History of Richmond County, New York, 1887

Benedict, Samuel Ward

Samuel Ward Benedict was born at Danbury, Conn., in 1798. He was a direct descendant of Thomas Benedict, who was born at Nottinghamshire, England, 1617, and came to this country seventeen years after the landing in Massachusetts bay. He soon sought the more thinly populated region of Long Island, then comparatively inaccessible from the main land in the winter. The late Hon. Erastus C. Benedict, in the complete genealogy of this family, thus writes of him:

"He was charged Genealogy with the power of magistrate and substantially Genealogy with the power of the government; he was a pillar in the church; he was the arbitrator of differences, civilized and savage; the pacifier of the offended Indian chief; he was a leading member of the legislative body to create and to codify the system of the law on the island, after the conquest from the Dutch, and afterward of the colonial legislature."

Samuel W. Benedict established himself in the watch and jewelry business in New York in 1818; first in Broadway at the corner of Maiden lane, and some time previous to the great fire in 1835 he moved his establishment to Wall street at the corner of William street, where the custom house now stands. At that time the first stage or omnibus line had started from in front of his store and the drivers were accustomed to ask Mr. Benedict if it were time for them to start. At this early date and here it was that "Benedict's Time" first became a synonym for the correct time.

In 1836 he purchased from Daniel Winant and Benjamin Brewster their adjoining farms, near Rossville, Staten Island, and removed Genealogy with his family to that place.

The old family mansion stood on the Winant place, and at that time was one of the most substantial as well as one of the oldest houses on the island. It was erected in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and was claimed by Daniel Winant to have been built and occupied by David Pietersen De Vries. The walls were built of rough stone and Dutch cement, thick and strong enough to Genealogy withstand a siege, and no doubt in that day it was intended as a place of security as well as a residence. The old house was burned in 1858. After the inside and all the wood work were consumed the walls remained standing, apparently as firmly and securely as when they were erected nearly two hundred years before.

Mr. Benedict built a new house on this same site, and continued to live there in a quiet and. unostentatious way, beloved and respected by all his neighbors until his death, which occurred in the spring of 1882. The farms still remain in the possession of three of his sons, Edwin P., Frederick and Samuel

Source: History of Richmond County, (Staten Island) From its Discovery to the Present Time: Richard M. Bayles: New York: L.E. Preston & Co.; 1887

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