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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Benicia in Solano County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Founders of Benicia

1847

 
 
Founders of Benicia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, February 20, 2009
1. Founders of Benicia Marker
Inscription.  
Gen. Mariano G. Vallejo
Who was Commandante of Northern
California for over 10 years.
Thomas O. Larkin
U.S. Consul in California 1844-1846.
Robert Semple
Presiding Officer of the First Constitutional
Convention of California and Co-founder
with Rev. Walter Colton of California’s
First Newspaper the “Californian.”
Francisca Benicia Vallejo
Wife of Gen. Vallejo and for whom
Benicia was Named.

 
Erected 1936 by The Historic Landmarks Committee, Native Sons of the Golden West, September 13, 1936.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsGovernment & PoliticsSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West series list.
 
Location. 38° 3.008′ N, 122° 9.54′ W. Marker is in Benicia, California, in Solano County. Marker is located
Founders of Benicia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, February 20, 2009
2. Founders of Benicia Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
at the flag pole on the grounds of the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 115 West G Street, Benicia CA 94510, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Robert Semple (here, next to this marker); Old State Capitol (here, next to this marker); Antonio M. De LaGuerra 1825 – ‘81 (here, next to this marker); Fischer-Hanlon House (a few steps from this marker); The Bohn Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Solano Hotel (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Peregrine Landing Ark & Stables (about 800 feet away); Saint Paul's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Benicia.
 
Regarding Founders of Benicia. Also see all Benicia "Nearby Markers" for additional information.
 
Also see . . .
1. General Mariano Vallejo. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.)
2. Thomas Larken. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.)
3. Robert Semple. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.)
4. Francisca Benicia Vallejo. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.)
5. 1847 - The City of Benicia is Born. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.)
6. 1850’s - Athens of California. (Submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.)
 
Additional commentary.
1. Robert Semple
The City of Benicia
Marker Located Second to the Right image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, February 19, 2009
3. Marker Located Second to the Right
was founded in 1847 by Robert Semple, the towering giant of a man (six feet eight to seven feet tall by various accounts) who was a leader of the Bear Flag Revolt and other important California enterprises after 1845. Born to a prominent, politically active Kentucky family, Semple was widely known for his strong opinions and for his boundless optimism, enthusiasm, and vigor. Trained as a printer, dentist, lawyer, M.D., and riverboat pilot, he possessed as amazing diverse background that was of great value in early-day California. Semple’s fascination with Benicia as the site for an important new city began in 1846 when he transported a prisoner of the Bear Flag Party, General Mariano Vallejo, from Sonoma to Sutter’s Fort. Semple was impressed by the site’s potential, and learned that Vallejo held title to the area under a Mexican land grant. Within a year Semple was part owner with Vallejo of five square miles surrounding the site of the prospective city. As of May 17, 1847, Thomas O. Larkin, one of California’s leading citizens and financiers, also became a partner in the venture. Soon the new city was being promoted. Advertisements appeared in California’s first regularly printed newspaper, The Californian, which Semple created, published, and for a time even printed. Semple established and personally operated a ferry service between Benicia and Martinez. He spent time encouraging merchants, land speculators, builders, shipping companies, and the U.S. Army and Navy to
General Vallejo image. Click for full size.
Sonoma County Historical Society
4. General Vallejo
select Benicia as their home base in California.

By 1850 the rapidly growing town (population 1,000) was incorporated and named the Solano County seat. The U.S. Army established Benicia Arsenal in March 1849, and in 1850 the Pacific Mail Steamship Company established its major west coast depot and repair shop at Benicia.
Source: Benicia Capitol State Historic Park Brochure
    — Submitted February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.

2. From the Memoirs of General William T. Sherman
"That Benicia was the best natural site for a commercial city I am satisfied, and had half the money and half the labor been bestowed upon it that has been spent on San Francisco, we should this day have a city of palaces on the Carquinez Straits."
    — Submitted February 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.
 
Thomas Larkin image. Click for full size.
Monterey County Historical Society
5. Thomas Larkin
Robert Semple image. Click for full size.
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park Brochure
6. Robert Semple
Francisca Benicia Vallejo image. Click for full size.
Sonoma County Historical Society
7. Francisca Benicia Vallejo
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 8, 2019. It was originally submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,853 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 22, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on February 23, 2009, by Syd Whittle of Mesa, Arizona.

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