OF CALIFORNIA 24:3 

daughter was educated until ready to enter a girl's college. She was then sent to 
Extine Norton University, located at Cainc Springs, Kentucky. She graduated from 
this institution as salutatorian of her class. After her graduation she married Mr. A. 
C. Eichardson and for a while lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, later coming to Los Angeles, 
where she studied and mastered the science of Chiropody and received a certificate. 
She practiced in Los Angeles until she earned sufficient money to buy a large and valu- 
able piece of property at Wilmington, near Los Angeles, which property, since the ship- 
building industry of the Great World War, has greatly increased in value. 

She is a club worker, and an active worker for Sojourner Truth Home Club. The 
greatest work Mrs. Richardson has done was the benefit she gave for Dr. Bundy of East 
St. LouiSj Missouri. Slie told the writer that she believed that he was trying to help 
the Negro race and for that reason was persecuted and should be befriended by every 
member of the race. She also said that she was from and old family in Kentucky who 
would die defending the race. Her grandmother was a conductor in the ' ' Underground 
Railroad" and assisted many fleeing Negro slaves. Her grandfather was a blasksmith 
and also a member of the "Underground Railroad." A great uncle was a defender of 
his rights to that extent that he killed two white men whom he saw assaulting a Negro 
girl. He chopped them in the head with a garden-hoe. The court was so afraid of him 
that they put him in a cage and brought him to court to try him because he assaulted a 
white man. So, as she said: "My very spirit seemed to cry out to help Dr. Bundy, 
who had suffered so much on account of the East St. Louis riots. 

She attended a course at the summer session of the Southern California University 
on "Current Events" and public speaking, and was invited to address the class on 
the Negro's part in the World's Democracy. 

Miss Lillian Simpson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Simpson, of Little Rock, 
Arkansas, came to California with her parents at the age of three years and located in 
Bakersfield, where she was educated. After leaving school she studied the art of 
millinery in an exclusive shop owned by Miss Eva Robinson. After finishing her 
trade and working up to the position as head maker and assistant trimmer, she filled 
an important position as such in Redlicks' department store, one of the leading stores 
in Bakersfield. After filling this position for three years, she resigned and accepted a 
similar position in the largest leading and exclusive department store of that city, 
Hockheimer & Company, serving as head maker and assistant trimmer for seven years. 

This position required Miss Simpson's making annual trips to San, Francisco and 
Los Angeles to the Wholesale millinery houses. This position was the only one of its 
kind ever held in California by a colored woman. 

Mrs. Lula Russel, living in California for over thirty-two years and thirty years 
in Bakersfield, is one of the most successful colored women practitioners of the art of 
massage and hair dressing in the State. She has, because of her thorough training, 
succeeded in building up a practice in Bakersfield that has yielded her sufficient to 
purchase a city block and also her home, which is modern in every detail and valued at 
ten thousand dollars. This elegant home site is on a plot of land equal to one-fourth of 
a city block. She also owns three city lots at Point Richmond, California. Her hus- 
band, Mr. Barrington Russel, is a first-class carpenter and came to California many 
years ago from Austin, Texas. They are both well-respected and distinguished citizens 
of tlie City of Bakersfield. 

Mr. and Mrs. Winters own valuable property, including the Winters block, in 
Bakersfield. He is the pioneer person of color in the State to conduct a good paying 
business in and for the race without asking members of another race to invest their 
money with him. He is considered the best business man in the race, possessing a keen 
idea of the value of co-operation and has made a success. Mrs. Winters has a sketch 
in the "Music" chapter. She is very popular. 

Mrs. Ella Ardelle Butler, nee Clayton, the subject of this sketch, is a native of 
Richmond, Virginia. She came to California in 1893 to join her brothers, John and the 
late James L. Clayton, to make her home in San Francisco. Entering the high school 
of that city, she graduated in due season, subsequently taking a special course in sten- 
ography before engaging in a business career which terminated in the management of 
the insurance and loan office of her future husband, Mr. Walter A. Butler. 

Miss Ella Ardelle Clayton was married to Mr. Walter A. Butler April 19, 1916. 
The wedding was one of the most elaborate social functions o:^ its kind ever held in 
the Bay cities. It was solemnized in Oakland. The bride has, from her earliest arrival 
in California, been recognized as a social favorite, and as the writer has often remarked, 
"She wears well," for she is sincere and true to all who may enjoy her friendship, is 
affable and agreeable to every one, and possesses a charming personality. The groom 
has lived in Oakland for nearly forty years, and has always stood for everything that 



244 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

had for its aim the elevation of the race. He had by care and sacrifice built a most 
beautiful home for his bride which stands second to none in that district, and has few 
equals in the State. He did not marry until the home was built and furnished. 

Miss Clayton, to show her appreciation of his forethought, said: "Then 'Wrest- 
acre' shall be my marriage altar." She married in the home or rather "bride's nest" 
prepared by sacrifice and love for her to preside over as "queen of the home." 

Their wedding presents showed the popularity of both the bride and groom. They 
received enough table silver to serve a meal for several persons without using any 
china, fully a thousand dollars worth of silver alone, besides Oriental rugs, fine imported 
china, and hand-painted pictures the work of celebrated artists. Mrs. Butler is very 
much interested in the N. A. A. C. P., being actively engaged on the membership com- 
mittee. Since her marriage she has entertained many distinguished visitors in her 
palatial home. 

Los Angeles, more than any other city in California, has many race women who 
have won distinction in unsual lines. This is especially true of Mrs. Harriett Owens- 
Bynum, who, together with her husband, Green Owens, and only son, John "Wesley 
Coleman, and wife, located in Los Angeles on November 28, 1887, coming from Austin, 
Texas, where they owned a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres. The family having 
owned valuable land, knew the value to the race of being a taxpayer, and immediately 
purchased a twenty-five foot lot in the then new addition to Los Angeles which was 
known as Boyle Heights. They at intervals added to their holdings until they finally 
owned enough land to be given recognition by the real estate agent of the tract. 

Mr. Owens followed expressing for a living, and his wife did day's work which 
required her walking miles back and forth to Los Angeles, since the street cars did 
not at that date extend to this suburb. After a year Mrs. Owens found that it was a 
disadvantage for her to walk so long a distance and opened a hand laundry and later 
a bakery, and finally a dairy. At different times she served as a sick nurse with some 
of the leading white physicians of Lbs Angeles. 

These different adventures brought her into close contact with many families of the 
race, and she soon learned that few owned their own homes. Mrs. Owens consulted with 
the real estate agent of the Boyle Heights tract, and he appointed her agent among her 
people. This lady was anxious to see her people advance and made arrangements with 
the agent that they pay her a commission out of the sale price of the property, that she 
might sell and not add it to the original price. In this way the poor class of colored 
laborers were given a square deal in the purchase of homes. Mrs. Owens-Bynum sold 
over sixty-five houses and lots to colored families; some of these sold for thousands of 
dollars. Out of this number two families lost their property. She also succeeded in 
placing as renters in good property over a hundred families, and is still in the business. 
She trained her son to sell real estate, and they together invested their money thus 
earned in additional properties, building the "Coleman Flats" on Savannah street in 
Boyle Heights. This is a modern structure for colored families. 

Mrs. Owens-Bynum is one of the founders of the Second Baptist Church of Los 
Angeles. She has been honored by having a sketch of her activities appear in many 
race papers and magazines. The author found the following tribute to the lady in 
The New Age Magazine : ' ' She is a woman with great executive ability, a natural born 
financier and a good Christian worker of the old school. A wonderful career has been 
hers." In an issue of the Eagle of Los Angeles, under date of June 8, 1912, Mrs. Owens' 
picture appeared on the front page of an anniversary issue, and the article concerning 
this lady was headed ' ' Mrs. Owens an Impetus. Such characters who present the lasting 
vitality, 'the stern qualities of a clean-cut business woman as Mrs. Owens cannot be 
overlooked, and certainly serve as an impetus for young persons who must tread the 
same paths as their forefathers. * * * The vigorous enthusiasm that characterizes 
her every sentiment is distinguishing in effect. * * * May her example be an 
impetus for those who must follow after her!" 

Mrs. Louise Talbot-Young, the subject of this sketch, came to California with her 
parents from Chatham, Canada, where she had been educated. After locating in Los 
Angeles she was given additional educational advantages, taking a business course at 
Woodbury College; later she learned the trade as tailor and worked at the trade until 
married to Mr. Louis Wilburn Young. 

After his death she went to Bakersfield where she was engaged in the tailoring busi- 
ness for five years. Mrs. Young then returned to Los Angeles where she was appointed 
Deputy County Eecorder for Los Angeles County, California. She has held this position 
with credit to the race for twelve years. Mrs. Young's efficiency has proven a direct means 
of opening another door of opportunity for other colored women of Los Angeles. 



CHAPTER XIX 

Doctors and Dentists op the Race in California 

The State of California has not been blessed by many colored doctors until recent 
years. During the past ten years Los Angeles has had some ten or twelve doctors to 
locate in the immediate city, after a period of over twenty-five years since the first 
colored doctor located in that city, and nearly if not fifty years since the first one 
located in San Francisco. 

The first colored physician to locate in the State was Dr. W. J. O. Bryant, of Sau 
Francisco, an herb doctor, who was highly respected and successful. He was a "Trail 
Blazer" and came either in 1849 or the early fifties. Dr. Albert Bevitt, an herb doctor, 
with oflSces at Stockton and Powell streets, San Francisco, came in 1852 The next one 
to locate in the State was Dr. M. A. Majors, who came to Los Angeles in 1888. He was 
a native of Austin, Texas, and a graduate from a large Negro Texas college. He 
practiced in Los Angeles for a number of years and was very successful. Later he 
moved to Chicago. 

Dr. Shadd, of Washington, D. C, was another physician who located in Los Angeles 
and practiced there for seven years, when he was suddenly called by death. He dropped 
dead at Santa Monica. He was followed by Dr. Melvin Sykes, who was a great success 
for twenty or more years, when death called him. He left an immense fortune, a 
widow and a host of friends to mourn his passing. About the same time the City of 
Los Angeles was highly honored by having another well-educated colored doctor locate 
there in the person of Dr. Taylor, and soon afterward Dr. Elmer Barr, from Chicago, 
but whose parents were forty-niners; and then almost a native in the person of Dr. 
Thomas Nelson, who was the first colored doctor educated at Stanford University of 
California. "He graduated and received the degree of M. D. from the Cooper Medical 
School, in San Francisco, and during his last three years at that institution had the 
high honor of being assistant to the professor in chemistry, giving instructions to the 
classes under him." 

About five or more years ago Dr. Wilbur Clarence Gordon located in Los Angeles, 
coming from Springfield, Ohio, where he had practiced for eight years. He has been 
as successful in California as he was in the East. The following year there were at 
least seven or eight more colored doctors who located in California, and they are still 
coming. All seem to settle at this oue place, when there are such rich fields all through- 
out the State for men in this profession, as well as in dental practice. 

Dr. Purnell is the only colored doctor around the Sau Francisco Bay district. Only 
very recently a doctor has located iu the San Joaquin Valley. Dr. Benjamin Young, 
who, after graduating in pharmacy from the University of Southern California, went 
East and studied mediciue, graduated and returned home to Fowler, California, where 
he has located with his bride. The writer is adding a few sketches that the reader may 
form some idea as to the ability of the men practicing in California. The list could be 
extended to twice the length. 

Dr. John Outlaw is the son of James Madison and Sarah Frances Outlaw, of Wind- 
sor, Bertie County, North Carolina. They were emancipated slaves and afterward 
became the proprietors of a hotel for tourist trade and were very successful and highly- 
respected citizens of that city. This was demonstrated when on May 2, 1885, their son 
John S. was appointed by the Hon. J. E. O'Hara, member of Congress, from Enfield, 
North Carolina, to represent that district as a cadet to West Point United States Mili- 
tary Academy. Master John S. Outlaw had decided that he wished to study medicine 
and declined the appointment. 

Dr. John S. Outlaw graduated from the Lincoln University, of Pennsylvania, in 
1888, receiving the degree of A. B., and the added degree through his high scholarship 
he made Cum Lauda. After graduating with such honors he immediately entered 
Howard University, at Washington, D. C, where he studied medicine, graduating with 
the class of 1891. It is such a rare occurrence to have a young appointee refuse to 
accept an opportunity to become a cadet to West Point Military Academy that the 
Government closely watched the educational progress made by young Outlaw. This 
resulted in the Government's offering him, before he graduated from the medical 
department of Howard University, the appointment as Mortality Statistician for the 
Census Bureau with offices in Boston and New York. After finishing his service with 
this appointment, he was given the appointment of Medical Examiner of Pensions in 
the Pension Department at Washington, D. C. This was the first time this appointment 



246 THE NEGRO TRAIL BLAZERS 

had been filled by a Negro physician. All these appointments were given to Dr. Outlaw, 
unsolicited, and speak well for the gentleman. 

After ten years of service, he realized that he was not fulfilling the great desire 
of his life, to be an active physician and