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Kevin Mulroy

Seminole Maroon leader and Mexican army officer, also known as Juan Caballo, John (or Juan) Cavallo, John Cowaya, John Coheia, Gopher John (beginning in 1826), and Juan de Dios Vidaurri (during and after 1856), was born in the Florida Alachua savanna west of Saint Augustine. His father is believed to have been of mixed American Indian and Spanish heritage and his mother of African and American Indian descent. Until his early thirties he was considered a Seminole slave. His surname is a translation of that of Charles Cavallo, his Indian owner. Cavallo might also have owned Horse's mother and been his father.

The Seminole Maroons were mostly runaways from South Carolina and Georgia plantations together with slaves captured by Seminoles from Florida plantations and some free blacks Some were considered Seminole slaves but servitude among the Seminoles was based upon tribute and ...

Article

Lynn Downey

legendary woman of influence and political power in Gold Rush and Gilded Age San Francisco, was born, according to some sources, a slave in Georgia; other sources claim that her mother was a Louisiana slave and her father was Asian or Native American. Many sources agree that she lived in Boston, as a free woman, the wife of James W. Smith, a Cuban abolitionist. When he died in 1844 he left her his estate, valued at approximately forty-five thousand dollars.

Mary Ellen next married a man whose last name was Pleasant or Pleasants and made her way to California, arriving in San Francisco in 1849 Her husband s whereabouts after this time have never been made clear She started life in San Francisco as a cook for wealthy clients then opened her own boardinghouse Her guests were said to be men of influence and it was rumored ...

Article

Lynn Hudson

Mary Ellen Pleasant arrived in San Francisco during the Gold Rush, probably sometime in 1852. For the next fifty years, she worked as cook, accountant, abolitionist, and entrepreneur in the bustling town on the bay. Histories of the West describe her as madam, voodoo queen, and prostitute. Pleasant herself requested that the words “she was a friend of John Brown’s” be printed on her gravestone, indicating her own desire to be remembered as an abolitionist. She was the target of what one historian has called an “avid conspiracy” that sought to silence her, and it was said that she harbored the skeletons of San Francisco’s elite in her closet.

The folklore about Pleasant reveals conflicting stories of her background (some say she was from Georgia, others Virginia), but Pleasant herself claimed she was born in Philadelphia She described her mother as a free colored woman and her ...