Cornelius Benham

Cornelius K. Benham, M.D.

Retyped from Beers "History of Greene County" by Annette Campbell

Tracing this surname back to the famous Hundred Rolls of King Alfred's time---the earliest of civil records in England---it is found to be of pure Saxon origin. According to Savage, a John Benham came to America in 1630, in the then well-known ship Mary and John, and settled in Dorchester. He acquired the right as freeman, October 19th 1630. He acquired this by a first wife, by whom he had two children, Joseph and John.  He removed to Hartford in 1630; he married again, Margery, daughter of Thomas Alcock, of Dorchester, in 1659, who died a few weeks after reaching Hartford, and he followed her, in 1641, at New Haven. Upon the church records of this place, of date 1669, are found the names of freemen, John, John Jr., and Joseph Benham.
Family traditions, however, say that the first men of this name who came to America (during the latter part of the seventeenth century) were three brothers, who settled as follows: James in Rhode Island, Joseph in Connecticut, and John on Long Island; but the absence of this name from a long list of immigrants who sought the freedom of American shores, other than the John of Dorchester in 1630, prior to 1700, is a strong argument favoring the theory that these "three brothers" were descendants of this first John Benham.
Cornelius K. Benham M.D. is descended from good stock, who for at least three generations have been practicing physicians, which accounts for the enthusiasm Mr. Benham has always displayed in his professional work.  And after a long and well spent career as a pioneer physician it is doubtful if there has been or is another who has done as much in this professional line as Dr. C. K. Benham.  His circuit, from Delaware county line to that of Cairo, from beyond Ulster to and into Schoharie, has been thoroughly cared for in former years, and let these lines extol to posterity his worth as a citizen and his value as a physician.  Though having reached four score years, he is yet sound in mind and quite hale in body.
wpe1.gif (168075 bytes)Mr. Benham was born in Ashland, Greene county, New York, and was a son of Thomas and Margaret (Patrie) Benham, and sixth child of a family of eight: Margaret, Thomas, Jacob, Margaret 2nd, John P., Cornelius K., born September 19 1801, Mary, and Clarissa.
Thomas, a physician, was a son of Cornelius and Garetty Charter (Charity Carter), born at Hillsdale, New York (Columbia County-AC), November 6th O.S. 1736, and married about 1760.  His children were: Peter, born November 11th 1762; Madeline; Margaret; Thomas, born January 8th 1770; Mary; Margaret 2nd; and Garretty S., April 13th 1790. He was also a physician, and died August 22nd 1805. His father was also a physician, though his name is unknown. He was a son of the John Benham of Long Island tradition.  This latter (John) married a Miss Kymber--a young woman who, when a school girl in some one of England's coast towns, with a bevy of others was decoyed aboard an American vessel and kidnapped, and from marital circumstances never returned.
Dr. Benham married, for his first wife, Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Martinus and Rosina Laraway, November 30th 1825. Their children were:  Jacob Gumalia, born in 1827;  Thomas Leander, born in 1831;  Rose L., born in 1836;  Martinus, born in 1838. Mrs. Benham died September 10th 1866, and he married Hannah Cartwright, of Roxbury, New York, January 15th 1868. She was a daughter of Samuel Cartwright, born August 11th 1825 and is yet living (1883-AC).  He has an elegant home in his old age, and a kind and thoughtful wife.

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