The Heartbreak of George A. Benson of Lawrenceville
In 1885, George A. Benson, whose parents resided in Philadelphia, lived in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Before coming to Georgia, he was employed at Benson and Townsend, a banking house in Philadelphia. Benson was romantically involved with with a young woman from Albany, New York, a belle by the name of Miss Ruth A Larrabe, the daughter of E. J. Larrabe, had written him 86 love letters. The letters were tender expressions of love, written in the fine fashion of a cultured lady of the times. From the letters, they couple had agreed to be married in April of the previous year. For some unexplained reason, however, the marriage was broken off. Even son, the letters which followed the broken engagement, were filled with affection, then a sadness. Some obstacle seemed to stand between them. According to Miss Larrabe, she was powerless. Her mother denied that such an engagement had ever existed, and refused to allow her daughter to be interviewed by the newspapers. However, the Albany newspapers managed to interview a well-known gentlemen in the social circles of Albany, who said: "I know Miss Larrabe as a graceful, engaging, refined young lady. Benson I did not know, nor had I heard that any engagement of marriage existed between him and Miss Larrabe. They had probably become acquainted at Washington where Miss Larrabe spent one winter with the family of Secretary McCullough, and went much into society, where she was a general favorite. She also visited Mrs. McElroy, sister of President Arthur. The young lady is bright and charming and has participated prominently in the social festivities of the past few weeks in this city.""
Another person, however, who was quite familiar with the family, said: "I understand the young man was a suitor for Miss Larabe's hand. They were devoted to one another, but her parents objected a year ago to an engagement on account of the youth of the parties. For a time there was an understanding that his suit might be heard at a later day if the affections of the young people did not undergo a change as they became older. When, however, Mr. Benson became dissipated all thought of an engagement was abandoned. The conduct of Miss Larrabe in the matter has been above reproach, and she is deeply pained by the publicity that has been given the case."
Before the suicide, Benson had just asked Mr. Holliday of Atlanta to endorse a fifty dollar draft for him. Mr. Hotchkiss, a New York traveler staying at the Markham, boarding house where Benson lived, knew Benson slightly, and sent a telegraph to the Benson family in Philadelphia. Even though it was addressed "Mr. and Mrs. Benson, Philadelphia," the telegram was fortunately delivered to the correct address. The family instructed that the body be shipped home. Oddly enough, Mr. Holliday had referred the draft to Mr. Hotchkiss, who honored it. When Benson asked Mr. Holliday to endorse another fifty dollar draft for him, Mr. Holliday told him that he would have to get his father to telegraph instructions to that effect. A short while later, Benson brought in a telegraph from his father, directing Mr. Holliday to endorse it. Ultimately, the father of the young man telegraphed Mr. Holliday not to advance his son any more money. Ref: The Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, 5 January 1885 and 9 January 1885.
The Chesser-Williams House
This home once stood on the Braselton Highway between Old Peachtree Road and Gravel Springs Road and was known as the Chesser Williams House. It was recently moved to the campus of the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. The parlor features beautiful stencil painting that has a magnificent medallion motif on the ceiling and the room is outlined with an apple pattern. Over the mantle is a free hand painted landscape portrait that shows a pastoral scene. Additional painting was placed in the hallway of the home and features the same apple pattern.
Gwinnett County Wills, Estates, Marriages
The Creeks and Cherokees occupied this land until they ceded it to the State of Georgia in 1789 and 1790. Gwinnett County was named after Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Georgia, who died from wounds on May 19, 1771 after dualling in the streets of Savannah with General Lachlan McIntosh, commander of the American forces during the Revolutionary War. Persons who drew in the 1827 and 1832 land lotteries settled in Gwinnett County. The early settling families were: Andrews, Ambrose, Addison, Bracewell, Bridges, Bruton, Bullock, Burton, Burns, Brandon, Carter, Carroll, Choice, Chester, Cosley, Connelly, Cowan, Day, Deaton, Dover, Edwards, Dyer, Durham, Dunlap, Etheridge, Edwards, Glaze, Garmany, Franklin, Freeland, Flowers, Gresham, Gray, Holcombe, Howell, Jackson, James, Kicker, Killian, Kinney, Knight, Lankford, Lester, Light, Lockridge, Martin, Malone, Mann, McKinney, McGinnis, Maynard, Montgomery, Norton, Owen, Pace, Plunkett, Pool, Perkerson, Rakestraw, Rowden, Spruce, Snow, Terrell, Terry, Thomas, Tait, Warbington, Waits, Venable, Vinyard, Wells, Wiley, Whitehead, and others.
Gwinnett County Genealogy Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Indexes to Probate Court Records
- Index to Marriages 1843 to 1864
- Marriage Book 3, 1827-1837
- Index to Marriages 1871-1882
- Marriages from newspapers (1885-1886)
Images of Inferior Court Minutes (1819-1861)
- Inventories and Annual Returns, Books 10-14, 1872-1895
- Inventories and Appraisements 1856-1866
- Inventories and Appraisements 1886-1897
Images of Wills (1846-1886) Book D, oldest surviving Will Book.
Names of Testators: Amanda M. Adams, John Armistead, A. A. Arnold, William L. Atkinson, Sarah Bagwell, Martha Bailey, William Bailey, Anthony W. Bates, Joseph M. Baxter, John G. Bennett, John J. Bennett, Lovick Bettis, David Bolton, M. M. Bolton, John A. Born, Joseph M. Bowers, Meshack Boyce, Jeffers Bradford, Cashwell Brand, William E. Brand, James Braswell, Tandy H. Brown, Vinson Brownlee, Franklin P. Buchanan, John Bugg, Maria Mackay Burtchell, John L. Burrell, Charles Burson, Daniel M. Byrd, William Davis Byrd, John Cain, John Caloway, Gille Camp, Catharine H. Churchhill, Sterling Clark, Austin W. Cole, Levi M. Cooper, George W. Craig, John E. Craig Sr., Robert Craig, Burton E. Crawford, Robert B. Eckles, Robert Etheridge, James Flowers, Sarah Fountain, Samuel H. Freeman, Marsha Furguson, William Galloway, James Garner, James Garner Sr., Lucretia Garner, John J. Glover, William J. Gober, Marcus L. Gordon, Robert M. Gower, Sarah M. Gower, Robert J. Goza, Lourina Griswell, Thompson Hale, Martha T. Hamilton, Sanford Hannah, Thomas C. Hardigree, Jerry Harris, James Harrison, James Hawthorn, Harrison Head, Lucinda Higgins, Silas Higgins, C. H. Hopkins, John Hopkinns, Luther F. Hopkins, Evan Howell, Thomas Hunter, Andrew J. Hutchins, Nathan Hutchins, William S. Ivie, William G. Jacobs, Kincheon Jenkins, Polly Ann Johnson, Stella Julian, W. T. Kilgore, John King, John Knight, David Langley, James Lanier, Curtis C. Lankford, Zachry J. Lee, Daniel Liddell, Charles H. Linsey, Daniel Lockridge, Hugh D. Lowe, Mary E. Lowe, Amos Lowry, Thomas Maguire, William Maltbie, Elisha Martin, John Martin, Lucy B. Martin, Alexander M. Mason, Charley Mason, William A. Massey, Thomas Matthews, Telford McConnell, John McCurly, Darling P. McDaniel, Eli J. McDaniel, James McDaniel, John S. McElvany, John McMillan, Rhesa McMillan, Thomas Mewborn, Goodwin Miller, Mark Miller, Rache Miner, George W. Mitchell, Middleton Montgomery, Kinchen Mooneyham, John Morrow, John Walker Nash, Robert B. Nash, Harrison Nix, Azariah Noel, Frances L. O'Kelly, Jesse Osborn, Samuel S. Peden, William J. Peeples, William F. Perry, Elijah Pittard, James W. Plummer, John H. Pounds, Turk Rakestraw, Samuel Rawlins, John R. Richards, Mary A. Richardson, Andrew Martin Ross, James S. Russell, William J. Russell, Washington Rutledge, Sanford A. Scales, William Scales, William D. Sexton, Eliza Simmons, James P. Simmons, John Simms, Emily Simonton, James Stanley, Jorden Stanton, George Stephenson, Reason D. Stephens, Van R. Stevenson, Henry P. Thomas, Sivilinett Thomas, William Thrasher, Isaac Tinsey, John Morris Tullis, Howell H. Upchurch, Columbus Webb, Joshua Westbrook, James Wheeler, Richard Whiteworth, Mary Whitworth, Hosea Williams, William P. Williams, Anderson Windsor, Richard D. Winn, Sherwood Wise, Andrew Wood.
Civil War Records
- Gwinnett County Civil War Roster 1861-1865
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