Jonas Boughton Benedict
| || Born || || 23 Mar 1806 || || Harlem, Borough of Manhattan, NY |
| || Married || 1st || 8 Oct 1829 || Fanny B. Buckingham || Norwalk, Huron County, OH |
| 2nd || 26 May 1842 || Caroline Chapman || Norwalk, Huron County, OH |
| || Died || || 29 Jul 1851 || || Norwalk,Huron County, OH |
Jonas Benedict7, (Platt Benedict6, Jonas5, Daniel4, Daniel3, Daniel2, Thomas1)
- Fanny B Buckingham, born 16 Apr 1809 in Wilkes Barre, PA, daughter of Henry Buckingham and Harriet Talcott; married Jonas Benedict on 8 Oct 1829 at Norwalk, OH; died 4 Mar 1840 in Norwalk, OH.
- Caroline Chapman: born 30 Mar 1816 in PA; married (1) Jonas Benedict on 26 May 1842 at Norwalk, OH (2) William F. Kittredge on 7 Mar 1854; died 29 Jan 1867.
- Platt Benedict: born 24 May 1830 in Norwalk, OH; died 29 Aug 1833 (burned to death) in Norwalk, OH.
- Dr David DeForest Benedict; born 1 August, 1833 in Norwalk, OH; married Harriott Melvina Deaver, 14 Oct 1856; died 5 Jan 1901 in Norwalk, OH.
- Mary Starr Benedict: born 29 Sept 1836 in Norwalk, OH; died 6 May 1845.
- Fanny B Benedict; born 14 Aug 1840; married Louis H. Severance, 13 Aug 1862 in Norwalk, OH; died 1 Aug 1874 in Cleveland, OH.
Portrait of Jonas Benedict
This portrait of Jonas Boughton Benedict is from The Firelands Pioneer, December 1902, p. 920.
The Life of Jonas Benedict
The Early Years
Jonas Benedict was born on March 23, 1806 in Harlem, New York, at that time a village independent of the city of New York. His parents were Platt and Sarah Benedict, who originally came from Connecticut. Later his parents moved back to Connecticut and took up residence in Danbury. 
In 1817, Jonas accompanied his parents, two older brothers, David and Daniel, and a older sister Clarissa, and younger sister Eliza Ann to the Firelands in northern Ohio. After a long and tedious journey, they arrived at their new home on a sand ridge where his parents founded the town of Norwalk. 
In 1818, with his sister Eliza Ann, he attended a school just outside of town. The schoolhouse was a crude building made of logs, with a chimney of sticks plastered inside, the fire occupying nearly the whole side of the building. The seats were made of split logs, the flat side up, resting upon sticks, which were driven into them in a sloping direction. The desks were coarse, un-planed boards, running the whole length of the three unoccupied sides. The scholars sat with their faces to the wall.
The teacher of this school in the summer of 1818 was Ann Boalt.  Beginning in 1820, Jonas and his sister attended the first school in the village of Norwalk in a shanty on his parent’s property, built two years before by workers that had made bricks for their new house. 
Jonas grew into an attractive and popular young man. A portrait of him in his twenties shows a handsome, clean-shaven young man with even features and large expressive eyes.  He often took the other young people of the village on outings driving a four-horse wagon. According to an account by Mary Ann Morse, a young girl who went on some of these outings, he was a skillful driver, and although the roads were rough and dangerous he never had a mishap. 
As the son of the most prominent man in the village, Jonas had a bright future. His position in the Benedict family and in the community improved greatly when his two older brothers left Norwalk. David, his eldest brother returned sometime in 1822 to Danbury, CT and wed Mary Starr in 1832. She died two years later, six days before their only child. He never remarried and died in 1843. Jonas's other brother Daniel joined a circus and died in New Orleans in 1827 at the age of twenty-four. 
That left Jonas as the only son of Platt and Sally Benedict still living in Norwalk. With an eye to the future, his father took steps to involve him in the public life of the village and prepare him to be a leader of the community.
Platt held many offices in the town, including Postmaster. At first, Platt ran the Post Office out of his home, but later moved it to a building on West Main Street. Being busy with other affairs, Platt put Jonas in charge of day-to-day operations.  Being responsible for the mail gave Jonas an excellent position to further his career. He met the inhabitants of the village regularly and stayed current on events in the outside world, not to mention every detail of life in the village.
However, these advantages never bore fruit. Unlike his father, he never gained prominence in the community. Unlike the children of other early settlers, he did not participate in the political and business life of the village and county. The offspring of the first settlers were now coming into their own. Charles Preston, George Buckingham, Benjamin Taylor and others were all engaged in the business and political life of the community. But not Jonas. He was a registered voter in the late 1820’s, and in 1828 received one vote for the office of trustee of the newly incorporated village of Norwalk. But after that, he appears to drop from public life. 
Perhaps the curse of alcoholism lay upon him. Many people of that day drank to excess to ease the pain of hard living on the frontier. According to later family stories, Jonas’ lack of ambition was the result of alcohol. Mary Ann alluded to that in her description of Jonas squiring the young folk around in his four-horse wagon. “In those days,” she wrote, “he was a good companion.” 
Marriage and Tragedy
On Thursday, October 8, 1829, Jonas married Fanny Buckingham, daughter of Henry and Harriet Buckingham. Fanny was born April 16, 1809 in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, where her father was a successful businessman. After the War of 1812, Henry Buckingham lost his fortune as a result of bad business decisions and moved his family to Norwalk, where he became County Treasurer and tried his hand at several business ventures.
In May 1830, Jonas and Fanny had a son, whom they named Platt. A new baby is always a happy event, and Jonas’s father was especially pleased. This grandson would carry on the Benedict name in Norwalk, benefit from his work and justify the risks he and Sally took coming to the frontier.
Jonas and Fanny set up housekeeping in a one-and-a-half story house on Seminary Street, across the street from the Norwalk Academy. On Thursday, August 1, 1833, they had another son, and named him David DeForest Benedict. It was another joyous occasion for the Benedict clan, but one soon overshadowed by a terrible tragedy.
On Wednesday, August 28, less than a month after the birth of David Benedict, young Platt came downstairs early in the morning and stood by the fireplace to get warm. An ember caught his nightgown on fire, burning him badly. Fanny and Jonas were in terrible shock from the sight of their son running through the house engulfed in flames. A family friend, Lucy Preston, went in the bedroom where the boy lay to see if she could help. He was delirious and begged for water. The doctor refused to allow him any, a practice of that time. The boy’s plight moved Lucy, and later, when she was alone with him, she gave him all the water he wanted.
Throughout the night, she and other women of the village kept watch over the boy, but they were not able to save him. He died the next day. The loss of a young child is a terrible thing. Even in those days of high infant mortality, it caused immense grief in the family and the village. Jonas and Fanny would have two more children, both girls. However, their lives, scarred by the death of their firstborn son, were doomed to pass from tragedy to tragedy -- disappointment to disappointment.
Their third child, a daughter named Mary Starr Benedict, born September 29, 1836, was born healthy, but 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 May 6, 1845 at the age of eight. August, 14, 1839, Fanny gave birth to a baby girl, which she and Jonas named after her. But more tragedy followed. The next year, on Wednesday, March 4, Jonas's wife passed away. 
Second Marriage and Final Years
Jonas grieved when Fanny died. However, he had children to care for and a house to keep up. He started looking for another wife and soon found one. On Thursday, May 26, 1842, he married Caroline Chapman. At the time of Jonas and Caroline’s marriage, Dave Benedict was eight years old, his sister Mary was six and Fanny was only three. Dave disliked his stepmother. In later years, he said that she was good to his sister Mary, who was crippled, but disagreeable to Fanny and himself.
Jonas had every advantage in life, but while other men of his generation were active in the village, he was not. The records of the times rarely mention his name. By this time, it is possible he had succumbed to alcoholism. In any event, he never lived up to his potential. He died on Tuesday, July 29, 1851 in Norwalk, Ohio, and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in that town. 
Lives of the Children of Jonas and Fanny Benedict
Life of Platt Benedict
Platt Benedict was born on May 24, 1830 in Norwalk, Ohio, the son of Jonas and Fanny Benedict. He was the namesake of his grandfather who had founded the town of Norwalk, and was welcomed as the grandson who would carry on the Benedict name and justify the risks his grandfather took coming to the frontier. On Thursday, August 1, 1833, his parents had another son, and named him David DeForest Benedict.
On Wednesday, August 28, less than a month after the birth of his brother, young Platt came downstairs early in the morning and stood by the fireplace to get warm. An ember caught his nightgown on fire, burning him badly.
A family friend, Lucy Preston, went in the bedroom where the boy lay to see if she could help. He was delirious and begged for water. The doctor refused to allow him any, a practice of that time. The boy’s plight moved Lucy, and later, when she was alone with him, she gave him all the water he wanted. Throughout the night, she and other women of the village kept watch over the boy, but they were not able to save him. He died the next day, August 29, 1833. 
David DeForest Benedict was born August 1, 1833 in Norwalk, Ohio, the second child of Jonas and Fanny Benedict. When he was eight, his mother died, and several years later his father married Caroline Chapman. David disliked his stepmother. He left home when around seventeen years old and lived in Sandusky until the death of his father in 1851. The following year, Dave used his inheritance to attend Kenyon College. He graduated from Kenyon in 1856 and in October of that year married Harriott Deaver, daughter of James and Harriott Deaver. They moved to Cleveland, where he attended Case Medical College, graduating in 1861. While there, he and Harriott had three daughters.
Although he would have preferred to begin a medical practice, the Civil War changed his plans. He entered the army January 14, 1862 and was commissioned February 5, 1863 as Assistant Surgeon in the 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served under Buell and Rosecrans in most of the battles of the West, was taken prisoner at the battle of Chickamauga, confined in Libby prison, exchanged Nov., 1863, and returned to his regiment. and marched with Sherman to the sea. He was promoted full Surgeon May 6, 1865, and was mustered out July 21, 1865.
After the war, Doctor Benedict established a pharmacy. While he was away at war a fourth daughter had been born, and on in 1866, he and Harriott had a son they named Fred after a friend of David from his Kenyon days. Two more daughters followed, Ellen and Suzan.
He built a big brick house with nine bedrooms, so large it was nicknamed “The Fortress.” In addition to his pharmacy, Doctor Benedict became in several business ventures and was active in the community.
In 1885, his son Fred Benedict died of pneumonia. He was the only hope for the continuation of the Benedict name in Norwalk. His death was a terrible blow to David, and one from which he never fully recovered. In 1898 he developed angina and died of a heart attack on January 5, 1901. 
Life of Mary Starr Benedict
Mary Starr Benedict, born September 29, 1836. Her mother died when she was four, and she and her brother David and her sister Fanny were brought up by her stepmother, Caroline Chapman. Mary’s stepmother did not like Fanny and David, but she did like Mary, perhaps because the girl was handicapped. While still an infant, Mary fell and broke her back, causing her to walk bent over, supporting her upper body with her hands on her knees. She died May 6, 1845 at the age of eight. 
Fanny 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. 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. August 13, 1862 she married Louis Severance of Cleveland, Ohio. They had four children. Fanny died August 1, 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio. 
- Jonas’s birth and early life in New York and Connecticut are from The Genealogy of the Benedicts in America, by Henry Marvin Benedict, Volume I, p. 382.
- The Benedict family’s trip west to Ohio are described in “Memoirs of Townships - Norwalk”, by Platt Benedict, The Firelands Pioneer, May 1859, p. 17.
- Description of the first school in Norwalk Township is from “Scattered Sheaves - No. 4, by Ruth - Maj. Underhill”, The Firelands Pioneer, September, 1860, pp. 43-44.
- The first school in Norwalk Village is referenced in “Memoirs of Townships - Norwalk,” by Platt Benedict, The Firelands Pioneer, May 1859, p. 21.
- The portrait of young Jonas Benedict is found in “Obituaries - Benedict,” The Firelands Pioneer, December 1902, p. 920.
- “Recollections of Northern Ohio”, by Mrs. John Kennan, The Firelands Pioneer, 1896, p. 87
- The Genealogy of the Benedicts in America, by Henry Marvin Benedict, Volume I, p. 382.
- Information about Platt Benedict’s career as Postmaster and the delegation of this office to Jonas Benedict are from “Local History,” The Firelands Pioneer, June 1937, p. 38.
- Poll books recording Jonas Benedict’s participation in township and village elections are found at History of the Firelands, Comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio, by W.W. Williams, 1879, p. 139.
- This quote is found in “Recollections of Northern Ohio”, by Mrs. John Kennan, The Firelands Pioneer, 1896, p. 87
- The story of Jonas's wife Fanny Benedict and their children is from Family History: Wickham, Benedict, Preston & Deaver, by Agnes & Harriott Wickham, edited by Dave Barton, 2006 (unpublished), pp. 17-18. The story of Henry Buckingham and the Buckingham family is from the “Obituary of Henry Buckingham,” by Levina Lindsley Buckingham, The Firelands Pioneer, 1888, pp. 159-161; and “Henry Buckingham,” by Henry Buckingham (his grandson), The Firelands Pioneer, July 1888, pp. 120-125.
- Death of Jonas’s first wife, his remarriage and his death are from Family History: Wickham, Benedict, Preston & Deaver, by Agnes & Harriott Wickham; edited by David Barton, 2006, (unpublished), pp. 6 &17-18.
- The life and tragic death of young Platt Benedict is found at Family History: Wickham, Benedict, Preston & Deaver, by Agnes & Harriott Wickham; edited by David Barton, 2006 (unpublished), pp. 17-18.
- See Dr David DeForest Benedict biography page.
- The life of Mary Starr Benedict is found in Family History: Wickham, Benedict, Preston & Deaver, by Agnes & Harriott Wickham; edited by David Barton, 2006, (unpublished), pp. 17-18.
- See Fanny B Benedict biography page.
1830 US Federal Census
: Norwalk, Huron, Ohio; Roll: 133; Page: 329.
1840 US Federal Census
- J B Benedict: Township: Norwalk; County: Huron; State: Ohio; Number of persons in household: 3; Ages of persons in household: Males under 5 years of age: 1; males of twenty and under 30: 1; females of twenty and under 30: 1.
: Huron, Ohio; Roll: 404; Page: 440.
1850 US Federal Census:
- J B Benedict: Township: Norwalk: County: Huron; State: Ohio; Number of persons in household:; Ages of persons in household: 8; Males age 5 to 10: 1; males age 30-40: 1; females age under 5: 4; females age 10 to 15: 1; females age 30 to 40: 1; Occupation information: one person engaged in agriculture.
Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio; Roll: M432_697; Page: 14; Image: 231. 19Jul1850
- Benedict, Jonas B, age 41, male, farmer, value of real estate: 7000, b NY
- Benedict, Caroline, age 35, female, b PA
- Benedict, Fanny L, age 10, female, b OH
- Brown, Jane, age 23, teacher, female, b NY
- Simmons, Catherine, age 21, female, b Germany
- Chapman, Caroline, age 5, female, b OH
Family Search Records (LDS)
, Reference: 35931; Jonas Boughton Benedict
; Male; Birth: 23 MAR 1806, Harlem, New York, New York; Death: 29 JUL 1851; Parents: Father: Platt Benedict; Sarah De Forest; Marriages: Fanny B. Buckingham, 08 OCT 1829
LDS Film Number: 470985, Page Number: 6
: Fanny Buckingham; Female; Birth: 03 JUN 1805, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio; Death: 05 MAR 1840; Parents: Father: Henry Buckingham; Mother: Harriet Talcott; Marriages: Spouse: Unavailable
LDS Batch No.: M513441
, Dates: 1818 - 1846, Source Call No.: 0410258 V. 1-2: FANNY B. BUCKINGHAM; Female; Marriages: JONAS B. BENEDICT
, 08 OCT 1829, Huron, Ohio
LDS Batch No.: M514232
, Dates: 1838 - 1854, Source Call No.: 0877913 V. 4-5: WILLIAM F. KITTRIDGE; Male; Marriages: CAROLINE BENEDICT,07 MAR 1854, Cuyahoga, Ohio
LDS 444888, Reference: 35932
: David De Forest Benedict; Male; Birth: 01 AUG 1833, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio; Parents: Father: Jonas Boughton Benedict
; Mother: Fanny B. Buckingham; Marriages: Hatty M. Deaver; 14 OCT 1856.
- The Genealogy of the Benedicts in America, by Henry Marvin Benedict, Volume I, pp. 373-383.
- History of the Firelands, Comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio, by W.W. Williams, 1879
- Family History: Wickham, Benedict, Preston & Deaver, by Agnes & Harriott Wickham, edited by Dave Barton, 2006 (unpublished)
- Little Doctor on the Black Horse, by Harriott Barton, 1963 (unpublished)
- The Firelands Pioneer, a historical journal published by the Firelands Historical Society, 1858-1939.
- 24 Dec 2008
- 24 Mar 2009