Robert J. Chandler

Independent Historian

Robert J. Chandler graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with a Ph.D. entitled, “The Press and Civil Liberties in California during the Civil War, 1861-1865.”  Broadening his interest in California history from politics, civil rights, and journalism to finance, mining, numismatics, philately, commerce, and transportation, he spent 32 years as the senior research historian for Wells Fargo Bank in the History Department.  Public speaking and exhibit design came along with the job. He has written a history of California (2004), an Arcadia volume on Wells Fargo (2006), and the University of Oklahoma Press is publishing his study of African American artist Grafton Tyler Brown, a San Francisco lithographer, 1860-1882, and a Pacific Northwest/Yellowstone landscape painter, 1882-1891.  He has written over fifty articles, many on Civil War California’s history, including "Friends in Time of Need:  Republicans and Black Civil Rights in California during the Civil War Era," Arizona and the West 24 (Winter 1982): 319-40. His writings incorporate his collection of documents and illustrations and some have won awards from Westerners International.  For relaxation, he plaques historical sites with the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus.

Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918)

"Image Ownership: Public Domain" Grafton Tyler Brown, the most successful African American artist in the 19th Century west, lived his adult life as a white man.  This says more about America’s racial structure than it does about his choice to pass for white.  Brown was … Read MoreGrafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918)

George Frazier Monroe (c. 1844-1886)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Yosemite stagecoach driver George Frazier Monroe was born in Georgia possibly around 1844.  His father, Louis Augustus Monroe, arrived from Georgia in the Gold Rush and settled as a barber in Mariposa in 1854.  He was also locally known as a … Read MoreGeorge Frazier Monroe (c. 1844-1886)

William Robison (1821-1899)

Image Ownership: Public Domain California pioneer, expressman, and civil rights worker William Robison was born a slave in Gloucester County, Virginia on August 28, 1821.  He may have gained his freedom by fighting in the Seminole War in 1836.  He would have been 15 at … Read MoreWilliam Robison (1821-1899)