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Leidesdorff Ranch is poised to preserve the legacy of a Founding Father of California
by Khubaka, Michael Harris (Blackagriculture [at]
Friday Apr 13th, 2018 3:01 PM
Leidesdorff Ranch is poised to replicate and preserve the historical legacy of our African Cuban, Danish Jewish founding father of the State of California
William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. was born on a farm in October 1810, St. Croix, Virgin Islands to his African-Cuban mother, Anna Marie and Danish-Jewish father, William Leidesdorff, Sr., oldest of 5 children.

He was born a Danish citizen, naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1834, New Orleans, Louisiana and obtained Mexican citizenship 1843, Monterey, Alta California.

Leidesdorff died very suddenly on May 18, 1848, a day before public announcement of the Gold along the American River and buried in the Catholic Church, Mission District, San Francisco, CA.

Honorable William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. was a successful maritime captain who owned many profitable businesses and traveled throughout the Caribbean, Louisiana, Alaska, New York, Hawaii, and California.

Leidesdorff was reportedly the wealthiest man in 1848 California. He was elected San Francisco Treasurer, President of the School Board and U.S. Vice Consul to Mexican California.

Most of his personal and official records are dispersed at leading universities, public libraries and private collections throughout the world.

In 1844, Honorable William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. received a land grant he called Rancho Rio de Los Americanos from Mexican authorities and built an enormous cattle and wheat ranch compound. Unique to his land grant was his added stipulation to allow the native Maidu / Miwuk community to remain undisturbed on a significant portion of his 35,000-acre Leidesdorff Ranch.

Today, ancient Maidu acorn grinding holes are present among the mile long portion of the American River known as Negro Bar, Sacramento County.

This area was an early Gold Rush mining community 4 miles downstream from Negro Hills, El Dorado County.

Very rich gold deposits were found at Negro Bar due to centuries of the river's natural swirling pattern caused by a limestone bluff on the northern bank. This steep geographical landmark contains layers of ocean life forms and peaks archeological interest, since the Pacific Ocean is 100 miles away.

Captain Leidesdorff navigated the first steamship, the Sitka, in California to develop overnight steam transportation to obtain agricultural products from the Sacramento Valley. His famous steamship voyage of, The Sitka, is seen on our California State Seal.

His greatest historical legacy, one day will be viewed as, the founder of Public Education in California; he organized construction, built and opened the first public school in California, at Portsmouth Square, San Francisco.

In 1848, William Alexander Leidesdorff Jr. commissioned a survey to verify vast quantities of reported gold on his land and violent dislocation of the Maidu population.

April 1848 he received favorable Gold reports and tales of murder at Negro Bar prior to his death from brain fever, several million dollars worth of gold was mined on his land, a 21st century "Gold Rush" is
prime real estate development this pristine land.

The voices of restless souls buried in desecrated cemeteries of Negro Hills and Negro Bar; cry out to tell us authentic lessons. Unyielding spirits of our Native Population and pioneers of Pan African Ancestry both enslaved and free along the American River are finally being acknowledged and the healing can finally begin.

Michael Harris
Leidesdorff Ranch
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