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Full text of "The Benson family of Newport, Rhode Island. Together with an appendix concerning the Benson families in America of English descent"

NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 



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IVIicrosoft Corporation 



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THE 



Benson Family 



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TOGETHER WITH AN APPENDIX CONCERNING THE 

BENSON FAMILIES IN AMERICA 

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PRIVATELY printed! 



DECEMBER, 1872. 




Copies of this book have been deposited in the following libraries : 



Maine Historical Society, Brunswick. 

Dartmouth Collegk, Hanover, N. H. 

Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier. 

Massachusetts Historical Society, Bos- 
ton. 

N. E. Histokic-Gknealogicai. Society, 
Boston. 

PfBLic Libraky, Boston. 

Athenaeum, Boston. 

Harvard College, CambridRe. 

KssEX Institute, Salem. 

Old Colony Historical Society, Taunton. 

A.MERICAN Antiquarian Society, Worces- 
ter. 

Rhode Island Historical Society, Prov- 
idence. 

Brown University, Providence. 

Redwood Library, Newport. 

Connecticut Historical Society-, Hart- 
ford. 

New London Historical Society. 
Yale College, New Haven. 
New York Historical Society, New 
York City. 



New York Genealogical and Biographi- 
cal Society, New York City. 
Astor Library, New York City. 
Long Island Historical Society, Brook- 
lyn. 
State Library, Albany. 
Ulster Co. Historical Soc'ty, Saugerties. 
Buffalo Historical Society. 
New Jersey Historical Society, Newark. 
New England Socif.tv, Orange. 
Pennsylvania Historical Society, Phila- 
delphia. 
Nu.mismatic and Antiquarian Society, 

Philadelphia. 
Virginia Historical Society-, Richmond. 
South Carolina Historical Society, 

Charleston. 
Georgia Historical Societs-, Savannah. 
Library of Congress, Washington. 
Historical and Philosophical Society, 

Cincinnati. 
Public Library, Cincinnati. 
Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison. 
British Museum, London. 



THE 

NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



Astor, Lenox and Tilden^ 

Foundations. 

1890 



Office of •' The J^aiion, 



3o. 5 Beekunan Street. (1\ O. Box 6732.) 



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BUT FOR WHOSE INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE JHIS WORK 
WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN UNDERTAKEN. 



ADDENDA. 

Page 14. Gardiner Benson. " Late of Newport," sa3'S the mention 
of his death in the Providence Gazette ; from which it may be inferred that 
his life was chiefly spent in his native place. 

Page 19. Capt. Martin Benson. The exact date of his marriage was 
August 23, 1785. (Trinity Church Records.) 

Page 43. In addition to the anti-slaver\' societies herein named, similar 
organizations existed in Maryland (1789), Connecticut (1790), Virginia (1791), 
New Jersey and Delaware (1792). The New York Society was organized 
Jan. 25, 17S5, and Alexander Hamilton succeeded John Jay as President. 
(See the interesting paper by Mr. William F. Poole, of the Cincinnati Public 
Library, published in the Cincinnati Gazette of Nov. 28, 1S72, " Sketch of 
Anti-Slaver}- Opinions before the Year 1800.") 




" T T APPY is the people whose history is not long." The 
J- A Newport Bensons share this felicity. The public records 
of them suffered in common with those of the town in consequence 
of the British occupation, and the dispersion caused by this event 
and by other circumstances peculiar to the family resulted in the 
almost total destruction of their private papers. The last depositary 
of these was the Rev. 'John^ Benson, who had in his possession at 
the time of his death his father's and grandfather's books of account, 
bills of lading and of sale, and other documents which in all pro- 
bability would have thrown light on their English connections. He 
had also written out with great pains a full autobiography, but he 
died before he could publish it, and we have in place of it the very 
meagre account of his seven voyages described hereafter (p. 23). 
The family papers stored away in his desk were left by his son in 
Pomfret, Conn., as was supposed in trustworthy hands, but they 
were wantonly destroyed. There remained only traditions too vague 
and fleeting for even the best of memories, and which in the line of 
"George^ Benson had wholly faded, leaving nothing certain except 
that Newport was the cradle of the family. The venerable represen- 
tative, almost the oldest survivor, to whom I have dedicated the 
fruits of my enquiries, retained more of the knowledge necessary to 
such an undertaking as this than any of his relatives. He at least 
furnished the clues, which I had only to follow up. 

The shortness and uncertainties of life are my excuse for com- 
mitting this genealogy to press in the imperfect state in which it is. 
I feel that I have satisfied all reasonable curiosity as to their lineage 



on the part of the descendants of John' Benson, without much calling 
conjecture to my aid, and never, I trust, unjustifiably. Whenever it 
was possible to refer to any authority I have done so, and this will 
not only neutralize any errors there may be in my transcription, but 
enable others, if they see fit, to extend my researches.* This is 
particularly true of the Appendix, in which I have felt it my duty 
to gather all the information which I have acquired incidentally 
concerning other Benson families in America, omitting those of 
Dutch descent. 

If the fewness of the Newport Bensons has rendered my task 
more difficult by exposing their records to the fate which I have 
described as having overtaken them, it has, on the other hand> 
permitted me to clothe the usual skeleton of a genealogy with some- 
thing like real flesh, without transcending the limits which a natural 
regard for his pocket ever imposes upon the antiquary not more 
blessed with means than with leisure. I have brought out as far as 
was discreet the character and idiosyncrasies of each subject in turn, 
and have here and there preserved some trait of the times or the 
place which may serve to give life and reality to the picture.f Had 

• For this purpose I will here note that I have looked pretty carefully through the 
Boston Se-vs-Letter for the years 1704-1742, inclusive ; 1755-1770, inclusive; 17S0 and 1783. 
Providence Gazette^ 1762-1767, inclusive ; 1771 : 1777-1787, inclusive; and 1791-1796, inclu- 
sive. Newport Mercury ^ 1762-1767, inclusive. My impression is that I have looked much 
further among these old files (not always complete, by the way), but have omitted to keep 
an account of them. The Newport correspondence of the Ncws-Letter was of great 
service to me, and I regret I have not had time to examine the same in the contemporary 
press of New York. The advertisements were also highly serviceable. 

t The temptation to do much more of this than I really allowed myself was almost 
overpowering, and I was constantly on the search for an appropriate place in which to 
«tow away such items as these : 

—James Codine arrived at Newport " last Lord's Day " (Feb. 22, V>o%Xii^ Ne-j^s-Lettcr , 
Mar. 2, 1719) in 17 hours' passage from New York— "the like never known before, and 
bound there again." 

—The Episcopal Church was first established in Rhode Island (Newport) in 1704. 

—Trinity Church spire, Newport, blown down in the great gale of Oct. 23, 1761 
{Nrait-Lttter, Oct. 29) ; raised by 43 Sons of Liberty, July 18, 1768 Ui>. July 28). 

—By the census of 1774, Providence had 655 families, 4321 inhabitants. (As for New- 
port, see p. 16.) 



I been seconded in this (particularly in dealing'with the fourth gen- 
eration), I should not now be obhged to apologize for what seems 
like partiality or negligence in the compiler. The same cause has 
prevented me from carrying out my intention of illustrating this 
genealogy with photographs. 

The focus of the Benson tribe in America was in the district 
lying between Massachusetts and Narragansett Bays ; but, though 
they almost elbowed each other from Hull to Newport, I have not 
discovered any connection between the Old Colony and Aquidneck 
famihes. Neither the North Burying Ground on Thames Street, nor 
the Clifton Burying Ground at the head of William and Tower 
Streets, has revealed the resting-place of the founder; but even 
without the date of his birth I believe it can be positively asserted 
that his name does not occur among those recorded in the Appen- 
dix. 

Nothing was pleasanter in the whole of my experience of what I 
must call a fascinating pursuit than the uniform courtesy I met with 
from utter strangers, and the great pains often taken to facihtate my 
researches. To make my acknowledgments is therefore a duty of 
the most agreeable sort ; and passing by my relatives and their ever 
cordial co-operation, I must express my deep indebtedness from first 
to last — and at the last almost as much as at first — to Dr. Henry 
E. Turner, of Newport, whose kindness has far exceeded any claim 
I could have upon him, and whose laborious gleanings from old 
records and papers have saved me years of blind groping, and given 
its chief value to my account of the first two generations. If I could 
make such a return for his unselfish assistance as I should like, it 
would be to ensure the publication in a permanent form of the vast 
amount of genealogical data which he has collected in the spare 
hours of a busy professional life.* Next after him I must mention 

* This would be a graceful recognition of Dr. Turner's ser%-ices if undertaken by the 
Rhode Island Historical Society ; and I would also direct to it the attention of the New 
England Historic-Genealogical Society of Boston. 



8 



Mr. Joseph M. Hammett, of Newport, who most obligingly volun- 
teered to search the graveyards for me, and whose success furnished 
me with some important particulars not elsewhere obtainable. Mr. 
X. H. Gould will also accept my thanks for many favors, along with 
Messrs. Benjamin Marsh, 2d, and William G. and David Stevens, 
all of Newport. In Providence I received substantial aid from 
Messrs. J. Carter Brown (uncle and nephew), and from Hon, J. R. 
Bartlett, late Secretary of State; and more or less of interest or 
friendly attention has been shown me by the Rev. David Benedict 
of Pawtucket, the late Rev. S. J. May of Syracuse, Mr. Benson J. 
Lossing of Dover, N. Y., Messrs. William H. Whitmore and Albert 
H. Hoyt of Boston, and Mr. William Still of Philadelphia. To all 
these gentlemen, to Dr. N. B. Shurtleff of Boston, to Mr. 
Reuben H. Guild, librarian of Brown University, and to the 
librarians and other officers of the Redwood Library, the Rhode 
Island Historical Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, 
the New England Historic- Genealogical Society, the New York 
Historical Society, and the New York Genealogical and Bio- 
graphical Society, I tender my grateful acknowledgments. 

W. P. G. 

New York, November i, 1S72. 



/ ^v*-- OF THt -^ \ 



THE BENSON FAMILY 



NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND. 



1 as appears from the records of 
Trinity Church, Newport, was married, October 
II, 1 714, to Anna Collins," who figures in the 
town records as the administrator of her late 
husband, under date of August 6, 1722. This is 
all that is positively known in regard to him, 
and it is even a matter of inference that he is the 
founder, though of this there can be little doubt 
— first, because in the later generations but one 
line of Bensons is found in Newport; and, 
second, because William '' Benson was baptized 
in Trinity Church, and named one of his sons 
William Collins, as will be seen hereafter. That 
John Benson came to this country after May, 
1692, may be conceded from the fact that he is 
not included in Savage's Dictionary. That he 
was a ship- owner or captain Is probable from the 



* Probably the first child of Wiiliara Collius and Sarah Whitman, born January ig, 
169S. 



lO ni:NS()\ lAMILV OF NEWPORT. 

fact th:it comnierce was the occupation of the 
family to the third ^rencration, both William ' and 
Martin ' bearings the title of Captain. And 
finally, it seems altogether likely that he is the 
same John Benson who " cleared outwards for 
Rhode Island " "" from Boston in December, i 7 19 
{News -Letter, Dec. 21), and arrived some time 
before the New Year (.'7^. Jan. 4, 1720); who 
was announced to sail on his return trip " with 
the first opportunity" {ib: Feb. 15), and arrived 
duly in Boston in the ship A7tn\ (ib. Alar. 14). 
No other trace of him, it is believed, occurs in 
the jVezi's- Letter during- the years 1 718-1722. 
The most thorough search in the graveyards of 
Newport has failed to discover any monument of 
him. 

Tradilion assigns liiin three sons : one, who removed 
to North Carohna, probably at the tune of a somewhat 
general miq^ration from Newport to that colony, in which 
the Eastons were prominent, though they afterwards 
worked up into Virginia (near Richmond) and Pennsj^vania, 
and are believed to have intermarried with the Bensons. 
Mrs. Martin' Benson, in her latter years, forwarded a min- 
iature of her deceased son, Martin^, to relatives (presum- 
ably Bensons) in Virginia. Another son is reported to 
have settled in Savannah, Georgia, and become a planter. 
This one. it is related, was often visited by his nephew. 
Captain Martin' Benson. 

The first of these was presumably 
I. i. John- IIr.XDRiCK,t or John Benson, junior. At least it 



• i.e., for Newport; the name of the town, instead of the island on which it is situ- 
ated, being first used in the correspondence of the News-Letter^ June 23 (26), 1721. 
t That is. tx kyf'othfs!, named after the Captain's wife. 
X \ Caplaia John llcadrick cleared from Bostoa for Plymouth Dec. 10, 1720. 



FIRST GENERATION— JOHN. i i 

seems proper to identify the two. TI^-C records of James- 
town, near Newport (April 5, 1736), show that John Ben- 
son, junior, was married to Anne Crocum, (qu. Slocum ? — 
a Jamestown name), December 9th [1735]. From the record 
of the Second Congregational Church, Newport (and also 
from the town records), it appears that John Hendrick 
Benson was married June 13, 1745, to Ann Hinkley. Sup- 
posing both to be one and the same person, he is in all 
probability the North Carolina colonist and ancestor of 
John Bexsox, junior, of Columbia, Penn., -who married Ab- 
igail Shearman, daughter of Samuel, of Portsmouth, near 
Newport, February 26, 1824 (Nev/port Mercury, Feb. 28), 
but concerning whom enquiry has failed to discover any- 
thing further. 
WILLIAM, baptized August 29, 1710 ; died July 19, 1755. 

(If tradition is insisted on, the family order might, con- 
sistently with the dates, stand thus : i. John, jr. ; ii. Wil- 
liam ; iii. John Hendrick. But it would seem odd that the 
name of John should be twice bestowed upon living chil- 
dren in the same family.) 



12 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 



SECOND GENERATION. 

iEil^lUtcim' 23Cn0OJtt according- to the records of 
Trinity Churcli, was baptized August 29, 1718, 
but from tiie inscription on his tombstone it may 
be gathered that he was born some months pre- 
vious to that date. He was admitted a freeman 
oi the Colony by the General Assembly at New- 
port, May I. 1744 (Bartlett's "Rhode Island 
Colonial Records," vol. v., p. 81). The trade of 
Newport with Africa direct had sprung up while 
he was yet a lad, " and he succeeded to it not un- 

• In the Boston Ne-x's-Letier of Nov. 25, 1713, may be found what is believed to be 
t'ls first mention of it. The Newport Custom-house announces (Nov. i3) the departure 
of Jonathan Thurston "for Affrica," and (Sept. 16, 1726 — Ne'uJs-Letier,Sz-pt. 22) his return 
from Guinea; the ne.Tt year, Wra. Barry, for Africa (Jan. 21, 1726 — Ne-jus-Lctier, Jan. 27). 
Hitherto Newport's commerce had been chiefly with the South and the West Indies. The 
commerce of the colony at the date of Capt. Benson's marriage is well depicted in the fol- 
lowing extracts from the Report of Governor Richard Ward, on paper money, to the Rt. 
Hon. the Lords and Commissioners of Trade for the Foreign Plantations, Newport, Jan. 
'), 1740 (Bartlett, vol. v., p. 13) : 

" We have now about 120 sail of vessels belonging to the inhabitants of this colony, 
all constantly employed in trade, some on the coast of Africa, others in the neighboring 
colonies, manv in the West Indies, and a few in Europe. 

" In short, if this colony be in any respect happy or flourishing, it is paper money, and 
a right application of it, that hath rendered us so. And that we are in a flourishing condi- 
tion is evident from our trade, which is greater in proportion to the dimensions of our 
;;ovcrnmcnt than that of any colony in Iler Majesty's American Dominions. 

" Nor have we served ourselves only by engaging so deeply in navigation. The 
neighboring governments have been in a great measure supplied with rum, sugar, mo- 
lasses, and other West India goods by us brought home and sold to them here. Naj-, 
Boston itself, the metropolis of the Massachusetts, is not a little obliged to us for rum and 
sugar and molasses, which they distil into rum, for the use of their fishermen, etc. 

'■ The West Indies have likewise reaped great advantage from our trade, by being 
Mjpplied with lumber of all sorts, suitable for building houses, sugar-worki, and making 
casks; beef, pork, flour, and other provisions, we are daily carrying to them, with horses 
1 1 turn ihcir mills, and vessels for their own use ; and our African trade often furnishes 
ih ;m with slaves for their plantations. To all this, we beg leave to add that the mer- 



SECOND GENERATION— WILLIAM. 13 

naturally if the son of a sea-captain and a mer- 
chant. He is said to have had three ships de- 
voted exclusively to fetching" cargoes of gold- 
dust, ivory, and slaves. He died of a consump- 
tive disorder July 19, 1755, " i^ the 3Sth year 
of his age," and was buried in the old North 
Cemetery, where his grave is still marked (along 
the path leading to, and near, the southern en- 
trance). 

He was twice married : first, to Sarah Will- 
son""' — according to the tovv'n records [June] 5. 
1739, and if so, during a violent outbreak of 
small-pox in Newport ; but probably June 5, 
1 740 (Trinity Church), when his townsmen, and 
possibly he among them, had had nearly a year 
of very successful privateering against the Span- 
iards, not a Rhode Island vessel having been 
lost, and the spoils having undoubtedly been 
great. By this vrife he had : 

MARTIN, born October 2, 1741 ; died December 24, 
iSii. 

William Collins, born January 30, 1742-3; died . 

JOHN, born June 20, 1744; died December 28, 181S. 

His second wife was Frances, daughter of 
Deputy-Governor John Gardner f and his wife 



chants of Great Britaia ha%-e, within these twelve month';, or thereabouts, received seven 
or eight sail of ships from this colony for goods imported here of late, and sold to the in- 
habitants." 

* Born about 1724, died December 23, 174.4, in the soth year of her age, six 
months after the birth of her youngest child. She was probably the daughter of Jona- 
than Willson (gentleman) and Hannah his wife; the former died September 2, 1729, in 
his 31st year. His grave is the third to the north of his daughter's, which stands beside 
her husband's. 

t He was Assistant to the Hon. John Vv'aaton, Esq., Governor, in 1736, and on Mon- 



14 



6. V. 



BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

Frances * (San ford). They were married Occo- 

bcr 3, I 745. By her he had two sons : 

Gardiner, born August 15, 1747; died in Providence, 
between two and three o'clock on Sunday morning, Janu- 
ary 24, 1796. His death, from consumption, was preceded 
by three weeks of very painful confinement, in which he 
was faithfully attended by his younger brother George, who 
was greatly attached to him, his half brother John, then a 
Baptist clergyman, and also by the Rev. Dr. Gano, of the 
same denomination. George wrote of his last hours : 

" I expressed to him my regret that he had not come in town 
before his disorder had acquired an incurable ascendency. He re- 
plied : 'Don't reflect, don't reflect; these things are all ordered, 
wisely ordered.' It may be remarked that his cough was extremely 
troublesome, and such his debility of body that he has at times 
coughed perhaps ten minutes before he could expectorate ; and so 
excessively emaciated that it produced a sore in his back distressing 
to those who beheld it. Yet he assured me that his light afflictions 
were nothing, though he said, ' No tongue can tell what I suffer. I 
endeavor,' he added, ' to put on patience.' My Aunt Wanton, f who 
■attended in his chamber the four weeks preceding his death, de- 
clares that 'he never uttered a complaint, nor even an impatient 
expression'; on the contrary', appeared thankful for the least atten- 
tion to him, and often expressed much apprehension that he gave 
his friends too much trouble. He had lived a regular and moral 
life, and for several months previous to his confinement emplo5'ed a 
great part of his time in reading the Bible and other religious 
books." 

Ilis remains lie buried in the North Burial-ground, in 
Providence. On the tombstone is inscribed : " His moral 
character was blameless, but his hope was in Christ." 

GEORGE, born August 20, 1753; died December 11, 1S36. 



daj'. May 3, 175S, was elected Deputy to the Hon. Stephen Hopkins, Governor. He was 
born, of Joseph and Catharine (Holmes) Gardner, September 17, 1697, and died January 
23,1764. 

* Daughter of John Sanford and his wife Frances (Clarke), daughter of Jeremiah'^ 
Clarke, son of Governor Jeremiah Clarke. Mrs. Benson's tombstone, beside her husband's, 
bears the following inscripiion: " In memory of Frances, relict of WiUiain Benson, Mer- 
chant, and daughter of the Hon. John Gardner, Esq. She died November 30, 177-5, in the 
45tli year of her age." 

+ Probably Elizabeth Gardner, who married Captain Peter Wanton. 



THIRD GENERATION— MARTIN. 



THIRD GENERATION. 

"'^MUVtiU ^ MtlW^U was born in Ncvv'port, October 
2, 1 741. At the time of his father's death, he 
had probably received some training in the busi- 
ness of a foreign merchant, even if he had not 
already made a voyage or two as supercargo. 
He continued the African trade upon which his 
father had entered, and resided for a number of 
years on the coast of Africa. Of the dates of 
his movements v/e have no record, and can only 
conjecture that it Vv^as he v/ho was met by his 
brother John in London in the year 1759-60. 
He was for some time Governor of the Is- 
land of Goree,'"' and when he returned home 
brought with him a large property, his bottled 
gold-dust alone (according to the family tra- 
dition) requiring two wheelbarrow loads to 
transfer it from the ship to the shore. He 
purchased what was then and still is known 
as the Governor Wanton House,t on the Vv'est 

* This island, of considerable importance in the palmy days of the slave trade, has 
had a romantic history, not easy to gather from any single source. It was ceded to the 
Dutch in 1617 by King Biran of Gape Verd, and by them fortified. They were driven out 
in 1663 by the English Admiral Holmes, but recovered Goree under De Ru3-ter in 1665, 
only to lose it finally in 1677, when attacked by a French squadron under Count d'Estrdes 
— a conquest confirmed to France in the following year by the treaty of Nimeguen. The 
English retook the island in 1759, ^^^4 relinquished it by the treaty of 1763 ; again cap- 
tured it in 177S, and held it till 17S4. In 1S04 they reoccupied it, and in 1814 restored it to 
France, whose possession it has ever since been. For a map of the island, see Golberry's 
'■ Fragmens d'un Voyage en Afrique, fait pendant Ics annces 17S5, 1706,1787'' (Paris, 

I3C2). 

t Originally Governor William, afterwards his son, Governor Joseph, Wanton's. 



1 5 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

side of Thames Street (present numbers 85-89), 
one of the finest residences in town, with a 
commanding prospect across the Bay, where 
he hved for many years and brought up his 
familv. Besides this house, he is reputed to 
have owned'"' the Long Wharf or dock which is 
the present landing for steamboats from New 
York. He was also the owner of other real 
estate. 

The date of Captain Benson's return is quite 
obscure, though it may be inferred that it was 
after 1774, as the census of Newport for that 
year does not contain the nam.e of Benson, 
Possibly he arrived immediately after the evacu- 
ation of the town by the British (Oct. 25, 1 779).t 
That he v/as at home early in 1 780, appears from 
the proceedings of the General Assembly at 
Newport on the second Monday of September of 
that year (Bartlett, vol. ix., p. 230) : 

Thj former was Governor ia 1732, and died in 1733. The latter was Governor from 1765 
to 1775, and died July 19, 1780, his wife Mary having died March 2, 1767. (See the Provi- 
dence Gazette of March 14, 1767, and July 29, 1780 ; and Boston Gazette of July 31, 1780). 

• There is some doubt about this. In March, 1764 (see the Newport Mercury), the 
wharf was to let to the highest bidder ; and in April, 1795, it still appeared to be public 
propert)', as there was a lottery to build a hotel and public school, and to repair the 
wharf. 

t The bejinnins of the British occupation was in December, 1776, and at its close 
the town had been more than half deserted. (By the census of 1774, Newport had a popu- 
lation of i.s:)^ families, or 9,208 persons.) The State House was left in ruins, and more 
than 500 building;s h.td been destroyed. The Jews, who especially contributed to the 
prosperity of the place, had departed to Providence, Leicester, and Boston. To such a 
state were the inhabitants reduced, that contributions were forwarded from Boston and 
other neighborhoods to relieve their distress. The British " carried with them the records 
of the town from its settlement [in 163S]. The vessel containing these precious papers 
was sunk at Hell Ga'.e. Three years afterwards the half-obliterated fragments were 
returned to the town, and a espy was made of such portions as were still legible " 
(.^mold's " History of Rhode Island," vol. ii., p. 448). 



THIRD GEXERATION— MARTIN. I 7 

''Whereas, Mr. Martin Benson, of Newport, preferred 
a petition, and represented unto this Assembly, that in May 
last he obtained permission from the council of war of this 
State to proceed to the island of St. Christopher's for the 
purpose of recovering his property, then in the said island ; 
that, in pursuance of said permission, he took passage in 
the sloop Hope, Captain Benjamin Alger, bound to Grenada ; 
that the said sloop was taken in the passage, and carried 
into Antigua, where he procured a vessel, which he manned 
with Americans, and proceeded to St. Martin's, and from 
thence to St. Christopher's, where he recovered his property, 
and took the same on board ; that in order to secure his 
vessel from being captured by British vessels-of-war, he 
obtained a clearance for Halifax, in Nova Scotia, witii 
an intention to put into the first port lie should make 
v.'ithin tfte United States ; that in the prosecution of his 
said intention, he was taken by the ship Rhadcs^ Nehemiah 
Buffington, commander, belonging to Salem ; that, notwith- 
standing he produced the resolve of the council of war as 
aforesaid, and the permission of his Excellency the Gover- 
nor grounded thereon, his vessel and papers were taken 
from him, and sent into Salem ; and thereupon prayed this 
x\ssembly to grant him letters recommendatory to the Legis- 
lature of the State of Massachusetts, that he may obtain 
satisfaction for the injur}' he has received — which, being 
dul}'- considered, 

•■ ' It is voted and resolved, that the said petition be, 
and tlie same is hereby, granted ; that William Channing 
and Thomas Rumreill, Esquires, be, and they are hereby, 
appointed a committee to draught a letter accordingly ; and 
that they report the same as soon as may be.' " 

No Other trace of this appears on the records, 
nor Is it knov/n if the attempt went further than 
the petition. The files of the Boston papers of 
that date, however, show that if any attempt 
was made it v.-as fruitless. In the Boston Gazette 
of July 31, 17S0, it is reported that "Saturday 



J 3 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

last a prize Snow* laden with English goods 
arrived at Salem." In the same paper of Sep- 
tember 1 1 and 1 S, we hnd the libel, to be tried 
in Maritime Court, Boston, October 3, 1780, of 
" Nehemiah Buffington, commander of the armed 
ship Rhodes, against the brig Susannah, burthen 
100 tuns, or thereabouts, William Bryant [or 
Bryans], late master." The Gazette of Monday, 
November 27, contains this advertisement: "To 
be sold at the North Bridge in Salem, on Thurs- 
day, the 30th of November, inst., . . also, 
the brig Susannah, about 80 tuns burthen." 

An unhappy domestic occurrence about the 
year 1808 broke up Mr. Benson's household, 
and darkened the remainder of his days. Ac- 
companied by his son, John Coddington, he 
made a voyage to the coast of Africa, before 
reaching which they were becalmed for several 
days, and suffered greatly from want of water, 
until relieved by a passing vessel. A severe at- 
tack of gout — a disease to which Mr. Benson 
was subject — superinduced by the privations of 
the voyage, ended in his death. The event is 
briefly recorded in the Newport JMercnry of 
February 22, 181 2, and as follows in the Provi- 
dence Gazette of February 1 5 : 

" At Goree (an island on the coast of Africa), on the 
24.th of December last, Captain Martin Benson, late of New- 
port, in this State, aged 71 j'cars. This respectable, enter- 

* ' 5«i>:t»— a vessel with two masts resembling the main and foremasts of a ship, and 
a third small mast just abaft the mainmast, carrying a sail similar to a ship's mizzen " 
iMar. Diet.). A sort of hermaphrodite brig. 



THIRD GENER^VTION— MARTIN. 19 

prising gentleman co.mmenced his mercantile career with 
very flattering prospects, and, for some time, fortune smiled 
on his honest, animated efforts; but in the course of his 
variegated life, ill health, and a series of disasters, which 
prudence could not avert nor caution escape, unhappily in- 
terposed to blast his anticipated comforts — his fairest ex- 
pectations. Yet he did not despond, but virtuously pur- 
sued the even 'tenor of his way,' respected and beloved, 
till Death closed this transitory scene, and removed him to 
another and, we trust, 'a better world.' 
" . . . ' Death is victory ; 
' It binds in chains the raging ills of life.' 
" His remains were very respectfully entombed on the 
day following, attended by the Governor and officers of the 
British garrison at Goree, with a number of private gentle- 
men." 

Captain Benson Avas a man of hne personal 
appearance and of many accomplishments ; affa- 
ble and courteous, and much esteemed by the 
ladies, who called him their walking-staff. He 
had lonsf been re^jarded as an old bachelor when 
the following announcement appeared in the 
Providence Gazette of September 3, 17S5: 
" Married, at Newport, j\Ir. Martin Benson, 
merchant, to Miss Jenny Coddington,"'" daughter 
of the late Captain John Coddington." This lady's 
parents were married January 28, 1759, and 
it is probable that she was born about 1 762-63, 
which would make her more than twenty years 
younger than her husband — a disparity too great 
for happiness, as the sequel proved. Mrs. Ben- 

* Her mother was Mary, daughter of Governor Joseph Wanton, and died at New- 
port, Sunday evening, February 4, 1798, in her 65th year {Mercury, February 13). Cap- 
lain John* Coddington was the son of William^, or Nathaniel^, sons of Nathaniel*, the 
second son of Governor William Coddington. He was lost at sea in 1762. 



20 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

son, who is still remembered by many citizens of 
Newport as a very dignified old lady, died 
December 6, 1S36 {jMercuiy, Dec. 10; but the 
age assigned her is certainly excessive). The 
circumstance of her sending a miniature of her 
son T^Iartin to relatives in Virginia has been 
already mentioned. The children of this mar- 
riage were :'" 

r. i. Martix, born probably in 17S6. lie was educated at 
Brown University, and graduated in iSo6, his chum being 
the late Hon. John H. Clarke, formerly United State Sena- 
tor from Rhode Island, and one of his classmates being the 
Rev. David Benedict, well known as the author of a His- 
tory of the Baptists, and still living. Young Benson chose 
law for his profession, and is said to have established him- 
self in New York, though the name is not found in the di- 
rectories of that city. On learning of the death of his 
youngest brother, he resolved to visit Sierra Leone with 
the same object ; and, having provided himself with the 
nccessarj'' documents, embarked (1816?) in a vessel which 
sailed from New York, and was never heard of afterwards. 
He was married in the spring of 1811 to Amey Smith, at 
North Providence (Providence Gazette and Newport Mer- 
cury of June I, and Rhode Islajid AmericaJt of May 31). The 
officiating clergyman was the Re\-. Ferdinand Ellis, Con- 
gregationalist, who died in 1S58. The Gazette's notice ob- 
scurcl}- reads : " Mr. Martin Benson (S. J.)" 

ii. \ViLLi.A.M Collins. All that is known of him, except 
that he died of consumption, and was buried in Governor 
AVanton's tomb, is contained in these two obituary notices : 
From the Newport Mercury, October S, 1S03: 

" On Sunday, the 25th ult., William Benson, son of Mr. Martin 
Benson, of this town, in the sixteenth year of his age. This was an 
amiable and promising young man. He had just completed an 
* There is said to have been a beautiful daughter Ann (named after Ana Wanton ?), 
Who was buried in the Wanton tomb. This tomb, by the pious care of Mr. Xathan 
Gould, is now marked in the Clifton buryinj-jfround by a substantial marble stone, in- 
scribed; " The Family Tomb of Governor Joseph Wanton." 



THIRD GENERATION— MARTIN. 21 

education adapted to the course of life he had chosen for his pur- 
suit. A happ}' fancy gilded the prospect before him, and with the 
warm heart of 3-outh he was hastening to enjoy it." 

From the Providence Gazette of the same date : 
" Master William Benson, son of Martin Benson, Esq., in his i6th 
year. He was, by his amiable manners, endeared to all wlio knew 
him, and his dawn of life seemed to promise future excellence." 

iij. John Coddington, born in Newport in the first days of 
November, 1794. He was educated for the navy. Before 
his studies were completed, his father took him with him 
(181 1 .') to West Africa, and, as already related, he shared the 
hardships of the voyage which proved fatal to the former. 
He was, on the death of his father, invested with his African 
estate, but appears to have returned liome immediately, 
and the outbreak of war with England hastened his en- 
trance into the United States Navy, whicli was favored \yy 
Commodore Perrj-'s intimacy with the family. He was 
(Cooper's "Naval History") commissioned midsliipman 
August 22, 1S12, and probably was assigned at once to the 
United States ship Adams, 42 guns, Captain Charles }*Iorris, 
which sailed from the Chesapeake in January, 181 3, passed 
to the south of Bermuda, crossed the Atlantic, captured a 
number of prizes (the last of which, the India ship Wood- 
bridge, taken on the 25th of March, had to be abandoned), 
and arrived home in April (p. 243, " Naval Monument," 
Boston, 1836). The tradition is that he was witli Perry on 
his flagship at tlie battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813 
(but this lacks confirmation). He v/as certainly on the 
Adams when, on September 2, 1814, as it lay at Hampden 
on the Penobscot, having just returned from a cruise, it 
was surprised by a large British fleet with troops, and blown 
up by Captain Morris to avoid its falling into the enemy's 
hands. (^Ib. pp. 248, 249.) The crew escaped to land, and 
dispersed in the woods between the Penobscot and the 
Kennebec, rendezvousing at Portsmoutli. They were then 
transferred to the Congress, 36 guns, lying at Boston, under 
the same commander as before. But peace was declared 
before the vessel was ready for sea. The " Naval Register " 
for 1815, in which Mr. Benson appeared as midshipman, 



BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

shows that he was furloughcd June 19, 1815. Desirous of 
disposing of his father's estate in Africa, he got a situation 
as first mate of the brig Caroline, Captain Jenckes, lying at 
Providence, and bound for Martinique and Sierra Leone. 
After being three days at sea, the brig was capsized in a 
storm, washing overboard the captain and cabin-boy. Mr. 
Benson, thus being left in command, as soon as the storm 
abated, ordered one of the crew to dive down and unloose 
the lashed helm, and again another, but both were afraid 
to venture. lie himself then dived, and was never seen 
acrain. 



THIRD GENERATION— JOHN. 



was born In Newport, June 20, 
1 744. His life was more checkered than any re- 
corded in this genealogy, and he left behind him 
a very minute and voluminous account of it, of 
which the original MS. has been unfortunately 
lost. A condensed account of his voyages was 
published (prior to 1824) by his youngest son, 
making a small volume, with the following title : 
"A Short Account | of the | Voyages, Travels, 
and Adventures | of John Benson ; | comprising 

1 Seven Voyages ] to different parts of the 
World ; I interspersed | with | Anecdotes and 
Observations | upon | Men and Manners. I 

Wr^itten by himself. \ ' Omnc tulit punchun, 
qui niisc2tit utile dulci! \ Published by John 
C. Benson. ] \Copyright secured.Y The com- 
piler, however, gave only the sequence of the 
voyages, and left the dates, and often the duration 
of them, undetermined. There is even a discre- 
pancy in the narrative itself, which renders the 
date of the first voyage doubtful. On the death 
of his father, in 1755, he was left, at the age of 
eleven, in charge of his grandfather (/.<?., his 
step -mother's father, the Hon. John Gardner, 
Deputy Governor), and applied himself dili- 
gently to his studies until, as he says (p. 9), 

" he had arrived at the age of fifteen years. 



24 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

when a strong inclination to travel the seas 
and visit distant shores " took possession of 
him. On p. 83, however, he says : " I would 
inform tlie reader, that in the thirteenth year 
of my age I attempted a voyage to sea." 
The first statement is more likely to be the 
true one, and we may suppose that it Vv-as in the 
summer of 1759 that he was disappointed in 
getting passage, as engaged, on the " good 
snow " Defiance, Captain Edward Wanton, bound 
for Africa ; but actually sailed a few weeks later 
in the Indnstjy, Captain Edward Emerson, bound 
for England. This vessel was caught by a 
French privateer, Le Trioinphe, in the British 
Channel, but, except that he was robbed of 
everything, young Benson fared vrell, by being 
taken into the Captain's cabin, till landed Vvith 
other prisoners at Brest. Here he was for some 
time detained in prison, but was exchanged in 
the autumn at St. IMalo, and, via Portsm.outh. 
reached London, where he met "a brother" 
(Martin ?), but did not join him. He returned 
home in the spring on the brig Osprey, Captain 
Thomas Rodman,* of Rhode Island, working 
his passage, which occupied 72 days. The 
round trip, including his stay on French soil, 
consumed 11 months (1759-6.0). The second 
voyage was undertaken, " after having remained 



* This commander subsequently (1765) died en the coast of Africa. (See New- 
port correspondenre, Dec. 30, 1765, in the Boston Nexvs-LeiUr of Jan. 9, 176c.) 



THIRD GENERATION— JOHN. 



-0 



some time at home," on the Othello, Captain 
Edward Chapman (Messrs. Godfrey and John 
iNIalbone owners), which mounted lo carriage 
guns and a few swivels, and was bound for An- 
tigua vv-ith lumber and provisions. A French 
privateer easily captured the vessel, through the 
cowardice of its captain, and Mr. Benson vv'as 
imprisoned " some time in a gloomy dungeon" 
in iMartinique. Then exchanged and sent to 
Guadaloupe, he sailed from the latter island in, 
the Benevolence, of New Haven, Captain Thomas 
Rice, via St. Christopher's and Turk's Island to 
Fisher's Island, opposite Stonington, Conn., 
whence he made his vray back to Nev/pcrt. Ail 
this might have been accomplished in 1 760. 
These two voyages had brought only loss to Mr. 
Benson, and he sought to repair his fortune on 
the third, in tlie Lydia, Captain Peter Wanton,"' 
bound for Jamaica. They came back safely with 
sugars, and the profit answered his expectations. 
They were pursued by a large ship of war, but 
escaped. This voyage should probably be as- 
signed to 1 76 1. The fourth voyage, which he 
entered upon " forth v/ith," v/as in the Rising 
Siin, of Newport, Captain William Pinnegar, 
mountin2f 10 carria^-e o'uns and 8 swivels — ?. 
capture from the French. Her destination was 
Barbadoes, the bay of Honduras, and Holland. 
In 50 days they reached Barbadoes, and sold 

Probably his kinsman, who married his step-mother's sister, Elizabeth Gardner. 
4 



26 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

their cargo for slaves, cash, and rum, and Mr, 
Benson notes that he saw there, "at high-water 
mark, the heads of slaves, fixed upon sharp- 
pointed stakes, while their unburied carcases 
were exposed to be torn by dogs and vultures 
on the sandy beach." They could not gain ac- 
cess to Honduras Bay, as it was blockaded, but 
anchored a league from Musquito Inlet, where, 
in a December hurricane (1761), the ship was 
run on shore, and, out of a company of 25 (it is 
not clear vvdiether this included the poor slaves), 
16 were lost, among them a kinsman (Conkling) 
of Mr. Benson. He himself, although carrying 
a lame arm in a sling, managed to reach the 
shore, and to walk to the British garrison at 
Black River, where the survivors were humanely 
received by the governor, ]\Ir, Pitt. Capt. Pin- 
negar saved enough from the wreck to purchase 
a smaller vessel, in which Mr. Benson sailed to 
Jamaica, and three weeks later worked his passage 
thence to Nevv^port in Captain Gregory Cozzens's 
ship (early in 1762). Still undaunted, "after a 
few weeks' respite on shore," he embarked on 
the schooner Polly, Captain Peter Wanton, for 
Africa. They made for Sierra Leone, and thence 
to Anamaboe, where they bought 90 slaves, and 
then set sail for Guadaloupe, where, not finding 
a market for their human merchandise, they kept 
on to Monte Christi, and sold to the Spaniards. 
They had been absent eleven months when they 



THIRD GEXERATIOX— lOIIN. 



-/ 



returned to Newport (1763). Another slave- 
trading venture of the same Captain Wanton, in 
the Charming Abigail, tempted Mr. Benson to 
ship under him after he had " become tired of 
loitering on shore." But he nearly lost his life 
when they had been but a short time at sea, by 
falling overboard as he was endeavoring " to 
throw the fore-topsail out of the netting." He 
swam out of the ship's way, and, catching a rope, 
was saved. They were obliged to put back to 
Newport on account of a rotten mast, and were 
two months in reaching Sierra Leone. Twenty 
miles up the river they took in slaves and rice 
to feed them with, and then sailed to the Gold 
Coasf^ and Anamaboe. This was a rendezvous 
for slavers, and here they found a Philadelphia 
ship, Captain William Rodman of Rhode Island, 
together with a Rhode Island ship, Captain 
James Searing. The slaves that Rodman had 
on board rose, and their example was followed 
on Wanton's vessel, where, however, the timely 
w^arning of a " Dunko " negro saved the crew.. 
When the slaves came to be sold at Guadaloupe, 
for sugar, this faithful black was disposed of 
alono^ with the rest. "' I blush to record so in- 



* The Providence Gazette of Feb. 25, 1764, announces the arrival upon the Coast of 
Captains Earl, Carpenter, Edward Wanton, Peter Wanton, and Gardner, from Rhode 
Island. Captain Edward Wanton left the Coast in February (see Boston News-Letter 
of July 5), and returned home without his ship in June (see News-Letter of June 20), and 
reported Captains IVantan, Woodbury, and Morris, from Newport, as being still on the 
Coast at the time of his departure. 



2 8 BENSON FAMILY OF NEVv'PORT. 

famous a deed," says the autobiography. Cap- 
tain Searing- died of an epidemic that prevailed 
among the shipping, and }vlr. Benson was near 
sharing the same fate. He lay for so long 
in a trance that he was thought to be dead, 
and perhaps with any other captain than a kins- 
man would have been committed to the deep. 
While in this condition, he experienced a vision 
which he relates at length in his narrative, and 
which changed completely his views as to the 
sinfulness of slave-trading, as well as awakened 
his religious nature with startling pov/er. Capt. 
Wanton arrived with his cargo of slaves at St. 
Kitts early in 1765 (Providence Gasetic of Feb. 
1 6, and Boston News-Lcttcr of Feb. 2 1 ). Shord)- 
after his return, Mr. Benson retired to Warren, 
about 18 miles from Nev/port, intending to quit 
the life of a seafarer, which had been so disas- 
trous to him ; but at the end of three years and 
a half (1768 ?) he resolved on a short voyage to 
North Carolina, and shipped in the Enterprise, 
Captain John Bush, for that purpose, with a cargo 
of naval stores. By falling overboard from a boat, 
and encountering a fearful storm while crossing 
the Gulf Stream, his life was twice imperilled in 
this trip ; and if he had been born to be drowned, 
a speedy opportunity offered when he was upset 
in crossing the harbor of Stonington. He was 
rescued from the eel-orass which abounds on 
those shallows by the singular and, as he re- 



1 \ 



THIRD GENERATION— JOHN. 29 

garded it, P]:ovidential agency of a floating board 
with a crooked nail which cau^fht in his shoulder. 

Having received a good education, includ- 
ing a knowledge of Latin, he engaged in 
teaching, and, after he had received a call to the 
Baptist ministry, he continued to teach as well as 
to preach in various places, and at length, about 
1804, settled in Pomfret, Connecticut, where he 
died of pleurisy December 28, 1818, leaving a 
widow and seven children. 

Mr. Benson was an accomplished accountant 
and penman, but he resisted the persuasion of 
friends to enQ^a^e in business rather than enter 
the ministry. He was a fine reader and singer. 
It was probably in 1 768 that he married Mercy, 
daughter of John Casey, who owned some 1,200 
acres in South Kingston, R. I., on what is called 
Boston Neck. She w^as born April 28, 1752, 
and was a woman of unusual mental and physi- 
cal powers — her strength in lifting, indeed, be- 
ing something incredible in these days. She 
was an excellent manager of household affairs, 
making up for her husband's deficiency in that 
respect. After his decease, she lived with her 
youngest son till her death, which happened 
July 22, 1835, when she was buried beside Mr. 
Benson, in the family burying-ground at Pomfret, 
a handsome monument markinof their common 
grave. They had in all ten children, as fol- 
lows : 



20 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

i. Sally, born January 4, 1769; died November 24, 1837. 
She married Amos Bo)^den, of Mendon, Mass. They had 
David, Joel, and William ; and daughters Abigail (?), bora 
about 1790, and married ; Nancy, unmarried ; Amy, mar- 
ried (?) ; and one who became the wife of a Mr. Taft. In 
all, seven children. 

ii. Nancy, born May 28, 1771 ; died June 25, 1245. She mar- 
ried John Amidon, of Douglas, Mass. They had Samuel, 
William, and John ; Celinda, who married Abijah Easty ; 
and perhaps other daughters. 

iii. Polly, born June 10, 1776, and still living, the oldest de- 
scendant of John' Benson. She married Stephen Kerapton. 
of Mendon, Mass. They had Martin, ]Millens, and Harri- 
son ; and four daughters. 

iv. Martin, born 177- ; died of croup at the age of three. 

V. Martin, born 17 — ; died young. 

8. vi. Martin Gardiner, born March 14, 1781 ; died February 6, 

1859. He was bred a mechanic, and was a man of good 

physical and mental capacity. He was married and had 

children, of whom two sons survived him. 
vii. Fanny, born March 20, 1783 ; died March 20, 1S62. She 

married James Mitchell, 
viii. Betsey, born November 6, 1788 ; died January 2, 1816. She 

married Sterry Angell, of Pomfret, Conn. 

9. ix. William Collins, born March 9, 1791 ; died June 10, 185S. 

He was settled as a farmer in the northern part of New 
York, where he reared a large family whom he left in com- 
fortable circumstances. Having been called to Paterson, 
N. J., to attend his sick brother, he died and was there 
buried in his brother's lot. A stone marks his grave. 

10. X. JOHN CODDINGTON, born November 3, i794- 



THIRD GENERATION— GEORGE. 3 I 



^Cftl^tB'^^ S^tH^'Oll ^vas born in Newport, August 
20, 1 752. ■'■'"■ Concerning his early youth and 
tralnino- his descendants have no knowledcre or 
tradition. He was, as he says in one of his let- 
ters, "left fatherless so early as to have no re- 
collection of a single feature in his countenance" ; 
and, in another, he laments " his want of a 
liberal education," though he was a very correct 
writer and a handsome penman. He had come 
to Providence and engaged as clerk v^ith Nicho- 
las Brown Sz. Co.,t merchants, as earhr as 1771. 
Three years later,! he was in doubt whether to 

* The town records say 1751. 

+ Consisting of Messrs. Nicholas, Joseph, and Moses Brown. Nicholas died June 
4, 1791 ; Moses in September, 1836, three months before Mr. Benson himself. 

J Newport April 4th, 1774. 

Sirs : I have Consulted my Friends on the subject of my continuing at Providence 
or Returning to abide in this Town, and have attentively Considered the matter m3-selt. 
There is very engaging motives to Invite my Return here, as I have repeatedly ob- 
served. But Considering the Peculiar State of your Business (Tho, I don't mean entirely 
to exclude Self Interest, that, I own, has a Share in the Proposal) have Concluded, that 
if its agrecablcy and you will add Thirty Dollars more ^ year to my Present Terms, 
will engage again in your Employ, But should not Chuse to Contract for any Certain 
Time, tho, you may Rely I will not Leave your Business w-ithout Due notice, and ex- 
pect to Continue with you (should miJ^ Proposal Suit) untill next Fall at Least at which 
Time, its Probable I may engage with my uncle Wanton, if his Business should succeed 
according to his ivzshes. — I Purpose to return to Providence this Week, but Should be 
Glad of }"0ur Reply as soon as may be, that I may adjust Matters here, accordingly. 
In the mean Time, or Rather at all Times, 

I am your Assured Friend, 

Mr. M B's. Letter to his Friend Willson I Left In ~| George Be.nsox. 

the Drawer as Capt. Grinnell does not expect to sail 1- 
untill next Sunday. I saw A Johnson in the Street, he J 

told me he wrote you a few Days Past — is it True — or was it onlj' to Prevent a Dunn — 
Would it not be a Good Time to have sc-ne Paper added to the Ledger. It will be 
needed soon, let who ivill be Clerk. 



32 BENSON FAMILY OF XEVvTORT. 

remain in Providence or to return to Newport, 
but was probably granted the modest addition 
to his salary which he made a condition of stay- 
ing. "^^ The outbreak of the R.evolution appears 
to have unsetded him. In 1775, he is said to 
have ridden on horseback from Providence to 
army headquarters at Cambridge, on the mem- 
orable 17th of June. In 1779, he was employed 
by Col. Ephraim Bo wen, Deputy Quartermaster 
General,! for how long a period is unknown. 
In the spring of 1783, Mr. Benson had removed 
to Boston and engaged in partnership v/ith 
Joshua Eaton, as appears from the curious docu- 
ment printed in full belov;',J ^vhose strict and 

* He had gone to Newport to attend his mother iu her last illness. The Newport 
Mercury of Dec. 6, 1773, has the following notice : " Last Tuesday died, in the 49th year 
of her age, Mrs. Frances Benson, widow of Mr. William Benson, late of this town, de- 
ceased, and second daughter of the late Hon. John Gardner, Esq. She was a lady of 
great virtue and piety ; a most tender, affectionate parent, and a faithful friend. Her re- 
mains were interred on Saturday." (See ante, p. 14.) 

t Rhode Island Historical Collections, Book vi. pp. 224, 227. Col. Bowen writes 
Gen. Nathanael Greene (then at Middlebrook, Va.), under date of Feb. S, 1779 : " As Mr. 
[George] Olney leaves me to-morrow, I have engaged George Benson to take his place 
— Mr. Olnej' can give you his character. I gave Mr. Olney eighty dollars per month, 
and engaged to board him and his wife for that sum, which I did, notwithstanding every- 
thing rose 30 per cent, afterwards. Have engaged !Mr. Benson at $100 per month till j-our 
pleasure can be known, and, if you do not consent to allow it, I am to lose it, the over- 
plus. It is very difficult to get a person to take charge of books and cash that can be en- 
trusted v.Mthout giving him a price something adequate to the business and the rise of 
boarding." Gen. Greene's replj^ is characteristic (Feb. 23) : " The wages of Mr. Benson 
are very high, but you had better give a high. price for a good man than employ a bad 
one for nothing at all." 

* " CorPY OF .\N AGREEMENT SIGNED BV GB'S TWO AFrKENTICES IN BoSTON."' 

This Agreement Witnesseth, That v/e John Bryant Junr. and John Crosby, both of 
Boston in the County of Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts minors with the 
consent of our respective Parents have entered into the following Engagements with 
Messrs. Joshua Eaton & Geo Benson both of Boston aforesaid Merchants, commonli' 
known by the firm of Eaton & Benson .... vizt . . . 



Engage faithfully to Keep all the secrets of their Business, to obey all their Law- 



THIRD GEXERATIOX— GEORG] 



onerous requirements the clerk of our day would 
stand ao"hast at. The first advertisement of the 
new firm occurs in the Boston Gazette of April 
7, 17S3, and is dated April 3. It enumerates as 
" for sale by Eaton & Benson, at their store 



full Commands and not to hurt or Injure them or their property or see another do it 
without Giving them Notice thereof 

2nd We Engage not to risque money or any other Property whatever at Cards, Dice 
or any other unlawful! Game and that we will not frequent or haunt Alehouses or 
Taverns, or be from Home unseasonably late at night. . . . 

3rd We Promise and Engage in our respective Turns constantly to open and have the 
Store ready for Business in one hour from Sunrise and never to shut without care- 
fully searching if any Person is in it, and we further Promise to lock the Door se- 
curely at one o Clock for Dinner and open it again at three Quarters of an hour 
past two o Clock ia the Afternoon and when it is our respective turns not to open 
the Store we Engage to be there in one hour from the time fixed for opening in 
the Morning, and always by three o Clock in the Afternoon 

4'.h We Engage not to allow any Idle Boys to tarrj' in the Store on any Pretence what- 
ever, and we will not procure or permit any person not belonging to the Store to 
assist us in opening of it, making fires, Sweeping &c. . . . 

5'.h We Faithfully Promise and engage to put all the Books (except those usually carried 
to the House) into the Chest Below every night, and the Cash Books to be accu- 
rately compared and made to agree every Evening before the Store is left and that 
we will not leave in the Store all night any Sum of money exceeding ten Dollars, 
nor any Note of Hand or any other Valuable Papers whatever. . . . 

eth Lastly we Solemnly Promise and Engage to consult the Interests of the said Eaton 
& Benson in all Cases, to use our utmost Endeavours to secure and protect their 

property and all other Property whatever that may be comitted to their Care. 

In Witness whereof we have hereto v/illingly and CheerfuU}' Set our hands 
and seals in Boston this twent}' Eight day of April, One Thousand Seven hundred 
& Eighty Three 

( JOHM BriVANT JfNT. 

Sign d < ^ „ 

I J Crosby 

Know all Men that we John Bryant & Daniel Crosby both of Boston in the 
County of Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Fathers to the aforesaid 
John Bryant Junr & John Crosby, Do hereby Consent to & approve of the Promises 
and Engagements entered into by our said Sons with the said Eaton & Benson, and 
we engage to exercise our endeavours & Authority to effect their Complyance 
therewith & Promise to indemnify & make good to the said Eaton & Benson all 
damages Sustain'd by Default of our said Sons. In Witness whereof we hereunto 
Subscribe our Names & affix our Seals this tv.-enty Eighth Day of April One Thou- 
sand Seven hundred & Eighty Three. 

( John Drvant 

/ Daniel Ckosbv 



34 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

No. 7 Butler's Row,"* superfine and black pru- 
nella, other broadcloths, men's and women's silk 
hose, callicoes, linens, Congo tea, green coffee, 
ribbons, brown sugars, cotton wools, etc. ; also, 
the best James River tobacco. Every month 
there was a fresh advertisement ; now, "at a 
peace price the following articles just received 
from Nantz," viz., cutlery, shoe and knee buckles, 
etc.; and novr, "by wholesale, at a very lov/ 
price indeed," velvets, Marseilles quilting, dia- 
per, cogniac brandy, window-glass, pepper, 
French and superfine Philadelphia flour, etc., 
etc. On the iSth of August, however, public 
announcement was made that the copartnership 
had been dissolved on the 12th inst. by mutual 
consent, and that Joshua Eaton would " carry 
on the commission business as usual " at the old 
place. Very likely, offers had been received by 
Mr. Benson from Providence which were too 
tempting to permit him to stay in Boston longer 
than to settle his affairs (the advertisement in 
the Gazette is inserted for the last time October 
27). 

In the Providence Gazette of January 3, i 7S4. 

* So called from Peter Butler, "wko figured in Boston about two hundred years 
Ego, and whose descendants owned the land now bounded by Merchants Row on the 
west and by State Street on the south. In. 1825 (the time of the great improvement of the 
Dock by Mr. Quir.cy, when the streets parallel to the Market House were laid out), 
Chatham street used up Butler's Row, although the name continued to be used many 
years after. In 1S35, or thereabouts, the opening to the Row was closed by a building; 
so that to-day one can only find the Row by entering a passage-way from State Street. 
The old sign Butler's Ro-m may be seen in the present building on its south-east corner." 
(From a very kind communication by Dr. Nathaniel B. ShurtlefF, e.x-Mayor of Boston.) 



THIRD GENERATION— GEORGE. 35 

one may see the advertisement of Brown & 
Benson, that they have just imported from Lon- 
don, and will sell by wholesale and retail, a gen- 
eral assortment of European goods, etc., " at 
their store a little southward of the Great Bridge, 
and nearly opposite Nicholas Brown's house." 
From this time on, the advertising is constant, 
and we may fairly give the credit of it (for it 
was very liberal for those days) to Mr. Benson, 
seeing what his practice had been in Boston. 
Fall and winter goods ; flour and European 
goods ; tobacco and bar-iron ; salt in exchange 
for fish ; West India and New England rum ; 
flax-seed, etc., etc. — such was the merchandise 
of Brown & Benson when, in January, 1791 
(see Providence Gazette of 2 2d, etc.), jNIr, Nicho- 
las Brown, jr., " being connected in the house," 
the style of it was changed to Browns & Benson, 
in whose transactions Russia hemp and duck be- 
gan to figure prominently. Nicholas Brown, Sr., 
died June 4, 1791,* but the firm was otherwise 
unchano-ed until, on the marriasfe of Mr. Thomas 
p. Ives with Miss Hope Brown (the only daugh- 
ter of the deceased), March 6, 1792, the only 
surviving son and namesake, together with 
Messrs. Benson and Ives, " entered into copart- 
nership, and assumed the collection and payment 



* Jan. 14, 1791 (Providence Book of Deeds, Xo. 23, p. 15S), " George Benson con- 
veys, by warranty deed, to Nicholas Brown for £1^0 lawful money, >i part of a lot of 
land on Weybosset St. in Providence, a little southerly from Weybosset Bridge." 



;^6 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

of the debts of the late Company, "■'■ and adopted 
the style of Brown, Benson & Ives. Their im- 
portations now began to spread greatly : wines 
from Malaga ; fresh Bohea tea, a great variety 
of china-v/are, satins, nankeens, lacquered tea- 
trays, etc., direct from Canton, in their own ship 
yo/i;i. yay, 460 tons burthen (launched Oct. 8, 
1 794) ; Swedes-iron ; brandy from Bordeaux ; 
and India goods, June 25, 1796, they offer for 
sale their brig Friendship, and July 20-August 
6, their ship Hamilton, just returned from India, 
having made a previous voyage or voyages to 
Europe. This latter advertisement is probably 
the last put forth by Brown, Benson & Ives. 
Mr. Benson withdrew October 17, 1796, being 
somewhat fearful of the extended risks he was 
called upon to share, and the new firm of Brown 
& Ives has remained to this day and acquired a 
national reputation. f 

Other traces of islr. Benson as a business man 
are to be found in the Providence Gazette of 
Oct. 6, 1792, from which it appears that on 
the Monday previous (Oct. 2), he was unani- 
mously elected a director of the Providence 
Bank, in place of Tslr. Nicholas Brown, v/ho re- 
signed in his favor ; and in the same paper of 
Jan. 18, iSoo, where he figures as director and 



* Date of March 21, 1792 (Providence Gazette of 24th, etc.) 

t On this account, it has been thought worth while to preserve the detsils of its va- 
rious transformations from the beeinninff. 



THIRD GENERATION'— GEORGE. 37 

secretary of the Washington Insurance Com- 
pany, of Providence, then just formed. He was 
also one of the Trustees of Brown University, 
but retired from the Board in 1801. A letter of 
his dated September 3, 1801, and addressed to 
Mr. President Maxcy, is given in Mr. R. A. 
Guild's " History of Brown University " (Provi- 
dence, 1 86 7), and is so characteristic as to bear 
reproducing here : 

" Sir : — Will you do me the favor to request the Corpo- 
ration to accept the following trifling donation for the 
College Library, viz. : Thoughts on Religion, Natural and 
Revealed, and Reflexions on the Sources of Incredulity, 
etc., in 2 volumes, by the Rt. Hon. Duncan Forbes. This 
is a scarce tho' celebrated performance. A Vindication of 
the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, in answer to 
Paine's Age of Reason, by Thomas Scott, Chaplain to the 
Lock Hospital. Discourses on the Genuineness and Au- 
thenticity of the New Testament, and on the Nature and 
Danger of Infidel Philosophy, by the Rev. President 
Dwight. A Summary of the Evidences of Christianity, by 
John Fawcett. The Gospel its own "Witness, by Andrew 
Fuller, D.D., to which is subjoined, a Summary of the Prin- 
cipal Evidences for the Truth and Divine Origin of the 
Christian Revelation, by the Bishop of London. 

" May the pernicious errors detected and refuted in the 
preceding productions be forever excluded from the Col- 
lege, and may the important truths they inculcate and en- 
force, prevail and abound therein. 

" I am, dear sir, assuredly your friend, 

" George Benson," 

Mr. Benson was married Sunday, January 27, 
1 793, by the celebrated Baptist clergyman Dr. 



38 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

Stephen Gano, to Sally Thurber,'"' daughter ot 
James Thurber {Gazette, Feb. 2). They went 
to housekeephig (the next year ?) in the elegant 
residence, near the corner of Angell and Prospect 
Streets, which still stands, perfectly preserved 
and but little altered. Mr. Benson had built it 
for himself in the most thorough manner, and its 
site was, in those days, one of the most com- 
manding in the town. Here, in the course of 
the next twenty-nine years, all their children 
were born. At the end of that time, Mr. Ben- 
son, yielding to the solicitations of his son 
George, who was very desirous to become a 
farmer, let his house, and in the spring of 1824 
(the deed bears date Jan. 8) removed with his 
family to Brooklyn, Conn. Here he had pur- 
chased, though without personal Inspection, a 
farm of 75 acres, with a substantial house (still 
standing), very convenient for his large family. 
Possibly he had known something of the locality 
on account of his brother John's living in Pom- 
fret close by. There he quietly passed the re- 
mainder of his life. " Land," he wrote his son 
in 1835 (Oct. 10), "is more secure property 
than trade, but for me it is little, very little 
profit." He had been a remarkably healthy 

* She was born August 28, 1770, and died of consumption in Providence, at the 
house of her daughter Charlotte, Sunday, August 25, 1844. Her father (son of Edward^, 
son of James^, son of John who came to America in 1672) had some time prior to 176S re- 
moved to Durham, Greene Co., New York, where Sarah was probably born. In 1783-4 
siie was brought to the home of her uncle Edward'', in Providence, and there brought up. 



THIRD GEXERATIOX— GEORGE. 39 

man, but, having already had a long confine- 
ment in 1834 on account of cold, in November 
of the following year he contracted another in 
Providence which probably never left him, al- 
though he seemed to have recovered ; and he 
died in Brooklyn, on Sunday evening, December 
II, 1836, after a painful illness of fourteen days. 
It is thought that his life w^as shortened by leav- 
ing off smoking, which had been his habit from 
a young man, but which he ceased from at once 
when convinced that it was bad. His remains 
lie beside those of his wife in the North Burying 
Ground, Providence. 

Of Mr. Benson's personal appearance some 
idea may be had from a miniature painted on 
ivory when he was a young man. His skin at 
his death was as fair as a child's. He was ver}' 
regular and methodical in all his ways, and had 
never known, when he died, what toothache or 
headache was — all his teeth being sound at 
eighty-four. He never ate any supper. His 
manners were courtly, and made him a favorite 
in ladies' society. In all matters of business he 
was very punctilious. It was customary with 
him to save every letter, paper, and document 
of any interest to himself, and these he carefull}- 
filed way. Especially was he fond of writing 
out and communicatincr to his friends extracts 
from moral and religious works, which he like- 
v.ise preserved. He was at one time a promi- 



40 BENSON FAMILY CF NEWPORT. 

nent member of the First Baptist Church in 
Providence, and as Clerk his name is regularly 
affixed to an advertisem.ent in the Gazette of 
August and September, 179 1-4, -warning against 
" encroachments or nuisances on the Meeting- 
house Lot, especially at or near the time of the 
annual Commxencement " of Rhode Island Col- 
lege. These Commencements were announced 
in a companion advertisement, signed George 
Benson, Secretary, to be " publicly celebrated 
in the Baptist Meeting-house" {Gazette, August, 
1794-6). It was probably in 1795 that, on oc- 
casion of a quarrel between the minister and his 
Vv'ife, in vvhich his sjmipathies were with the lat- 
ter, he Avithdrew from this church, and never 
connected himself with any other, but attended 
Friends' meeting mostly. He was by nature 
highly philanthropic. As early as 1775, it is 
supposed he was interested in the abolition of 
slavery in his native State, a letter in the Gazette 
of Sept. 9, of that year, signed "A Friend of 
America," being attributed to him. This com- 
munication had reference to a petition to the 
General Assembly to pass an act (printed on the 
same sheet) "for prohibiting the importation of 
negroes into this colony, and asserting the right 
of freedom of all those hereafter born or manu- 
mitted within the same." At the June session 
of the General Assembly, in 1 790, was passed an 
"Act to incorporate certain Persons by the 



THIRD GENERATION— GEORGE. 4 1 

Name of The Providence Society for promoting 
the Abolition of Slavery, for the Rehef of Per- 
sons unlawfully held in Bondage, and for im- 
proving the Condition of the African Race," of 
which the preamble was as follows : 

" Whereas a voluntary Society hath subsisted for some 
Time past, called The Providence Society for abolishmg the 
Slave- Trade : And whereas the Persons hereinafter named, 
being Members thereof, have petitioned this General As- 
sembly for a Charter of Incorporation for the said Society, 
to enable them more effectually to carry into Execution 
the Purposes of their humane Institution, in promoting 
the Abolition of the Slave-Trade, and of Slavery, protect- 
ing the Rights of Persons unlawfully held in Bondage, and 
for improving the Condition of such Blacks as are or may 
be emancipated, and of their Posterity : 

" Section i. Be it therefore enacted," etc. 

The list of corporators consisted of ii 7 per- 
sons belonging in Rhode Island, 68 in Massa- 
chusetts, 3 in Connecticut, and one in Vermont 
— the first New England Anti-Slavery and 
Freedmen's Society combined — and was headed 
by the Hon, David Howell. The Rev. Dr., 
Samuel Hopkins was the thirteenth signer, and 
George Benson the thirtieth. The latter was, 
as he says, " a member in its very incipient state, 
and was one of the first committee appointed to 
transact the business during the recess of the 
Society " ; and, during the closing period of its 
existence, was its secretary, as Judge Howell 
was its president. This society was evidently 



^2 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

patterned after the " Pennsylvania Society for 
Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Relief 
of Free Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage, 
and for Improving the Condition of the African 
Race," whose first president was Franklin," and 
which voluntarily elected Mr. Benson an honor- 
ary member, his diploma bearing date October, 
1792. Of the Providence Society, Mr. Benson 
further says : " It had the most [more] formida- 
ble opposition to encounter than any other. 
The inhabitants of Newport had been many 
years engaged in that inhuman trafiick, wdiich in 
its various ramifications furnished employment 
to numerous persons. It was the source of al- 
most every other branch of business. Of course 
the ship-owners, officers, and seamen, with all 
their connections, were inimical to the Society, 
as was also the town of Bristol, though of minor 
importance. Add to this, some of the principal 
merchants in Providence were in the opposition 
rank." On Feb. 24, 1834, Mr. Benson was 
elected the third president of the New England 
Anti- Slavery Society, and served for that year. 
When the Windham County (Conn.) Peace 
Society was founded in 1826 by the late Rev. 

* In April, 1787. The Society had been previously organized in 1773 for the pur- 
pose of preventing the kidnapping and enslavement of free negroes. A change in the 
Constitution took place in.i7S7, as indicated in the new title. (See Edward Needles's 
" Historical Memoir of the Pennsylvania Society," Philadelphia, 1S48.) The New York 
Directory for 17S6 gives the list of officers of "The Society for promoting the Manumis- 
sion of Slaves, and protecting such of them as have been, or may be liberated." The 
Hon. John Jay was president. 




THIRD GENERATION— GEORGE. 43 

Samuel J. May, Mr. Benson was probably made 
president, and, though wishing to resign in 1835, 
he was continued in the office till his death. 
He was ever active in distributinor documents 
on "this interesting and truly Gospel subject," 
as he termed the cause of peace. 

INlr. Benson had a crest of arms which he used in seaHrsg 
his letters. Unfortunately his seal has been lost, but the 
device is remembered by his son as 
being identical with that of which a 
rude cut is here given, from a repre- 
sentation on a piece of family china in 
the possession of his daughter, i\lrs. 
\V. L. Garrison. The seal had a short 
motto, not exceeding four words, and 
was attached to the owner's old-fash- 
ioned silver Avatch, which was made 
in London, and had belonged to his father. Mr. V^''. II. 
Whitmore, of Boston, who has been kind enough to exam- 
ine the crest, expresses his opinion as follows : 

" The form of course is heraldic, and diough I do not recollect 
such a crest, I have seen many of a like symbolic nature, e.j^., a 
crowned heart, a dove and branch, etc. It is therefore a possible 
and not very improbable crest. But I do not find that any English 
family of the name ever used any crest resembling it. The st}'Ie of 
the shield resembles the work of our Callendar, an engraver vv-ho 
made many book plates about iSoo ; and I should suggest that 
such an origin would be a likely one for this shield. Callendar, 
like engravers of this date, is no authority. He engraved good 
coats and those without authority indifferently." 

As the seal is likely to have accompanied the w^atch, the 
origin of the crest must be sought for in a previous gene- 
ration, especiall}'- as Mr. John C. Benson has an indepen- 
dent recollection of its being used by his grandfather, 
William Benson. 




44 



BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

The children of George Benson and Sarah 
Thurber were as follows : 

. Frances, born July 21, 1794 ; died Oct. 31, 1832, in Broolv- 
lyn, Conn., and buried in the North Burying Ground, 
Providence. Her disease was neuralgia. Slie was nev^er 
married. 

JMarv, born April 24, 1797 ; died in Cambridgeport, iNIass., 
January 29, 1842. Her remains have been deposited in the 
North Burying Ground, Providence. Her disease Avas 
spinal affection. She became a member of the Society of 
Friends by request, in 1829. She was never married. 
. Sarah, born January 3, 1799 ; died of cancer, in Northamp- 
ton, Mass., Sunday, October 6, 1850, and was buried there. 
She was never married. 
. Ann Elizabeth, born October 21, iSoi ; died of dropsy, in 
Northampton, jNIass, September 12, 1843, and was buried 
there. She was a member of Friends' Society by request. 
She v.-as never married. 
. Charlotte, born August 3, 1803. Married, October 22, 
1826, in Brooklyn, Conn., by Rev. Samuel J. May, to Henry 
Anthony, of Providence, where they settled and still live. 
Their children are : 

George B., born August 4, died August i3, 1S27. Mary G., born 

November 13, 182S, and died on the same day. Mary Gould, 

born December 6, 1829 ; married by Rev. E. B. Hall, September 14, 
1S53, to William C. Townsend, whose children are : Annie, born 
March 10, 1S57 ; Henry Anthony, born September 26, i860 ; Fos- 
ter Hodges, born May 15, 1863. Sarah Benson, born September 

27, 1S32 ; married by Rev. Augustus Woodbury, May 26, 1S57, to 
Tames Tillinghast, whose children are : William Richmond, born 
April 15, 1858 ; Henrj' Anthony, born September 15, 1S59 ; Theodore 
Foster, born September 25, 1861 ; Stephen Hopkins, born April 17, 
1863, died March 7, 1S65 ; Charles Foster, born September 18, 1871 ; 

Charlotte Lusanne, born November 16, 1872. George Henry, 

born June 13, 1835. Joseph Bowen, born July 16, 1837. 

Frederick Eugene, born October iS, 1S40 ; married by Rev. 
Augustus Woodbur}', June 5, 1S72, to Julia Perkins Adie. 

vi. George, born Januar}- 9, 1806; died April 22, 1S07. 



THIRD GENERATION— GEORGE. 45 

II. vii. GEORGE WILLIAM, born February 15, 1S08. 

viii. Helen Eliza, born February 23, 181 1 ; married September 
4, 1834, in Brooklyn, Conn., by Rev. Samuel J. May, to 
William Lloyd Garrison, of Boston, Mass., where they set- 
tled, after various changes, and still live. Their children 
are : 

George Thompson, born February 13, 1035, in Brooklyn, Conn. 

William Lloyd, born January 21, 1S38, in Boston ; married by 

Rev. Samuel J. May, September 14, 1864, to Ellen Wright, of Au- 
burn, N. Y., whose children are: Agnes, born June 14, 1866; 
Charles, born June ig, 1S68 ; Frank Wright, born October 18, 1S71. 

Wendell PHiLLiPS,born June 4, 1840, in Carabridgeport, Mass.; 

married by Rev. William H. Furness, December 6, 1865, to Lucy 
McKim, of Philadelphia, whose children are : Lloyd McKim, born 

May 4, 1867 ; Philip McKim, born September 28, 1S69. Charles 

Follen, born in Cambridgeport, Mass., September g, 1S42 ; died in 
Boston, April 8, 1S49. Helen Frances, born in Boston, Decem- 
ber 16, 1S44 ; married by Rev. George Putnam, January 3, 1866, in 
Roxbury, Mass., to Henry Villard, of Bavaria, Germany. Their 
children are: Helen Elise, born June 28, 1S68 ; Harold Garrison, 
born December 3, 1S69 ; Oswald, born March 13, 1872. Eliza- 
beth Pease, born in Boston, December 11, 1846 ; died there April 
20, 1848. Francis Jackson, born in Boston, October 29, 1848. 

ix. Henry Egbert, born July 31, 1814; died in Providence, 
Tuesday afternoon, January 6, 1S37. This favorite son and 
brother, whose untimely loss was keenl}- felt by his sur- 
viving relatives, was a young man of great beauty of per- 
son and character. He commenced business as clerk and 
bookkeeper for Joseph Rogers, a commission merchant of 
Providence, dealing principally in cotton. His leisure 
time and his evenings he spent in im.proving the condition 
of the colored population in that city, every family of whom 
he visited in his benevolent rounds ; and his first public 
address was to a colored audience. He resided in Provi- 
dence during the years 1831-34. When not yet nineteen, 
we find him at Canterbury, Conn., on an errand connected 
with the Prudence Crandall affair (see Rev. S. J. May's 
" Recollections of our Anti-Slavery Conflict," pp. 39-72. 
and " The Life of Arthur Tappan," pp. 152-15S). In 1S32, 



45 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

he was solicited by his future brother-in-hiw, Wm. Lloyd 
Garrison, to act as agent for the Liba-ator in Providence, 
he being at the same time agent for Mr. May's Unitarian 
paper, called the Christian Monitor and Conunon People's 
Adviser. During the first visit of George Thompson, the 
celebrated English orator and philanthropist, to this coun- 
try, in 1835, Henry Egbert served as his travelling asso- 
ciate and secretar}^ In March of that year, in fulfilment 
of this engagement, he visited New York and Philadelphia, 
and also made a pleasant journey up the North River as 
far as Albany, on business connected with the Liberator. 
In July, he accepted an appointment as Secretary and 
General Agent of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society 
in Boston, and held this position till March, 1S36, keeping 
the Liberator s books. The immediate cause of his retire- 
ment and return to Providence was an attack of tj-phoid 
fever, in convalescing from which he took cold and had a 
relapse which left him in an enfeebled condition, and an 
easy prey to consumption. He sought medical treatment 
in various ways in Boston and Providence, and, as usual, 
his condition excited alternate hopes and fears. Towards 
the last, in . Brooklyn, his health "continued quite com- 
fortable" up to his father's death in December, 1836, soon 
after which " there appeared a change in his disorder ; and 
he complied with the urgent request of several friends to 
try steaming as a dernier ressort." He left home about ten 
da3's previous to his decease, and never returned. At 
Pawtucket, the doctors gave him up, and he went back to 
Providence, where he met his fate composedly, being per- 
fectly sensible to the end. During the last sixteen hours, 
he could not lie abed, on account of the great distress he 
had in breathing. His remains were deposited in the 
North Burying Ground, Providence. An obituary notice 
appeared in the Liberator of Jan. 21, 1837, from the pen of 
Mr. Garrison. 

The unusual n.anie of EgLcrt naturally suggested to the compiler 
of this genealogy some relationship between the famous Judge 
Egbert Benson, of New York, and the Rhode Island family. There 
is, however, no evidence to show that any existed, the weight of 



THIRD GENERATION— GEORGE. 47 

tradition being in favor of an English derivation for the latter, while 
Judge Benson was unquestionably of Dutch descent. The naming 
of young Benson was apparently due to the same cause to which 
the historian, Mr. Benson J. Lossing, owes his first name, viz., 
intimacy of the Judge with the father in each case, and nothing 
more, Mr. George W. Benson remembers the Judge's visits to his 
father's house in Providence whenever he came on to attend court. 
He invariably sent his colored servant — a very gentlemanly man — 
the day before, to say that his master would give himself the pleasure 
of passing the following day with them, and to add that he should 
like for dinner a certain kind of blackfish then only found in the 
bay about Newport. The next morning always the servant came 
early to the house, took entire control of the kitchen and dining- 
room, dressed the fish in the peculiar manner best relished by the 
Judge, and at table waited behind his master's chair. The host 
followed the fashion of the times in the liberal use of wines. 



48 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 



FOURTH GENERATION. 

S08W ©O^^inCjtClir ^tnnon was bom in Dou- 
glas, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Novem- 
ber 3, 1 794. He was the youngest son of the 
family, strong and enduring from childhood, and 
of quick and retentive memory. He received a 
good education, and studied physic and surgery 
with Dr. Thomas Hubbard, of Pomfret, Conn., 
acquiring some proficiency, and being called 
upon to assist in some difficult cases of surgery. 
He left medicine, temporarily as he then ex- 
pected, to engage in manufacturing, to which he 
had been invited ; but his success was so great 
that he never resumed his profession. Begin- 
ning March 3, 18 13, he gave his attention to all 
the varieties of cotton, woollen, and silk manu- 
facture. He had previously, indeed, at his 
father's house, helped grow silk and make it 
into sewing-silk, and is now, perhaps, the 
oldest American manufacturer living in the 
branches just named. His operations became 
very extensive. In 1838, he removed from New 
England to New Jersey, built a factory in Tren- 
ton, which he carried on till 1843, ^^^^ ^^"^^^"^ ^^' 
linquished it on account of his health. He 
removed to Paterson (where he still resides), 



FOURTH GENERATION— JOHN CODDINGTON. 49 

and carried on both the cotton and silk manufac- 
tures with his customary success. 

In the large cotton and woollen factory in which he was 
employed as superintendent in 1S13, he introduced a rigid 
temperance rule, applicable to all the employees, under 
pain of discharge. At that time, the company v/ho were 
the proprietors dealt, as was then common, in ardent 
spirits, both by wholesale and retail, deriving on that side 
a large profit from sales to their own hands, which they 
lost on the other from irregular and imperfect work caused 
by the Saturday night and Sunday excesses in drinking. 
Mr. Benson persuaded them to abandon this traffic, and 
may undoubtedly claim the credit of being the first tp en- 
force temperance principles in manufacturing establish- 
ments in this country. His mill being in "Worcester 
County, he frequently drove to Boston and back in the 
same day, transacting his business, and rising after a short 
rest to spend a long day in the factory without inconve- 
nience. He remembers while in Boston seeing the Gingko 
tree transplanted to its present place on the Common, an 
incident which Dr. Holmes has used in his pleasant man- 
ner in his " Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table " (p. 324). 

Mr. Benson has been twice married : first, to 
Mary Ann Kempton, January i, 1828 ; born 
August 24, 1808; died September 12, 1862. 
She was buried in the family lot at Paterson, 
where a stone marks her grave. By her he had 
three daughters and one son, as follows : 

i. Eliza Ann, born October 31, 1828. She married Daniel 

Kempton, jr., of Woonsocket, R. I. 
ii. Electa Caroline Coddington, born September 22, 1834 ; 

died August 28, 1854. A sweet and estimable character, 
iii. Grace, born September 23, 1S37 ; died November 28 of the 
same }'ear. 



;0 BENSOX FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

ir. John Coddingtox, born in Trenton. N. J., M.irch i. 1S44; 
died the next day. 

j\Ir. Benson married for his second wife Sarah 
Augusta Luther, born February 22, 1823. They 
have no children. 



FOURTH GENERATION— GEORGE WILLIAM. 



" George WtlUmtV MtllBOn was bom ill 
Providence, February 15, 1808. At the age of 
fifteen he persuaded his father to purchase a farm 
in Brooklyn, Conn., as already related. Of this, 
after the family had removed thither, he had the 
entire management, and subsequently also of the 
farm of old IMoses Brown, in Providence, going 
back and forth as the interest of each required. 
At the age of twenty-three he became a part- 
ner in the wholesale and retail wool and leather 
firm of Benson & Chace, v\'hose place of busi- 
ness v/as 12 Westminster street, Providence, 
He still continued his manao-ement of the two 
farms. In 1833, the firm-style became Geo. W. 
Benson & Co. On the death of his father, at 
the close of 1836, in accordance with a promise 
made to his mother, he abandoned mercantile 
life, and returned to Brooklyn, where he be- 
came the head of the house. An experience of 
four years having shown that the farm could 
not sustain two families, it was sold finally 
,' (Feb.-Apr., 1841) ; and in the fall of that year 
he removed to Northampton, settling in that 
portion of it which for a time was known as 
Bensonville^ but (for reasons growing out of the 
silk interest) was, after he had left it, given the 



BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

name of Florence — since become more legiti- 
mately famous for its manufacture of sewing- 
machines. Here, in company with Messrs, 
Samuel L. Hill and I. Conant, hebous^ht a lart>-c 
tract of four or five hundred acres, intending to 
go into the manufacture of sewing-silk ; but, be- 
fore they had fairly embarked in this business, 
they were seized with the communistic fever 
then prevalent, and the result was, on April 8, 
1842, an organization of ten persons, including 
Messrs. Hill and Benson, but not Mr. Conant, as 
" The Northampton Association of Education 
and Industry'." To this body the Northampton 
Silk Company sold Its land, dwelling-houses, 
factory, saw-mill, and water privileges for about 
$31,000. The career of this community, which 
is remarkable among other American attempts 
In the same direction, and which was dissolved 
November i, 1846, Is given (from Mr. Benson's 
own statements) In Noyes's "History of Ameri- 
can Socialisms," pp. 154-160 (Philadelphia: J. 
B. LIppIncott «& Co., 1870). It maybe added 
here that Mr. Benson was made president of the 
Association, and continued In that office to the 
end. In spite of wrangling and friction among 
the adults, the children's life in these five years 
was joyous and to be remembered with pleasure. 
They shared fully In the industry of the enter- 
prise by taking the whole care of the silkworms 
and the field of mulberries on which they fed ; 



FOURTH GENERATION— GEORGE WILLIAM. 53 

the boys cultivating" the field and helping the 
girls pull the leaves, and the girls feeding the 
worms. After all It was found cheaper to Im- 
port the raw material. The education and 
amusement of the children were carefully looked 
after. On the dissolution of the community, Mr. 
Benson took the brick factory and turned it into 
a cotton mill, which it still remains, though In 
other hands. His partners were three men of 
capital, but having widely different views as to 
the kind of help to be employed — Mr. Benson 
almlnof to secure the best at ofood wasfes — and 
as to the observance of Sunda}'-, when they ob- 
jected to the repair of machinery. The result 
was that Mr. Benson retired, and carried on a 
silk-mill till the fall of 1850, when he removed 
with his family to Willlamsburgh, Long Island, 
and undertook the laundry business. In 1855, 
he removed to New York City, and became a 
commission broker. Being greatly troubled by 
his throat, he removed for the sake of the cli- 
mate to Kansas, in the spring of i860, settling- 
just outside of Lawrence, where, at this date, he 
is surrounded by all his family. In the elections 
of 1869, he was chosen State representative for 
District No. 136, and in January, 1870, went up 
to attend the session of the Legislature. In the 
November election of the same year, he was 
again chosen to represent Wakarusa township. 
IMr. Benson earl)' shared his father's views on 



54 BENSON FAMILY OF NEWPORT. 

the subject of slavcn- in particular, and of reform 
in general ; and both as an officer of societies 
and as a pubHc speaker assisted in the abohtion 
agitation. Though the Northampton commu- 
nity was not founded in accordance with the 
doctrines of Fourier, it sent Mr. Benson as one 
of its representatives to the first convention 
which introduced Fourlerism to New Enorland. 
and he was made a vice-president (December, 
iS43-January, 1S44, in Boston; see Noyes, p. 

514)- 

Mr. Benson was married, in Waltham, i\Iass., 

to Catherine Knapp Stetson, Tuesday, Decem- 
ber 10, 1833. She Vv-as born May 21, 1809. 
Their children v/ere as follows : 



i. Anna Elizaeetii, born in Providence, September 23, 1834; 

married September 23, 1S53, in Williarasburgh, L. I., to Dr. 

Ed\vard R. Percy. They have had one child, Charlotte 

Helen, born July 17, i860 ; died in Kansas, January 7, 1870. 
ii. Henry Egbert, born in Brooklyn, Conn., October 7, 1S37. 
iii. George, born in Brooklyn, January 7, 1S39. 
iv. Eliza Davis, born in Brooklyn, February 24, 1S41 ; died 

of scarlet fever May 3, 1842. 
v. Thomas Davis, born in Northampton, September i, 1842. 
vi. Mary, born in Northampton, October 18, 1843; married 

June 17, 1S63, in Wakarusa township, Kansas, to William 

L. G. Soule. They have had two children, Helen, born 

November 8, 1S65, died November 6, 1S67 ; and Emma, born 

October 7, 1S71. 
vii. Sarah, born in Northampton, October 17, 1S46 ; married 

October 13, 1S64, in Wakarusa township, to Horace E. 

Stone. Thev have had one child, Mildred, born Mav 22, 

1S65. 



APPEXDIX. rr 



APPENDIX 



In the fourteenth volume of The A'e^v Enghvid IHstorical and Genealogi- 
cal Register {Bosion, iS6o), pp. 347, 34S, Mr. S. G. Drake has printed part of 
the contents of a volume discovered and copied by him in the Rolls Office, 
bound in vellum, containing about three quires of foolscap, with an inscrip- 
tion on the vellum nearly the same as this, which is found inside : 

Register of the names 

of all 3'e Passinger wch 

Passed from ye Porte of 

London for on whole 

yeare Endinge at 

Xp'mas 1635. 

The first entry under this heading is of a vessel which sailed vi Jan- 
uarii 1634 for St. Christophers and the Barbadoes. Then follows : 

17 Februarij 1634. 
Theis under written names are to be transported to the Barbadoes imbarqued in ye 
Hopewell Capten Tho : Wood Mr. bound thither. The passengers have taken the oath 
of Allegeance and Supremacie. 

Among the passengers thus registered was William Bensox, aged 28. 
The barque Falcon sailed nearly two years later : 

25 decembris 1635. 
Theis underv.-ritten names passed in a Catch to the Downes ; and were put aboard 
the aforesaid shipp Tho : Irish Mr. to the Barbadoes. 

Among these passengers was Henry Benson, aged ig. 

These are the earliest emigrants to America of the name of Benson of 
whom the compiler has found any mention. Inasmuch as Capt. ^Martin" 
Benson had property interests in St. Kitt's (see ante p. 17), an attempt was 
made to have the records of that island consulted, but the persons entrusted, 
with this commission went no further than promises. 



56 APPENDIX. 

B. 

Rhode Island Bctisous apparently not related to those of N'ewport. 

Providence. — Book of Deeds No. 6, pp. 359, 360 (ofTicc of the Town 
Clerk). Jacob Binsox conveys by warranty deed to Col. Samuel Browne, 
of" Salem in the County of Essectes in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, 
for _j^30 current money," a piece of land containing a small dwelling house 
and 14 "acres of land by the eighteen foot pole" in that part of the town- 
ship of Providence " towards Mendon." October 2d, in the 12th "year of 
the reign of our Sovereign Lord George King of Great Brittan," a.d. 1725. 

his 
Signed Jacob J Binson. 

mark 

Book of Deeds No. 8, pp. 14, 15. Job Benson, of Providence, yeoman, 
conveys by warranty deed to Isaac Richardson, of Providence, for ;^2o 14s. 
current money of New England, a piece of land containing 9I4 acres by 
estimation, more or less, in the township of Providence on the easterly side 
of the seven-mile line. January, 172S. 

June 5, 1795, entered the Port of Providence Ship Charlotte, Benson, 
from Turk's Island. 

Nine Partners. — Some )-ears before the Revolution, Jacob Benson moved 
hence to Easton, Washington Co., N. Y., where he lived till iSoo, when he 
moved to Cincinnatus, then in Onondaga Co., N. Y. Before leaving Rhode 
Island, he had married IMary Meach, by whom he had Daniel, Judith, 
LrsiNA, Edward, Bildad, Margaret, John, Didymus, and Alexander 
Hamilton — all dead (1S71). He was wounded in the French War. 

John Benson, his brother, was taken prisoner at Ticonderoga, and car- 
ried to Montreal, where he suffered very much. With two companions, he 
broke jail and made his way home through the woods by the aid of a pocket- 
compass, amid great hardships. He had a large family. 

Daniel Benson, son of Jacob, had ten children, of whom onl}^ two sons 
survived in 1S71. One of these was 

Gen. E. W. Benson, living at Spencerport, Monroe Co., N. Y. He 
served in the War of 1S12, and was "in the Rebellion loyal." In April, 
1S71, when he communicated these facts, he had one son, De Witt S., of the 
firm of John Mott & Co., New York ; one in St. Louis ; one in Buffalo, N. Y., 
at 258 Main Street ; and one, George, in Leavenworth, Kansas, firm of Morse, 
Benson & Co., shoe dealers, 66 Massachusetts Street. Gen. Benson was at 
that date S3 years old. He states that he has never met any person bearing 
the name with whom he could trace relationship outside of his father's family. 

Glocester. — May 2, 173S, Is.VAC Benson, admitted a freeman (Bartlett, 
Colonial Records, iv.) 



APPENDIX. 



57 



1739, first Tuesday in May, JoiiN Benson admitted a freeman. {Ibid.) 

1760, first Wednesday in May, Isaac Benson admitted a freeman. 
{Ibid.) 

By the census of 1774, Jobe Benson had six children, of whom four 
were males — two above and two under sixteen ; and two females — both over 
sixteen. By the same census, John Benson had four children, of whom 
one was a male, above sixteen ; and three females, one above and two un- 
der sixteen. 

A Capt. John Benston cleared for South Carolina from Newport July 
29, 1725 ; returned November 4, and was again bound out November 12. 
(Boston N'ezvs-Lcttci; Aug. 5, 12, Nov. 11, iS.) 



Massachusetts Bcnsons. 

Ilinghain. — John Benson came from Southampton, 1638, in the Confi- 
dence, aged 30, with wife ISIar}', and children John and Mary, under four 
years old ; had grant of land at Hingham that year, says Lincoln, 47. He 
was of Caversham in Oxfordshire ; but both the names of place and person 
were strangel}' misspelt in jV.E. Geneal. lieg. ii. 109. (Savage's Genealogical 
Dictionar)\) 

Rochester. — Jo:iN Benson, by wife Elizabeth, had Mary, born March 10, 
i589 (168S, Reg) ; Sarah, July 15, 1690 ; Ebenezer, March 16, 1693 ; John, 
June 10, 1696, died soon ; Joseph and Benjamin, twins, March 16, 1697 ; 
Bennett, Sept. 10, 1698 ; Martha, March 5, 1703 ; Joshua and Caleb, 
twins, Jan. 29, 1705 (1704, Reg) ; and Samuel, March 22, 1707 (1706, Reg.) 
(Savage. The N. E. Gen. Register referred to is for 1S51, p. 85). 

Hull. — 'Joseph Benson, made freeman in May Court, 167S (Mass. 
Records, v. p. 53B). Had in Dec, 1675, been a soldier of Johnson's com- 
pany for the bloody Narragansett fight. (Savage.) 

"Joseph Benson, son of John of Hull. His first wife was Prince, his 
second Mary Curtis, of Scituate, 1727, and his third Alice Pickels, 1739. 
He died in Scituate. (Dean's History of Scituate.) Father of the fol- 
lowing : 

Scititaie. — Joseph Benson, son of the foregoing No. 2, settled in Scituate 
in 1743. His farm was on the south of Hoop-pole Hill, near Margaret's 
brook, where his descendants nov/ reside. He married Abiel Stockbridgc, 
1743. Joseph, his son, was his only child, he having deceased 1745. His 
widow married John Bryant. 

Joseph married Susanna, the daughter of Nathaniel Clap, Esq., 1770. 
He was a useful and worthy man, often employed in the business of the 



58 APPENDIX. 

town, and clerk of the second parish for many years. His sons John and 
JosEni are deceased. Stepiiex and Artemas are living in Scituate, and 
GoRiiAM in Charleston, S. C. (Dean's Histor)' of Scituate, Boston, 1831.) 

nymoiith. — June 6, 16S2, John Binson was among those " propounded 
to take up theire Freedom, if approved" (Colonial Records, vi. p. 87). His 
name afterwards appears in Nathaniel Morton's list of the freemen of the 
Colony, 16S3-S4. {Ibid., viii., p. 203.) 

Bridge'cvater. — JoHN Benson (from Weymouth perhaps, and son of John 
of Hull) settled in South Bridgewater, married Elizabeth, daughter probably 
of Jonathan Washburn [Dec. 4], 1710, and had Susanna, Benjamin, Eliza- 
beth, Mary, Hannah, and Jonathan ; he died 1770, his will dated the 
same year, in which it appears Benjamin, Elizabeth, Marj-, and Hannah 
were then dead. — Susannah married Jonathan Cushman, 1736. — Hannah 
married James Dunbar, jr., 1746, and died about 1757. 

2. Benjamin (son of John') married Keziah, daughter of Amos Snell, 
1743, and had Benjamin, an only child, who married Abigail, daughter 
probably of Nathan Pratt, 1770. — Benjamin, the father, died 1749, and his 
wife Keziah 1750 ; his will 174S, hers 1749 ; the wife of Benjamin, jr., died 
1771. 

3. Jonathan (son of John') married Martha, daughter of Amos Snell, 
1740, and had John, 1742; Eunice, 1744; Mary, 1745 ; INIartha, 1749; 
Lois, 1751 ; Jonathan, 1752 ; Ecenezer, 1755 ; David, 1756 ; Jonah, 1759 ; 
lie died 17SS, of small-pox ; she iSoi, aged 84 ; his will, dated 17S8, hers 
1791. — Eunice married John Harden, 1766. — Mary married Benjamin Hay- 
ward, jr., 1767. — Martha married Elisha Waterman of Halifax, 1774. — Lois 
married Cornelius Washburn, jr. 

4. Jonathan (son of Jonathan^) married Lydia, daughter probably of 
Samuel Harden, 1774, and had John, Betsey, Cyrus, Jonathan, and Abi- 
gail, and perhaps others ; he died 1S02, ?et. 50. — John died 1S05, ret. 27. — 
Cyrus married Lydia, daughter of Capt. Simeon Wood, 1806. — Jonathan 
married Jane, daughter of Jonah Benson, 1S20. — Abigail married Samuel 
Jones, iSii. 

5. Ebenezer (son of Jonathan^) married Silence, daughter of Nehemiah 
Packard and widow of Seth Leonard, 1777, and had a daughter, Olive, who 
married ALirtin Conant, 1797, and had two sons, AsA and Hosea ; and all 
went to Jay in Maine. 

6. David (son of Jonathan') married Charit)-, daughter of Seth Hay- 
ward, 17S0, and had Tabitha, 17S1 ; Eunice, 17S2 ; Charity, 1784 ; Sarah, 
1786; David, 1783,- Seth, 1790; Bethiah, 1793; Keziah, 1796; Polly, 
179S. — Tabitha married Wm. Fuller, iSoi. — Eunice married Abner Keith, 
1803. — Charity married Ebenezer Cushman, of Kingston, 1S05. — Sarah mar- 



APPENDIX. 



59 



ried James Pool, jr., about iSoS. — Eethiah married Seth Thompson, i3i5. — 
Keziah married John Atwood Jackson, 1S15. — Polly married Ebenezer 
Chamberlin, 1S20. 

7. Jonah (son of Jonathan') married Martha Thompson of Halifax, 
1782, and had Jon.vh, W.\itstill, Patty, Naiiu.m, Lucia, and Ja.ne. — Jonah 
married Chloe Hathaway, iSrg. — Waitstill married Benjamin Holmes, 
1S07. — Patty married Philander Wood, 1S13. — Xahum married Chloe Dun- 
bar, iSig. — Lucia married a Drake. — Jane married Jonathan Benson, 1S20. 

JoH.\ Benson married Sarah Williams, 1765. — Keziah married Ebene- 
zer Cushman, jr., of Kingston, 1S05. — Hann.vh married Jabez Waterman of 
H., 17S5. (Mitchell's History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, Bos- 
ton, 1S40.) 

Tainiton. — Joseph Benson married Deborah Smith, April 17, 1699. 
(A'. E. Geneal. Register, xiii. p. 253.) 

Brookline. — BENJAMIN Benson, of Brookline, is mentioned in the inter- 
leaved almanac of Samuel Sewall, jr., April 17, 1724. (A^. E. Geneal. Regis- 
ter, xvi. p. 65.) 

Framingham. — Nero Benson, colored servant of Mr. Swift, married 
Dido Dingo, 1731. He was trumpeter in Capt. Clark's Company, 1726, and 
a legacy to Ebenezer Robie, 1742. (Barry's History of Framingham, Bos- 
ton, 1S47.) It is not known from what master he derived his surname. 

Middleboroiigh. — On the roll of Capt. Job Pierce's company from this 
town, which made a secret expedition to Tiverton, R. I., in 1777, being 
thirty days on duty, appear the names of privates John Benson and IsA.vc 
Benson. (N. E. Geneal. Register, xxii. p. 176.) 

Freeto'vn. — This was a Tor}-- town, but Capt. Levi Rounsevill's minute 
company marched hence on the alarm on the 19th of April, 1775, twelve 
miles, doing three days' duty. Among the privates on the muster-roll was 
Jacob Benson, who afterwards (October, 1775) served under the same com- 
mander as a member of the gth Regiment Continental Army. (iV. E. Geneal. 
Register, xxii. pp. 175, 180.) 

Douglas. — Capt. A.\ron Benson was (some time prior to 1S24) sub- 
scriber to the narrative of the voj-ages of Rev. John Benson (see ante p. 23). 

jSIendoK. — J.vPvED Benson and John Benson were subscribers to the 
same book. 

Francis Benson was master's mate, and J.acob Benson quarter-gun- 
ner, on board the U. S. frigate Essex, Capt. Edward Preble, on her first 
voyage, iSoo. (Essex Institute Hist. Coll., X., iii. p. 53.) 



6o APPENDIX. 

D. 

JMaine Bexsons. 

Jay. — See ante Bridgewater, Mass., No. 5. 

Kitteiy. — Henry Bexsox, whose wife's name was Quint, went from ) 

Kitlcrj- to Biddeford before 1750. Several of his children married and set- 
tled in Arundel. Hexry married Susan Fletcher ; Mercy, Benjamin Lit- 
tlcfield ; Llxy, Benjamin Green ; Lydia, Timothy Crawley and James 
Adams ; and Olive, Isaac Curtis, Edmund Jeflery, and John Tarbox. 
Three of the sons remained in Biddeford, and one lived in Kitter}'. The 
children of H en r}-, jr. (of Arundel), were Henry, married Hannah Huflf; 
Lydia, James Adams; Betsy (not married); Samuel, Mary HufF; John, 
Abiel Springer; Robert, Lydia Stone; James, and one other who died 
}-oung. (Bradbury's Historj' of Kennebunk Point. 1S37.) 

IVinthrop. — Samuel P. Bexsox, member of the Maine Historical So- 
ciety, 1847. See Appendix H below. j 

E. 

New Hampshire Bensons. 

Portsmouth. — Mercy Benson married Nathaniel Brown, also of Ports- 
mouth, 1714 (?) (^N. E. Registc7-, xxiii. p. 270.) 

Jemima Benson, of Portsmouth, married John Allixander, of Durham, 
England, Oct. 7, 1716. {/bid., p. 393.) 

John Benson married Hannah Brown, also of Portsmouth, June i3, 
1724. {Ibid., Jan., 1S70, p. 17.) 

Anna Benson, of Portsmouth, married John Searle, of Luppitt, Devon- 
shire, England, Aug. 31, 1726. {Ibid) 

Ne-djington. — J.\mes Benson married Susanna Row, April 8, 1725. {Ibid., 
xxii. p. 24.) 

Joseph Benson married Mary Yeaton, June i, 1759. {Ibid., p. 156). 

F. 

Vermont Bensons. , 

South Royalton. — James Benson married, about 1S16, Sylvia Mason, a ; 

descendant of Major John Mason who destroyed the Pequots. (A'. E. Reg- \ 

ister, xvii. p. 41.) ' 

G. \ 

NE^v York Bensons. \ 

[ 
Easthampton, Long Island. — In David Gardner's history of this town, \ 



\ 



APPENDIX. 6l 

mention is made of a Peter Bensox who was a schoolmaster there in early 
times. 

iVeiu York. — Friday, March 15, 1765, Captain Benson arrived here from 
Dover, and last from Plymouth, England. (Boston News-Leiter, March 2S.) 

H. 

Benson s Graduates of American Colleges. 

Columbia, N. Y. — Judge Egbert Benson (see ante p. 46), Class of 1765 ; 
" gradu honorario donatus" by Harvard in 1808. Robert Benson, jr., 
Class of iSoi. Egbert Benson, jr., Class of 1807. 

Brown, R. I. — Martin Benson, Class of 1806 (see ante p. 20). 

Bowdoin, Me. — Hon. Samuel Page Benson, Class of 1S25 ; president 
of the college curators in 1870. John Benson, M.D., Class of 1S31. Wil- 
liam R. Benson, M.D., Class of 1S61. 

No person of the name ever graduated at Harvard or at Yale, or, I 
believe, at Princeton, 



Bensons of England. 

Yorkshire. — JoAN Benson married Thomas Morton, of Yorkshire, Oct. 
iS, 15S8. (N. E. Register, 1S50, p. 178.) 

Lancaster. — The following extracts are from Fishwick's " History of the 
Parochial Chapelry of Goosnargh." (London : Triibner & Co. 1871.) 
Goosnargh is about twenty miles north of Liverpool : 

(P. 105.) From the parish registers, which were begun in April, 1639 ■ 
" July [1640]. Married was George Benson and Katherine Crombleholme 
the xij. day." 

(P. io3.) From the same : "fTebruary [1645 ?]. in templu. Buried was 
Katherine the wife of George Benson i6th day." " Jan. 1646. in templu. 
Buried was an infant of Capt. Bensone the xvj. day." 

(P. 68.) " Kidsnape Tithe. George Benson — Seaven pence halfe pefiy." 

Middlesex. — Mr. BRY.A.N Benson was first director of the Bank of Eng- 
land for 1722. (Boston A'ews-Letter, July 2, 1722.) 

Bishop M. Benson delivered a sermon before the Society for the Pro- 
pagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, Feb. 15, 1739-40, which was printed 
(London, 1740), and is preserved in the Prince Collection of the. Boston 
Public Library — No. 106. -" ' . . 






*■ -xW' 



:^'oc 






INDEX OF NAMES. 



Families intcrniarried 7vith the Newport Bensons are marked by italics. 



Adams, 60. 

Adie, 44. 

Alger, 17, 

Allixandcr, 60. 

Ainidcn, 30. 

Angell, 30. - . - - 

Anthony, 44. 

Barr}', 12. 
Benedict, 20. 
Benson & Chace, 51. 
Benson, Judge Egbert, 46, 47, 61. 
Bensons, first emigrants to America, 
55. 

graduates of American Col- 
leges, 61. 

of England, 61. 

of Maine, 60. 

of iMassachusetts, 57. 

of New Hampshire, 60. 

of New York, 60. 

of Rhode Island (not of New- 
port), 56. 

of Vermont, 60. 
Bensons of Newport, g-54 : 

Ann Elizabeth (4), 44. 

Anna Elizabeth (5), 54. 

Betsey (4), 30. 

Charlotte (4), 44. 

Electa Caroline (5), 49. 

Eliza Ann (5), 49. 

Eliza Davis (5), 54. 

Fanny (4), 30, 

Frances (4), 44. 

Gardiner (3), 14. 

George (3), 31 ; George (4), 
44 ; George (5), 54 ; George 
William (4), 51. 

Grace (5), 49. 

Helen Eliza (4), 45. 

Henry Egbert (4), 45 ; Henry 
Egbert (5), 54, 

John (founder), 9 ; John (2), 



10 ; John (3), Rev., 23 ; 
John (of Columbia, Pa.), 
II ; John Coddington (4), 
midshipman, 21 ; John 
Coddington (4), manufac- 
turer, 4S ; John Codding- 
ton (5), 50 ; John Hcn- 
drick (2), 10. 
}ilartin (3), 15; Martin (4), 
20, Oi; ISIartin (4), infants, 
30 ; Martin Gardiner (4), 
30. 
Mary (4), 44 ; Marj^ (5), 54. 
Nancy (4). 30. 
Polly (4), 30. 
Sally (4), 29 ; Sarah (4), 44 ; 

Sarah (5), 54- 
Thomas Davis (5), 54. 
William (2), 12 ; William 
Collins (3), 13 ; William 
Collins (4), 20 ; William 
Collins (4), farmer, 30. 

Benston, 57. 

Binson, 56, 58. 

Biran, 15. 

Bowen, 32. 

Boy den, 30, 

Brown, 31, 35, 36, 51, 60. 

Brown & Ives, 31-36. 

Browne, 56. 

Br\-ant (Bryans), iS. 

BrA-ant, 32,' 33, 57. 

Buffington, 17, iS. 

Bush, 28. 

Butler, 34. 

Callendar, 43. 
Carpenter, 27. 
Casey, 29. 
Chace, 51. 
Chamberlin, 59. 
Channing, 17. 
Chapman, 23. 



64 



INDEX OF NAMES. 



Clap, 57. 
Clark, 59. 
Clarke, 14, 20. 
Coddingtoii, 19. 
Codinc, 6. 
Collins, g. 
Conant, 51, 55. 
Conkling, 26. 
Cozzens, 2&. 
Crandall, 45. 
Crawley, 60. 
Croc II III (?), II. 
Cromblcholme, 61. 
C:rosb_v, 32, 33. 
Curtis, 57, Co. 
Cushman, 5S, 59. 

De Ruyter, 15. 
Drake,' 55, 59. 
Dunbar, 58, 59. 
Dwigbt, 37. 

Earl, 27. 

Easton, 10. 

Easty, 30. 

Eaton, 32, 34. 

Eaton & Benson, 32-34. 

Ellis, 20. 

Emerson, 24. 

Estrees (d'), 15. 

Fawcett, 37. 
Fletcher, 59. 
Forbes, 37. 
Franklin, 42. 
Fuller, 37, 55. 
Furness, 45. 

Gano, Rev. Stephen, 14, 33. 
Gardner, 13, 14, :-3, 25, 27, y. 
Garrison, 43, 45, 46. 
Gould, 20. 
Green, Go. 
Greene, 32. 
Grinnell, 31. 
Guild, 37. 

Hall, 44. 
Marden, 5S. 
Hathaway, 59. 
Hayward, 5S. 
Hendrick, 10. 
Hill, 52. 
Ilinkhy, II. 
Holmes, 14, 15, 49, 59. 
Hopkins, 14, 41. 
Howell, 41. 



Hubbard, 48. 
Huff, 60. 

Irish, 55. 
Ives, 35. 

Jackson, 59. 
Jay, 42. 
Jcfler)% 60. 
Jenckes, 22. 
Johnson, 31. 
Jones, 5S. 

Keith, 58. 
Kempton, 30, 49. 

Leonard, 5S. 
Littlefield, 59. 
Lossing, 47. 
Luther, 49. 

JlleKim, 45. 

Malbone, 25. 

IMason, 60. 

Maxcy, 37. 

]\Iay, Rev. Samuel J., 43, 4^, 45, 40. 

Meach, 55. 

Mitchell, 30. 

Morris, 21, 27. 

jMorse, 56. 

Morton, 58, 61. 

Mott, 56. 

Olney, 52. 

Packard, 58. 
Percy, 54. , 

Perry, 21. 
Pickels, 57. 
Pierce, 59. 
Pike, 60. 
Pinnegar, 25, 26. 
Pitt, 26. 
Pool, 59. 
Pratt, 58. 
Preble, 59. 
Prince, 57. 
Putnam, 45. 

Ouinc}-, 34. 
Quint, 60. 

Rice, 25. 
Richardson, 53. 
Robie, 59. 
Rodman, 24, 27. 
Rogers, 45. 



INDEX OF XAMEfN 



Rounscvill, 59 
PvOw, 60. 
Rumrcill, 17. 

Sanford, 14. 
Scott, 37. 
Searing, 27, 23. 
Searle, 60. 
Sewall, 5g. 
Shearman, 11. 
Shurtleff, 34. 
Slociim (?), II. 
Smith, 10, 59. 
Snell, 58. 
Souk, 54. 
Springer, 60. 
Stetson, 54. 
Stockbridge, 5 
Stone, 54, 60. 
Swift, 59. 

raft, 50. 



Tarbox, 60. 
Thompson, 46, 59. 
Thitrbcr, 38, 44. 
Thurston, 12. 
TiUinghast, 44. 
Townsend, 44. 

ViUard, 45. 

IVanton, 13-1=^, 19, 20, 24- 
Ward, II. 
Washburn, 58. 
"Waterman, 58, 59. 

IVhittiian, 9. 
Whitmore, 43. 
Vv'illiams, 59. 

JViiison, 13, 31. 
Wood, 55, 58, 59. 
Woodbur)', 27, 44. 

Wright, 45. 

Ycaton, 60. 



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