Josephine kept few newspaper cuttings, but the ones she kept were important to her: an interview during her trip to California (1898-1899), the death of her friend Mrs. Burdell (1900), and an article lauding her favorite son’s business venture at “Los Algarrobos”.
|26 Sept. 1898||Press Democrat||Interwiew with Josephine K-Benitz|
|25 Jan. 1900||San Francisco Call||Mrs. Augusta Burdell’s death notices|
|March, 1906||Bs.As. Herald or Standard||Incorporation of “Los Algarrobos”|
Press Democrat – Sept. 26th 1898
AFTER MANY YEARS
Visit Here of the Former
Owner of Fort Ross
Arrived in Santa Rosa Thursday
—One of the First White
Women in California
“Mrs. William Benitz, South America.”
The inscription of this name was found by a PRESS DEMOCRAT reporter on the register at the Grand Hotel Thursday afternoon and on inquiry located the owner of the name, who accorded the reporter a very pleasant interview in the parlors of the hotel.
Mrs. Benitz is a wonderful woman. She may have passed the three score and ten years limit, but she is as full of vigor as a much younger woman, and very graciously talked of bygone days in California.
She was one the first white women to land in California. With her
husband[father and mother Kolmer] and party she crossed the mountains from St. Joseph, Mo., and arrived at Sutter’s Fort in 1845. They came in wagons and the journey occupied six months. The memories of that trip have stayed with Mrs. Benitz these many long years, and today she recalls with ease many points of interest and incidents which happened en route.
Laughingly Mrs. Benitz remarked that when she and the other white women arrived in California the natives would not believe that they were white, and as proof positive she says they rolled up their sleeves and exposed their arms to withdraw the skepticism of the doubting Thomases in the crowd. She says all the foreigners in the state, upon their arrival in 1845 – and there were very few of them – came to see their party.
Before entering the country they had to obtain permission of the Mexican government to do so.
In 1845 Mrs. Benitz’s husband purchased the land of Fort Ross, Captain Sutter having sold the improvements to the Russians. Mr. Benitz was sole owner of Fort Ross until the time of his departure from there in 1867, when he sold his property to Mr. Dickinson and Mrs. Fairbanks.
After leaving Fort Ross Mr. and Mrs. Benitz removed to Oakland. They lived there some time prior to going to the Argentine Republic, where she – her husband having passed away over twenty years ago – has made her home. In the republic she has three sons, all prominent and wealthy land-owners, a married daughter, and seventeen grandchildren. Their home is near Buenos Ayres. She says times are prosperous in South America at the present time.
Last Sunday week the distinguished woman and two of her granddaughters [Hattie & Katie] arrived in San Francisco from the Argentine Republic. She told the reporter Thursday that she would probably remain in California eight or nine months before returning to South America, where she expects to end her days.
Mrs. Benitz has not been to Sonoma county to visit the familiar haunts of early days for a quarter century. On Thursday evening she left for Fort Ross and will probably remain at Timber Cove, near there, for four or five months.
She had legal business here on Thursday, having come to see about a piece of land in the county which has reverted back to her upon the death of a brother.
It would be impossible to find a more interesting conversationalist than Mrs. Benitz. One could listen for hours to the story of early days in the Golden West which she can tell so well. In Santa Rosa there are several old-timers who remember the Benitz’s occupancy of Fort Ross. Everyone hopes Mrs. Benitz will enjoy her visit at beautiful Timber Cove and that her long and useful life may be spared for many years to come.
The Burdell family were long time friends of William and Josephine Benitz. In 1847, Mrs. Burdell’s father, James Black, was a witness to their marriage, their granddaughter Hattie’s middle name was “Burdell ”, and in 1898-1899, when Josephine visited California, she stayed with the Burdell’s at Rancho Olompali, their home.
There are photos of Mr. and Mrs. Galen Burdell amongst Josephine’s collection of carte de visite.
San Francisco Call – 25 January, 1900
WIFE OF A PIONEER
PASSES QUIETLY AWAY
Mrs. Mary Augusta Burdell, wife of Dr. Galen Burdell, an old resident of Marin County and a pioneer of San Francisco, died yesterday in this city.
Mrs. Burdell was a native Californian and was the only daughter of the late James Black, pioneer of the State of California. She was married to Dr. Galen Burdell in the year 1862 and resided with her husband at Burdells Station, Marin County, except when absent from the State.
Her husband and two children, one a son, James B. Burdell of Marin County, and daughter Mabel, married to Captain John M. Coleman, also residents of Marin County, survive her. Her loss will be deeply felt and much deplored by numerous friends here and in all parts of the world she had visited in her travels.
Death of a Wealthy Woman.
Special Dispatch to The Call.
SAN RAFAEL, Jan. 24.– The news reached here this afternoon of the death of Mrs. Auguste Burdell in San Francisco. Mrs. Burdell was one of the county’s earliest settlers, and leaves an estate valued at $1,000,000.
On March 19, 1906, John Benitz wrote in his diary about the meeting that gave rise to the article: “...to make a Company of the Estancia Los Algarrobos. to be called. “Sociedad Anonima Ganadera Los Algarrobos” [roughly: “Los Algarrobos Cattle Company, Inc.”] the capital to be 1.200.000$ m⁄n. in 1000 shares...”
* * *
The estancia “Los Algarrobos”, consisting of four leagues in the Province of Córdoba, which a few years ago was bare camp, without population, producing nothing, and which has gradually been transformed by Don Juan Benitz into a model estancia, has now been converted, with all the live and dead stock, into a Limited Company, retaining the old name “Los Algarrobos”.
This step will doubtless conduce to the further and permanent prosperity of the property. The interests involved are almost too great to depend on the life of one man, and it was very wisely judged better to form a Company and so ensure that, happen what might, the ordinary routine would be continued without any break or re-adjustment of the property.
There will be no public issue at all, the whole capital of one million two hundred thousand dollars, in twelve hundred shares of one thousand dollars each, having been taken by Don Juan Benitz, who becomes the Managing-Director, his brothers, relations, and immediate friends.
It can easily be seen that the advantages of the course adopted are many, and the example set will likely be followed in other cases.
The Board of Directors of “Los Algarrobos” is composed as follows:—
Director Gerente — Don Juan Benitz.
Vocales — Don Alfredo Benitz and Don F. C. Marty.
Sindico Titular — Dr. J. Daniel Infante.
Suplentes — Roberto Mackintosh, Guillermo Benitz, Harley P. Storey.
Sindico Suplente — W. S. Martin.
* * *
In spite of the good harvest which has brought money into the country this year, it is well known, has not been a good one for those conuected with the grain, at least in Rosario, for brokers or exporters.
© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)