The slave William Sugg came to California with his master around 1850. In 1854, for one dollar, he purchased his freedom. Although Mr. Sugg was never wealthy, he worked repairing and refurbishing leather harnesses to provide for himself. He managed to purchase a piece of property and in 1857 starting building his house, now known as The Sugg House.
Backstory and Context
Mary Snelling Sugg traveled to California with her family in 1851. Mrs. Sugg was light skinned and the Indians they encountered on their trip often mistook her for an Indian girl who had been kidnapped and continually tried to rescue her. She spent a lot of the trip hiding.
William and Mary eventually had 11 children. William started building his house in 1857 with mud, straw and water. The walls were 18 inches thick with a wood frame kitchen. The roof was made from cut-up 5-gallon tin cans nailed to the rafters. The original house was three rooms. As his family continued to grow Mr. Sugg added additional rooms using wood. A kitchen and a second floor as well as an attic were added. The additions were completed in 1880. The Sugg family lived in the house for over 125 years. The last family member to occupy the house was William Sugg's grandson, Vernon Sugg McDonald.
The rooms were rented out as overflow from the city hotel. In 1921 laws changed requiring publicly rented rooms had hot and cold running water. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Sugg House, https://sonoraca.net/ip/displayentityip.php?entitycode=sugghouse. Accessed 10 Oct. 2017.
"National Register of Historic Places in Tuolumne County." NoeHill Travels in California, https://noehill.com/tuolumne/nat1984001210.asp. Accessed 10 Oct. 2017.