Week 35 (August 27 – September 2) – School Days: Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has offered “School Days” as her prompt for week 35 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. Now that school is well back into swing I hope I have more time to keep up with my blog!
Benjamin was born in New York. If the calculation from his age on his death certificate is accurate, Benjamin was born 5 August 1850 in Brooklyn. His parents, Benjamin and Sarah, along with his sister, Clara Jane, had been enumerated on in Wells, Maine in the 1850 Federal census. The actual date the census enumerator performed the census was August 2, however the official enumeration date of that census was June 1. If the census taker recorded the names of the residents as of the actual, not official date, the place of Benjamin’s birth is questionable. However, all documentation found provides a New York birthplace.
Nine year old Benjamin is enumerated in Brooklyn with his parents in the 1860 census. It is the first census I have found him in, I’ve yet been unable to locate the listing for the family in the 1855 NYS census. In 1860, Benjamin is recorded as having attended school within the past year. The 1865 NYS census does not shed any further information on Benjamin, as expected he is found living as a child along with his sister, in the household of his parents. The 1870 census finds Benjamin still with his parents, he has not attended school within the past year, can read and write, and is working as a clerk in an office. At the time of his marriage in 1872, Benjamin’s occupation had changed to carpenter. His ability to write was evidenced by his signature on the marriage document.
Benjamin and his wife Mary became parents to two girls, Clara and Mae, shortly after they married. What then transpired between Benjamin and Mary in the early years of their marriage is unknown; in 1875, she and her girls were boarders, along with her mother, in the household of Edward Clark. Although Mary was listed as married, Benjamin was not with them. By 1880, Benjamin was listed as single and enumerated with his parents. Mary was enumerated as the wife of Thomas Johnson. The girls were listed in the household and her mother and sister were within the same dwelling. No divorce record has been found, nor has any marriage record been discovered for Mary and Thomas.
Before the 1892 New York State census, where they are enumerated together with their son, Benjamin and Katherine (Kate) Louisa McCafferty were married. The 1900 census provides that they had been married for 17 years; the marriage would have been in about 1883. No marriage record has been found. It appears that both Benjamin and Mary may have remarried without benefit of a legal marriage license.
Benjamin and wife Kate went on to have at least 3 children- Benjamin, Asa and Kate. In 1900, 1905 and 1910 census documents, Benjamin’s occupation was saw filer. A saw filer maintained saws, typically in a mill, and would tie in to his earlier occupation of carpenter. In Dec 1910, Benjamin died of general paresis- mitral insufficiency and oedema.