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Benjamin Davis Wilson Collection
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Collection Overview
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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.
2,394 items
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
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