“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sonora in Tuolumne County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Sugg House

Sugg House Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
1. Sugg House Marker
Inscription. In 1857, William Sugg, a freed slave, built this three-room brick-faced adobe house. The adobe blocks were made in the front yard. The walls are up to 18 inches thick. A wood frame kitchen was at the rear. As Sugg’s family eventually grew to 11 children, it became necessary to construct the wood frame addition. It was completed in the 1880’s. The rooms were occasionally rented out as “overflow” to the City Hotel. State law changes, in 1921, requiring hot and cold running water in every commercial room, ended that 41-year practice, the family not being able to afford the expense. The home was occupied by the Sugg family for 125 years. Grandson, Vernon Sugg McDonald, was the last to live in the house.
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Erected 2003 by Matuca Chapter 1849, E Clampus Vitus.
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
Location. 37° 59.016′ N, 120° 22.881′ W. Marker is in Sonora, California, in Tuolumne County. Marker is on Theall Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker and house are located two blocks east of South Washington Street (Highway 49) and marker is located on the southeast corner. Marker is at or near this postal address: 37 Theall Street, Sonora CA 95370, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. City Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker);
Sugg House Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
2. Sugg House Marker
Sonora Inn (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Home of Wells Fargo & Company in Sonora (about 400 feet away); Site of the Sonora Plaza Well (about 400 feet away); A Portal of the Past (about 500 feet away); Sonora Fountain (about 600 feet away); Sonora (about 600 feet away); Sonora Opera Hall (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Sonora.
Regarding Sugg House. Thousands of the miners who came during the Gold Rush were black, including about 500 in Tuolumne County. Often, miners came as slaves with their master along with an agreement that they would be freed after a certain amount of time mining gold, or found a certain amount of gold.

One black who came about 1850 with his master was William Sugg, who bought his freedom for a dollar in 1854. He established a business repairing and refurbishing leather harnesses and began building in 1857 what still stands as the Sugg House, a block east of Washington Street. Sugg was not wealthy and he made his own adobe bricks and made a roof from cut-up 5-gallon tin cans nailed to rafters.

William Sugg's wife, Mary Snelling, traveled across the country in a wagon train, ending up near what is now Merced. Mary, twelve years old, was the
Sugg House Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
3. Sugg House
daughter of a white man and a black woman and had light black skin. Many of the Indians they encountered during the wagon trip saw Mary and believed that she was a kidnapped Indian and wanted to rescue her. Whenever Indians came near, she hid.
Source: Sonora Visitor -
Also see . . .  The Sugg Family. William Sugg was a slave, and was brought to California during the early days of the Gold Rush. (Submitted on June 14, 2010.) 
Categories. African AmericansNotable BuildingsNotable Persons
Sugg House Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
4. Sugg House
Sugg House image, Click for more information
By Roger Sturtevant, Photographer, January 19, 1934
5. Sugg House
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
Click for more information.
The City Hotel Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
6. The City Hotel
Located at the corner of Theall and South Washington Streets.
The Sonora Inn Photo, Click for full size
By Syd Whittle, June 13, 2010
7. The Sonora Inn
Located on South Washington Street. A hotel that also booked "over flow" guests at the Sugg House.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 1,269 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   5. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   6, 7. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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