Jesse Warren Wilson, who is at present conducting the Golden Eagle Hotel in Sacramento, known as the leading hostelry of the city, is a California resident of over a half century, and has been one of the most prominent in the various phases of activity in that great western commonwealth. He was identified in many was with the early life of the state, both in private business and in affairs of a public nature, and his long career of seventy years has been marked with success from whatever point of view it is regarded.

Mr. Wilson was born in Ohio, March 21, 1834, and is a descendant of old and prominent Revolutionary families. His father was Benonia Wilson, also a native of Ohio, and who died in 1846. He was a prominent farmer in Ohio and also a local preacher in Delaware county, Indiana. His wife was Martha Long, a native of Ohio and of a Scotch-Irish family from the north of Ireland. She died in 1868, and four sons are still living: Jesse Warren; John William, a farmer at Muncie, Indiana; Amos, a banker at Linden, Kansas; and Goldsbury, a farmer at Linden, Kansas.

Mr. Wilson was educated in the common schools of Indiana, and he alternated between school and the hard work of cutting wood, threshing and the other labor of the farm. He bears the impress of a self-made man, and his success is the more commendable because he has gained it by hard, persistent work, interspersed with many hard knocks at the hand of fortune, since he was a boy. At the age of eleven years he began working for himself, doing all kinds of physical toil. In 1854, he started to California by the isthmus route, and arrived in San Francisco December 1, 1854. From there he went to the mines at Michigan Bluff, Eldorado county, and thence to the Sierra county placer mines, being engaged in mining for six years. He then took employment on a ranch near Marysville, and for about a year peddled produce from that ranch. For the following year he was employed in a stable and hotel in Marysville, and in the fall of 1861 came to Sacramento, where for fourteen years he drove a hack. In 1875 he embarked in the livery business on his own account, and continued it for over twenty years, until he sold out to his son. After his retirement from business he traveled about the country and went to Europe, and in March, 1901, took charge of the Golden Eagle Hotel on Seventh and K streets and has managed it successfully ever since, making it the most popular resort for travelers in the city.

Mr. Wilson has been a very active Republican for twenty-five years, and has attended city, county and state conventions, and was on the city and county Republican committees for fifteen or twenty years, and the past eight years he was on the state central committee and the state executive committee. He was elected fire commissioner for a period of five years, in 1878. On the expiration of that term he was chosen county supervisor for two three-year terms, and in 1884 was elected sheriff for a two-year term, and was not a candidate for re-election on account of ill health. He has served three four-year terms as a member of the state board of aagriculture by successive appointments of Governors Markham, Budd and Pardee. Most of his political career has been in connection with Frank rhodes. He was on the board of supervisors and a prime mover in stopping hydraulic mining on the rivers, having brought the suits before Judge Temple, and since the decision hydraulic mining has been practically at an end.

Mr. Wilson was married in Sacramento in May, 1863, to Miss Hannah ryan, who was born in Ireland. They have one son, Arthur J., whose history is given below, and two daughters: Ida, the wife of Edward Fraser, a lumberman of Fifth and L streets, Sacramento; and Lucinda, the wife of John Wiseman, a member of the real estate and insurance firm of Wiseman, Wolff and Company, on J street. Mr. Wilson is a Knight Templar Mason and a member of the Mystic shrine, and is past grand master of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. At the time of the Civil war he was a member of the Sacramento artillery company, to which many prominent men of the city belonged, and which kept itself in constant readiness for a call to the front. He served the regular period of enlistment of three years.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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