I loved watching the clip about Biddy Mason on Youtube yesterday, you may never know the influence you can have in someone's life, until long after you part ways. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU5iQLpYliQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhuVEblAI8c Remember the story told of their friendship, and why Biddy took the name of Mason. http://www.amasamasonlyman.com/lds-black-saints.html
Biddy Mason took name Mason, after Amasa helped them to win their freedom in California
This chapter comes from the book "Bound for Canaan." I thought this chapter said more about Amasa, as a man, than I have heard in a long time. Maybe like I do, you see yourself, or other family members you know, in the images this story portrays. For more information on what happened to Biddy Mason (named after Amasa) see the following, she ended up being quite a woman in Southern California.
The Lyman and Flake families were best of friends especially after the death of James, the father. Then after Agness, the mother's, death, Lizzy, Agness's slave, was set free. Lizzy's daughter, Alice graduated College and became the first black school teacher.
.Its hard to read but here is more of the tie between Amasa and Lizzie, for those who liked last weeks information. It comes from the book "Bound for Canaan". If interested in more Lyman stories try used books like abebooks.com for (Standing on the Promises, Book 2) "Bound for Canaan" by Young and Gray it is a 3 book LDS Black history series.
Home> Local News> San Bernardino County> San Bernardino County Headlines February 12, 2011 09:05 PM PST September 15, 2011 07:35 AM PDT A LOOK BACK A LOOK BACK NITA HILTNER | Special to The Press-Enterprise The Press Enterprise By NITA HILTNER | Special to The Press-Enterprise Published: February 12, 2011; 09:05 PM Lizzy Flake Rowan was a slave, but her daughter most likely became the first black teacher of white children in California. Rowan was among the 26 blacks who traveled with the Mormons when they came to San Bernardino in 1851 to form a colony. Historian Nick Cataldo of the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society wrote about Rowan, writing that she had been taken from her parents and given as a wedding present to James and Agnes Flake, a wealthy white couple, who owned a Carolina plantation. The couple converted to Mormonism and traveled to Utah with their three sons and Lizzy in 1845. All the children herded the oxen and cattle all the way to Utah, a trip of three years. James Flake died in 1850, and his wife joined the Mormons who bought the San Bernardino Rancho in 1851. Rowan drove the family wagon to California. She and the Flake boys helped make the bricks for the new community houses. She also helped build the Mormon fort. When her stepmother died in 1855, Rowan took over care of the Flake boys. Even though living in California gave her freedom from slavery automatically, one of the Flake boys went to Utah to obtain papers freeing her from slavery. Supposedly, it was Rowan who informed the sheriff in Los Angeles that a white man, Robert Smith, was planning to take his 14 slaves back to Texas. One of them was Biddy Mason, who eventually became the richest woman in California and who donated land for the first African Methodist Episcopal Church on the West Coast. She married Charles Rowan about 1860 or earlier. They had three children and built a house on D Street in San Bernardino. Lizzy worked as a laundress, while Charles worked as a barber for nearly 40 years at the Southern Hotel in downtown San Bernardino. Lizzy instilled her appreciation for education in her children. Son Byron worked in the desert as a teaming contractor and later took over his father's barbershop. He owned several businesses including a garage near Daggett. The younger brother Charles worked as a clerk for the Santa Fe Railroad. Daughter Alice Rowan Johnson was one of the first blacks to graduate from a California college. She taught in Riverside and married Frank H. Johnson from Kansas, who was a blacksmith and carriage repairman. Their marriage was one of the most celebrated events in the San Bernardino black community in the 1890s, perhaps because of Alice Johnson's attainment of the highest position held by a black person before 1900. Frank Johnson bought land in the east side of Riverside and divided it for housing. He named one street Langston Place for the dean of Howard University Law School, John Mercer Langston. When an A.M.E. church was established in San Bernardino in 1904, Frank Johnson became its minister. Lizzy Flake Rowan is buried in Pioneer Cemetery in San Bernardino. coyotechronicle.net/black-history-month-san-bernardino Black History month is a month of pride for San Bernardino as we celebrate one of our first African American settlers who gained freedom in California. Former slave Lizzy Flake Rowan played a major role in San Bernardino’s early history, according to San Bernardino’s Historical and Pioneer Society.
Lizzie Flake Rowan In 1851, 26 black slaves left Salt Lake City, Utah and traveled to southern California to settle a new colony with 437 Mormons. The city they settled eventually became San Bernardino. All 26 of the slaves became free when they reached the California state line. “Some of them were a bit wary of this freedom, afraid that their new status on the frontier might just mean the freedom to starve,” said Steven Shaw, president of the Historical and Pioneer Society of San Bernardino. Elizabeth (Lizzy) Flake Rowan was one of the 26 slaves that would eventually be a big part of why the San Bernardino community became a success. At age four she was taken from her parents and given to a white couple, James and Agnes Flake, as a wedding present. James Flake passed away so his widowed wife took her children and Lizzy on the journey to Southern California. Upon the family’s arrival to San Bernardino Lizzy helped make the first adobe brick for the first homes built in the community. She also helped build a fort, to protect them from an “Indian uprising,” on the land where the San Bernardino County Courthouse now stands. “The blacks who chose to stay were accepted into the community, and were looked upon as valuable members by their fellow citizens,” says Shaw. Agnes Flake passed after settling in San Bernardino, leaving Lizzy to take care of her children. While Lizzy did receive her freedom when she entered California territory, one of the children went back to Utah and “sent back the proper papers to Lizzy giving her the freedom she already technically had,” stated Nicholas Cataldo, author of the article “Lizzy Flake Rowan”. After receiving her freedom Lizzy still took care of the children until she could find someone else to continue giving them care. She then married a man named Charles Rowan. Lizzy and Charles put down roots in San Bernardino on what is now D Street. They raised three children while Lizzy worked as a laundress downtown and Charles ran a barbershop. For 40 years Charles ran the barbershop in the Southern Hotel right by where the San Bernardino County Sun office is. Lizzy and Charles’ son, Byron, operated a feed store on I Street and then, like his father, opened up a barbershop on 3rd Street. Their daughter Alice became one of the first African Americans in the history of California to graduate from college. She also became one of the first black teachers of white children in California, for the city of Riverside. “This couple lived the rest of their lives in San Bernardino and were loved by all,” said Shaw. Lizzy passed away in 1908 and is buried at San Bernardino’s Pioneer Cemetery. Pioneers of different races attended her funeral and served as pall bearers.
Elspeth Young is a local artist who was commissioned to paint pictures for the Payson Utah Temple. An original painting of Jane Elizabeth Manning, one of the first settlers in Utah Valley, hangs in the sealing room waiting area. This picture titled, “Till We Meet Again,” is another picture of the early pioneer by Young. (Photo courtesy Facebook)