From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Grubbs, Albert, Sr.

(born: 1832  -  died: 1901) 

Albert Grubbs, Sr. was born in Lexington, KY. He is referred to as one of the pioneers of Sacramento, having arrived in California in 1854, two years after the death of Henry Clay. Grubbs had been the servant of Henry Clay, whom he had accompanied throughout the United States. Grubbs closed Clay's eyes when Clay died.

In California, Grubbs was in the laundry and teaming businesses. In 1901, he was bedridden and a lamp tipped over on him. Grubbs, one of the oldest African Americans in Sacramento, was badly burned and, as reported at the time, not expected to survive his injuries.

He was the father of Albert Grubbs, Jr., a trusted employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, who received a letter of commendation in 1906. Albert, Jr. had been a drummer boy, and his father had been a member of the Sacramento Zouaves, an African American military company formed to provide military training at the end of the Civil War. Similar companies were formed in other locations in California.

Albert Jr.'s son, an electrician who got discouraged by prejudice in the United States, learned Spanish and moved with his wife, Carrie Phelps, who was from Chicago, to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

For more see The Negro Trail Blazers of California, by D. L. Beasley; "Sacramento man who was Henry Clay's servant," The Evening Bee, 1/13/1900; "Albert Grubbs terribly burned," The Evening Bee, 10/19/1901: and "Albert Grubbs" in the Obituary section of the Los Angeles Times, 10/31/1901.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Negro trail blazers of California
NKAA Source: The Evening bee (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Los Angeles times (newspaper)

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“Grubbs, Albert, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-06-24 17:44:15