Biography of Benjamin Dore
Fresno County, CA Biographies





BENJAMIN DORE, rancher and pioneer of the West Park Colony, Fresno County, California, is a native of Athens, Maine, born in 1825. At the age of three years his mother died and he was sent to the town of Solon, Maine, where he lived three years with an uncle and aunt. When about six years of age Benjamin's father married a second wife and moved to Harmony, Maine, where he settled on a small farm. Thither Benjamin was taken and he remained with his father working on the farm until about nineteen years old. At this time his father's second wife died, and he left home to learn the carpenter's trade. After serving an apprenticeship of a year he went to Bangor, Maine, where he worked at his trade for four years.

When the news of the discovery of gold in California reached the East, Mr. Dore became one of a party of fifty six men who purchased the bark Cantero, loaded it with lumber and a general cargo, and in command of Captain Saunders, sailed for the golden shores of California. They embarked in October, 1849, made the voyage around Cape Horn and landed at San Francisco, April 29, 1850.

Mr. Dore was occupied at his trade during the summer and in the fall went to Vancouver, on the Columbia river, to build barracks for the United States Government. Thence he went to Portland, Oregon, where he assisted in building the steamer Williamette, the first river steamer that ran on the river between Portland and Astoria. He was on board the first steamer, Sea Gull, Captain Cressy, which entered the Humboldt Bay in 1850. He returned to San Francisco the following year, worked at his trade until 1853, when he gave his attention to the lumber business, in which he was extensively engaged for eleven years. In 1856 Mr. Dore was a member of the Vigilance Committee, which produced such a salutary effect in the suppression of crime and from which was organized the People's Party, the party that controlled the affairs of San Francisco for many years. In 1861 and 1862 Mr. Dore was a member of the State Legislature, and in 1865 was Sergeant at Arms.

In 1864, disposing of his lumber interests, Mr. Dore engaged in mining speculations, and in locating, working and incorporating mining companies, giving his attention to that work for sixteen years. He now shows securities which represent thousands of dollars in mining interests, but are really of no more value than the paper upon which they are printed. In 1873 he also bought a printing business, which he and his sons managed very successfully for many years.

Appreciating the danger of mining securities, Mr. Dore gave up the business in 1880, though with a heavy loss, and continued his printing business until 1883. At that time he sold out, came to Fresno, purchased 160 acres of land for himself and friends in West Park, and there, living the life of a hermit, in a small cabin, began to build up his shattered fortunes. His fine residence, out buildings and highly improved ranch speak volumes for the intelligence with which he has labored. In 1883 there were no roads or irrigating ditches in the colony, and Mr. Dore struck the first plow in improving; in 1890 the appearance of the country is vastly changed. During that year his trees paid $300 per acre, and vines, $100 per acre.

Mr. Dore was married in San Francisco in 1854, to Jane A., daughter of the late E. D. Waters, the founder of the Mercantile Gazette of San Francisco. She passed to the other world in 1889, leaving two sons, one daughter and a bereaved husband to mourn her loss.

Mr. Dore is a charter member of Excelsior Lodge, F. & A. M. of San Francisco, a member of San Francisco Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and is also a 32d degree Scottish Rite Mason.

From:
Memorial and Biographical History
of the counties of
Fresno, Tulare and Kern,
California
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago 1891


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