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Leaves From a Tree

This page provides a convenient gateway to the ancestry of my great-grandfather, Aaron Jehu Benedict, that has resided on RootsWeb WorldConnect in various forms for a number of years. The current version is called "Leaves From a Tree: Ancestry of Aaron Jehu Benedict, a New York State Farmer".

Who Was Aaron Jehu Benedict?

Here is the entry, on pages 198 and 199 of Henry Marvin Benedict's 1870 book, The Genealogy of the Benedicts in America, that originally identified to me my great-grandfather, Aaron Jehu8 Benedict.
Aaron was the last-born child of Clarissa Smith, the second wife of Miner7 Benedict, and he was about 21 years of age when the book was published. He was the very last of my line of descent (i.e., my most recent ancestor) to be listed in Henry Benedict's book.

From where did Aaron Jehu8 get his unusual, Biblical-sounding name? He was obviously named after his paternal grandfather, Aaron6. And the name Aaron was fairly common in America in the period in which the Bible was the main source of names. The 1870 Benedict Genealogy lists twenty different men named Aaron. On the other hand, Aaron's middle name, Jehu, also a Biblical name, has no first name listings in that compendium; Aaron and his son, Aaron Jehu9, Jr., may therefore be the only Benedicts bearing this less than common name. (Aaron9 was called A-J as a boy; he later adopted Jay as his usual name.) "Jehu" was actually brought into the Benedict family by Aaron's mother, Clarissa Smith, whose brother, Jehu Waring Smith, married Delia Benedict, sister of Aaron's father, Miner Benedict. Also, Clarissa Smith's grandfather had a younger brother named Jehu who died one year after birth.

Aaron's father, Miner7 Benedict, the bearer of another unusual Benedict given name, was born in Canaan Parish in Fairfield County, Connecticut, which was later incorporated in 1801 as New Canaan, Connecticut. Miner left New Canaan with his father, the earlier Aaron, about 1805, to go to New York State to what was then a newly opened frontier in the brand-new United States of America. They very likely started out intending to follow other family members and friends from New Canaan on the trek to Walton (referred to as "the Mountain"), in Delaware County, New York, but they and others (Smiths, Comstocks, and Warings among them) decided to stop and plant new roots at Thompsonville, in Sullivan County, about 45 miles short of their original goal. Miner Benedict, who did not marry until 1821, was probably involved in the early establishment of the farm that would eventually become Aaron's.

Aaron Jehu Benedict was a hard-working New York State farmer. A reminder of his industry and the hardships of the frontier are the stone walls that still cross his former land. They result from the need to clear the land for farming, and they stand some five feet high with a four to five foot width across the top. This land is rewooded now, but those walls remain as a lasting testimony to the hard work and hardships endured by these pioneers.

R + B
Copyright © 2004-2007 R.A. Benedict (unless otherwise credited)
This Update: May 2005