Benjamin W. Handy was born in Marion, Massachusetts in 1853. The son of a whaler, Benjamin B. Handy, he grew up to go to sea with his father on two voyages. When the family moved to Riverside in 1876, he was 23 years old and lost no time establishing his own citrus groves on Brockton Avenue, and later near Little Rubidoux Mountain.
He never married but he continued to live with his family. He was as a citrus grower for 30 years but also served as Riverside’s first probation officer and, after he retired, continued to assist youth in the community.