Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Figures in Black History #7

William Alexander Leidesdorff, born in the Virgin Islands, the son of a sugar planter and a native woman of negro blood.
Engaging in the maritime trade and sailing from New Orleans to New York, the excitement and possibilities of the west soon lured him to California around 1841.
This 1841 voyage into San Francisco Bay alone would make him famous, although it would be the one of many claiming attention.
Leidesdorff established himself in a voluminous home on the corner of California and Montgomery Streets near the present-day Russ Building as well as owning a vast amount of land where the city of Folsom sits today.
Leidesdorff died of brain fever in 1848 at the age of thirty-eight. Flags hung at half-mast, vessels remained in the port and Minute guns were fired as the funeral procession made its way through the winding streets of San Francisco.

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