Author Archives: teachersbell

Sacramentop Old City Cemetery African American Tour


Old City Cemetery Black History Tour February 23, 2013
Check out the Modern Day Buffalo Soldiers

On Saturday, February 23, 2013, the Sacramento Old City Cemetery Committee, in conjunction with reenactors from the Sojourner Truth Museum, Sacramento, escorted a large audience on a Living History Tour of burial spots belonging to a  number of Sacramento’s early Black Pioneers. In a manner of speaking they brought the personages of Edwin Crocker, Attorney, Archy Lee,  Jesse Slaughter [Sr. & Jr.], Vaardman Bullard, Robert Small, William Guinn, Ernest Huston Johnson, Col. Cornelius Peck and Nelson, Lucinda  and Francis Marion Ray back to life.

The modern day Buffalo Soldiers road up from the East Bay to pay Homage’ to original Buffalo Soldiers who made Sacramento their home after the Civil War one of whom is William Guinn. Francis Marion Ray is said to have been in the military but still has to be ascertained if he had been in the Buffalo Soldiers. I will have more on all of these people as we go along.

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Newspaper Article 1875 Racial Attitudes Of Times

Dee Sardach posted the following on NorCal, a California Rootsweb list this morning. Note the last line referring top employment of “white” laborers. Just thought I would post it because it addresses prevailing racial attitudes in El Dorado County at the time. There will be more on this as we goo along.

The Contra Costa Gazette
Martinez, Contra Costa County, California
Saturday,  13 February 1875
From the Placerville ‘Republican’ –
Another new industry and mine of wealth has been developed in El Dorado county. It has long been known that we possess one of the best marble quarries in the United States, and that at no distant day it will prove a real “bonanza” to its owners, and add greatly to the wealth of the county. But it has not been known until the past few weeks that we could produce roofing slate equal to the best productions of other countries. This is now an established fact, having been practically demonstrated. W.O. THOMAS, late of Nashville, Tennessee, a practical worker in slate, has located 2 ledges, in company with gentlemen of capital, which promise rich rewards. One of these ledges is situated at the south end of Chile Bar bridge, about 2 ½ miles north from this city [Placerville], and have fairly opened and tested and proves to be 1st class. Some 8 or 10 men have been employed upon it for some time. We were shown samples of it on Tuesday that were very fine. Mr. THOMAS is sanguine that these quarries will give employment to 100 or more white laborers in a short time.

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BRICKHOUSE ART GALLERY Beasley Lecture February 23, 2013

African American Quilt Artist Alice Beasley

Alice Beasley, African American Quilt Artist


Brickhouse Art Gallery


February 23, 2013

Visited the Brick House Art Gallery on 36th street in Sacramento’s Oak Park in Sacramento on Saturday, February 23rd to attend a lecture by noted African American quilt artist Alice Beasley. Myself a novice quilter, Ms. Beasley’s self deprecating, humorous words about her early attempts at quilting were most encouraging.  Beasley, an attorney for more than thirty years turned to quilting as a means of decompressing after her day at a high power job. Perhaps it is her experience as an attorney but Beasley seems to have  a natural gift for public speaking; avoiding the pun here of saying “she kept us in stitches,”  but she was indeed delightfully funny. And, in the process she was extremely informative as she shared her quilting expertise.

As a bit of a local historian, when Ms Beasley displayed and described  a quilt that she was asked to make  as a “genealogy quilt” and mentioned her family name “Bell” and with her “Beasley” name I couldn’t help but ask if her Bell family was connected to the editor of the early African American publication, the Elevator, and/or if she was somehow descended from noted African American historian, Deliah Beasley. The answer to both is, “not to the best of my knowledge”.

In addition to hearing Ms. Beasley speak and visually demonstrate her work, the Brickhouse Art Gallery displayed many most exquisitely constructed contemporary quilts by artistists too numerous to list and discuss here. The afternoon’s changing light playing off the colours and shapes of the quilts enhancing the scene of a veritable smogasboard of artistic talent. It was a joy to be there.The Brickhouse Art Gallery puts on many genre of artistic events in this very pleasant and inviting atmosphere.

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Regarding Sarah Jones Burial Site Location

Today is Thursday, January 17, 2013. I went to East Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery on Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, California to check on a Find A Grave inclusion that states that Sarah Mildred Jones is buried at that site. She is not. Sarah Jones was cremated at East Lawn Memorial Park. She is not buried there. East Lawn’s brochure states that they assisted in sending Miss Jones cremains back to her state of origin. That may have been the intent at that time in 1925 but Sarah Jones is in fact buried Sacramento’s Masonic Lawn Cemetery on Riverside Blvd. in Section E, Lot 211, Grave 11. I do not have a picture of this site because this is in fact an unmarked grave.

Also, the Find a Grave site lists Sarah Jones year of birth as 1845. According to the 1850 Census for Palmyra, MO, Sarah Jones is listed twice, by two different census takers, once as Sarah Mildred Jones and again as Sarah Mildred Patterson with her age given as , age 9. That would mean she was born in 1841. Sarah’s younger sister Missouri Jones is listed on this census as age 5. Sarah Jones was the biological child of Lavinia Jones and Francis Patterson. Missouri census records indicate that Lavinia Jones was a slave living in another household.  While Francis Patterson is listed as Head of Household, there is no wife listed. In his household is John Jones 20 years old, Sarah Jones age 9 and Missouri Jones age 5. I will look at this census again to see what relationship is offered for John, Sarah and Missouri, but they were not listed as slaves. Two other people living in the household are listed as servants. When we were in Palmyra I did not find a slave census which I will continue to look for, but I believe that Francis Patterson had a number of slaves because he built a School House for African American students on his property  in 1846.

I sent a message to Find A grave to hopefully correct their record regarding Sarah Mildred Jones.

I don’t know if the staff at East Lawn and/or Masonic Lawn cemeteries will read this post but I really appreciate their courtesy and cooperation in helping me correct this matter.

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Sacramento Educator Sarah Mildred Jones 1841 – 1925

Sarah Mildred Jones ca 1869

sarah jones young      There are later pictures of Sarah Jones that some may be more familiar with, but this is Miss Jones Alumni picture from Oberlin College in 1869. The picture is copy written by Oberlin College and can only be used by permission by Oberlin. Sarah Jones was born in Plamyra, Missouri in June of 1841.  I will write more about her daily but for now: Sarah Mildred Jones came to Sacramento, California in 1873. It is difficult to tell from pictures but Miss Jones was California’s first person of color to become a principal of a fully integrated school, at least on the west coast, in 1895, the same year that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Plessey vs Ferguson came down supporting “Separate but Equal”  education in the United States.  Actually, California had desegregated its schools by school statute in 1880. As magnanimous as it sounds, Sacramento’s idea of desegregation then was to physically move the “Colored School” closer to another existing public school for white students.  California did not try to re-segregate their schools in 1895 but Miss Jones’ appointment as Principal to Freemont Elementary School at 24th and N street in Sacramento, was not without controversy. Still Sacramento was far ahead of most cities in the United States in this vein.

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