1811 - 1878 (67 years)
Has no ancestors but 9 descendants in this family tree.
||Benjamin Davis Wilson |
|Relationship||with Francis Fox|
||14 Apr 2002 |
- "Don Benito"
one of the earliest pioneers in the Mexican territory of Alto California. Wilson, an ex-Tennessean, had operated his own trading post when only 15 years of age, trading with Choctaws and Chickasaws near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later he was a trapper for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and during that time had been captured by and escaped from Apaches in New Mexico. He had survived a wound inflicted by a poison arrow from a band of marauding California indians, and he decided to settle in California when he arrived there in 1841. He had originally planned on going to China, but when he arrived in the village of Los Angeles, there was no ship, so he stayed where he was. Wilson was highly respected in California. Aside from being wealthy and being in the "aristocracy", he was widely known as a savage fighter. He was not a man to cross. He once returned from a raid against some hostile Indians carrying baskets filled with heads of the enemy. There is a story told about Don Benito loaning $5000 to Colonel Claus Spreckles, the "Sugar Baron" of San Diego. Wilson, being a man of honor, asked only a handshake to seal the bargain, in lieu of a promissory note. When Wilson later requested payment of the loan, he was told that since he had no legal paper requiring re-payment of the debt, he would not be repaid. He then buckled his gunbelt around his waist, entered the office of Spreckles and asked Spreckle's secretary if he had ever seen a man die. When the man said, "No", Wilson said, "Young man, you have never watched death? Well, then, wait about one minute." There was no death that day, but the debt was quickly paid, and in cash. It was Wilson who was responsible for the start of the citrus industry in California. He also experimented with the farming of sugar cane and he planted some of the first vineyards for fine wines. He was an Indian agent who was among the first to advocate rights for the displaced indian, feeling strongly that it was the Indian who needed protection from the White Man rather than vice-versa. He was Alcalde of "Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reine de los Angeles de Parciuncula" when it was Mexican, and then Mayor of Los Angeles when it became United States territory, and served three terms as a California State Senator. Contrary to the popular opinion of most people that Mount Wilson in California was named after President Wilson, it was actually named in honor of Benjamin D. Wilson after his death. It was Wilson who made the first trek up the mountain and built a usable road around it's slopes. After Wilson had settled in California, he had married Romona Yorba, the daughter of Don Bernardo Yorba, a prominent Mexican "Don" and "ranchero". Romona later died, and Wilson married Margaret S.
Hereford of Los Angeles.