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Samuel Ward Benedict

Born Born 12 Mar 1798 Danbury, Fairfield co., Conn
Married Married 23 Jan 1822 Susan S Ovington at Location
Died Died 03 May 1882 Rossville, Staten Island, Richmond Co., NY



  1. Alexander Benedict 1822-
  2. Isaac Hoyt Benedict 1825-
  3. William Benedict 1826-1827
  4. Ann Amelia Benedict 1829-1834
  5. Ovington C Benedict 1831-1900
  6. Delolme Benedict 1832-
  7. Read Benedict; 1834-
  8. Samuel Ward Benedict Jr 1836-
  9. Frederick Peck Benedict 1839-
  10. Edwin Peter Benedict 1841-
  11. Susan Ann Benedict 1844-
  12. Frances Amelia Benedict 1847-

Susan S Ovington and Family

Susan was b 18Mar1801 in New York, the daughter of Rev William and Sarah (Alexander) Ovington of England

Samuel's Early Years

What began in 1816 as a small watch repair enterprise within another merchant's shop on Maiden Lane would soon become one of the most prestigious "Watch, Diamond and Jewelry" Houses in America. Like all the early Benedicts in America, Samuel W. Benedict was a descendent of the Englishman, Thomas Benedict, who settled in Connecticut after coming to the New World in 1629. This was also true of his competitor, A. C. Benedict on Bowery Lane also in New York.
Samuel served an apprenticeship under Bradley and Merrian of New Haven, Connecticut which at that time was one of the largest watch establishments in the United States. Immediately afterwards with only a set of good watchmaking tools and 100 dollars in his pocket he set off to the City of New York where he rented a small space within the shop of Taylor and Hinsdale at Maiden Lane and Broadway. Taylor and Hinsdale were dealers in "Imported Fancy Goods" including a few fancy grade pocket watches from the finest sources in Europe.
Samuel had anticipated, with some excitement, a lively trade in the repairing of watches of diverse types simply because of his location in the financial district of New York. Where else in America would he be exposed to so many exotic time pieces as in the City of New York. To his surprise, he found that almost every gentleman who brought in a watch for a repair also inquired about the availability of fancy grade watches imported from England and Switzerland. It seemed that with each repair he also had a very good chance to sell a new imported watch at a handsome profit.
Fortunately he had struck up a friendship with a Mr. Vanarsdale who was a well known watch importer on Maiden Lane. It was on the advice of Vanarsdale that Benedict leased a small store at the corner of Wall Street and William Street which was at the center of all types of trade at the time. He leased the store for five years at the price of 600 hundred dollars per year which he deemed as quite excessive. Business prospered and before too long Benedict moved to No. 5 Wall Street and established " Benedict Brothers" in 1821.
His regular customers included all the merchants and bankers of the area and such luminaries as Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Morgans and legend has it even the Marquis de Lafayette made his acquaintance.

Census Records

1850 US Federal Census: Westfield, Richmond County, New York; Roll: M432_587; Page: 108; Image: 213. 1Aug1850

  • Benedict, Samuel W, age 51, male, watch maker, value of real estate: 15,000, b CT
  • Benedict, Susan S, age 49, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Alexander, age 27, male, teacher, b CT
  • Benedict, Isaac H, age 25, male, teacher, b NY, deaf mute
  • Benedict, Ovington, age 19, male, watch maker, b NY
  • Benedict, Delone, age 18, male, b NY
  • Benedict, Read H, age 15, male, b NY
  • Benedict, Samuel W, age 13, male, b NY, at school
  • Benedict, Frederick P, age 11, male, b NY, at school
  • Benedict, Edwin P, age 9, male, b NY, at school
  • Benedict, Frances A, age 3, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Susan S, age 6, female, b NY
  • 3 servants, all b Ireland

1870 US Federal Census: New York Ward 15 District 1, New York, New York; Roll: M593_993; Page: 389; Image: 30. 1Jul1870

  • Benedict, Overton, age 39, male, white, jeweler, value of real estate: 18,000, personal: 50,000, b NY
  • Benedict, Samuel, age 72, male, white, retired jeweler, b CT
  • Benedict, Susan, age 69, female, white, keeping house, b NY
  • Benedict, Delone, age 37, male, white, printer, b NY
  • Benedict, Read, age 35, male, white, jeweler, b NY
  • Benedict, Samuel, age 32, male, white, watch maker, b NY
  • Benedict, Frederick, age 29, male, white, watch maker, b NY
  • Benedict, Edwin, age 26, male, white, watch maker, b NY
  • Benedict, Susan, age 23, female, keeping house, b NY
  • Brackerbush, age 27, male, white, clerk in store, b Ohio
  • Brackerbush, Fanny, age 23, female, white, b NY
  • Brackerbush, Otto, age 22, male, white, clerk in store, b OH
  • 1 servant, b Ireland

Son Alexander Benedict

1850 US Federal Census: Westfield, Richmond County, New York; Roll: M432_587; Page: 108; Image: 212. 1Aug1850

  • Benedict, Alexander, age 28, male, school teacher, b CT
  • Benedict, Catherine E, age 28, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Mary E, age 5, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Anna C, age 3, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Ellen C, age 1, female, b NY
  • King, George, age 14, male, black, b NY
  • Johnson, Mary, age 55, female, b NY

1860 US Federal Census: Westfield, Richmond County, New York; Roll: M653_850; Page: 0; Image: 187. 27Jun1860

  • Benedict, Alexander, age 29, male, agent on rail road, value of real estate: 6000, personal: 3000, b CT
  • Benedict, Catherine E, age 30, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Mary E, age 14, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Anna C, age 12, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Ellen C, age 10, female, b NY
  • Benedict, Catherine H, age 2, female, b NY (Kate)
  • Johnson, Mary, age 70, female, b NY
  • Proudfoot, Margaret, age 20, female, b NY, teacher
  • Proudfoot, Sophia, age 19, female, b NY, boarder
  • Wilson, Anne, age 25, female, b NY, teacher
  • 1 coachman, b Ireland

Daughter Anna Celia Benedict
New York Herald, Wednesday, 19Oct1870 - Marriages
Crawford-Benedict-at Roseville, Staten Island, on Tuesday 18Oct, by the Rev Henry Becoum?, Mr William H Crawford, of Keyport, NJ to Anna Celia, dau of Alexander Benedict, Esq.

Son Isaac Hoyt Benedict

1860 US Federal Census: New York Ward 12 District 3, New York, New York; Post Office: Manhattanville, Roll: M653_802; Page: 1059; Image: 645. 14Aug1860

  • Benedict, Isaac H, age 35, male, teacher, b NY, deaf and dumb
  • Benedict, Sarah S, age 32, female, b NJ, deaf and dumb
  • Benedict, Susan C, age 2, female, b NY
  • Stelle, Sarah R, age 36, female, b NY
  • Weeks, William H, aqe 35, male, teacher, b NY, deaf and dumb
  • Weeks, Mary, age 35, female, b CT, deaf and dumb

1900 US Federal Census: Res: 322 East Capital Street, NE, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T623_163 Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 122. 11Jun1900

  • Benedict, Isaac, head, white, male, b Jan1825, age 75, widow, b NY, father b CT, mother b England, government clerk
  • Bryant, Arthur, son in law, white, male, b Jun1857, age 42, m 12y, b MA, father b MA, mother b NY, teaches Gallaudet Coll.
  • Bryant, Susie C, dau, white, female, b Aug1859, age 40, m 12y, mother of 3, 1 living, b NJ, father b NY, mother b NJ
  • Bryant, Beatrice S, grandau, white, female, b Nov1899, age 7/12, b DC, father b MA, mother b NJ
  • 1 boarder

1910 US Federal Census: Precinct 9, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T624_154; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 168; Image: 12. 19Apr1910

  • Benedict, Isaac N, head, male, white, age 85, wid, b NY, father b CT, mother b England, own home
  • Bryant, Arthur D, son in law, male, white, age 53, m 23y, b MA, father b MA, mother b NY, instructor, deaf and dumb
  • Bryant, Susan C, dau, female, white, age 51, m 23y, mother of 0, 0 living, b NJ, father b NY, mother b NJ, storekeeper, at home
  • Bryant, Beatrice, grandau, female, white, age 10, b DC, mother b NJ,, father b MA
  • 1 cook

Son Ovington C Benedict

Note: Per Vol 1, Pg 352, his wife Sarah Elizabeth d Jan1863, however, his son Ovington Alexander was b 3Jan1865

OVINGTON BENEDICT DEAD; Old Recluse of Hudson Street Dies in Hospital.
The once wealthy jeweler lived in dire poverty in a tiny hovel filled with rubbish.
The death of Ovington C. Benedict, a bent and shriveled man of about seventy years, at the Hudson Street Hospital yesterday afternoon, marked the passing away of one of the most eccentric of New York's old pioneers. At one time a man of considerable wealth and a member of a prominent jewelry firm of the city, he died in want with no home but a miserable hovel at 124 1/2 Hudson Street.
His house is nothing better than a box built in an alley way between two four story buildings. The room is about 16 feet long, not more than three feet in width, and only eight feet from floor to ceiling. It is almost destitute of furniture, but is piled full of old boxes and papers, rusty clock works, and what appears to be the most useless of rubbish, all the accumulation of years. Entrance to it can only be gained through the rear, although there is a door and window in the front. In the rear is a small door about two feet wide and hardly four feet high, covered by a slanting board that runs down to the ground.
The death certificate issued by Coroner's Physician E J Donlon reads "Apoplexy," but friends of the old man assert that, in their opinion, he died literally of starvation. He was removed from his home to the Hudson Street Hospital late in the afternoon.
Within 25 minutes of being taken there he died without having been able to make any statement. Later in the day his brother, Fred P Benedict, whose home is in New Jersey, called at the hospital and told clerk Estabrook that the body would be removed today and buried in the family plot in Staten Island.
Ovington C Benedict was at one time worth a large sum of money. Twenty Five years ago he, with his brother Read Benedict, formed one of the biggest jewelry concerns in this city. They disagreed about business matters and Ovington Benedict retired from the firm. He entered into partnership with a Swiss, and the two opened a jewelry store in the 5th Avenue Hotel block. The business was not prosperous and three years later the firm failed, Benedict losing all he had, amounting, it is said to $150,000.
The loss of his wealth and the estrangement with his brother, Read Benedict, preyed on his mind to such an extent that he shunned his former associates, and lived alone. The brother, Read, in partnership with another brother, Edwin P Benedict, now compose the jewelry firm now known as Benedict Brothers, at 171 Broadway.
The one intimate friend of Benedict's, Max Schwartz, a dealer in shoes, at 128 Hudson Street. According to the story told by Schwartz, Benedict rented the space between the two big buildings 12 years ago. There he fitted up a little watch and jewelry repair shop. His cunning of hand had left him, he could no longer do the work of old, and things went from bad to worse.
It was then that he made the friendship of Max Schwartz, who, when the old man went first to live in his hallway, was a clerk in the shoe store he now owns. Schwartz would guess the man's needs, and never allowed him to want for food, though Benedict would never accept a cent of charity as long as he could hold out without doing so.
According to Schwartz story, as he declared the old man had many times told him the rental of the hovel, which amounted to $12 a year, was paid by the brother Read Benedict, and sometimes by Read Benedict's son, Fred Benedict Jr. Schwartz says that Benedict has told him that he sometimes received a little additional help from his brother Read.
Another friend of Benedict's, J N Peterson, a druggist at 166 Franklin St, who had known the old man for several years. It was to these two friends that Benedict made his last appeals for assistance before dying.
About 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon he came out of his house, and tottering into Schwart's place, held out his hands appealingly and cried out: Louis, Louise, come here. I am very weak, I think I am going to die.
Schwartz helped the old man into a chair, and then sent out for some coffee and sandwiches. When they came, Benedict could not eat them, and pushed the food away untouched. Schwartz says that since last Monday, he had been lying in his room, on his uncovered cot, and that he had eaten nothing in all that time except a few morsels of food that he (Schwartz) had furnished him.
Schwartz then went with him to Peterson's Drug Store. Peterson, seeing his condition, called an ambulance, and Benedict was taken to Hudson Street Hospital, where he died within 30 minutes. Peterson and Schwarts both begged the old man to let them telephone his brother Read, but he would not consent.
When admission was sought to his little shop last night there appeared at the rear door an old woman, of about 60 years, with grey hair and wearing a man's coat for a waist, over which was thrown a shawl. She refused to believe that the old man was dead, and laughed at the idea at first. She later admitted that he had been awway nearly all the afternoon. After much persuasion she gave her name as Annie Green, and said she had kept house for Benedict for years.

Son Delome Benedict

1870 US Federal Census: Brooklyn Ward 12, Kings County, New York; Roll: M593_953; Page: 349; Image: 166. 25Jul1870

  • Cummings, Michael, age 52, male, white, bookkeeper, b NY
  • Cummings, Celia, age 50, female, white, keeping house, b Ireland
  • Benedict, Dolome, age 35, male, white, agent ? RR, b NY
  • Benedict, Thomas, age 25, male, white, clerk in life insurance co, b NY
  • Benedict, Ellen, age 29, female, white, b NY (Helen)
  • Benedict, Emma, age 3, female, white, b NY

Son Samuel Ward Benedict

Wife Annette Cortelyou of Rossville, b 5Jan1834, d 23Feb1899, Staten Island, Richmond County, NY

Dau Annette b 16Aug1864, m Benjamin Whitlock Cox, had dau Ethel Benedict C Cox.
Obituary-13Jul1958 New York Times
Cox-Annette Benedict, long resident of 308 W 82nd Street, in the 94th year, wife of the late Benjamin Whitlock Cox, quietly on 12Jul1958. Daughter of Annette Cortelyou and Samuel Ward Benedict of Staten Island, and mother of Ethel Benedict C Lytle. Services at All Angels Church, 81st St at West End Avenue, Monday 2pm

1880 US Federal Census: Richmond (Staten Island), New York City-Greater, New York; Roll: T9_923; Family History Film: 1254923; Page: 397.3000; Enumeration District: 310; Image: 0801. 8Jun1880

  • Benedict, Samuel W, white, male, age 43, married, jeweler, b NY, father b CT, mother b NY
  • Benedict, Annette C, white, female, age 44, married, b NY, parents b NY
  • Benedict, Josephine C, white, female, age 23, single, b NY, parents b NY
  • Benedict, Annette, white, female, age 16, b NY, parents b NY
  • Benedict, Samuel W Jr, white, male, age 9, b NY, parents b NY, at school
  • 1 male servant, b Sweden

1900 US Federal Census: Res: 231 Fresh Kills Road, Richmond Ward 5, Richmond Borough, New York; Roll: T623_1154 Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 618. 12Jun1900

  • Benedict, Samuel W, male, white, b Oct1863, age 63, wid, m 43y (x'd out), b NY, father b CT, mother b NY, Highway Inspector
  • Past, Sydney, son in law, male, white, b Oct1858, age 41, m 14y, b NY, parents b NY, gardiner (sb Post)
  • Past, Josephine C, dau, female, white, b Oct1856, age 43, m 14y, mother of 0, b NY, parents b NY

1910 US Federal Census: Res: 281 Fresh Kills Road, Richmond Ward 5, Richmond, New York; Roll: T624_1072; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 1328; Image: 1313.

  • Benedict, Samuel W, head, male, white, age 73, wid, b NY, father b CT, mother b NY, inspector, highway, wage
  • Post, Josephine, dau, female, white, age 55, m 23y, mother of 0, b NY, parents b NY
  • Post, Sydney M, son in law, male, white, age 52, m 23y, b NY, parents b NY, gardener, private place, wage
  • Benedict, Samuel, son, male, white, age 40, m15y, b NY, parents b NY, gardener, private place, wage

1920 US Federal Census: Res: 1815 Arthurs Kill Road, Greenwich Township, not incorporated, Richmond Assembly District 2, Richmond Borough, New York; Roll: T625_1239; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1616; Image: 1085. 28Jan1920

  • Benedict, Samuel W, head, own, mortgage, male, white, age 83, widow, b NY, parents b NY, retired
  • Post, Josephine, dau, female, white, age 63, married, b NY, parents b NY
  • Post, Sydney M, son in law, male, white, age 62, married, b NY, parents b NY, no employment


Benedicts to America, Vol I, Pg 303
51. PETER5 (Thaddeus,4 Thomas,3 James,2 Thomas1)
b. Dec. 11, 1758; m. Dec. 22, 1779, Anne, dau. Abijah and Rachel (Hoyt) Peck of Danbury, b. Feb. 17, 1761, and d. Dec. 20, 1846. He d. at Danbury, Oct. 2, 1835. Ch:
1) - EZRA PECK, b. Feb. 28, 1781; m. Sept. 28, 1806, Phila, granddau. of Nathaniel4 (10) Benedict, [des. John,] who d. Nov., 1868. Her father, Joseph, was one of the first hat manufacturers in Danbury. He d. Nov. 2, 1862. Ch.
a) Abigail, b. April 3, 1808; m. April 12, 1835, Seely Harris of Southbury, Ct.. b) Edwin Peck, b. July 13, 1814; merchant. Chosen town clerk of Danbury, 1844 and 1845; justice of the peace, 1846; d. unm., Feb. 24, 1854. c) Ezra Ward, b. Dec. 23, 1818; d. Aug. 11, 1820. d) Ezra Ward, b. June 5, 1825; d. Dec 7, 1825.
2) - BETSEY, b. Dec. 16, 1782; d. May 24, 1867.
3) - HANNAH, b. Dec. 20, 1784; m. May 17, 1807, Salter Peck Clark; d. Feb. 11, 1852.
4) - ISAAC HOYT, b. Dec. 24, 1786; d. Dec. 8, 1793.
5) - ABIGAIL, b. June 26, 1789; d. Oct. 5, 1805.
6) (118.) ELI STARR, b. Sept. 14, 1791.
7) - ANN, b. June 9, 1794; res. Danbury, Ct.
8) - ISAAC HOYT, b. Dec. 12, 1795; m. Lodosiaka Gilbert of Newberry, S. C., and d. Greenville, S. C., Nov. 30, 1853. (*) Ch.
a) Olivia Ann, b. Nov. 24, 1827; m. Jan. 20, 1853, Isaac M. Springer. b) John Jay, b. June 7, 1829; m. c) Susan, b. May 17, 1832; m. July 26, 1855, Wm. M. Leake. d) Mary Ann, b. Sept. 16, 1834; m. Wm. Burns of S. C.; d. e) Samuel Ward, b. July 26, 1837; unm. f) Thomas, b. March 16, 1843; d. 1864, in confederate service.
9) (119.) SAMUEL WARD, b. March 12, 1798.
10) - RACHEL, b. Feb. 20, 1801; d. Sept. 16, 1849.
11) - DEBORAH, b. Jan. 23, 1804; d. Oct. 8, 1805.

Benedicts To America, Vol I, Pg 351
119. SAMUEL WARD6 (Peter,5 Thaddeus,4 Thomas,3 James,2 Thomas1)
b. March 12, 1798; m. Jan. 23, 1822, Susan S., dau. Rev. William and Sarah (Alexander) Ovington of England, b. March 18, 1801. He established, in 1821, on the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway, New York, the firm known since his connection with it ceased, as Benedict Brothers. A few years later the house removed to the south-west corner of Wall and William streets, and has ever since that time been successfully engaged in the jewelry business. It is one of the best known, most enterprising and honorable houses of its kind in the city. Careful business habits, prompitude, and a perfect knowledge of their entire affairs, are the leading characteristics of the establishment.. (*) Ch:
1) - ALEXANDER, b. Dec. 5, 1822; m. Dec. 7, 1842, Catharine Eliza, dau. -- and Mary Johnson, b. about 1822; merchant, Stapleton, Staten Island. Ch: a) Mary Eliza, b. March 25, 1845. b) Anna Celia, b. June 17, 1847. c) Ellen Cortelyou, b. Aug. 11, 1849. d) Kate Hughes, b. Sept. 13, 1857.
2) - ISAAC HOYT, b. Jan. 21, 1825; m. July 22, 1857, Sarah R., dau. Peter and Susan Stelle of New Brunswick, N.J. Deaf mute; grad. N. Y. Institution for Deaf Mutes, in 1846; professor in same institution for nineteen years; at present, clerk in the treasury department, Washington, D. C. Ch: a) Susan Cornelia, b. Aug. 15, 1858.
3) - WILLIAM, b. Nov. 19, 1826; d. Jan. 15, 1827.
4) - ANN AMELIA, b. May 9, 1829; d. Jan. 6, 1834.
5) - OVINGTON, b. July 27, 1831; m. Nov. 18, 1863, Sarah Elizabeth, dau. John and Lydia Robinson of N. Y., b. 1847, and d. Jan. 25, 1863; jeweler, of firm "Benedict Bros., up town," 691 Broadway, N.Y. Ch: a) Ovington Alexander, b. Jan. 3, 1865; d. April 20, 1865.
6) - DELOLME, b. Sept. 11, 1832; m. Nov. 5, 1865, Helen F. Cuming of Brooklyn; grad. Furman Univ., Greenville, S. C., 1859; acted as Lieut. under Admiral Dupont, at Port Royal, during the rebellion; publisher Benedicts' Time Table. Res. New York. Ch: a) Emma, b. Aug. 12, 1867.
7) - READ, b. Sept. 21, 1834; m. April 29, 1856, Mary E., dau. Judge Mark and Sarah (Watts) Winant of Richmond Co., b. May 31, 1836. Jeweler, of firm Benedict Bros., 171 Broadway, NY Ch: a) Ella Frances, b. April 21, 1857. b) Frederic White, b. Aug. 21, 1860. c) Read, b. Oct. 12, 1862; d. Aug. 6, 1865. d) Sarah, b. June 9, 1864. Eliza, b. June 25, 1866. e) Read Edwin, b. March 1, 1868. f) Mary E., b. Feb. 9, 1870.
8) - SAMUEL WARD, b. Oct. 24, 1836; m. Nov. 21, 1855, Annette Cortelyou of Rossville, b. Jan. 5, 1834. Jeweler, of firm "Benedict Bros., up town," 691 Broadway, N. Y. Ch: a) Josephine C., b. Oct. 21, 1856. b) Ellen Augusta, b. May 21, 1858. c) Nettie, (Annette)b. Aug. 16, 1864.
9) - FREDERICK PECK, b. June 19, 1839. Jeweler.
10) - EDWIN PETER, b. Aug. 12, 1841. Of firm Benedict Bros., jewelers, 171 Broadway, N. Y.; res. Brooklyn.
11) - SUSAN ANNE, b. July 19, 1844.
12) - FRANCES AMELIA, b. Sept. 29, 1847; m. Jan. 16, 1870, Edwin E. Brackebush.

Samuel's Final Years

OBITUARY New York Times 5May1880
Samuel Ward Benedict, the founder of a well known watch-maker and jewelry firm, of this city, died Monday at his home is Rossville, Staten Island, where he has lived since 1835, at the age of 82 years. Mr Benedict's direct ancestor, Thomas Benedict, came to American from Nottinghamshire, England in 1638, and settled in Connecticut, where his descendents have lived tot he present time. Samual Ward Benedict was the son of Peter, a great great great grandson of Thomas, and was born at Danbury, Conn. 12Mar1798. When lad he learned the watch and jewelry business, and in 1818, when his apprenticeship was finished, , he came to this city and worked for some time as a journeyman, but soon afterward he began business on his own account. A few years before the great fire of 1835 he set up on Wall Street, corner of William Street, and here built up an excellent business. William Street was then about one block from the East River, and Mr Benedict established quite a reputation among the ship captains for his chronometer work. The Wall Street Omnibuses were started from in front of his store, and it was from there that the phrase "Benedict Time" became the popular form of indicating the correct City time. He subsequently moved to No 5 Wall Street, where he did business until his retirement in 1860. The funeral-services will be held at New-Dorp this afternoon.


History of Richmond County, NY, Pg 500
SAMUEL WARD BENEDICT was born at Danbury, Conn., in 1798. He was a direct descendant of Thomas Benedict, who was born at Nottinghamshire, England, 1617, and came to this country seventeen years after the landing in Massachusetts bay. He soon sought the more thinly populated region of Long Island, then comparatively inaccessible from the main land in the winter. The late Hon. Erastus C. Benedict, in the complete genealogy of this family, thus writes of him: "He was charged with the power of magistrate and substan- tially with the power of the government; he was a pillar in the church; he was the arbitrator of differences, civilized and savage; the pacifier of the offended Indian chief; he was a leading member of the legislative body to create and to codify the system of the law on the island, after the conquest from the Dutch, and afterward of the colonial legislature." Samuel W. Benedict established himself in the watch and jewelry business in New York in .1818; first in Broadway at the corner of Maiden lane, and some time previous to the great fire in 1835 he moved his establishment to Wall street at the corner of William street, where the custom house now stands.
At that time the first stage or omnibus line had started from in front of his store and the drivers were accustomed to ask Mr. Benedict if it were time for them to start. At this early date and here it was that " Benedict's Time" first became a synonym for the correct time.
In 1836 he purchased from Daniel Winant and Benjamin Brewster their adjoining farms, near Rossville, Staten Island, and removed with his family to that place. The old family mansion stood on the Winant place, and at that time was one of the most substantial as well as one of the oldest houses on the island. It was erected in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and was claimed by Daniel Winant to have been built and occupied by David Pietersen De Vries. The walls were built of rough stone and Dutch cement, thick and strong enough to withstand a siege, and no doubt in that day it was intended as a place of security as well as a residence. The old house was burned in 1858. After the inside and all the wood work were consumed the walls remained standing, apparently as firmly and securely as when they were erected nearly two hundred years before. Mr. Benedict built a new house on this same site, and continued to live there in a quiet and unostentatious way, beloved and respected by all his neighbors until his death, which occurred in the spring of 1882. The farms still remain in the possesesion of three of his sons, Edwin P., Frederick and Samuel.

Shortly after 8 o'clock yesterday morning, Capt. Van Dusen, of the Fifteenth Precinct, was informed that the jewelry store of Benedict Brothers, No. 675 Broadway, had been entered by burglars during the previous night, one of the safes in the place opened and watches and jewelry to a large amount carried off. The store is situated under the Grand Central Hotel, north of the ladies entrance, and the proprietors are Samuel W and Ovington Benedict. At the rear of the store, which is about 75 feet long, is a wooden partition which devides the store from the reading room of the hotel. In the center of this partition there is a door, the upper half of which is plain glass. This door is secured with an ordinary lock and a strong iron bolt on the inside. Both of the propriators have been for some time past in the habit of sleeping in the rear portion of the store. Each of the brothers has a key to this door, and it was the duty of the last to come in to shoot the bolt. A ight is kept burning in the store all night, but it is generally turned down to prevent any person from looking in the windows on Broadway from seeing anything going on in the rear. Samuel W Benedict, after spending thursday evening with friends entered the store about midnight and went to bed. His brother Ovington returned about an hour afterward, and after, as he claims, locking and bolting the rear door, also went to bed. Both brothers assert that they examined the door opening into the reading room of the hotel, and found it secure before they retired. Nothing unusual was noticed during the night by the night clerk, porters, or watchman on duty in the hotel office, which is a short distance to the door opening into the store, and no knowledge of the robbery was obtained until about 8 o'clock yesterday morning. At that time, a young man who goes to the store every morning to open the place was surprised to find the rear door opened. He entered and found both of his employers, both apparently sound asleep on their beds, which were drawn up to within a few feet of the door. The young man experienced considerable difficulty in rousing them, and when they were finally awakened, appeared stupid and distraught. Learning that the door had been open the brothers at once made an investigation, and found that a safe, which stood in a recess behind a counter had been opened and its contents, consisting of silver watches, gold chains, plated bracelets, gold rings, etc., had been carried off. The gate had been opened with a broken key which had for some time been lying in the case drawer behind the counter, the thieves using a pair of pliers which they also obtained from one of the drawers, to turn the key in the lock. From this drawer had also been taken $199 in greenbacks. The value of the watches and jewelry stolen is estimated at $3000. Among the bedclothes was found a small phial, which had contained some aromatic drug, and the linen covering on the pillows was found to have been saturated with some fluid which left a stain. The brothers say they have no knowledge of anything from the time they fell asleep until the time they were awakened by the young man yesterday morning.
As soon as the robbery was reported at the police headquarters, Inspector McDermott? and detective Philip Reilly, of the Central Office proceeded to the store, and assisted by Capt Van Dusen and Detective Slevin of the 15th precinct made a minute examination of the premesis. The door leading from the store into the reading room of the hotel was first carefully examined, but not the slightest mark to indicate that violence had been used in opening it was discovered. The key was in the lock on the inside, and did not bear the marks that invariably indicate the use of nippers. The strong iron bolt on the inside was also intact, and it was evident that the door had not been opened from the outside. The cash drawer from which the broken key, with which the safe had been unlocked, and the currency were taken, was not forced but appeared to have been unlocked, and the pliers were used by the person who opened the safe were taken from a drawer in a different part of the store. Nothing else was disturbed. Next to the safe that was riffled of its contents was another, which contained gold watches and diamond jewelry to the value of $25,000. No attempt had been made to open this safe.
Careful inquiry was made of the employees of the hotel who were on duty during the night, and they all stated that they did see or hear anything, and that no stranger had been seen to leave the reading room. The theory of the robbery advanced by the propriators of the store was that the thief must have effected an entrance by the rear door during their absence and concealed himself behind one of the large counters, and drugged them after they were asleep.

-- SandeeToo - 16 Jan 2009
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