online book
Colonel Allensworth
Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California



A.M.E. Church
Noted Individuals

Historic Sites
Selected References


A History of Black Americans in California:

Coleman Creek
Julian, San Diego County

The discovery of gold in Julian, San Diego County, can be attributed to A. E. (Frederick) Coleman.

Coleman, a Black rancher and experienced miner, discovered gold in the creek here while watering his horse during the winter of 1869-70. On making the discovery, he immediately began panning in the shallow waters which now bear his name. The Coleman Mining District was soon formed with Fred Coleman as recorder. Other mining districts were formed as the area began to swarm with miners, nearly 1,000 by 1870. The gold seekers, many from San Diego, stayed on through the harsh winters in tents and makeshift quarters.

By late 1870, the newcomers formed a town government and named the settlement after two brothers, Mike and Webb Julian, Confederate soldiers from Georgia. To encourage rapid growth, town lots were given free to anyone who would agree to build immediately.

Before the gold discovery, the area had a significant Black and Indian settlement. Fred Coleman, by some reports, either had an Indian wife or lived in an Indian settlement. Newcomers during the early gold rush years swelled the population and fundamentally changed its ethnic character, and presumably, its social and political climate as well. Despite the rapid changes that occurred in Julian following the gold discovery, some Black families remained and continued to have a presence in the community. In 1890, 7% of the town's 500 residents were Black.

Several Black families, some of whom were members of the original Black and Indian settlement, became local merchants and entrepreneurs. Albert Robinson, a farmer from Missouri, and his wife, Margaret Boyd, a Julian resident at the time of the gold discovery, opened a restaurant on Main Street during the late 1880s. The business was later expanded into a hotel. Known as the Robinson Hotel until it was sold in 1921, it is now Julian's only hotel and has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.

Coleman Creek
Coleman Creek, San Diego County

NEXT> Colored School

online book Top

Last Modified: Wed, Nov 17 2004 10:00:00 pm PDT

ParkNet Home