Cate’s Column #16

A Little History: From Poaching to Patton

Here is a little treat in honor of Veteran’s Day for my fellow history buffs.

In 1837 Benjamin Davis Wilson left his home in Tennessee and headed west to try his luck as a fur trapper. He teamed up with the Workman Party and they attended a fur traders rendezvous in New Mexico Territory. The Workman brothers knew how to make alcohol and ordered parts for a still from New Orleans. The teamster who delivered the equipment was Kit Carson. The alcohol became known as Taos Lightning.

Later in Arizona Territory the Workman Party was captured while trapping beaver in the Apache’s world. They were tortured by an irritated Apache war chief named Mangas Coloradas. Coloradas slaughtered everyone except Wilson, perhaps hoping Wilson would warn other trappers to stay away from Apacheria.

Wilson continued west and married the daughter of a wealthy Californian. Wilson married well — very well! — as his bride’s dowry included much of Southern California. Wilson was a generous man and locals called him Don Benito — Sir Benevolent. His supporters elected him mayor of Los Angeles. Wilson’s legacy includes many Southern California landmarks; Mount Wilson, Mount Wilson Observatory, Wilson School, many roads, etc. And one more thing… .

Wilson’s esposa died and later he remarried. This wife bore him a daughter they named Ruth, who married a man named George. Their son was born November 11, 1885 and they named him George, too — George S. Patton, Jr.

A little more than 100 years after the start of my story General George S. Patton, Jr. (“Old Blood and Guts”) established the enormous Desert Training Center in April, 1942, covering much of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Camp Bouse was the most top secret of the 13 bases and is right here in our own back yard.

Everyone, thank a Veteran for our freedom this Friday!

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Cate Mueller is a web designer, editor, reporter and photographer in Bouse, Arizona. To visit her website, click here.




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