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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



It has been the fortunate fate of Sacramento to attract to its citizenship men of sterling worth of character, energy of temperament and remarkable intensity of patriotism. These attributes have pre- dominated in the active business career of Jesse Warren Wilson, an honored pioneer of the state and for years one of the leading men of the capital city, the incumbent of important offices and the proprietor of well-known commercial enterprises. Even now, although he has reached an age justifying a complete retirement from all activities, he is still to be found working for the welfare of Sacramento, giving of his time and means to the expansion of local interests and favoring progressive projects with all of his influence as a pioneer and prominent citizen. Throughout the long period of his association with the city he has been a leading factor in municipal enterprises and a con- tributor to civic efforts, not the least memorable of such associations having been his service as a member of the committee (with Governor Stanford) that turned the first earth at Front and K streets to celebrate the beginning of the Southern Pacific railroad in the state.

A native of Clinton county, Ohio, born March 21, 1834, Jesse Warren Wilson was one of eight children, of whom the sole survivor besides himself is John W., a retired business man residing in Muncie, Ind. The parents were natives of Ohio, where the father, Benona Wilson, made a livelihood for the family through laborious efforts as a farmer. In addition he gave some time to the preaching of the Gospel, donating his services without expectation of any financial returns. His wife, Mrs. Martha (Long) Wilson, also died in Indiana. After having passed the years of boyhood in working on the home farm or attending the country schools, Jesse W. Wilson came to California in 1854 via the Isthmus of Panama, on the steamer George Law to Panama and the John L. Stevens to San Francisco, where he landed December 1, 1854. For a time he engaged in mining in Placer county. For three years he had his headquarters at Marysville, Yuba county, and meanwhile followed any occupation offering an honest livelihood. During a considerable period he teamed to the mountains. In the autumn of 1861, shortly before the great flood, he arrived in Sacramento and here he has since made his home. The first occupa- tion that furnished him employment was the driving of a hack, and for twelve consecutive years he engaged in- that business with a number of teams. Next he drifted into the livery business, and for thirty years he carried on the Wilson stable on K street, after which for seven years he was the proprietor of the Golden Eagle hotel. Since about 1908 he has been retired from active business cares. By Governor Markham he was appointed a member of the board of directors of the State Agricultural Society, reappointed by Governor Budd, and again by Governor Pardee, supervisor for twelve years, during which time he took an active part in the promotion of the building of the State Fair and was also superintendent of the track.

Two years after his arrival in Sacramento Mr. Wilson established a home in this city, being then united in marriage with Miss Hannah Ryan, a native of Ireland. They became the parents of four children, but one of these was taken from them by death in infancy. The older daughter, Ida, married Edward Frazier, who prior to his death in 1910 was a prominent business man of Sacramento. The younger daughter, Lucinda, is the wife of John H. Wiseman, well known in real estate circles. The only son, Arthur J., is a clerk in the city department of the superintendent of streets. The family own and occupy a comfortable residence at No. 1417 I street, besides which Mr. Wilson owns considerable other property in Sacramento (principally in the suburbs) and he also owns an interest in the Sacramento laundry, being a director of the company. During younger years he was actively identified with the Sutter Club, as well as a prominent member of Eldorado Lodge No. 8, I. 0. 0. F., of which he is past grand; the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks; Union Lodge No. 8, F. & A. M. ; Sacramento Chapter No. 3, E. A. M. ; Sacramento Commandery No. 3, K. T., and Islam Temple, N. M. S., of San Francisco. For years he has been stanchly devoted to the principles of the Republican party and his identification with public affairs still continues, for as recently as 1911 he was a candidate for trustee from the Fifth ward. From 1879 until 1884 he served as member of the board of county supervisors, for two years, 1885-87, he held office as sheriff of Sacramento county, for five years he discharged with the greatest intelligence and fidelity the duties incident to the office of fire commissioner, and for two years he held the position of county coroner, besides which at different times he has been chosen to occupy other local offices of trust and honor. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011