Benjamin B. Redding

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Benjamin Barnard Redding
Born 1824
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Died 1882
San Francisco, California.
Cause of death Apoplexy
Nationality Canadian
Spouse(s) Mary P.
Children William, J. Albert, George, and Joseph.

Benjamin Barnard Redding (January 17, 1824 – August 21, 1882) was a Canadian-born politician of California; after joining the gold rush as a young man, he served in the state house, as mayor of Sacramento, Secretary of State for California, and Fish Commissioner. He also worked as a journalist and editor in northern California and Sacramento. As a businessman, he worked as a land agent with the Central Pacific Railroad, which named the town of Redding, California after him.


Born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1824, Redding was educated at Yarmouth Academy. In 1840 at the age of 16, he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked as a clerk. He entered the retail grocery and ship chandlery business in 1843.

In the 1840s he married Mary P. from Boston; their children were William Redding (born ca. 1848 in Massachusetts); J. Albert Redding (born ca. 1850 in Massachusetts). The family later joined him in California after his first mining work was finished. His sons George H. Redding (born ca. 1856; and Joseph D. Redding (born 1859 in Sacramento) were both born there.

In 1849, Redding organized a company of young men and sailed from Yarmouth for the gold rush in California. They reached San Francisco on May 12, 1850. Redding went to the Yuba River diggings and afterward to the Pittsburg bar, working as a mining laborer. He subsequently was associate editor of the Shasta Journal, was employed in drawing up papers for the sale of claims, and acted as arbitrator.

Having established a local reputation, Redding was elected as a member of the California State Assembly, 1853–1854, from Yuba and Sierra counties. During the session, he wrote for the San Joaquin Republican and Sacramento's Democratic State Journal,of which he was an editor and proprietor. His family joined him from Massachusetts when he could provide a more settled life, and his two younger sons were both born in California.

In 1856, Redding was elected mayor of Sacramento. From 1863 to 1867, he served as Secretary of State, appointed by the governor.

With a change in administrations, Redding left state government in 1868, becoming a land agent of the Central Pacific Railroad. When the Central Pacific reached Shasta County in the summer of 1872, the railroad company named the town of Redding, California, in his honor.

In other public service, Redding was appointed a regent of the University of California to fill the unexpired term of Regent Frank M. Pixley, 1880-1882. He was reappointed in 1882. He was a member of the California Academy of Sciences, and of the Geographical Society of the Pacific. He was interested in all scientific work, especially in the paleontology of the coast. He collected numerous prehistoric and aboriginal relics, which he presented to the museum of the academy. He contributed a large number of papers to various California journals.

He was also appointed as California Fish Commissioner, holding this office at the time of his death.

Benjamin B. Redding died at age 58 of apoplexy (stroke) in San Francisco. His funeral service took place at the First Congregational Church on August 23, 1882, with a large number of friends and acquaintances present, including a delegation from the offices of the Central Pacific Railroad Company and the Academy of Sciences, besides a number of regents from the State University.

Redding is interred in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery in Sacramento, California.[1]


  1. ^ "Sacramento Historic City Cemetery Burial Index" (PDF). Old City Cemetery Committee. 2005. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 

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Preceded by
Charles S. Fairfax
California State Assemblyman, 15th District
Succeeded by
Charles W. Dannals
Preceded by
James L. English
Mayor of Sacramento, California
Succeeded by
Joseph P. Dyer
Preceded by
A. A. H. Tuttle
Secretary of State of California
Succeeded by
Henry L. Nichols