Benjamin Cattell Gratz

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Benjamin Cattell Gratz

Birthplace: Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: March 17, 1884 (91)
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Michael Gratz and Miriam Gratz
Husband of Maria Cecil Gratz and Anna Marie Gratz
Father of Benjamin Gratz; Michael Bernard Gratz; Henry Howard Gratz; Hyman Cecil Gratz; Capt. Cary Gist Gratz, (USA) and 4 others
Brother of Solomon Simon Gratz; Frances Etting; Simon Gratz; Richea Hays; Hyman Gratz and 6 others

Managed by: Mark Edwin Guest
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Cattell Gratz

Benjamin Gratz

  • Birth: Sep 4 1792 - Philadelphia, PA
  • Death: 1884 - Fayette Co., Kentucky
  • Parents: Michael Gratz, Miriam Simon
  • Wife: Maria Cecil Gratz (born Gist)
  • Wife: Anna Maria Gratz (born Boswell)
  • Children: Benjamin Gratz, Michael Barnard Gratz, Henry Howard Gratz, Hyman Cecil Gratz, Cary Gist Gratz, Miriam Crosby (born Gratz), Mason Brown Gratz, Anna Clay (born Gratz), Infant Gratz


From Rebecca Gratz & 19th-Century America

Ben probably found a reason to go to Lexington in the autumn of 1818, and evidence from his correspondence shows that he wintered in Vincennes and was back in Lexington in the spring of 1819. He returned to Philadelphia and, in the fall of 1819, was in Lexington again, this time to stay. There is no information on when he proposed to Maria Cecil Gist, but he would not have done so unless he had the means to support a wife in Kentucky.

Somewhere along the way he attracted the interest of Col. James Morrison, one of the founders of Lexington. The Gratz family had long held land in Kentucky, and Morrison would have known them by reputation and perhaps had met some of the Gratz men. In any case, to a city father who hoped to make his town "the Athens of the West," a young man with a master's degree and legal and business experience would be a gift from heaven. Morrison probably facilitated what would be a lucrative business. He, John Bruce, a local Scottish immigrant who had experience in the manufacturing of rope, and Benjamin Gratz entered into a partnership to make rope in Lexington and provide it at a cheaper price to the West than that produced on the east coast. I assume that Ben, who would also be in charge of the business side of the endeavor, and Morrison provided most of the money to get their factory started.

The Gratz fortune is something of a mystery. The father, Michael Gratz, who had land holdings all over the country, died intestate in 1811. The three eldest brothers seem to have made an attempt to divide the lands among the siblings, but gave up just about the time Ben returned to Philadelphia in 1819: everything went into a family trust, and how it was administered is unknown by me. Ben would have been looking for some investment money when he was in Philadelphia and seems to have gotten it, but whether it came from the estate or a loan from a brother is another question mark.


Founder of the first Jewish Sunday school in the United States


SOME JEWISH FACTORS IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE WEST Author(s): Max J. Kohler Source: Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, 1907, No. 16 (1907), pp. 23-35Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL:
1880 Census with his family
Benj. Gratz in the 1880 United States Federal Census Name: Benj. Gratz Age: 87 Birth Date: Abt 1793 Birthplace: Pennsylvania Home in 1880: Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, USA Street: Mill Street (North) House Number: 84 Dwelling Number: 25 Race: White Gender: Male Relation to Head of House: Self (Head) Marital Status: Married Spouse's Name: A. M. Gratz Father's Birthplace: Celecia Mother's Birthplace: Pennsylvania Occupation: Retired Hemp Manufactor Months not employed: 12 Neighbors: Household Members: Name Age Benj. Gratz 87 A. M. Gratz 71 Alex H. Gratz 19 Thos. H. Clay 37 A. G. Clay 32 Merriam G. Clay 6 Annie G. Crosby 9 Benj. G. Crosby 8 M. G. Crosby 5 Pierce Crosby 4

Wife and child
Benjamin Gratz in the U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970

Name: Benjamin Gratz
Birth Date: 4 Sep 1792
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Death Date: 1884
Death Place: Lexington, Kentucky
SAR Membership: 86436
Role: Ancestor
Application Date: 26 Oct 1960
Spouse: Maria Cecil Gist
Children: Aymen Cecil Gratz


Note: His bio from
American soldier and lawyer; born in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 4, 1792; died at Lexington, Ky., March 17, 1884; educated at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating (M.A.) in 1815. At the outbreak of the War of 1812 Gratz enlisted under Gen. Thomas Cadwalader, and in 1813 joined Capt. John Smith's company of Pennsylvania Volunteers as second lieutenant. Soon after the close of the war he was admitted to the bar of Pennsylvania (1817). He subsequently removed to Kentucky, and was elected trustee of the Transylvania University, Ky.

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Benjamin Cattell Gratz's Timeline

September 4, 1792
Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
February 28, 1822
Clark County, Kentucky, United States
July 12, 1824
Lexington, Fayette Co., KY
August 9, 1829
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, United States
April 13, 1844