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Fanny B Benedict

Born Born 14 Aug 1839   Norwalk, Huron County, OH
Married Married 13 Aug 1862 Louis H. Severance Norwalk, Huron County, OH
Died Died 1 Aug 1874   Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH



  • Louis H. Severance: born 1 Aug 1838 in Cleveland, OH; married (1) Fanny Benedict, 13 Aug 1862 in Norwalk, OH, (2) Florence Harkness, Sept 1894; died 25 Jun 1913 in Cleveland, OH.


  1. John L Severance; born 8 May 1863 in Cleveland, OH; married Elizabeth Huntington DeWitt in 1891; died 16 Jan 1936 in Cleveland, OH
  2. Elizabeth (Bessie) S Severance; born 16 Nov 1865 in Titusville, PA; married (1) Dudley P. Allen, 4 Aug 1892 in Cleveland, OH, (2) Francis F. Prentiss, 19 Sept 1917; died 4 Jan 1944 in Cleveland, OH.
  3. Anne Belle Severance; born 24 Apr 1868 in Titusville, PA.
  4. Allen Prentiss Severance; born 28 Apr 1872 in Titusville, PA; died 29 July 1872 in Titusville, PA.

Portraits of Fanny Benedict

David and Fanny Benedict Fanny Benedict Severance
David and Fanny BenedictFanny Benedict Severance

Portrait of David and Fanny Benedict as children is scanned from a print in the possession of Dave Barton. The original oil painting is in the collection of Frank Harding. The photograph of Fanny Benedict after her marriage to Louis Severance is from the collection of Susan Orsini.

The Life of Fanny Benedict

Fanny Benedict was born August 14, 1839, the last of four children of Jonas and Fanny Benedict. Her mother died shortly after her birth, and she and her brother David and her sister Mary were brought up by her stepmother, Caroline Chapman. Fanny’s stepmother disliked Fanny and her brother, David Benedict, although she did like Mary.

Fanny’s oldest brother, Platt, died in an accident before she was born. Her sister Mary fell and broke her back while an infant, causing her to walk bent over, supporting her upper body with her hands on her knees. She died in 1844 at the age of eight. [1]

David and Fanny had a good relationship. A portrait from mid-1840 shows two attractive young people. Her brother had the soft features and gentle expression of his father. Fanny had a pleasing almond shaped face and large expressive eyes. They sit close together. Fanny’s head rests on her brother’s shoulder. [2]

After her father’s death in 1851, Fanny’s stepmother married a prominent Norwalk banker, William Kittridge, and Fanny went to live in his house. She was thought one of the most beautiful of the girls in Norwalk at that time and was described as a pure blonde in complexion; her features were a classic, her movement’s grace, her character an inspiration. She was considered the undisputed belle of the town. [3]

In the late 1850’s, Fanny met Louis Severance, who was probably an acquaintance of her brother. Louis was born in Cleveland on August 1, 1838 to Solomon and Mary Long Severance. Louis never knew his father, who died before he was born. After Solomon died, Louis’ mother moved in with her father, David Long, Jr., who was the first medical doctor in town, and founded the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland.

Louis attended Cleveland Public schools, and when he graduated in 1856, he went to work at the Commercial Bank of Cleveland. He and Fanny married August 13, 1862 and lived in Cleveland. During the Civil War, Louis served as a hundred days volunteer in the defense of Washington, D.C. After the war they moved to Pennsylvania where Louis started an oil exploration and refining business. While living in Pennsylvania they had four children. Eventually they moved back to Cleveland and Louis became treasurer of the Standard Oil Company and one of John Rockefeller's principal lieutenants. [4]

Louis was a shrewd investor and became very rich, but Fanny did not live to see that. She died August 1, 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio at the age of 34. [5]


  1. Family History: Wickham, Benedict, Preston & Deaver, by Harriott and Agnes Wickham, edited by Dave Barton, 2006.
  2. Portrait of David and Fanny Benedict as children (shown above) is scanned from a print in the possession of Dave Barton. The original oil painting is in the collection of Frank Harding.
  3. “Norwalk, Its Men, Women and Girls,” by William Wickham, The Firelands Pioneer, December 1918, p. 2105
  4. “Louis Severance” American National Biography, Volume 19, p 662 & The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
  5. “Obituaries,” The Firelands Pioneer, October 1874, p. 110


1850 US FEDERAL CENSUS: STATE or TERRITORY: OH COUNTY: Huron DIVISION: Norwalk Township REEL NO: M432-697 PAGE NO: 14a REFERENCE: Enumerated on the 19th of July, 1850 by A. Raymond LAST NAME FIRST NAME AGE SEX OCCUP. VAL. BIRTHPLACE SCH.

  • benedict , Jonas b.; age 41 Male; Farmer; value 7,000; birthplace N. Y.
  • benedict, Caroline; age 35; Female; birthplace Pa.
  • benedict, Fanny L.; age 10; Female; Student; birthplace Ohio .
  • brown, Jane; age 23; Female; Teacher; birthplace N. Y
  • Simmons, Catharine; age 21; Female; birthplace Germany
  • Chapman; Caroline; age 5; Female; Student; birthplace Ohio

1860 US FEDERAL CENSUS: Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio; Roll: M653_991; Page: 210; Image: 53. 5Jun1860

  • Kittridge, William F, age 57, male, banker, value of real estate: 22,000, personal: 18,000, b Mass
  • Kittridge, Caroline A, age 45, female, value of real estate: 2000, personal: 1500, b PA
  • Benedict, Fanny B, age 20, female, value of personal: 5000, b OH
  • Kittridge, Fredrick, age 18, male, b OH
  • Cavanaugh, Kate, age 30, female, servant, b Ireland
  • Chapman, Charles, age 84, male, b CT
  • Chapman, Martha, age 75, female, b CT
  • Kittridge, Laura, age 20, female, b OH
  • Kittridge, Mary, age 18, female, b OH

1870 US FEDERAL CENSUS: Titusville Ward 2, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1331; Page: 632; Image: 369

  • Lewis H Severance; age 38; oil producer, real estate value 13,000; personal value 2,000; birthplace, Ohio
  • Fannie B Severance; age 36; keeping house; birthplace Ohio
  • John L Severance; age 7; at school; birthplace Ohio
  • Bessie S Severance; age 5; birthplace Pennsylvania
  • Annie B Severance; age 2; birthplace Pennsylvania
  • Sarah C Adams; age 68; living with daughter; birthplace New York
  • Nellie Ryan; age 24; Servant; birthplace Ireland
  • Hannah Hession; age 25; Servant; birthplace New York
  • Peter Carroll; age 19; Servant; birthplace New York

1880 US FEDERAL CENSUS: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T9_1006; Family History Film: 1255006; Page: 97.1000; Enumeration District: 20; Image: 0198.

  • Louis H. Severance, age 40
  • John L. Severance, age 17
  • Allen D. Severance , age 15
  • Bessie S. Severance, age 15
  • Julia W. Severance, age 17
  • Mary H. Severance, age 15
  • Annie B. Severance, age 12

Family Search Records (LDS)

LDS Batch No.: M513443, Dates: 1855 - 1878, Source Call No.: 0410260 V. 1-2: FANNY B. BENEDICT; Female; Marriages: LEWIS SEVERANCE, 13 AUG 1862, Huron, Ohio


  • Family History: Wickham, Benedict, Preston & Deaver, by Harriott and Agnes Wickham, edited by Dave Barton, 2006

  • “Norwalk, Its Men, Women and Girls,” by William Wickham, The Firelands Pioneer, December 1918, p. 2105

  • “Obituaries,” The Firelands Pioneer, October 1874, p. 110

  • “Louis Severance” American National Biography, Volume 19, p 662

-- DaveBarton - 26 Mar 2009
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I Attachment sort Action Size Date Who Comment
DavidFannyBenedict.jpg manage 475.0 K 26 Mar 2009 - 00:51 DaveBarton David and Fanny Benedict
FannyBenedictSeveranceSusanOrsini.jpg manage 68.1 K 26 Mar 2009 - 00:51 DaveBarton  

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