Phineas Banning was born in 1830 in Wilmington, Delaware, went to Philadelphia to work as a clerk in the law office of his
brother William L. Banning, and came to California at the age of 21 as an assistant to a merchant. On arriving at San Pedro
in 1852, he took a job with commission merchants Douglass & Sanford. Soon he became the partner of David W. Alexander in the
freight and stage lines between San Pedro and Los Angeles. In 1858 Alexander became a silent partner and the firm was known
as Banning & Co. After a short period of partnership with A. F. Hinchman, Banning took over sole leadership for the Banning
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