Sunday, February 20, 2011

Obituary of Judson C. Bennett

Continuing on my theme of "Who is the Person in This Obituary", I chose another mystery obituary from my grandmother's collection of newspaper clippings to focus on.

All identifying information about the newspaper has been trimmed off, and in addition to that, the author of the obituary had a knack for saying things but not actually giving any information:

1. We know that Judson was 62 when he died, but no birth or death year is provided.
2. We know he had a widow, but no name is given.
3. We know he had a daughter and 2 sisters, but we are only provided with their married names.

Now, the writer did give us a few clues, particularly in that Judson was to be buried in the Quick Cemetery. That was interesting because my great-great-grandmother Hattie had a 2nd husband named Joe QUICK. He was remembered fondly by my great-grandmother (daughter of Hattie's first husband who died) as being a kind man. So despite not be directly related to him, I've always been interested in him.

First off, I went to find if Quick Cemetery has its residents listed anywhere and I easily found it online ( It's not a complete list, but some wonderful volunteers did their best.

Happily, there was just one Judson C. Bennett listed.

So now I know his birth year and death year, AND I know his wife's first name.

The obituary stated he died on "Thursday, November 28" so I wanted to verify that Nov. 28th was on a Thursday in 1929.

For that I went to the WolframAlpha search engine which is a great search engine when you want to find out data about stuff. I did a search on "november 28 1929" and the results told me that it was a Thursday, and also, that it was Thanksgiving Day for that year, which hadn't even occurred to me to think about.

Now I felt like I had enough info to go to to do a search and I'd actually be able to rule out other Judson Bennetts that might exist:

Judson C. Bennett
b. 1867
Married to: Mattie G. before 1892
At least one child: daughter L. Grace, 1892-1905
d. 28-Nov-1929 in Brooktondale, Tompkins Co., NY

I did a general search on Judson Bennett, born 1867 in New York and I got a family tree result that listed a wife of "Mattie Grace Quick".


I felt pretty good about this - not only was her last name QUICK, but her middle name was Grace and that's what they called their daughter as well. The family tree had sources listed as well, which always makes me feel better. In addition, I found multiple census records where I was happy to see that Judson always made a point of giving his name as "Judson C." with the middle initial. Mattie followed along and had herself listed as "Mattie G.".

So now that I've got all this, I went to my own family files and what do I find but a "Mattie Grace QUICK" who was the daughter of Joseph QUICK and his first wife, the same Joseph QUICK that became the 2nd husband to my great-great-grandmother. I had the info from an 1880 census when Joseph's first wife was still alive, but I had never know what had happened to the children.

Ta Da! Mystery solved as to why this obituary was saved - plus seems that this is likely an obituary saved by my great-grandmother and was passed along to my grandmother (since my grandma was only 9 years old when Judson died).

Mattie Grace QUICK BENNETT was a (much older) step-sister to my great-grandmother Cornelia.

Time for a celebratory cup of tea! Plus now I have to enter this newly found information into my family files!

Obituary Text:

J.C. Bennett Dies; Clerk of Caroline

Judson C. Bennett, 62, long prominent in church and political affairs in the Town of Caroline, died Thursday, November 28, at his home in Brooktondale. He is survived by his widow; a daughter, mrs. Frank Roe; two sisters, Mrs. William Bellis of Waverly and Mrs. Elmer Dickens of Montour Falls, and three grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 2 o'clock Sunday of Brooktondale. Rev. C. E. Humiston will officiate. Interment will be made in Quick Cemetery.

Mr. Bennett was town clerk of Caroline for 25 years and held the office of tax collector for several terms.

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding!! As I've frequently said, genealogy is practically the only discipline that requires the use of all other disciplines to be truly well done. So, I say, "Well done!"