One glorious week in Yosemite, stage driver George Monroe shared his bench with Ulysses S. Grant. The backstory, told here for the first time, reveals a family's epic journey from the Antebellum South, through the California Gold Rush and on to Yosemite, ending in Southern California at the dawn of the automobile era. The story follows Monroe's rise to the top of his profession, his mother's heroic fight for her family, his father's role in civil rights, and how they built a 480-acre ranch near Yosemite.
Weaving rare artifacts of Monroe's life story with a rich trove of primary sources, this history paints the backdrop of George Monroe's career and the beginnings of Yosemite tourism.
With new research into local Black history, Yosemite's Wawona Hotel, and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Monroe's story gives a kaleidoscopic glimpse into the rich history of the American West.