Wolfskill, William (1798–1866)

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Wolfskill, William (1798–1866)

William Wolfskill (b. 20 March 1798; d. 3 October 1866), mountain man and California pioneer. Wolfskill was born in Kentucky and moved with his family to Missouri in 1809 under Daniel Boone's (1734–1820) leadership. Wolfskill accompanied William Becknell's (ca. 1790–ca. 1832) second expedition to Santa Fe in 1822 and opened a trading post at Taos, New Mexico. After several years of trapping beaver, he opened the Old Spanish Trail to California in 1831 and settled in Los Angeles. Wolfskill became a pioneer in the cattle, citrus, and wine industries in southern California. He acquired several ranches and became active in community affairs during the Mexican and early American periods. Wolfskill married María Magdalena Lugo in 1841, reared six children, and died in Los Angeles.

See alsoCalifornia .


Leroy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen, The Old Spanish Trail (1954).

Iris Higbie Wilson Engstrand, William Wolfskill, 1798–1866: Frontier Trapper to California Ranchero (1965).

Additional Bibliography

Dary, David. The Santa Fe Trail: Its History, Legends, and Lore. New York: A.A. Knopf, 2000.

Sánchez, Joseph P. Explorers, Traders, and Slavers: Forging the Old Spanish Trail, 1678–1850. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1997.

                                      Iris H. W. Engstrand