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Related Categories: Central Valley | Racial Justice
Historic Leidesdorff Ranch poised for a new partnership with Russian Americans
by Khubaka, Michael Harris
Tuesday Jul 24th, 2018 4:44 PM
Restoring the stolen legacy of the early California Pan African Pioneers begins with the Legacy of William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr.
Honorable William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. was born on a farm in 1810, St. Croix, Virgin Islands to his African-Cuban mother, Anna Marie and Danish-Jewish father, Alexander Leidesdorff, Sr. He was born a Danish citizen, naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1834, New Orleans, Louisiana and obtained Mexican citizenship in 1843, Monterey, Alta California. Leidesdorff died very suddenly, some say murdered, the morning of May 18, 1848, a day before public announcement of the Gold Rush, and buried inside the Catholic Mission, S.F., CA.

Honorable William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. was a successful maritime captain who owned many profitable businesses and held valuable maritime and real estate holdings throughout Louisiana, Alaska, New York, Hawaii, and California. Leidesdorff was reported to be one of the wealthiest men in pre Gold Rush California, elected San Francisco Treasurer, President of the School Board, agent for the Russian American Company and U.S. Vice Consul to Mexican California.

Most of his personal and official records are hidden, partial records are dispersed at universities, public libraries and private collections throughout the world, it is time to share his stolen legacy.

In 1844, Honorable William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr. received a land grant called Rancho Rio de Los Americanos from Mexican authorities and built an enormous cattle and wheat ranch compound. Unique to his Mexican land grant was an added stipulation to allow the native population to remain undisturbed on a significant portion of his 35,500 acre Leidesdorff Ranch.

Today, ancient Maidu-Miwuk 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 a rivers 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, part of the hidden story of Negro Bar - California State Parks.

Captain Leidesdorff navigated the first steamship 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. He received favorable Gold reports and tales of murder at Negro Bar prior to his death from brain fever or far worse. Several million dollars worth of gold was mined on his land, today a Gold Rush is on his prime real estate is called Folsom Ranch.

The voices of restless souls buried in the desecrated California Gold Rush Era cemeteries including Negro Hills and Negro Bar; cry out to tell us their authentic story.

Unyielding spirits of our Native, Russian and Negro Pioneers along the American River are finally being acknowledged and the healing will soon begin, as prophecied long ago, #1619-2019.