Collected business and personal
correspondence relating to southern California landowner Benjamin Davis Wilson and
his family. The collection also includes account books, diaries (kept by Wilson's
wife Margaret and their daughters Annie and Ruth), and assorted ephemera. The Shorb
and Patton families are also heavily represented in the correspondence.
Benjamin Davis Wilson (1811-1878), a native of Tennessee, was a pioneer California
rancher and businessman who came to California from New Mexico in 1841 as a member
of the Rowland-Workman party. He purchased the Jurupa Rancho (Riverside, Calif.) in
1843. In 1851-52 Wilson was elected the second mayor of Los Angeles, in 1852 he
served as U.S. Indian Agent under Superintendent Edward F. Beale, and in 1855-57 and
1869-72 he served as state senator. He purchased Rancho de Cuati and adjacent land
to develop his Lake Vineyard Ranch (part of present-day San Marino) and with John S.
Griffin purchased Rancho San Pascual (which later became the city of Pasadena).
Wilson planted vineyards and citrus groves and became active in business circles. In
1844 Benjamin D. Wilson married Ramona Yorba, daughter of Bernardo Yorba, a
well-known land owner during the Mexican period. Their daughter, Maria de Jesus
Wilson, known as Sue, married James DeBarth Shorb (1842-1896). They also had a son,
John B. Wilson, who later committed suicide. After Ramona's death, Wilson married
Margaret S. Hereford (d.1898) in 1853. Margaret had a son, Edward Sublette Hereford,
also called “Judge,” from her first marriage. Together Wilson and Margaret had two
daughters, Anne (d.1931) and Ruth (d.1928), who married George S. Patton, Sr.
(1856-1927). Ruth and George’s son was General George S. Patton (1885-1945). They
also had a daughter, Anne W. Patton (1887-1971). The Pattons and Wilsons were also
related to the Banning family through George Patton Sr.’s half-sister Anne Smith,
who married Hancock Banning, the son of Phineas Banning.
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