This article is about the California pioneer. For the U.S. Air Corps fighter projects officer, see Benjamin S. Kelsey
|Benjamin "Ben" Kelsey
||February 19, 1889
Los Angeles, California
||overland crossing of U.S. with Bartleson-Bidwell party, native American mistreatment and murders
Benjamin or Ben Kelsey (1813 Kentucky – February 19, 1889 Los Angeles, California) was an early American pioneer of California with his brothers Andy and Sam Kelsey. He was a founder, often with one or more of his brothers, of several settlements in California.
He was born in Kentucky in 1813. He and his wife Nancy Kelsey arrived in Alta California in the Bartleson–Bidwell Party in 1841. In 1844, he brought a party of immigrants including his father David and brother Samuel from Oregon on the Siskiyou Trail to Sutter's Fort.
With his brothers he participated in the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846, which ended Mexican control of California and established the California Republic. He also served with his brothers in the California Battalion under Col. John C. Fremont and were honorably discharged at Los Angeles or San Gabriel in the early part of 1847.
In 1848, during the California Gold Rush Ben took fifty Pomo men from his brother Andrew's rancho near Kelseyville, on Rancho Lupyomi, to the Sierra foothills in a gold mining venture, establishing a mining camp called Kelsey Diggings. Once at the diggings, Ben decided it was more profitable to sell all the company’s supplies to other miners and then ill with malaria, he headed back to his home at Sonoma. The Pomo workers, forced to camp near a hostile group of local Indians and suffering from malaria and starvation, were left on their own. Only one or two are thought to have survived. This mistreatment of the Pomo and that of Andrew and his partner later provoked the Bloody Island Massacre.
After recovering from malaria, Ben used his profits to buy sheep which he drove to the mines and used that money to set up a trading post in the Sacramento Valley but lost his investment when he became ill. In September 1850 Ben and his brother Samuel came to Union in Humboldt County. He purchased land there and built a house on it. His brother Samuel purchased property directly south of Ben and also owned a smaller parcel. However both eventually lost their properties, Ben to mortgage foreclosure and Samuel to a default on a note.
Ben returned with his family to Sonoma for a short time, then moved to Oregon. In 1859, he moved his family to Mexico, and then to Texas in 1861. There his wife and children survived an attack by Comanche, one of his daughters survived being scalped but suffered mental illness afterward. In 1865 his family was back in California near Fresno, where his mentally ill daughter died. It was at this time he and his sons were accused of being members of the Mason Henry Gang. Suspicion may have fallen on him because his brother Samuel had been accused of being a leader among the secessionists in San Bernardino at the start of the American Civil War.
In later years, he moved on to Inyo County during the time of the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake, working in the Cerro Gordo Mines, and finally lived in Los Angeles. Ben Kelsey died February 19, 1889, at the age 76, at Los Angeles. He was buried at Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles.
- ^ Lyman L. Palmer, History of Napa and Lake Counties, California, San Francisco, Slocum, Bowen & Co., 1881
- ^ William B. Secrest, California Badmen: Mean Men with Guns, Word Dancer Press, Sanger, California, 2007. Identified in the Visalia Delta, April 17, 1865; p. 145
- ^ DEATHS AND BURIALS OF MEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE BEAR FLAG REVOLT IN CALIFORNIA, JUNE 1846, Excerpt from "The Searcher" October 1988, Pages 192-198
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On Tuesday, police said the motorcycle was travelling on Ridgecrest Drive when it went through the intersection and crashed into the yard. Robert Benjamin Kelsey, 30, of Dartmouth was pronounced dead at the scene. “Our thoughts are with the family and ...
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 14:51:22 -0700
Seen at the unveiling of the Neighbors Link community art project are, from left, Neighbors Link executive director Catalina Horak, artist Maria Esther Magallanes, Mayor David Martin, project manager Michelle Saldivar and her son, Benjamin Kelsey.
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 06:52:30 -0700
... Ranissa Adityavarman, of Manlius, majoring in international relations, and a graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High School; Benjamin Kelsey, of Manlius, majoring in humanities, and a graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius High School; Julia Norton, of ...
Mon, 02 Mar 2015 09:14:05 -0800
Aidan Kelsey of Ironwood Elementary School, son of Heather and Benjamin Kelsey. Aidan has worked hard to achieve straight A's and been on the Principal's Honor Roll since first attending Ironwood. He participated in the district spelling bee and ...
Sat, 31 Jan 2015 12:37:30 -0800
Christopher) of Santa Ana, Calif.; wife of foster son, Sherri (Williams) Petri; one brother, David (Luella); sister-in-law, Darlene (Dolly Scheuer); 16 grandchildren, Joseph (Amanda), Jacob (Rachel), Samuel; Amber (Benjamin), Kelsey (Enrique), Mitchell ...
Fri, 03 Oct 2014 11:00:00 -0700
The Commended Students include: Noelle Adler, Joseph Badion, Alexandra Benjamin, Kelsey Bobrow, Lina Boehmer, Emma Boland, Jonah Boughton, Alexander Davis, Rachel Doran, Alexander Elias, Ryan Fanning, Kari Flicker, Reni Forer, Julian Garrison, ...
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 05:00:00 -0700
... Alexandria Grady, Rantoul; Kathryn Grimes, Watseka; Corbin Hesterberg, Ogden; Benjamin Kelsey, Champaign; Heather Kennedy, Milford; Nicole Lafond, Mahomet; Jon Lehman, Danville; Jennifer Long, Watseka; Madelyn Lorenz, Savoy; Stephanie Miller, ...
Fri, 14 Mar 2014 21:19:52 -0700
... of Oak Ridge; a daughter, Kimberly Jo Jeskie and husband, Tom, of Harriman; a son, Leslie Dean Begley and wife, Leigh, of Chester, Va.; and grandchildren, Marinda and Sara Thomas, Benjamin, Kelsey and Sierra Begley and Jayme and Tiffany Jeskie.
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