Park Benjamin

5th Oct 1769 - 1824


"Planter, attorney and timber getter" in Demerara, co-owner with James Hill Albouy (q.v.) of a boat-building business at Mahaicony and of an estate named La Penitence.

  1. Park Benjamin was from Connecticut. In 1819 he was party to the suit of Barrell v Benjamin, filed by a former partner in Demerara, another American, with whom he had been in partnership in Demerara until 1807. Park Benjamin had taken an oath of allegiance to Britain when the British took possession of the colony in 1803.

  2. According to the British Guiana Colonists Index, Park Benjamin was born 05/10/1769 in Preston, Connecticut, married Mary Judith (Polly) Gall in Demerara 22/08/1801 and died 23/06/1824, lost at sea.

  3. William Christopher, son of Park and Mary Judith Benjamin was born 28/11/1806 and baptised in St Michael, Barbados, 06/05/1807. No other baptisms of the children of Mary Judith and Park have been found in Barbados.

  4. "The Benjamins landed in American even earlier than the Livingstons, in 1632, on a boat called Lyon, emigrating from Sussex, England, and prospering almost immediately and for more than a century, until somebody bore a son with a talent for losing money. But this latter man, unfortunate though he was in the ways of finance, himself had a son named Park Benjamin, who made his own way in the world. At the age of twenty-six, Park abandoned ownership of a shoemaker's shop and became Captain Park Benjamin of the good ship Prosperity, a trading sloop that traveled between Norwich, Connecticut, and British Guiana, and this made all the difference for the family. Captain Benjamin became one of the most famous of the Norwich sea captains; the local paper was filled with stories of his adventures. Working just after the Revolution, a time of great maritime prosperity, many captains on the East Coast amassed fortunes by both exporting and importing. Park and his brother developed a plantation in Demerara, British Guiana. They arrived there with cattle, lumber, and flour from the States and left with sugar, coffee, and rum. Park bore a son in Demerara, also named Park, who caught a tropical disease that left one of his legs permanently shriveled. Young, lame Park would go on to have a career as a poet and editor and is chiefly remembered for bringing to wide attention a new author then in his early thirties, Nathaniel Hawthorne. When Park was thirteen, the family had returned permanently to Connecticut, but his father, Captain Benjamin, needing to oversee his holdings in British Guiana, had set sail once more from the East Coast in June 1824, bound for South America. He was never seen again. Pieces of the boat found by other vessels suggested that the ship had run into weather; young Park also lost his older brother in the wreck."

  5. "Park made his will June 29, 1816 at Demarara, but it was invalidated because it did not name son Benjamin Henry, who was born after the making of the will. In New Haven, Conn. Probate Records (Vol. 37 p. 18) the will is set aside and Mary J. Benjamin is named administrator and Sherman Croswell with a bond of $5,000. (Ibid Vol. 37ยป544). Mary Lanman, late widow of Park, is given her third part of the real estate, which was valued at $940.50. (Ibid, Vol.39 p. 3^) Mary J. Benjamin is appointed guardian of the children and in Vol. 37 p. 75-6 is given a listing of the inventory. The personal estae was valued at $3,629.90. After Mary Judith's second marriage, Judge Lanman acted with his wife in the settlement of the estates of Capt. Park Benjamin, her former husband, and of Margaret C. Gail, her sister. Her sister accompanied Capt. Park Benjamin on his fatal voyage, and was drowned at sea... The will of Mrs. Lanman is dated July 16, 184? and leaves her estate to her children Park Benjamin, Mary Motlet, Susan Stackpole, and Benjamin H. Benjamin; to be equally divided between them with the proviso that Park's share be held in trust during his lifetime and after his decease, be conveyed to such persons as her son Park appoint. The value of her estate was $38,112.98. (Norwich Probate Rec. Vol. 18)."


B.W. Higman, Slave Populations of the Caribbean p. 177.

  1. Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1819), Volume 15 pp. 354-357.

  2., Barbados Church Records, 1637-1887 [database online].

  3. Image from memorial ID 40968971 sourced to Michael Ruhlman, Wooden Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard (2001).

  4. Gloria Wall Bicha, The Benjamin Family in America (1977) pp. 220-221 available at [accessed 16/09/2020].

  5., Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 [database online]; American Mercury 02/11/1826 transcribed at, U.S., Newspaper Extractions from the Northeast, 1704-1930 [database online];, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database online].

We are grateful to David O'Carroll for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Mary Gall

Associated Estates (3)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1823 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Joint owner
1826 [EA] - 1826 [LA] → Previous owner
1817 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Attorney

Relationships (3)

Business partners
Other relatives
Notes →
Both men served as attorneys to J.O. Lincoln and his heirs in British Guiana. Charles Benjamin was almost certainly related to Park Benjamin, but how has not yet been established by...
Husband → Wife