Benedict Family Letters


The following letters were written to George Benedict, a steamboat captain, mostly from his sister, Polly Benedict. They are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).   Hanover College students in GW144 "Autobiography: History" (Winter 2011, taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier) transcribed the letters. We are grateful for the later assistance of Graham Stubbs.

P.B. [Polly Benedict], letter to George Benedict, 9 August 1842, Captain George Benedict Papers, 1:3, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Ariel Mishurda, HC 2014. Editorial comment also available.

Belpre Aug 9 1839

My Dear Brother,

We received the letter you left at Parkersburg on your way down, and were glad to hear from you. We have since heard by the way of Capt Burch that you were very unwell when you left Cincinnati and would return from Louisville if you did not get better. We feel very anxious about you, but we trust the Lord in mercy will preserve your life & health and return you to us again. We hope you will write from Louisville if you go on but we think you certainly will be prudent enough to come home if your health is not good. But my dear Brother experience has taught us how soon our fond anticipations may be cut off, and with how little certainty we can make any calculation upon tomorrow. I went to Marietta with Ethan & Irenea the morning after you went down and staid until Monday afternoon. They staid much longer than they expected when they came down Ethan got quite interested in the discussion between Mr Edwards, Universalist, and Mr Roberts, Presbyterian. It lasted four days I attended a part of the time Tho I am disposed to think such discussions are generally attended with but little profit either to speakers or hearers. It was however rather interesting and was [conducted] with a very good spirit. When you passed here I believe their was no one at home but myself and the children, Jane came down with me on Monday and staid until Saturday last. Sabbath was their communion season in M and quite a number were to be received into the church. I expected to have went up with Jane on Saturday, but found I could not conveniently leave home. Mrs Dana & Alice spent a part of last week at Col Barker. little Lucy was well dear child, she seems doubly dear to me now. I felt very emotion when I was in M of visiting the resting place of our dear our beloved Henrietta but circumstances seemed to prevent. Saturday afternoon I went to see Emeline Humphrys. Thought it would probably be the last opportunity and so is prooved to be, for she died a little before five on Monday morning. She was sustained in death by the same hopes and consolations that sustained our dear Henrietta death to her was disrobed of its [terrors?].

My dear Brother I feel, deeply feel for you, and hope that you may be sustained and comforted under your severe afflictions. And that it may be to us all, a sanctified affliction. We hope you will come home and spend the winter with us. Mother is very anxious about you. If the river should get low and you do not return soon, do let us hear from you often, but be sure and come home if your health is not good. Father has gone to Pittsburg with apples. Will probably [be] home the last of the week. Mr Beswick from Marietta has been down to look at your apples and I think will [take] them. Mother & Irenea will take the mereno you brought Irenea needs it more than I do. do not trouble yourself to get any thing for me at present, but try to take care of your health, and let us see or hear from you soon. Your sister affectionately P.B-

P. Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 13 February 1845, Captain George Benedict Papers, 1:3, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.)
Transcription by Jacob Rieger, HC 2014

Friday Morning Feb 13 1845

My Dear Brother

We have just heard by the Cicero that you will be near today. We are very glad that that you are so near home once more, hope you will stop a few minutes at least, but as there is some uncertainty about it, we thought best to write. We took a letter from the office for you from Jane soon after you left. Lucy enclosed it in another letter and sent it to the wharf boat for you but as you did not stop as you went down you did not get it. And I am sorry to say that it got lost. They gave it to father to bring over home and he somehow [dropped it?] out of his hat into the river and could not get it. We read the letter and can tell you what it contained. She said she did not get your letter for a long time that when you rote again you must direct to the care of James L Wilson. She said that Mr. Mitchell was their that her mother [got down?] well before he left home, and that they were all well. She wrote as if they did not expect to remain in Illinois if they could get away. Said Mr Wilson thought of going down the river this winter to see if he could recover some land connected with her Fathers estate. Said her mother had made him the offer that she made you and Mr Mitchell that he might have it if he would attend to it and she wanted to know if you was willing to relinquish your right in it. We are getting along tolerably well. Tif is getting so fat you will hardly know her. She is very well and she and little Irenea get along first rate. I got a letter from Jaenea a few days since. She wrote that Ethan had the mumps and that she expected she and the children would have them. Mother is thinking some of goeing home with Lucy in the spring if she can. Do stop and see us as often as you can and do not forget to blow the whistle or let us know some way when you pass. As Sister L is waiting to write I will close with much love and my best wishes.

Your Sister P Benedict

Lucy Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 3 March 1845, Capt. George Benedict Papers, 4:1, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Austin Olvey, HC 2014

Belpre, March 3, 1845.

My Dear Husband,

Had I not promised you a letter I believe I should not at this time write you as I have nothing pleasant to communicate or any thing which will add to your happiness except to know your are in good health; which blessing I hope you too are enjoying but as I did promise I will write you a few lines. Do not think my dear husband that I have no heart to sympathise with you or you family in the affliction and sorrows which an inebriate parent causes you for I do indeed feel deeply for you and I am sorry to say any thing to make you feel unpleasant but I suppose not withstanding you may be pained you want to know how we get along.

Ma says she was very well when we were gone and Pa was about as common untill the day before we got home. he went over the river and got very bad and angry after he came home. He has been on a train ever since we came. he went to Marrietta yesterday and came home pretty bad last night and has kept it up all day, today. he is very cross and talks scandalously to Polly but she takes it uncommonly patient. realy I shall do wrong if I ever again blame her for [her] fretful disposition after all I have heard today.

Do not let our unpleasant situation trouble you too much for perhaps by the time you read this the clouds and storm which are now around us may have past off and a good degree of sunshine and tranquility be again restored to us - - - such is the fluctuating tide here as you too well know. Polly has been quite ill yesterday and today but as her cace is not uncommon or immediately dangerous I think she will be about as casual in a few days.

[letter continues]

P Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 19 April 1845, Capt. George Benedict Papers, 4:1, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and editorial comment by Nardeen Turjman, HC 2014

Mr. George Benedict
S.B. Mountaineer
Pittsburg, Pa.
dir. Steam Boat

Belpre April 19, 1845  

My Dear Brother,  

            I have been expecting a letter from you all this week, and as you may not have received the letter I wrote you the day you were up I will write again. I do not believe you think half as much about [us?] when you are gone as we do about you, or you would let us here from you oftener. I saw Mr Neal yesterday. He said he saw you in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. I inquired if you were coming home soon, he said you did not say, but he though not as you sent money to the bank by him, &c, I had made up my mind that you had gone to Braceville and that you would all come home with Mother, I think she will be home in about two weeks, hope she will stay and make a good visit, as I am getting along very well, I got  paper from Lucy yesterday sent from [Marren?]. They got there Wednesday noon found foalks there from Braceville that would take them up. Said James & Albert were there waiting for a boat to go to Wisconsin, and that they would stop here if they could, but we have not seen them. I am very glad to hear they got along so well, but am very sorry they got started before you came as it would have been so pleasant for you all to have went up together. Do write and let me know whether you will be home soon, I wish you would go to B and make a visit and then come home with Mother and bring Lucy and Tiss. You cannot think how lonesome I am [crossed out: after having] But I do not complain. I have just received a letter from Irenea saying I must not expect them down soon. Says Ethan has not been able to do but very little since we went up which was soon after we got home. She says he is some better, but his business is so much behind, that he cannot leave home. She did not say what was the matter but I suppose, it is his old complaint, pain in the breast. As you may not have received the letter I wrote I will mention again that we received two letters for you, one from Mrs Mitchell and one from Mr Pitchford of New Haven. He wished you to write and let him know whether he should continue to rent your house, &c. Said the time had expired that you directed him to rent it for, and that the man would like to remain. Mrs M, wrote that they were all well and that her mother and Alice thought of coming up in May to spend the summer. The fruit is mostly killed not by the frost but by hard freezing. I think we shall have a few apples but cannot find any alive on the Russett.

If the river does not rise I hope you will come home and spend the summer, Irenea enquires if we have heard from you, says little Irenea wants to see Cousin Lucy very much you must not let them stay away too long.

As I have an opportunity of sending this to the Wharf-Boat I must conclude with my love and

best wishes,  Your Sister P, Benedict  

Father says I must give his love to you, and tell you to be sure to write soon

Polly Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 15 May 1845, Captain George Benedict Papers, 1:3, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and editorial comment by Matt Ryan, HC 2014

Mr. George Benedict
Steamer Mountaineer
Care of Broadwell & Co

Belpre Friday Morning May 15, 1845

Dear Brother

As you did not stop at Parkersburg we did not hear from you, and I suppose you did not get the letter I left at the Wharf Boat. I have just got a letter from Lucy this morning written the 7th she says she is well and little L has got to be tolerably well. She writes that her Sister Phebe and her husband are there on a visit that they will start home the 25 of this month and she does not know but she will come with them but cannot tell untill she hears from you. She says she has had but one letter from you and that was 21 days in coming. I think she will certainly come as it will be pleasant for her to come with them. I hope she will and that they will stop [torn: and?] make us a visit. She says she thinks perhaps [torn] Father & Mother will come with her if she should come. She writes that Uncle Tom has gone to Iowa but thinks he went by the lakes. I think probibly he will come back this way. We feel anxious about little Lucy and shall be very glad to have her get back again.

We hope it will be so you can come home to stay some time this summer. I will send this over to go by the first boat but do not know whether you will get it before you leave Cincinnati. I shall write to L today.

In haste Your Sister PB

P Benedict, letter to George Benedict, 1 May 1846, Captain George Benedict Collection, 1:3, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and editorial comment by Hope Martin, HC 2014

Belpre May 1, 1846

My Dear Brother,

Your letter arrived by tuesdays mail and we were glad to hear that you had got back C again and were well. I supposed when I sent your things that my letter by mail would get there in time or I [should ?] have written again. But as it did not I will send by Steam Boat this time. I took mother up to M last week on Wednesday she stood the ride pretty well. I came back the next day and brought Libby with me. She is still here and likes staying very well. Mother came home this week on Wednesday with Mrs Browning. Her foot is very much as it has been for the last six weeks. She is about the house but not able to do much. Irenea was quite unwell all the time she was up. she is very poor this spring and I think rather feable. The rest were all well. They enquired particularly about you and I expect would be glad to get a letter occasionally. Mrs Elizabeth Gardiner formally Elizabeth Putnam of Harman was buried the day we went up. She died with the inflamation in the bowels, occasioned by her takeing could by going out into the garden to work, with thin shoes on. She left a babe about six weeks old. Mrs Cram wife of Mr. Jacob Cram and daughter of Mr. Devol of Union died with the typhus feaver on tuesday of this week.

I also saw in our last Parkersburg paper the death of Miss Virginia Williamson. I suppose it is the one who formily boarded with us. She died at [Schumler?] RItchie County on the 24 of April, in the twenty second year of her age. I received a letter from Lucy last week on Tuesday. It was written the day after she got to her Fathers and was [over?] twenty three days in coming. We were getting to feel very uneasy about them, thought either she or little [Lucy] must be sick. but we were very glad indeed to hear that they were not, and also that her father was a [little?]better. She wrote that she got home just in time for the wedding that Elizabeth Davis, Cousin Fritches Sister, was to be married the next thursday. Dr. [Sofford?] of Parkersburg was married last week on Wednesday to Miss Sarah Ross of Marietta. and on Monday last Mr Charles Hall was married to Miss Caroline Green.

It’s healthy here I believe with the exception of the mumps and the measles. I have been so fortunate as to escape the formers and hope I shall not get the latter. But I do not know how that will be. they have them at [Dea Homes?] and also at Colbert O'Neals and at Mrs O'Neals. Mrs. Whightman [came?] up on a visit and her little girl took them on the boat and brought them here. I shall try to not expose myself.

Mother says I must give her love to you and tell you how she is as near as I can. I believe I have done that. She wants very much to have [Tiss?] get back. Thinks she has been gone a great while. and wants to see you and Lucy also. I hope you will all be preserved in [health?] and safety and returned to us again. We are almost daily reminded that life is uncertain. Friend after friend departs. May we so live as to be found ready to obey the summons.

With much love I am your Aft Sister.

P. Benedict

Do not forget to write from C when you get back.

A Haven, 5 June 1850, Captain George Benedict’s Papers, 1:2:2, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, IN.).
Transcription by Clayton Fletcher, HC 2014

Mr George Benedict
Care [Singe?] Duff Co
Pittsburg Pa

Cincinnati June 5 1850

Mr George Benedict

Dr Sir

Your letter of 27th ult, came duly to hand. and in reply I will say that I am back safe and sound and in good health. I am glad to hear that you are progressing in your boat. I have heard from several that I am interested in your new boat and it has been some detriment to us in our business relations. Mr Curtis says that it is hardly right that a [boat?] that he was interested in should deal with a house that is interested in a boat that is to new in opposition to the Ohio. and I want you to tell him that the interest in the new boat is for Joseph G. Haven. and I will explain all to you when I see you. In the agreement you hold from me, the interest is for my brother Joseph. As for the boat running in opposition to the Ohio, it will be a help to her for it will make a certainty in the trade being continued for it will make business for the trade. I will talk to Mr Curtisand try to let him right in the matter. Hoping to hear from you soon I remain truly yours

A Haven

James C. Jelly, letter to Captain G. Benedict, 3 July 1852, Captain George Benedict Papers, 1:2, Duggan LIbrary, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Grant Pangallo, HC 2014

Capt G. Benedict
S.B. Jane Franklin

July 3, 1852

Dear Sir,

On my return home I find that the matter in regard to the Mail Agency is not decided yet and I cant make any permanent arrangement until that is fixed. Capt Roberts holds out very good inducements to stay with him and as I cannot promise certain when I could go with you I expect you had better not depend on me. but if you dont make any change this trip it may possibly be so that I could go by the time you could make another trip

With many thanks for your kind offer

I Remain

Yours Respectfully

James C. Jelly

P Benedict, letter to Captain G. Benedict, 17 April [year unknown], Captain George Benedict Papers, 1:3, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and editorial comment by Seth Revolt, HC 2014

Mr George Benedict
Steamer Mountaineer
Care of Broadwell & Co.

Parkersburg Monday Morn April 17

Dear Brother I just came over the river and as the [Alaquippa?] is expected down I will just write you a line to let you know that Mother is quite well again. She was very unwell when I wrote you last week. the rest are in usual health. The river is so low that I suppose we may hardly expect you up

Hope you are well and that you will not forget to write. In haste Your Sister

P Benedict

Polly Benedict, letter to George Benedict, [no date], Captain George Benedict Papers, 1:3, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and editorial comment by Chip Hockenbury, HC 2014

George Benedict
Steam Boat Harrisburgh

My Dear Brother,

As you would perhaps like to know something about my visit I will just say that I found our friends generally well excepting Uncle Lane he is very feeble and unless he gets better soon, probibly will and live through the summer. I went to Hartford to visit Cousin Jehial & Julia. Went to Paris to see Cousin Mary, spent one Sabbath at Newton Falls with Cousin Irenea. Found Cousin Hannah and her second daughter at Uncle Barnums. They talk some spending the summer her health is very poor. Likewise saw Hiram his wife and children, liked his wife much indeed. Uncle is building a house for him is getting it ready to raise and is going to send it to Akron on the Canal Boat &c. I had a very pleasant visit with Cousin Lucy. Like her very well. She has a very bad finger now; their was something like a wart came on the joint of her middle finger on the right hand sometime since; it troubled her some and one of the doctors told her he could put on something that could eat it out. He put on a root called the Indian Cancer root but it made it so painful that she could not bare it and took it off, but it affected her finger very much and was very painful. They felt very uneasy about it were afraid it would injure her finger. She came to Warren with us when we started home it was a little better then, but looked very badly. She said I must give her love to the foalks, that she did not expect that she should be able to write soon. I presume she intended it for you, &c. When are you coming home to stay some? We want very much to see you. We have an excellent minister here now by the name of Edwards I heard him preach last Sabbath and wished very much you could have been here. I fear the situation you are place in is rather unfavorable for cultivating the spirit of true religion. But hope you will try to live the life of a Christian.

In regard to the subject you mentioned to me I can only that I think perhaps it would do very well. I have some shirts for you thought some of leaveing them at the wharf boat but have concluded not to for fear of looseing them. If you need them try to stop and get them

In haste Your Sister P Benedict


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