William Benitz Page last modified:

William Benitz
References in Books

William is mentioned in histories of early California, Sonoma County, and Fort Ross in particular.  We include here the more significant works.  Please search the web for other mentions — & please notify us of anything significant we have missed.

The books are listed by date first published. Click a title to jump to that book:

The centennial year book of Alameda County, California, by William Halley, 1876
William Benitz was a juror in the extraordinary case of the Clark-Reed Homicide; read it and decide.
History of California, by Hubert H. Bancroft, 1886
Probably the seminal book on the history, conditions, and inhabitants of early California.  William Benitz is listed & mentioned as an early settler, see below.
History of Sonoma County, edited by Ernest Latimer Finley, 1937
William Benitz is featured in three anecdotes in this book: Muldrew Litigation (with a mention of the raid on Fort Ross, 1845), Russian River Ferry, & Grizzly Bear Encounter.
The Old Salt Point Township, by Lynn Hay Rudy, 2009
The most comprehensive post-Russian history of the township that includes Fort Ross & Rancho de German.  William played an important role in its early development and is featured prominently.  It is the best book about William at Fort Ross and its ranching era, which he initiated.

History of California, by Hubert H. Bancroft, 1886

The History of California, by Hubert Howe Bancroft (San Francisco History Company, 1886) is probably the seminal book on the history, conditions, and inhabitants of early California.  It lists most inhabitants of historical importance (just about everyone).

The entry for William Benitz is found in vol.2, p.716 of the California Pioneer Register and Index 1542-1848.

Benitz (Wm), 1841-2, German in Sutter's employ.  Arrived Oct.'42 acc. to rolls of the Soc.Cal.Pion.; but in applying for naturalization in '44 he claimed to have come in '41. iv.341.  After being for a time in charge of Hock farm, in '43 he took charge of the Ross estate for Sutter, succeeding Bidwell. iv.186, 679.  In '44 grantee of the Briesgau rancho in Shasta co. iv.670; in '45 he rented the Ross rancho from Sutter, and later bought part of it; bondsman for some of the Grigsby-Ide immig. iv.679,544,581.  Benitz is said to have been the man who was swindled to the extent of $6,000 by the Sutter-Muldrow claim.  He lived at Ross till '67; then moved to Oakland; and in '74 went to the Argentine Republic, where he had a brother.  He died there in '76, at the age of 62, leaving a family.

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)