picture of Refuge


The Mordecai Project 1987-88

The Mordecai project was conducted in the 1987-88 school year. Students from the following schools worked on the project: James Monroe Elementary, Bill Coate’s 6th-grade class (Madera, California); Leland High School, Daryl Lewis’ history classes (Leland, Mississippi); Martin Middle School, Craig Matthew’s Tar Heel Junior Historians (Raleigh, North Carolina); Millview School, Oscar Dragon’s sixth-grade class and Carol Lawrence’s sixth-grade class (Madera, California); Tuckahoe Elementary, Cathy Boehling’s 6th-grade class (Richmond, Virginia).

George Washington Mordecai was born into one of America’s most brilliant Jewish families. His immigrant ancestor was his great-grandfather, Moses, who immigrated from Bonn, Germany. George’s grandfather, Jacob, had 12 children, who fanned out along the eastern seaboard from Philadelphia to Mobile and made their marks in life. By the mid-1840s, the third generation of Mordecais sought to find their places in the family hierarchy.

By the time he was old enough for his university education, his home state seceded from the Union. George, just barely 17 years of age, followed his older siblings into the ranks of the Confederate Army.
After his beloved Army of Northern Virginia was surrendered at Appomattox, He turned his back on the South forever and headed west.

George Mordecai made his mark on his own hook in California. From a humble homestead in the San Joaquin Valley, he built “Refuge” his 4,000-acre ranch. In 1890, he was elected to the State Legislature, and by his death in 1920, he had become a pillar of society. “Refuge” is the story of one man’s fight to become all that he inwardly knew he could be–a true Mordecai.

picture of the Refuge book cover

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