Happy Birthday Jerusha Bennett



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Jerusha Bennett (circa 1811 – 1849)

Happy Birthday Jerusha! We know you had a birthday sometime. We just don’t know the day or exact year of your birth. So, today is your day to be remembered despite the lack of records to tell us the exact dates.

Jerusha Bennett was born about 1811 in New York as the third child of John Bennett and Sarah “Sally” Rockwell. She had eight siblings, namely: Milla Atwood, Comfort, Deborah, Thomas, Josiah, Hannah, Elias, and Miles Covell. The oldest sister, Milla, was a half-sister. Their shared mother, Sally Rockwell, had been married to Benjamin Atwood prior to her marriage to John Bennett.

Jerusha Bennett was married to Edmund Brace on 15 Feb 1826 at Big Flats, Chemung, New York, by her uncle, Abraham Bennett, Justice of the Peace.

An account of the marriage of Jerusha Bennett and Edmund Brace was given years later when Edmund was applying for a Civil War pension.

Edmund Brace and Jerusha Bennett had the following children:

  1. John Brace was born in 1829 in New York. While serving in the Civil War, he died on 24 Jan 1863 in Covington, Kenton, Kentucky. His cause of death reported by the military was “apoplexy,” unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke. He was mustered in at Aurora, Kane, Illinois on 20 Aug 1861 and had signed up for a three-year term of service. He was a private in Company E of the 36th Illinois US Infantry. His service records show that he was 5′ 9 1/2″ tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a dark complexion. Before his service, he was a farmer. Some records show that he died in Ohio. This seemed confusing, but Cincinnati, Ohio is near the border with Kentucky. He was buried at Covington, Kentucky and later moved to Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Jessamine, Kentucky.¹ (Looking into John for this post led me to a 47-page Civil War “Widows’ Pension” application. John was not married, but his father, Edmund, filed the application claiming that he had been dependent upon John running the farm for his own livlihood. What a find! It gave Edmund and Jerusha’s marriage date, showed actual signatures of several family members, and had a lot of other interesting details.)
  2. Deborah Rose Brace was born on 08 Feb 1834 in Chemung, New York. She married Morris Albert Cummings. She died on 17 Apr 1896 in Newstead, Erie, New York.
  3. Comfort Brace was born about 1835 in Big Flats, Chemung, New York. Like his older brother, he left farming to enter the service on 20 Aug 1861. He too was a private in Company E of the 36th Illinois Infantry. He was described as 5′ 6″ with brown hair, blue eyes, and a light complexion. He outlived his brother by a few months. He died on 20 Sep 1863, when he was killed on the second day of battle at Chickamauga, Walker, Georgia. The Battle of Chickamauga was a Confederate Victory, ending a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. It was a sad loss for Company E. Besides Comfort, the company lost their lieutenant, their sergeant, and two other men to death. Their captain was wounded and captured, as were five others. Many other men were wounded.³
  4. Thomas Brace was born on 09 Oct 1837 in Pennsylvania (or New York). He married Mary Carpenter on 01 Dec 1862 in Kendall, Illinois. He died on 12 Mar 1894 in Avoca, Murray, Minnesota (Age: 56).
  5. Nancy E. Brace was born on 02 May 1840 in New York. She married Lewis Henry Congdon on 07 Apr 1858 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois. She died on 21 Mar 1915 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.
  6. Amelia A. Brace was born on 22 Mar 1844 in Akron, Erie, New York.  She married Albert Aveldo Phillips in 1866. She died on 21 Sep 1926 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois.
  7. Joseph Brace was born about 1848 in Illinois, USA. It is assumed that he died before 1860. He was with his father in the 1850 Federal Census, but not in 1860 and no other trace of him has been found.
  8. Eliza H. Brace was born on 07 Nov 1849 in Kendall, Illinois. She married Alfred R. Vaughn on 31 Dec 1868 in Kendall, Illinois. She died on 13 Dec 1935 in Aurora, Kane, Illinois.

Jerusha’s father died in 1837 at Big Flats, Chemung, New York. He remembered Jerusha in his will with a gift of money. Two of her brothers received real estate and were then, in turn, to pay Jerusha for her share. She was to receive $150 from her brother Thomas and $50 from her brother Elias. The money was due to her by 1 May 1840. Putting a specific deadline in the will, John Bennett must have known he was dying soon. That $200 in 1840 is worth something like $5,730.00 today based on a historic standard of living value.²

John Bennett, probate.

The Brace family were still living in Big Flats, Chemung, New York when the 1840 Federal Census was taken. The 1840 Census only listed the names of the head of household, so the entry for the family was listed under Edmund Brace.

Free White Persons – Males – Under 5:2Thomas and ?, perhaps a child who died young.
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9:1Comfort
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14:1John
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39:1?, perhaps a hired man or extended family member
Free White Persons – Males – 40 through 49:1Edmund
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5:1Nancy
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9:1Deborah Rose.
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14:1?
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29:1<– Jerusha. This gives her a birth of between 1811 and 1820.
1840 Federal Census, Big Flats, Chemung, New York, Edmund Brace entry.

It seems that the family left Chemung County, New York, sometime around 1837. Their son, Thomas, who was born in 1837 was listed as having been born in New York on census records when he was young, but as an adult, he started being listed as having been born in Pennsylvania. It is possible that the Brace family lived in Pennsylvania for a brief time or that he was born when they were traveling west, but other than those census listings, there is not evidence of a Pennsylvania birth.

We do know that the family had moved to Illinois by about 1848. They settled near Bristol, Kendall County, Illinois.

Jerusha Bennett Brace died on 10 Nov 1849 in Kendall, Illinois. She was only about 38-years old when she passed away. It is likely that she died as complications of childbirth since her youngest daughter was born on 07 Nov 1849. She left behind a newborn baby and seven other children ranging in age from about one to twenty-two. Sadly, two of her sons would later perish in the Civil War.

Where is she in the tree?

Relationship chart, Floyd Boyce Phillips to Jerusha Bennett.
Pedigree chart, Jerusha Bennett.

Notes and Selected Sources:

¹ “Brace, John,” Illinois Civil War Detail Report, Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, Web, 23 Oct 2017, http://www.ilsos.gov/isaveterans/civilMusterSearch.do?key=25943; and “John Brace,” Find A Grave, Web, 23 Oct 2017, https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=398146.

² Samuel H. Williamson, “Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present,” MeasuringWorth, 2017.

³ Lyman G. Bennett and William M. Haigh, History of the Thirty-sixth regiment Illinois volunteers, during the war of the rebellion (Aurora, Illinois: Knickerbocker & Hodder: 1876) p. 482, Archive Org edition, (https://archive.org/details/historyofthirtys00benn : accessed 23 Oct 2017)

“Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War Veterans, ca. 1861 – ca. 1910”, digital image, The National Archives (https://www.fold3.com), John Brace, Fold3, Web, 23 Oct 2017, https://www.fold3.com/image/1/315188352 (and following images).

“New York Probate Records, 1629-1971,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YC9-YPT?cc=1920234&wc=Q7P7-ZNP%3A213303501%2C219514201 : 28 May 2014), Chemung > Wills 1836-1849 vol 1-2 > images 38-41 of 605; county courthouses, New York.

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