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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Benson

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1012-1013 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

This Benson family of Troy descend from the English family of Benson, early settlers in New England. The principal settlement of the English family was in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. John Benson came from Southampton, England, in the ship "Confidence," with wife Mary and two children, and settled in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1638, where he had a grant of land. There were many of the name in the district lying between Massachusetts and Narragansett Bay, between Hull and Newport. The founder of the Newport family, John Benson, evidently did not come to America until after 1692, as he is not mentioned in "Savage." [James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England.] From the Massachusetts colonies, and from Rhode Island plantations, the family spread and are found after the revolution settled in Connecticut. The earliest definitely located progenitor of the Troy family is Barack Benson, who was a farmer of the town of Thompson, Windham county, Connecticut. The census of 1790 includes him as a resident there with a family of six. He married Sarah Buxton, and had a family of seven.

(II) Squire, fourth child of Barak (Barack) and Sarah (Buxton) Benson, was a manufacturer of rope of various kinds, clock cords, fish lines, hatter rope, etc. He was a man of good education, wrote and read a great deal. He was covetous of well stored minds for his children, and had as many as eight attending school at the same time, taking them to and fro in the severe and stormy weather in a big family sleigh covered with a heavy canvas sheet to protect and keep them warm. He was always pleased to see them reading or studying, and "Where's your book," or "Get your book" were words very familiar to the children. He lived in Thompson for several years, and later removed to Heath, Massachusetts, where he had a brother Jonathan. This brother was in debt to Squire, and induced him to settle in Heath by giving him land there upon which to settle and build his home. He built the old Benson homestead on Burnt Hill, and here most of his children were born. He often visited his children who settled in Troy, New York. He is remembered as of medium height, wearing his white hair somewhat long. He delighted to visit schools, and whenever he saw a school house he always entered and gave the children a kindly talk, as well as "quiz" them. He paid many visits to Troy, and never failed to visit and have a good chat with his friend, the veteran General Wool, of Mexican war fame. He was a Universalist in religion. In politics he was a Whig and Republican. He married Hannah, daughter of Henry Green, of Williamstown, Massachusetts, born June 28, 1757, died May 31, 1848. He served two years in the revolutionary war, and was a private in Captain Sloane's company, Colonel Reed's regiment, Massachusetts troops. He also served as a private in Captain Willis Clift's company, enlisted February 20, 1778, discharged January 1, 1779; Third Regiment, Connecticut line, 1777-81, commanded by Colonel Samuel Wyllys. This regiment was recruited in Hartford county, general rendezvous, Middletown. They repelled the enemy at Danbury, April 26 and 27; went into camp at Peekskill, May, 1777, and served in Parson's brigade under General Israel Putnam, along the Hudson until January, 1778, when they began construction work at West Point. In the summer of 1778 they encamped with Washington's main army at White Plains, wintered 1778-79 at Redding. Henry Green's services from his first march as a "minuteman" until his final discharge were almost continuous. He was with Washington at Valley Forge, and shared in all the changing conditions of those eight momentous months.

(III) Russell Franklin, son of Squire and Hannah (Green) Benson, was born in Heath, Franklin county, Massachusetts, August 27, 1821, died September 4, 1900. He settled in Troy in 1832. He was appointed to the mail service in Troy during President Lincoln's administration in 1865, and continued in the service as mail carrier in Troy until 1899. During thirty years prior to 1865, he was engaged in the grocery business. He was a Universalist, and in politics a Republican. He married, February 26, 1845, Jane Elizabeth, born in Troy, February 21, 1824, daughter of Jacob S. and Julia Anna Mandeville (Tucker) Heermance, early settlers of Troy. Her maternal grandparents were Edward and Sarah (Simpson) Tucker, of Alexandria, Virginia. Children:

  1. Harriette Mandeville, born in Troy, December 17, 1847; educated in the public schools of Troy, graduating from the high school, July 19, 1866. From 1866 to 1870 she taught in the public schools of Troy, and from 1890 until 1903 conducted a private school in that city. She is one of the well known, successful educators of Troy, and her private school was widely known, favorably considered and well patronized. She is a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, of Troy. She married, September 15, 1870, in the Church of the Holy Cross, Troy, Rufus Belknap Crissey.
  2. Russell Franklin, see forward.

(IV) Russell Franklin (2), son of Russell Franklin (1) and Jane Elizabeth (Heermance) Benson, was born in Troy, New York, March 23, 1852. He was educated in the public schools of Troy, supplemented with a course at business college. Deciding upon medicine as his profession, he began reading under the perceptorship of Dr. J. P. Bloss. In October, 1873, he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City, from whence he was graduated M.D., class of 1876. The same year he began a special course in homeopathy at the Homeopathic College of New York, graduating in 1877. He began practice in Troy, continuing until 1891, when he spent the summer in special study at Vienna, Austria. Returning the same year, he resumed his practice in Troy. Dr. Benson stands high in his profession with a reputation that has been fairly earned by application, hard study and conscientious attention to the demands of his calling. He is modern and progressive in his methods of treatment, and has the confidence of his patrons. He is a member of the Hahnemann Society of New York; the New York State, Albany County and Rensselaer County Homeopathic societies. He is vice-regent of the Sons of the Revolution, and is well-known in the Masonic order, being a member of Lodge, Chapter, Commandery, Shrine and Scottish Rite, thirty-second degree. His club is the Pafraets Dael, of Troy. In politics he is a Republican, and in church connection a member of St. Paul's Episcopal.

He married, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Troy, September 13, 1882, Henrietta, born February 25, 1854, at Fulton, Rock county, Wisconsin, daughter of Augustine Pyre, born in Paris, France, son of Augustine Pyre, of Paris, died at Fulton, Rock county, Wisconsin. He married Harriett Smith, of Clifton Park, Saratoga county, New York, and had children: Augustine, Frank, Amelia, James, Helena, Harriette, Henrietta and Mary.

Harriett Smith was the daughter of Joseph and Rebecca (Vail) Smith. Rebecca Vail was the daughter of Isaac Vail, of Clifton Park, New York, a lieutenant in the revolutionary war, and his wife, Eleanor Ferguson. Isaac Vail was the son of Israel Vail, of Westchester county, New York, a revolutionary soldier, who married Rebecca Hubbard. Israel Vail was captain of the Fifth Dutchess County Regiment of Militia (see minutes of Council of Appointment), and was in command of a detachment of that regiment, June 12, 1777, on duty at "Fort Constitution" in the Highlands bordering the Hudson river. (See Clinton Papers.) Isaac Vail was lieutenant under Captain Nicholas Brown. (See p. 67, manuscript volume of "Certificates of Treasurer," vol. 9.) Henrietta Pyre Benson was educated at Miss Margaret Clement's Female Seminary at Clifton Park, and later took a course in music at the Emma Willard School, Troy. She is a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and is deeply interested in the social, club and benevolent life of her city. She is a member of Philip Schuyler Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; Red Cross Society, of Japan; Martha Washington Memorial Association; Pocahontas Memorial Association; Emma Willard Association; Girls' Friendly Society; Friends of the Sisterhood of St. Paul's Parish; Tuberculosis Relief Association, Troy Hospital Auxiliary; Troy Girls' Club, and the Woman's Improvement League. Children of Dr. Russell F. and Henrietta (Pyre) Benson:

  1. Lawrence Trowbridge, born June 13, 1885, died August 15, 1886.
  2. Arthur Wight, June 29, 1887; educated in Troy public school, graduating from the high school in 1906; entered Cornell University, graduating A.B., class of 1910; now pursuing a course at Cornell Medical College, New York City.

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