Watrous, Benjamin F. (1843-1896)

Enlistment Place:Freetown,NY
Enlisted as a Sergeant on 14 September 1861 at the age of 21.
Enlisted in Company D, 76th Infantry Regiment New York on 4 Oct 1861.
Promoted to Full Private (Reduced to ranks) on 2 Nov 1862.
Transferred into 147th Infantry Regiment New York on 28 Jan 1865.
Transferred out of Company D, 76th Infantry Regiment New York on 28 Jan 1865.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin Watrous came to Redlands in 1882 and was one of the first to purchase land and build a home on Olive Avenue. Watrous was born in Cortland County, New York in 1840. He received a literary education at Homer Academy and a medical education at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1870 after his life was interrupted by the Civil War. He was a Second Sargent in the Seventy-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, and rendered service at the battles of Fredericksburg, South Mountain, Antietam, Bull Run and the Battle of the Wilderness.


Watrous gave up his medical profession upon coming to California and devoted his attention to horticulture. He came to Redlands with $350, and purchased a team and worked for Judson and Brown. He contracted for 10 acres of land on Olive Avenue for $1,000 paying $250 down. He built a house for $400 in his second year here. In five years he owned 31 acres in Redlands and another 20 acres in San Diego County. He subdivided his East Olive Avenue property in 1885 creating the Watrous Addition and selling lots.


Dr. Watrous became interested in the Crafton Hills gold excitement in 1891. He suggested that he might create a 20 stamp mill to find more gold. Watrous lived to the age of 56 and died on September 18, 1896 in his home on Olive Avenue. His wife, Maude Watrous, collected $3,800 in the will plus the land still owned in Redlands. His monument in Hillside Memorial Park is befitting a Civil War hero and show the early involvement of the Bear Valley Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.


Watrous was married to Mary C. Tanner (1843-1896) and Maude Leslie Bates (1875-1961).

[Source: Researched by Tom Atchley]