The father of Catherine Benjamin wife of Annin Dewey
Nathaniel was born in Morristown, New Jersey. He married Hannah Johnston and though she is listed as also being born in New Jersey, they were married in Preble Co, Ohio on November 7, 1818 as listed in Ohio Marriages, 1803-1900. She is referred to as Johnson and Johnston.
The 1810 census for Ohio was lost but Nathaniel is listed in the 1820 Preble Co. Ohio Census with three males 16-26, one female under 10 and one female 16-26. Catherine Benjamin was born in 1819 so this is likely her which further supports her parentage. (See notes below) The Nathaniel Benjamins lived two houses from Wm Johnston with the oldest male listed as 26-45. This could possibly be the father of Hannah. In 1830 a Nathaniel Benjamin is listed in the 1830 Perry Co, Ohio Census with 2 males under 5, one male 15-20 and one male 20-30, one female 5-10 and one female 30-40. Because of these discrepancies, it is uncertain whether this is the correct Nathaniel Benjamin.
He is also listed in the 1840 Preble Co. Ohio Census, the 1850 Preble Co. Ohio Census, and the 1860 Preble Co Ohio Census. In each of these census, he has various children of different ages living with him. As supported by his biography and his will listed below, he raised several children besides his two daughter, to adult hood. In 1850 he has living with him a Nathaniel Benjamin and Lemuel Duey which may be the children of Annin. (See notes on the census page). Because of this virtue of opening his home to so many different children, there is some dispute as to whether Catherine is one of his two natural daughters. The question arises because of a document in Preble Co which states:
[BO:Preble County Common Court Record:BO]However, in his will and obituary, it states that he had two daughters. One who had predeceased him which we know to be Mary Ann Benjamin Dewey who died in October of 1879. It then states that his estate is to be divided among his 10 grandchildren and he then names the children of Mary Ann and the children of Catherine. Mary Ann and Catherine married Dewey brothers Annin Wiggins Dewey and Charles Butler Dewey which are listed in Ohio Marriages 1803-1900. There was some speculation that Amanda Benjamin, wife of Hiram Johnson was Nathaniel's other daughter as her obituary in the Eaton Democrat 1906 states:
"4-1-1845 - Katharine Miller aged 17 years on Aug. 23, 1834
chose Nathaniel BENJAMIN as her guardian." (23)Amanda J. Benjamin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Benjamin of West Alexandria was born April 6, 1830 and departed this life November 24, 1906, aged 76 years, 7 months, and 18 days. She was married to Rev. Hiram Johnson, October 1, 1849. this union was blessed with nine children, seven sons and two daughters. Husband and three sons preceded her to that eternal home. She joined the M E Church at the age of 15 years. --- She leaves to mourn their loss, four sons, two daughters, fourteen grandchildren and many friends.However, I believe she was a step child raised by Nathaniel Benjamin, as none of her children are mentioned in the list of grandchildren in his will.
Nathaniel and Hannah Benjamin are also listed in the 1870 Preble Co Ohio Census, eight years before the death of Hannah on May 16, 1878. They have a nine year old girl Hannah Jonson (same as Hannahs) living with them. In the1880 Preble Co, Ohio Census, Nathaniel, a widower is living with the William Creager family which is also mentioned in his will, perhaps another step child. Nathaniel dies February 3, 1885 at 90 years old. We can surmise from his biography and other documents that he was both generous and miserly. All and all, an individual that fits well in our family.
The following documents were originally posted by Robert M. Sharp on the Sharp Family Home Page which brought them to our attention. We wish to thank him so much for making them available on line as they were an invaluable tool in tracing Nathaniel and Hannah Benjamin.
NATHANIEL BENJAMIN BIOGRAPHY
From "Preble County History - 1881
by Rev. H. M. Herman.1881
Nathaniel Benjamin, esq., was born in Morris County, New Jersey, on the twenty-fifth of June, A. D. 1795. His ancestors were from Wales, his mother of the real Puritan stock. His younger years were spent on the farm, until he arrived at the age of sixteen years, when he was bound out as an apprentice to the trade of house carpenter and joiner. He served faithfully, under a hard master, for four and one-half years. His apprenticeship being completed he went to New York City, where he worked at his trade one year. Not being content with the surroundings of the crowded city, he determined to go to the Far West (as Ohio was then regarded). Accordingly, in the autumn of 1817, with his staff in hand and a budget on his back, he set out for a home in the new country with scarcely any money in his pocket and without friends or companions. After a long and tedious journey on foot and by stage, he arrived at Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Here he undertook to pilot a flatboat, with two families aboard, down the Ohio River. His pay for his work and responsibility was his fare. He arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, in October. Here he worked at his trade until April 18, 1818, when he came to New Lexington, Preble County, Ohio. Here he started as master workman, and followed his trade for a number of years, and there are houses yet standing of his construction. On November 7th, of the same year, he married Miss Hannah Johnson, with whom he lived for nearly sixty years, she dying May 26, 1878.
His family consisted of only two daughters. He also raised, unto full womanhood, four or five other children, giving each one, as well as his own a comfortable start in life. In 1819 he built a house at New-Lexington, where he kept tavern eleven and one-half years, and in connection with this business he reared a nursery and supplied the county with fruit trees. In 1822 he sold his property in town and moved into the woods, where he opened up a farm and planted an orchard. Here he remained until 1851, when he sold his farm and removed to West Alexandria, where he still resides, an honored and respected citizen.
Father Benjamin is a man of strong convictions and determined purposes. When he undertook a project nothing turned him from his purpose. When, in 1844, he was elected by his district as a delegate to the convention at Baltimore which nominated Clay and Frelinghuysen for the presidency and vice-presidency, he accepted the appointment with the declaration that he would go if he had to walk every step of the road. His likes and dislikes are very marked. He hates with all his soul and loves with equal power. He is a true friend or no friend at all. No hypocrisy or deceit finds a lodgment in his manly breast. He has husbanded his earnings with care until he has become a man of wealth, and is now enjoying his well-earned fortune in his old days.
Yet, with all his getting, he was not unmindful of the wants of others. He has been charitable to worthy objects. When the project of founding an orphan asylum by the Masons was inaugurated, he was among the first to contribute one thousand dollars. He also gave liberally to the churches of the place, and save one hundred dollars to start a library for the use of the public school at West Alexandria. A few days before he was eighty-one years of age he made a public profession of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and was received into full communion with the Reformed church. Father Benjamin is most generally known as an ardent member of the Masonic fraternity, and is one of the oldest Masons in the State. He united with St. John's Lodge, F. & A. M., at Dayton, Ohio, in 1824 or 1825 with eight more, who comprised all the Masons in Darke and Preble counties. He applied for a dispensation for Bolivar Lodge No. 82, Eaton, Ohio, and, though he lived eight miles distant, he was not absent a single meeting for three years. He was also one of the charter members of Eaton R. A. chapter, and served as high priest two years, and never missed a meeting. He was exalted to the sublime degree of Knight Templar at Lancaster, Ohio, in 1841. He was also one of the petitioners for Keed Commandary K. T., No. 6, of Dayton, and King Hiram Lodge F. & A. M., No. 88, West Alexandria, Ohio. He was first a member of the Grand Lodge at Worthington, Ohio, in January 1830, and has been a constant attendant ever since. He now holds the honorable position of president of the Masonic Veteran society by the unanimous voice of his brethren.
In civil life he has held many and responsible trusts. He was commissioner of his county two terms, and was treasurer of the Dayton and Western Turnpike Company for several years, during which he received and disbursed one hundred and thirty thousand dollars of construction funds, and seven thousand dollars of tolls, without one word of fault or charge of corruption. He was justice of the peace four terms, during which time he married ninety-six couples and docketed two thousand cases, of' which only one was appealed, and his judgment was then affirmed. In every department of life Father Benjamin has proven himself true to the principles of honesty and integrity. He enjoys in his ripe old age the full confidence and esteem of his friends and acquaintances, old and young. Another page in the 1881 Preble History states about Nathan's daughters Catharine, now the widow of Dr. A.W. Dewey and Mary Ann who died in October 1879. She was the wife of Charles B. Dewey also deceased.
'Probate Abstracts, Estates, and Guardianships-Preble County, Ohio' p40-41'
#5198 - Nathaniel Benjamin died 3 Feb 1885. ex. Peter Smith, J. E.
Motter & Rev. H. M. Herman. Filed 6 Feb 1885.
To daughter Catharine Dewey wid/o Annin $1000; to daughter Mary Ann Dewey, wid/o Charles B. $1000; to Rev. H. M. Herman of the Reformed Church $50 and withhold any other gifts; to King Hiram Lodge $100 to be used in the way of charity; to Reed Commandery of Dayton Knights Templar $150 provided they attend my funeral as a commandery; to niece Hannah F. Earle the girl that I raised now living in Yonkers New York, $100 (note says it has already been given), to Hannah Johnson known as Libbie Johnson the girl I have now living with me $200, unless she marries during my life time and gets her setting out in furniture, then this is void; at the time of my death any of my grandsons who belong to the Free Masons are to have my Masonic library and all other articles Masonic without charge; to Charles Nathaniel Dewey my brass 8 day clock for his name, I gave Nathaniel B. Dewey a $20 rifle for his name; clock to be kept by some one of the family; any other personal property let any of the heirs have at the appraisement in preference to any other person keeping them in ---of their legacy bonds and bank stock not ---in final settlement;
Ex to sell all my government bonds, bank stock and all such personal property and real estate as is not disposed of by this will and collect all my notes due; after all charges and sums devised in this will are paid, Ex to divide the remainder of the estate in 10 equal parts for my 10 grandchildren: Nathaniel B. Dewey, Lemuel A. Dewey, Mary Stout, Celetia Haworth, Benjamin F. Dewey, Henry C. Dewey, Noah Dewey, Charles N. Dewey, Mary F. Dewey, Sarah I. Dewey each to have 1/10 if living, if dead to their heirs;
no for Ex. Signed 26 Aug 1878.
Heirs: Catharine Dewey (dau) of Cicero IN, Mary D. Stout, Nathaniel B., Sarah, B. F., Charles N., H. Clay, L. A. and N. Webster Dewey, Celestia D. Haworth, Mary F. Stutsman; William Creager, Libbie Kelly, Catharine Dewey, F. Drayer & Co. undertaker, Dr. R. D. Huggins, Oscar Shepard, J. W. Quinn for cutting inscription on monument, John M. Gale, Ambrose Saylor, F. J.
Nathaniel Benjamin - Feb 12, 1885 Obituary
'Abstracts from the Eaton Democrat for the Years 1883-1887 p40
Nathaniel Benjamin the oldest Mason in Ohio, died at West Alexandria on Tuesday morning of last week, aged about 90 years. He had but two children, both daughters one of whom survives him. One great object in the life of Mr. Benjamin seemed to be to so arrange matters that there would be a great parade and show at his funeral. The expenses of which he made provisions in his will and erected his monument several years ago in the cemetery in West Alexandria. Although certain he died worth considerable means, it is said he cut off his only surviving child without a dollar giving the bulk of his estate to his grand-children and other relatives. If such be the case, we doubt if the $100 he willed the minister for preaching his funeral services will prevent old Satan from giving him a good 'shaking up' before he passes through the Pearly gates of Paradise'. If not, what is a Devil for.
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