Early Settlers

George Benedict

9619 Lake Shore Boulevard
George Amos Benedict
George Amos Benedict

George Amos Benedict was born on August 5, 1813, in Watertown, New York. He married Sarah Frances Rathbone, who was born to Amos and Mary Rathbone on December 15, 1815, in Scipio, New York. They had three children: George Stone, born on May 2, 1840, Mary Williams (Crowell) born on May 28, 1847, and Harriette Amelia (Sherman) born on October 23, 1848.

George practiced law for several years, also serving briefly as Cleveland city attorney and president of the Cleveland City Council in 1843. In 1848, the first Superior Court of Cleveland was created with Benedict appointed as a clerk. He continued for five years until the court was dispensed with on the revision of the judiciary system in 1851.

In 1853 Benedict purchased an interest in the Cleveland Herald and became its editor.. He succeeded Josiah A. Harris as editor in 1857, forming a new partnership with Abel Fairbanks as Fairbanks, Benedict & Co. Fairbanks also had a summer place at 8907 Lake Shore Boulevard.

Fairbanks Benedict & Co.
Fairbanks Benedict & Co.

The other Cleveland newspapers had many nasty things to say about the Herald. Here are some samples:

"Old Granny Herald is getting to be quite cross and ugly lately (1859). Its fangs are all extracted, and not a tooth has it got left; it simply munches the little morsel a benevolent public give it" -  Cleveland Leader.

"We can pity the follies of virtuous dotage, but imbecility united with falsehood excites only our contempt," - Forest City Democrat.

"The Herald has a genius for lying - a real inborn, devil-descended genius for it." - The Plain Dealer.

Benedict and Fairbanks kept the Herald on a course of conservative Republicanism through the Civil War and Reconstruction years. Benedict was rewarded in 1865 by appointment as Postmaster of Cleveland on July 12, 1865, a position he held until April 4, 1870. It was the custom for the administration to let local editors take turns being postmasters. No matter whose turn it was, the editors of the other papers condemned the appointment and expected to be vilified when it became their turn.

Benedict's careful stewardship of the Herald became no match for the Edwin Cowles aggressive Republicanism of the Cleveland Leader. By the end of the war, the Herald had lost its competitive advantage.

Following a long illness, George died on May 12, 1876. His executor sold his interest in the Herald to his partner, Abel Fairbanks.

Sarah Benedict built a home at 3751 Prospect Avenue in 1883. The Sarah Benedict House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Sarah lived in the home until shortly before her death on August 25, 1902. Both George and Sarah were buried in Lake View Cemetery.