Story Corps
The names of eight Black Petalumans, all married couples, were found on a suffrage petition that was presented to the California state legislature in 1870. Some of these individuals were trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Union Church in Petaluma, and some of their grave sites reside in the Cypress Hill Memorial Park in Petaluma. The couples who signed the petition were Alexander and Melvina McFarland, Cooper and Eliza Smith, Thomas and Juliana Johnson, and Charles and Rebecca Montgomery.
Produced by: Isabel Fischer
Special Thanks to:
Katherine Rinehart
Faith Ross
John Sheehy
Paula Freund
Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library
The Sonoma County Archives
Petaluma Blacks for Community Development
Image of Melvina McFarland’s certificate of proof of will courtesy of the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library
Image of Melvina McFarland’s obituary from the Petaluma Argus, 5 December 1900. Courtesy of the Petaluma Argus
Image of Alexander McFarland’s obituary from the Petaluma Courier (Petaluma, California.) Wednesday, 4 August 1886. Page 3. Courtesy of by Ancestry.
Image of A.M.E. Union Church Certificate Appointment of Trustees courtesy of the Sonoma County Archives
Images of 1870 Petition for Woman’s Suffrage from the Journals of Senate and Assembly of the Eighteenth Session of the Legislature of the State of California, Appendix Vol 2. (1869/1870). Courtesy of HathiTrust.
Image of Woman Suffrage article from the Petaluma Weekly Argus (Petaluma, California.) Saturday, 19 March 1870. Page 3. Courtesy of by Ancestry.
Title: Bird's eye view of the City of Petaluma, Sonoma County, California : drawn by Augustus Koch
Date: 1871
Collection: Framed Items From The Collections Of The Bancroft Library
Owning Institution: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Source: Calisphere
Date of access: December 5 2020 21:30
Parmer, Janet. “Unearthing early black history.” The Press Democrat, 2 February 2007, p. P1-P3. Photo credit: Jeff Kan Lee / The Press Democrat
Image of Abigail Haskell courtesy of Ann Nisson
Photographs of Alexander and Melvina McFarland’s gravestones by Katherine Rinehart

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