Benjamin Brewster

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Benjamin Brewster

Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: Connecticut
Death: September 4, 1897 (69)
Cazenovia, Madison County, New York, United States
Place of Burial: Cazenovia, Madison County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Patrick Brewster and Catharine Brewster
Husband of Elmina Hearsey Brewster
Father of James Dows Brewster; Catherine Elmina Brewster; William Brewster; George Stepenson Brewster; Mary Dows Jennings and 2 others
Brother of Catharine Mary Brewster; James Patrick Brewster; Hannah Maria Brewster and Sarah Jane Brewster

Managed by: David Andrew Dyer
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Brewster

Benjamin Brewster (June 30, 1828 – August 23, 1897) was an American industrialist, financier, and one of the original trustees of Standard Oil.

Early life

Brewster was born in 1828 in Norwich, Connecticut to Patrick Brewster (fourth great-grandson of Mayflower Pilgrim William Brewster) and Catharine Fanny Roath. He attended public schools in Norwich and went to work as a clerk in New York City.

Business career

In 1849 he headed West to join the California Gold Rush, establishing a general mercantile store in San Francisco soon after his arrival. His partner in this enterprise was Oliver Burr Jennings, and together they amassed a considerable fortune.

Brewster returned East in 1874 and settled permanently in New York City. Following his former partner Oliver Burr Jennings, who had married the sister of William Rockefeller's wife, he became involved with John D. Rockefeller in organizing the Standard Oil Company. When the Standard Oil Trust was formed in 1882 he served as a trustee.

Brewster was prominently associated with the building of the Manhattan Elevated Railway and was also a financial leader in many large railroad transactions, particularly the reorganization of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway. He served as vice president of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad and was a director of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad and the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. He was also a director of the International Navigation Company, owner of the American Line of steamers.

Family and death

On June 9, 1863, Brewster married Elmina Hersey Dows, daughter of James Dows, in San Francisco. They had seven children:

James Dows Brewster (March 24, 1864 – August 29, 1864)

Catherine Elmina Brewster (August 16, 1865 – June 6, 1866)

William Brewster (January 25, 1867 – October 27, 1867)

George Stephenson Brewster (b. September 15, 1868)

Mary Dows Brewster (b. January 2, 1871, married Oliver Gould Jennings, son of Oliver Burr Jennings; mother of Brewster Jennings)

Frederick Foster Brewster (b. August 13, 1872)

Robert Stanton Brewster (b. September 27, 1875)

In 1890 Brewster built a summer home in Cazenovia, New York, which he named "Scrooby" after the English manor house where his ancestor William Brewster lived before setting sail on the Mayflower. The building now houses The Brewster Inn.

Brewster died at his home in Cazenovia in 1897 at the age of 69. The pallbearers were: John D. Rockefeller, Ransom Reed Cable, Charles S. Fairchild, Roswell P. Flower, Clement Griscom, Walter Jennings, Charles A. Peabody, Henry H. Rogers, Henry W. Curtis, William M. Burr, and Henry H. Porter.

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Benjamin Brewster's Timeline

June 30, 1828
March 24, 1864
Age 35
San Francisco, CA
August 16, 1865
Age 37
San Francisco, San Francisco, California
January 25, 1867
Age 38
Cazenovia, Madison, NY
September 15, 1868
Age 40
New York City, NY
January 2, 1871
Age 42
Irvington, Westchester County, New York, United States
August 13, 1872
Age 44
Irvington, Westchester, NY
September 27, 1875
Age 47
Cazenovia, Madison, NY
September 4, 1897
Age 69
Cazenovia, Madison County, New York, United States