Notes on the

Capt. George Benedict Papers


The complete letter collection is available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.). The notes below correspond to letters transcribed for the Hanover Historical Texts Project in Winter 2011 by the students of GW144 "Autobiography: History," taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier (vosm@hanover.edu). Those letters are available here.




 

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P.B. [Polly Benedict], letter to George Benedict, 9 August 1842

 

George Benedict's wife was Henrietta (Dana) Benedict. Letters written to her before her marrage are available. We are grateful to Graham Stubbs for call this to our attention.

 

P Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 19 April 1845
Transcribed, with editorial comment, by Nardeen Turjman, HC 2014

Loading and unloading goods from land to the ship was a slow operation -- not only because it was done by humans, but also because of the landing site. Due to the increase of steamboat traffic, many towns decided to fix their landing sites. Doing so was an improvement for the merchants and shippers, and it allowed the town to tax steamboats, with a “wharfage fee.” The wharfs were long and wide to accommodate boats and to conform to any stage of the river.

Source: Michael Gillespie, Come Hell Or High Water (Heritage Press, 2001), 33-34.


Polly Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 15 May 1845
Transcribed, with editorial comment, by Matt Ryan, HC 2014

“Wharf boats were old steamboat hulls with the machinery removed.” Parts of the ship were used just the same as other steamboats were used. They held and kept not only goods but passengers as well. Boarding wharf boats were also an ideal way of waiting for steamboats. One passenger states that wharf boats were not a good place to wait because many of the passengers on board the wharf boat were individuals waiting to find jobs.

Source: Michael Gillespie, Come Hell Or High Water (Heritage Press, 2001), 33-34.


P Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 1 May 1846
Transcribed, with editorial comment, by Hope Martin, HC 2014

Polly mentions an “Irenea [who] was quite unwell all the time she was up." I looked up “Irene Benedict” in the 1860 census and discovered someone in Belfore township who was born in 1782 in Connecticut. A Polly Benedict, born in Massachusetts in 1820, was listed with her. To see if these were the correct individuals, I continued my search and discovered that George Benedict’s parents were in fact born in Connecticut. Therefore, this Irene Benedict must be related to Capt. George Benedict.

Sources: U.S. Department of the Interior, Census Office, Eighth Census, 1860, Belfore Township, Washington County, Ohio, s.v. “Irene Benedict,” Heritage Quest, HeritageQuestOnline.com; U.S. Department of the Interior, Census Office, Eighth Census, 1860, Marietta Township, Washington County, Ohio, s.v. “George Benedict,” Heritage Quest, HeritageQuestOnline.com.


P Benedict, letter to Captain G. Benedict, 17 April [year unknown]
Transcribed, with editorial comment, by Seth Revolt, HC 2014

The Aliquippa was a steamboat owned by the estate of John Freeman. She was a regular on the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati packet beginning on February 27, 1845, and ran the Pittsburgh-St. Louis route in 1844. She was taken out of service in 1847. With this being said, the letter would have been written from 1844 to 1847. Aliquippa was a city in Pennsylvania along the Ohio River. It is likely that this steamboat was named after that town.

Sources: Frederick Way, Jr., comp., Way’s Packet Directory 1848-1983: Passenger Steamboats of the Mississippi River System Since the Advent of Photography in Mid-Continent America, (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University 1983), 13; Gabriel Ireton, “A Tale of Two Logstowns,” History, City of Aliquippa, http://www.aliquippapa.gov/ (accessed 6 Apr. 2011).


Polly Benedict, letter to George Benedict, [no date]
Transcribed, with editorial comment, by Chip Hockenbury, HC 2014

The Indian cancer root used on Cousin Lucy is actually called Bloodroot. It is used for treating and reducing the size of warts and moles. Today, the root is still used medically, and some skin cancers can be treated with the product. Most patients see results in a week, but at times it may take 30 days. Dr. Jonathon Hartwell researched the root and its medical benefits about natural treatments for cancers in the early 1900s.

Source: "Alpha Omega Labs," Bloodroot Paste, http:/altcancer.com/products/bloodroot-paste (accessed 6 April 2011).


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