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Historical California Stone Carvers, Stone Cutters, & Monument Dealers

Patrick W. DILLON

Patrick W. DILLON, Benicia, Solano County, California.

The following information is from the History of Solano County, comprising an account of its geographical position, the origin of its name, topography, geology, and springs, its organization, township system, early settlement, with descriptions of scenes as viewed by the pioneers, the first American argonauts of California, the bear flag, the discovery of gold, the progress of population and agriculture, the Mexican grants, the principal murders, incidents of settlement, elections, and table of county officers, and histories of its cities, towns, villages churches, schools, secret societies, etc.: as also, a full and particular biography of its early settlers and principal inhabitants, San Francisco, Cal., Wood, Alley & Co., East Oakland, 1879, pp. 438-439.


“farmer and stone cutter, Section 28, Benicia Township, Post-office Benicia, was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, February 3, 1820, where he resided till May, 1840, when he sailed for America arriving in New York City in June of that year. He at once proceeded to Troy, N. Y., and resided three months; thence to Lockport, N. Y., and remained one year. He then proceed to Youngstown, on fourth Niagara, where he worked at his trade during the summer of 1842, and from there he went to Toronto, Canada, where he spent the winter of 1842, and ‘43. In March, 1844, he went to New York City, and worked till 1846, when in the fall of that year he went to St. John, New Brunswick, where he was employed till May, 1847. He again returned to New York and carried on his trade till January 1849, when he sailed for California arriving in San Francisco July 8, 1849, and remaining in the city for a few weeks helping unload vessels at eight dollars a day. He then proceeded to the southern mines, on Wood’s creek and worked two months at mining with good success. He then went to Mogason’s Creek, and from there to Mariposa, Mariposa county, but meeting with poor success he returned to Mogason’s Creek with a colony of Texans, who settled there for a short time, and continued mining in different places till May, 1851, during which time he endured many hardships. The stories told by Mr. D., during his life spent in the mines, are very interesting, but for want of space we will have to omit them. In May, 1851, he came to Benicia, bringing with him eighteen hundred dollars, which he invested in the wharf built at Vallejo while the Capitol of the State was situated at that place.

In 1851, he opened a stone quarry on his fruit farm, and in connection with the other, started the Pioneer Stone Business in San Francisco, and among the contracts taken by him, is the St. Mary’s Cathedral, at San Francisco, and many other buildings. In 1856, he purchased his present farm, now consisting of four hundred acres of land, an seventy-six acres of tule. He married, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, Bertha G. Jordan, January 6, 1856, she having been born in Hanover, Germany, January 29, 1830.”

Patrick W. & Bertha ( Jordan ) Dillon - Marriage Announcement, presented on sfgenealogy.com.

“DILLON/JORDON--Married Jan. 30, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, by the Rev. Father Gallagher, Mr. Patrick W. DILLON, to Miss Louieza Bertha JORDON, both of this city. New York papers please copy.” Source: San Francisco Herald, 4 Jan 1856, p. 2, c. 5.”

Patrick W. Dillon - The following information is from Great Expectations: The Story of Benicia, by Richard Dillon, Benicia Heritage Books, c 1980.

The account of Patrick Dillon’s life in this book includes basically the information from the 1879 History of Solano County account quoted above with the following added information:

According to this book, Patrick Dillon lost his life’s savings of $1,800 after investing in a wharf at Valley as he envisioned Benicia Becoming California’s permanent capitol. After that investment failed, he worked again in Benicia and saved up to buy 400 “upland acres at the point, where he put in a vineyard and orchard, and 80 acres of tule tideland. He opened a rock quarry which supplied stone for Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, among other structures. He also built a brickyard (circa 1852) and a wharf on the Strait.” Later he went into sheep ranching. According to the author, Patrick Dillon left the point in 1893 when he and his wife, German-born Bertha G. Jordan, moved across from St. Dominic’s Church where he lived until he died on April 19 th, 1896. He left all of his real property to St. Dominic’s. Both Patrick Dillon and his wife are buried in the St. Dominic’s Cemetery.

There was once hope that the Dillon ranch house would be saved when the State of California took over Dillon Point in 1967 as the Benicia State Recreation Park. According to the author, “It had a first story of sandstone, quarried and laid by its owner, topped by a wooden second story and attic added circa 1890...The historic, but deteriorating, building was demolished and no trace of Benicia ’s Irish pioneer remains on the point named for him.”

(Please note that on pp. 57 of this book there is a photograph of Patrick Dillon’s house with the following caption: “One of the many historic Benicia area buildings which fell a victim of demolition was this old ranch house. It was the home of stone quarrier-rancher-farmer, Patrick Dillon, on Dillon Point, in what is now the Benicia State Recreation Area. Benicia Capitol”)

Dillon Point, Benicia, named for Patrick W. Dillon. Dillon Point juts into the strait. Further information on Dillon Point is available on the following web sites:

Benicia State Recreation Area (According to this web site, “Benicia State Recreation Area covers marsh, grassy hillsides and rocky beaches along the narrowest portion of the Carquinez Strait.” The recreation area is open to the public.)

“Benicia Trail Opens,” in Ridge Lines of the Bay Area Ridge Line Council, Summer 2003 [PDF]

This article includes a map of the Carquinez Strait that indicates the location of Dillon Point.

“This spring (in 2003) the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council joined with California State Parks and the San Francisco Bay Trail to celebrate the opening of a new multi-use Ridge Trail segment in the Benicia State Recreation Area. The two-mile trail along the Carquinez Strait is also the route of the Bay Trail; it is located just east of the Carquinez Bridge on the Dillon Point Peninsula and offers tremendous views of the strait and the East Bay Hills....”


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