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Benjamin Joseph Drew III

February 2, 1827 - March 1, 1885

Born in Canada, BJ Drew moved to Oregon in 1851 and was a true American pioneer. Some said he was also a wild west character.

BENJAMIN JOSEPH1 DREW was born in Bolton (or Stansteall), Brome County, Province Quebec, of US citizen parents on February 2, 1827. He was murdered on the streets of Casa Grande, Arizona on March 01, 1886. He married SALLIE C. HUNT, daughter of BJ HUNT and CATHERINE DAVIS on February 17, 1859 in Marion Oregon. She was born Abt. 1842 in Virginia, and died September 24, 1918 in Tucson, Pima, Arizona.


Left Canada in 1845 at age 18 and arrived in Oregon on November 15, 1851. He was a dealer of general merchandise in Wyreka, CA in 1852, and a pack train owner in Jackson OR. Lived on claimed land in Oregon in 1854 and 1855, and sold a house lot on California St in Jackson County in 1855. On April 11, 1855 he claimed 160 acres in Roseburg Oregon, selling perhaps the same 160 acres in 1857 in Winches, Oregon. He made another Oregon land claim in 1857 at Salem and applied to purchase 201.5 acres in Winchester Oregon on March 26, 1857. 

On July 3, 1860 his first son Charles E was born, and in 1861 Edwin Porter was born at The Dalles. The next year Charles E died.

By 1865 BJ and Sallie had moved to Boise Idaho and he was a blacksmith shop owner on Main St above 7th St there. In 1866 he was in court against his business partner Geo W Stilts and he sold land to Mary Fisher on January 26, 1866. Later that year a sheriff's sale of land and buildings took away his Main St property. In 1867 the blacksmith shop problems continued with a court summons, but by 1868 he and Sallie were hosting the Masonic Good Templars Leay Year Ball in Boise. In 1869 his daughter Katherine Dandridge Drew was born.

In 1878, BJ had taken over as station keeper at Drew's Station outside Contention Arizona. By family legend, this was a ranch south of Tucson, Arizona, in Pima County, where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday stayed before and after the OK Corral. Our Arizona correspondent, Margaret Truman Baker, mentions having read about "Drew Ranch" in a detailed diary from those days. Two different histories of Tombstone mention Drew's Ranch (or Station), near Contention AZ, as being close by the first stagecoach robbery and murder that began the Earp-Clanton feud which led to the shootings at the OK Corral in 1881. We don't have good documentation of these family legends, and the circumstances surrounding the OK Corral are very well documented, but we still believe it.

In 1882 BJ was in Palo Verde Arizona mining with DG Chilson, who was later to murder him.

After his death in 1886, the probate action distributing his estate detailed his belongings: 1/2 interest in the Sondulix Mine, a house and lot in Casa Grande, a buckboard, and an old bar and shelving.

His estate was completed on December 20, 1886, perhaps leading to the name of the old Christmas Gift Mine.

Called "Joe" by Edwin Porter Drew 4. BJ's great grand daughter Carol Ann Drew Padgett remembered that he worked for a stage coach line, possibly Butterfield, later Wells Fargo, and probably at one of the stops. She remembers reading about him as a colorful old character in an Arizona history book.

Notes for SALLIE C. HUNT:

Searching for Benjamin's wife: the name "Nellie" originally came from an Arizona correspondent, Margaret Truman Baker, who has a spanish-language marriage certificate in those names. Other sources have other names: On the probate of Benjamin's estate, his spouse is named as Sarah C. Drew, and on a probate naming Edwin Porter Drew as next of kin, the lady is known as "Sallie." Also, Sallie had interests in 3 mines called the Sallie Hunt 1, 2, and 3 (possibly a maiden name). So are Nellie, Sarah C, and Sallie the same lady?

Apparently so. In a later find, Sallie C. Drew's death record was discovered: she died on September 24, 1918, in Tucson at "about" 76 years old. Her father was BJ Hunt of Virginia, and her mother's name is partially obscured, but is Catherine A. Davis, also of Virginia. We have learned much more about the Davis Family over the years as well.

In the probate of Sallie's estate, completed March 8, 1919, her posesions are detailed. She had several real estate investments, including Lots number 11 & 12 in Block 5 in Katherine J. Drew's First Addition to Casa Grande. In addition to several unproductive mining claims, she owned several other claims in the Sheridan Mining District of Pima County: The Sallie Hunt No 1, 2, and 3, the Silver Thread, the Gold Annex, and the Blue Jay. She also passed down the Blue Bell Mill Site with water rights, as well as the London Mill Site claim and water rights. She also owned 500 inches of miner's measure of the water of that ground in these two mill sites.


Children of BENJAMIN DREW and SALLIE HUNT are:

CHARLES E DREW, b. July 3, 1860; d. December 6, 1862 in Oregon.

EDWIN PORTER DREW, b. February 1861, The Dalles, Oregon; d. September 13, 1921, Los Angeles, California.

KATHERINE D. DREW, b. 1869; m. GEORGE GIDDENS; d. May 7, 1899 at the St Paul Hotel in New York City.


Notes for GEORGE GIDDENS: British actor 


Benjamin Joseph Drew's Probate

Timeline for BJ Drew

Daybook: 1852, Yreka California