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Samuel Benedict

Born Born 20 Aug 1835 Shannonville, Prince Edward co., Ontario
Married Married 7 Feb 1863 Isabella Kelly at Idaho
Died Died June 1877  


Children (see footnotes):

  1. Ulysses Samuel "Grant" Benedict; 1864-1951
  2. Mary Caroline "Caddie" Benedict; 1866-1916
  3. Francis "Frankie" Benedict; 1868-1955
  4. Adedaide "Addie" Benedict; 1873-1964

The Parents of Samuel

His father, Smith Benedict, was born and raised in upper New York State at Peekskill in Westchester county. By his 20's, he and his parents had emigrated to Upper Canada in the area of Bay of Quinte. His mother Dorcas was born in that area and had previously married to a Peter Cole. Samuel's parents outlived him by eleven years, so they no doubt heard of his death by the Nez Perce indians of Idaho.

Samuel’s Early Years

Isabella Kelly's Early Years

Isabella Kelly Benedict Robie

Her parents, John M. Kelly and Sarah [O'Donnell] Kelly had just landed in New York from Ireland when she was born, according to family history. Isabella and her family later moved from New York to travel around to California via ship, then worked their way up from California into Oregon and on to Idaho. John Kelly went to the minning areas and followed the gold, but did not seem to have any mining claims. He did business in saloons and boarding houses. Her mother Sarah was born in Ireland in about 1825.

By 1860 the family was in Portland, Oregon. Her father was then 33 and her mother was 35. Isabella was then 14, the oldest child, with brother Farncis (10), Mary ann(10), Sarah (5) and baby Elizabeth, and her only brother, John James [or James John] (1). The baby Elizabeth had lost her mother in childbirth and the Kelly family took her in.

By 1863 the Kelly family had moved to a mining town in Florence, Idaho, where Isabella met Samuel. They were married on February 9, 1863 by John Rogers, a Methodist. By this time, Isabella was only 17 years old and Samuel was already 28. Isabella's family was Catholic and the marrage was done without John Kelly knowing. This upset the father a lot and there are multiple law suits between the families.

Samuel and Isabella

Territory of Washington County of Idaho, Florence City Feb 9th 1863

Marriage register: This is to certify that Samuel Benedict and Isabel Kelley were married at this place Saturday evening Feb 7th A.D. 1863 by the Methodist minister John Roger.

Filed February 9th 1863 and recorded immediately

Jonas W. Brown County Auditor

The Final Years for Samuel

Samuel Benedict

One of the richest claims of the Gold Rush Era was discovered in the summer of 1861 at Florence, near Riggins. The lure of gold brought miners rushing in. Over the next two years, over ten thousand miners and merchants flooded Florence looking to strike it rich. Over $10 million in gold would be taken from Florence’s draws and gullies! Florence quickly declined from a boomtown to a ghost town when miners moved on to another strike. All that remains of Florence is “Boot Hill,” with graves of miners who perished in their search for the good life. Wooden markers tell their tales.

About one mile above the mouth of White Bird Creek, the warriors met an old nemesis, Samuel Benedict, who was out looking for his cows. Red Moccasin Tops had been wounded by the white man in a foray almost two years before, and the Nez Perce was anxious to even the score. One of the Indian bullets found its mark, but the wound was not fatal. Playing dead, Benedict escaped further injury, and the Indians left him to return to the camp on Camas Prairie.

Earlier that morning Isabella Benedict saw her husband approach the house, and she saw that he sat his horse with difficulty. [7] Rushing to his assistance she found that he had been shot through both legs and was bleeding profusely. Sliding off his horse Benedict sought the shade of a large tree that stood in the yard and told his wife to send their older daughter to fetch "Hurdy Gurdy" Brown, his closest neighbor, who kept a store about three-fifths of a mile down the Salmon River. [8]

When Brown arrived Benedict related his story and warned his friend that the Indians would return to finish their work. He told Brown that he should be ready to defend his life and property as well, because the assault marked the beginning of an uprising. Brown, however, chose to discount the intelligence, since he knew of the bad blood between Benedict and some of the Indians. Convinced that the attack was an isolated incident and nothing more than a judgment rendered in payment for an old debt, he prescribed a cold water treatment for Benedict's wounds and returned to his cabin. [9]

Not long after Brown left, five Frenchmen arrived. They worked a mining claim on the opposite bank of the Salmon River and had come by boat. Unaware of the gravity of the situation, they had not brought their rifles with them. After hearing Benedict's story, the miners decided to return to camp for their guns, leaving one of their number, August Bacon, with the family. Isabella gave the Frenchman a fine breechloader to use in the event that the Indians arrived before the party returned. [10]

After the men left, Isabella went into the garden to find lettuce and onions for supper. As she returned to the house, she saw a band of Nez Perce approaching. Hurrying inside she broke the dreaded news to her husband, who lay on a bed in a small room that opened off the parlor. Telling her to flee with the children, Benedict prepared to meet his foe. Bacon moved to the front door with rifle in hand. [11]

Leaving by the rear door Isabella urged her children toward the back gate. Looking up she saw that she was being observed by some Indians on a hillside above her, and, realizing the danger of her position, she returned to the safety of the house. When she entered the room where her husband had been, she found it empty. Firing began. Bacon, who still stood in the doorway, suddenly lurched backward and slumped to the floor. The chance for survival appeared slim to Isabella as warriors began to push through the door. One Indian, however, took pity on the woman and her children and told them to leave the house and go to the Manuel place. Quickly Isabella guided the children from the house and hurriedly followed them to the bank of White Bird Creek and the protective cover of scene willows. [12] After watching his wife and daughters leave the house, Benedict had apparently crawled through the open window in his bedroom and limped toward a footbridge spanning White Bird Creek. It was there that his enemies found him. A volley from Nez Perce rifles tumbled him into the water where life ended. [13]

Crouching among the willows, Isabella and the children remained hidden from view while the Indians pillaged the house and store. Feasting on the supper prepared for the Benedicts, they gathered their loot, including a keg of whiskey, and departed. When stillness returned, Isabella slipped back to the house. She found no traces of her husband except blood stains on the window sill in the bedroom. Covering Bacon's body with a quilt, she collected a few trinkets and the little money that was left and began to work her way along the creek toward the Manuel ranch. [14]

About a mile from the summit, a woman suddenly appeared on the trail. She held a small child in her arms, and another stood by her side. The wayfarers were Isabella Benedict and her daughters who had been eluding the hostiles by keeping to the brush and camping without fires. They had eaten little or nothing since Thursday, and they were obviously suffering from exposure. Isabella thanked God for her deliverance and told the story of her escape. Requesting a safeguard, she begged Perry to give up the chase and return to Mount Idaho. She ended her appeal with a prophecy of death and declared that a massacre waited for the command on the valley floor, but Perry was firm in his determination to push ahead. He offered to send the woman and her children to Mount Idaho by one of the friendly Nez Perce, but Isabella chose to remain where she was. Someone might pick her up on the return trip--if there was one. Not having a man to spare, Perry assented to her wish. He ordered one of the men to give her a blanket, and Trumpeter Jones made a gift of his lunch. [3] The pitiful condition of Mrs. Benedict and her girls did much to strengthen the resolve of the men. Thinking back to the episode many years later, Lieutenant Parnell wrote: "It was a terrible illustration of Indian deviltry and Indian warfare." Suffering of this kind, he continued, called for "sympathy, compassion, and action."

As Wounded Head rode down the trail, he heard some of his tribesmen call to him to look on the hillside above him. He saw a white woman running up the bluff in an effort to escape and rode after her. Isabella Benedict made a sign, which he interpreted as a request for mercy. [7] He motioned for her to mount behind him, and she complied. Wounded Head asked the other Indians to take charge of her, but they refused. They did, however, relieve her of her watch, her jewelry, and her money. The warrior then carried his passenger to the bottom of White Bird Hill, where, according to Mrs. Benedict, some squaws met them and persuaded the warrior to release her. [8] Once again she started for Mount Idaho.

In the days preceding [General] Howard's arrival, a number of the missing had reached the safety of the settlement. Patrick Brice and Maggie Manuel had been among the first. George Popham had arrived a day later. He had waited until he had seen the hostiles burn the Manuel house before attempting to make his way to Camas Prairie. Isabella Benedict had been rescued on Monday by Edward Robie. After it had been reported that Isabella had been left behind in the retreat, Robie had gone out alone to find the woman whom he had long admired. His search had been rewarded near Johnson's ranch.

Catherine Elfers, Isabella Benedict, and Jennie Norton all remarried: Catherine to Philip Cleary on April 13, 1884, Isabella to Edward Robie on April 19, 1880, and Jennie to Thomas J. Bunker in 1883. Neither Isabella nor Jennie ever returned to her former home, but Catherine Elfers continued to live in the house near John Day Creek. She had four children to care for.

That there was also in the house, furniture consisting of 12 cane-bottom chairs, rugs (made from rags), one homemade lounge, six ordinary cheap paintings, one parlor stove, and one kitchen stove with fixtures. There was also in the house clothing for my husband, four children, and myself--clothing enough to last my children for three years. My husband was a good provider and kept us well-provided with clothes. There was also a library of assorted books, consisting of school books, Bibles, fiction, etc. On the Sunday prior to the outbreak my husband brought to the house two purses of gold dust--do not know how much was in them. There was also one gold watch and chain bought in San Francisco in the spring of 1863, one black enameled breast pin, two sets of gold sleeve buttons, one set of earrings, two gold crosses, which were all used from two to 14 years.


When all was still, I cautiously crept to the house under the cover of the night. August lay just as I had seen him fall. They had taken his gun and left his body unmolested. Satisfying themselves with the supper I had prepared, they had hurried on to other scenes of bloodshed and pillage. I could find no clue to my husband's whereabouts. I searched everywhere, and called his name, but could find no trace--only some blood stains on the window, as though he might have escaped through it.


The Final Years for Isabella

Edward Robie

Isabel lived to at least November of 1889 and had remarried to a Mr. Robie. See reference to an affidavit by Isabel (endnote #25).

When Samuel was killed Isabella did not give up she established a boarding house near Grangeville idaho to support herself and her children she later married Edward Robie. [have copy of contract isabella made to buy the land to build the boarding house]

Obituary for Isabella

The Grangeville Globe, Grangeville, Idaho

Thursday June 15, 1911


Once more the silent messenger Death, has called, and the answer has been made by one of the oldest pioneers in Idaho county. Surely the ranks of the pioneers are being decimated with the rapidity and certainty of those of the old war veterans of the civil conflict.

On Friday, June 10th, 1911, Mrs. Isabella (Kelly) Robie, passed away at her home on the Salmon river, some eight miles south of Whitebird, from a stroke of paralysis which she had received. On Monday. At the time of her death she was surrounded by all of her children and two sisters from Boise, who had been summoned when the affliction first came upon her. The funeral took place at Whitebird on Monday, June 12th, at 1 o’clock p.m., the services being conducted by Rev. Fr. James, of Grangeville. Beautiful floral offerings were made by scores of friends of the deceased, and the services were very impressive.

Isabella's headstone Mrs. Robie was probably one of the oldest and certainly one of the best known and most highly respected pioneers in Idaho county. She came to Florence with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Kelly in 1861, at the first gold excitement, from California, to which state they had come from Staten Island, N.Y. where deceased was born; November 26th, 1847. Here she was united in marriage to Samuel Benedict February 7th, 1863, who was killed by the Indians in the Nezperce war of 1877. In 1880 Mrs. Benedict was united in marriage to Edward W. Robie, who died in 1888. Mrs. Robie not only lost her husband and home at the hands of the hostiles during the Indian war of 8177, but was caputured by the Indians herself and held a prisoner for sometime. Of late years she has lived at her home on the ranch south of WHitebird, and here it was that she passed her last hours on earth.

She leaves to mourn her demise two sisters, Mrs. George Cartwright, and Mrs. Mary Orchard, of Boise, and children as follows: Edward Robie, Mrs. Frank Taylor and Mrs. Pickett Chamberlain of Whitebird; Mrs. G.W. Brown and Grant Benedict, of Grangeville; Mrs. Frankie Shissler, of Elk City; and Miss Alice Robie.


Notes on the Children

  • Ulysses Samuel Grant went by Grant he was born oct 9 1864 he died 6-15- 1951 Seattle wash living with son he married Carrie Perkins on june 17 1894 Grant was 1st white boy born in idaho co. records I have found shows them on census as having 2 boarders so the borading people cont. on in the family Lysle Grant Benedict who became a painter of pictures they lost a son Lloyd on Dec 29 1897 he was 20 mos old

  • Mary Caroline Benedict or "Caddie" was born sept 10 1866 in Lewiston idaho died dec 25 1816 [xmas day] of TB , my father had just turn 5 Caddie married x2 1st marriage was to John Wilson jan 6 1888 [have no further infor on him]
being a progressive young lady she divorced john oct 9 1896 due to john's drinking and non support [I do have copy of the divorce] there are no children of record to this marriage, caddie was teaching school in Warren idaho when she met John 2nd husband was Frank Lester Taylor b april 18 1869 Iowa to Benjamin Franklin Taylor b 1834 Iowa-1919 pullman wash and Judith Bradley 1843 Iowa- 1928 Pullman wash they had come from iowa and homesteaded in the Pullman Washington area Benjamin was in the civil war, a farmer , and belonged to methodist church.

Children of Caddie and Frank

    • Adelaide "maurine" 1898 -1946 calif. Married James Anscomb 2 children
    • "Tryhena" Ruth married Henry Burford no children she passed away in the 1990's living in Alaska
    • "Lester" Benedict Taylor born 1900 -1984 married Lucille Chaney in 1926 had 2 children
    • Samuel "Howe" 1902-jan 1919 at Weiser Idaho he was going to boarding school when he got the flu no children
    • Everett Ambrose "Tim" 1904- 1971 Married Lorene Hannaford June 1930 had 1 child
    • Evan "Mark" Taylor born Nov 1911 {my father} died 1998 he married Patricia Chaney on July 22 1943 they had 1 child Deborah Taylor who married and had 1 child
    • A baby was born in 1897 and died either at bith or right after named Frankie [female baby}

  • Francis I benedict was born Oct 9 1868 died Sept 1955 Everett wash she married Henry F Shissler Dec 6 1891 there were no children.
  • Adedaide or "Addie" Nov 1873 - 1964 married William Green Brown 1892

  • Further notes on "Caddie": It seemed to be very important to the family for the children to get an education, Caddie sent her children off to school so they had at least a high school education. She was almost 50 when my dad was born and he sadly did not get to know her-- she reportedly had red hair and had no problem with going out hooking up the horses by herself and going off to the grade school to tell the teacher what she thought of the education her children were getting. Before she died she left a will leaving the children what she had, to be used to educate them.

  • Obituary of Saturday, Sept 27, 1873 in the Idaho Signal - Lewiston. DIED At Whitebird I.T. [Indian Territory] September 22, 1873 – BENEDICT, Nettie; youngest daughter of Samuel and Isabella Benedict aged 2 years and 4 mos. Source: StarrDeb.

Obituary for Caddie [Benedict] Taylor

Idaho County Free Press
Dec. 28, 1916


Caroline Mary Taylor, wife of Frank L. Taylor, residing on the Salmon River above Whitebird died Monday December 25th at home at Horse Shoe Bend being a sufferer from tubercular trouble. She was a daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Benedict. Her father, Mr. Benedict, was killed by the Indians in 1877. Survived by husband, two brothers and four sisters and six children.

The surviving boys are Lester, Howe, Everett, Evan and the girls are Maurine and Tryphena. Mrs. Pick Chamberlain and Mrs. Ralph Russell are sisters. Burial in Slate Creek cemetery.


-- JimBenedict - 22 Jun 2008
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I Attachment sort Action Size Date Who Comment
isabella-grave.jpg manage 85.2 K 05 Jul 2008 - 01:51 JimBenedict Isabella's headstone
sam_benedict.jpg manage 36.5 K 05 Jul 2008 - 02:35 JimBenedict Samuel Benedict
isabella_robie.jpg manage 42.4 K 05 Jul 2008 - 02:35 JimBenedict Isabella Robie
edward_robie.jpg manage 32.2 K 05 Jul 2008 - 02:36 JimBenedict Edward Robie

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