William & Josephine Benitz Page last modified:
Missing portrait

William Benitz

c.1855, age 40
San Francisco
(source: J.C. Benitz)

Missing portrait

Josephine Kolmer

c.1850, age 20
San Francisco
(source: J.C. Benitz)

William & Josephine

The Family Founders
Generation Nº 1

Wilhelm Böniz and Josefa Kollmerer are the primary ancestors to all who have Benitz ancestors born in California before 1874 and in Argentina after 1874.

Both emigrated from Endingen, in Baden (Germany), Wilhelm to New York (1833), Texas (by 1836), then California (1842), Josefa to North Carolina (1833), Missouri (1840), then California (by wagon train with her parents in 1845).

They joined up in early 1846 (married a year later, 23 Feb., 1847) and lived at Fort Ross (California) where all their children were born; and where Wilhelm began creating his wealth via real estate transactions, farming & ranching, and investments in mining.

In 1867 William sold Fort Ross and the family moved to Oakland for the schooling of their children — and better business opportunities.  By 1874, when they left for Argentina, he had doubled his net worth through investments in real estate and mining.

In January, 1875, he bought the land in the province of Santa Fé that became estancia (ranch) “La California”, stocked it, and built a magnificent family home.  He died the next year, in June 1876.  He left his family well established but lacking his vision and strong shrewd leadership.  A significant part of his capital still remained to be invested – enough to buy and stock a second similar estancia.

Josephine took charge for the next five years.  Though strong willed, she was unable to prevent son Frank from bringing near ruin to the family in 1881.  He and two other sons died but her remaining four children did very well.  Continuing in the pioneering spirit of their parents, three sons became wealthy landowners.  Josephine died at age 82 in 1912 — at “Villa Josefina”, her summer home in the hills of Córdoba.

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)