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Time line Continued


June 14, 1846 - Grider takes part in the Bear Flag Incident at Sonoma. Credited with finding the paint for the original Bear Flag, also serves as flag-bearer. Other Black men who participated in the Sonoma incident include Jacob Dodson, James Duff, Billy Gaston, Charles Gains, Joseph McAfee and Ben, a “man servant” to Captain Archibald H. Gillispie. Following the Bear Flag incident, Grider stays in Sonoma where he works for General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.

1848 - Gold is struck at Sutter’s Fort. Within months, Grider, McAfee and hundreds of other African Americans - some enslaved, some free - head for the gold fields. Joseph S. Hatton, who will settle in Napa, also goes to the mines.

1849-50 - Grider, McAfee and other African Americans are at Murphy’s Diggings in Calaveras County with George Wyatt.

1849 - California Constitutional Convention is held in Monterey. Among a number of extremely discriminatory legislation, delegates vote to disenfranchise “Indians, Africans and decedents of Africans

1850 (United States Era) - California admitted into the Union on September 9. Solano County is made one of the state’s original 27 counties. During the year, Grider, with earnings from the gold mines, buys not only his freedom, he also purchases the freedom of his mother, Caroline. Grider settles in newly incorporated Vallejo and goes to work in James Brownlie’s livery stable on Virginia Street. Joseph McAfee settles in Benicia where he stays until the 1860s, when moves to Santa Cruz.

- Solano County census reports that of the 21 Black men and women enumerated in the county, 14 are slaves under contract in Vacaville to work for two years after which they will be set free.

1852 - First California Convention of Colored Citizens held in Sacramento. Among the delegates is Napa resident William Christopher.

- California’s version of the Fugitive Slave Act is passed by state legislators at the state capitol: Vallejo (1851-1853).

1854 - Mare Island Navy Yard is established.

Sept. 17, 1855 - Adam Willis, enslaved to Benicia assessor Singleton Vaughn has lived in Benicia for nine years. After paying $1 to Vaunghn, Willis is manumitted, or set free by a Benicia court judge.

Nov. 20-22 - Second state Convention of Colored Citizens, Sacramento. Among the delegates are Napa barber Edward Hatton, N.E. Speights (F.G. Barbadoes serves as his proxy), Solano County and Rev. Peter Killingworth who represents Sonoma County.

1860 (date unknown) - Grider discovers slaves being kept on a ranch in Napa, Through his actions, the Rev. Thomas Starr King, a well known San Francisco minister and abolitionist, is alerted and travels to Napa to secure the freedom of these enslaved men.

Aug. 10 - Lewis J. (L. J.) Williams is born into slavery in Chillachothe, Mo. Moving to Vallejo in the early 1900s, he becomes the first African American bookkeeper at Mare Island. He helps organize Second Baptist Church (1907), Firma Lodge No. 27 (1918) and the Vallejo branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1918).

1861 - Civil War declared

Jan. 1, 1863 - President Lincoln signs Emancipation Proclamation, freeing - at least on paper - millions of American slaves. Celebrations are held throughout the Bay Area and North Bay.

- Jan 14, Grand Jubilee celebration marking the Emancipation Proclamation is held at Platts Music Hall in San Francisco. North Bay men helping to plan the ceremony are Erastus Briscoe, Suisun; S. P. Clanton, Benicia and Edward Hatton, Napa.

Aug. 1863 - John Grider is one of the scores of Solano County men who sign up for the mandatory Union Draft. Grider, who is 37, is listed as 28. 1866 - After campaigning for better schools, African Americans, by state law, gain access to California public schools. The law mandates that these schools be separated along racial lines. Vallejo establishes one of these separate schools for “colored children” in the United States Hotel at 21-22 Maine Street. Some of the first children in the “colored school” include the Holman, Landeway and Dixon children.

April 9, 1865 - The Civil War ends. - June 6 - Elizabeth Bundy, a cook, buys a home for $800 on D Street in Benicia. Her purchase makes her one of the first African American women to buy property in Solano County.
Oct. 25-28 - Third Convention for Colored Citizens held in Sacramento.

Jan. 1, 1870 - Hundreds, including many North Bay residents, attend the seventh anniversary celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation in San Francisco. Planning committee members from the North Bay include Napa’s Edward Hatton, Vallejo’s Wilson Dixon, and Petaluma’s George W. Miller.

- March 18 - The Elevator, a Bay Area African American newspaper urges Black men to apply for jobs at Mare Island, pointing to T. B. Davidson, rigger, and J. R. Woodls, caulker, as examples. - March 30 - The15th Amendment is ratified. African American men are granted the right to vote. Frederick A. Sparrow, a Napa barber, is one of the first African Americans to register to vote in the North Bay.

April 11, 1870 - Celebrations to mark the 15th Amendment’s passage are held throughout the North Bay and Bay Area. A well-attended event is held in Napa where a 100-gun salute, speeches and a dance mark the important occasion.

1872- Grider name in Vallejo directory, listed as a laborer.

April 22 - A statewide educational committee of African American men meet at Bethel AME Church in San Francisco to discuss challenging state laws that ban black children from public schools and restrict them to inadequate educational facilities. Delegates include Vallejo’s Wilson Dixon, Napa’s Joseph S. Hatton and Petaluma’s George W. Miller.

Oct. 12 - The Grant Invincibles, a patriotic club that supports the reelection of Ulysses S. Grant for president, makes an excursion by boat from San Francisco to Vallejo. Participant gather at an elaborate evening event that includes speech making at Eureka Hall, fireworks and a parade. On hand to greet the San Francisco contingent are members of Vallejo’s Grant Invincibles and the Coughlan Republicans. Vallejo’s John R. Landeway, an African American businessman, welcomes the club with an open house at his Georgia Street barber shop near the waterfront.

1874 - Seeing the writing on the wall and strapped for cash, Vallejo school trustees vote to abolish the town’s “colored school.” African American students are then permitted to enroll in the general public school. Vallejo is among the earliest school districts to desegregate, although by 1875 most state schools adopt the same policy.

1876 - Grider registers to vote for the first time. Grider works at the Brownlie Livery Stable. He “beds” at the Capitol Hotel located at the foot of Virginia Street.

1886- John Grider and friend, George Van Blake, register to vote on June 29. Grider is 58 years old and Van Blake, 47.

1890 - Grider and Van Blake register again to vote.

1896 - The United States Supreme Court rules in the landmark Plessy versus Ferguson case that “separate but equal” accommodations by state government are constitutional under the Equal Protection Clause.

1898 - The Spanish American War is underway. Spurred by increased job opportunities at Mare Island Navy Yard, growing numbers of African Americans move to Vallejo and the North Bay. Following the war scores of Black war veterans, settle in Vallejo.

Nov. 20, 1902 - Former Benicia slave Adam Willis, a “pioneer of pioneers” dies
in Fairfield at the age of 76.

1902-1903 - Joseph S. Hatton, former Napa barber, delegate to the 1855 California colored convention and North Bay agent for the Elevator and the Pacific Appeal, is named California’s M. W. Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

Jan. 4, 1904 - Mary Ellen Pleasant, the San Francisco businesswoman who helped finance John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry, dies. Mrs. Pleasant is buried in Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.

Nov. 28, 1905 - John Henry Turpin, a Navy mess attendant who survived explosions aboard the Battleship Maine (1898) and the USS Bennington (June 1905) takes on Matt Turner, another Black boxer, in a boxing match at Vallejo’s Palm Club.

Sept. 14, 1907 - Vallejo’s Second Baptist Church founded in the home of J. L. and Sophia Malone. Also present at the meeting are L. J. and Willie Williams, Mrs. M. Smith and Mrs. S. Davis.

1909 - Ellsworth Courtney becomes one of the first African American children to graduate from Vallejo High School, then located at Lincoln School.

1910 - Kyles Temple AME Zion Church founded.

Feb. 24, 1911 - The Workingmen’s Social Club, a club for African American men, organize a baseball team. Jim Chase, a well known Vallejo boxer, serves as the team’s captain.
April 22- Candidates for the Vallejo commissioner and school director - all Whites - appear before an all African American audience in an effort to solicit votes.

- Charles H. Toney a Mare Island clerk, establishes the Vallejo Industrial and Normal Institute for colored children on Marin Street in Vallejo. The school is modeled after schools founded by Booker T. Washington.

1913 - Grand United Order of Oddfellows, El Dorado Lodge No. 9429 is organized. In Vallejo.

July 28, 1914 - World War I begins.
Sept. 9/10- John Grider is among those feted in a huge Admission Day parade sponsored by the Native Sons of the Golden West in downtown Vallejo. Called the Bear Flag Party veteran, Grider is 88 years old and in failing health.

1915 - The Great Migration begins, bringing millions of African Americans out of the South. Many of these southerners move to the North Bay seeking better pay, housing and relief from unrelenting racism of the South.






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