Levi Winslow and Alvina Griffin Benson Family

The Benson roots are in New England, primarily Massachusetts. The earliest known is Elisha Benson, born 1731 in Middleborough, MA. In 1755, he married Sarah Steward, who was born in 1732. Elisha’s grandson, Levi Benson, 1790-1867, was also born in Middleborough, MA. His son, Elisha Benson, born 1821 in Vermont, married Emaline Thomas, born 1826 in MA. They were married in 1850. He was in the hotel-restaurant business in Virginia when the Civil War began; he returned to Massachusetts to enlist in the Union Army, serving from 1862-63 in Louisiana and Mississippi. Elisha and Emaline’s son, Levi Winslow Benson (1859-1941), also in the restaurant business, married Alvina Griffin in 1880. Two subsequent generations remained in the restaurant business in Bryantville, MA.

Edward and Richard Griffin came to the area of Manhattan Island from Wales in 1634. Later generations remained in the New York area (Duchess County) until fleeing with the Loyalists in 1783 to St. Johns, New Brunswick. The Griffins have a long history in New Brunswick, some living in Boiestown, Frederickton and Grand Manan Island.

Levi Winslow Benson (1840-1901) - Alvina Griffin (1851-1934)



Benson Family Gallery

Middleborough Town Hall
Levi Winsow Benson (1859-1941)
Alvina Griffin Benson (1860-1934)
Levi Winslow Benson (1859-1941) about 1910, "Catch of the Day".
Levi Winslow Benson, Chicago, IL, April 4, 1935/ Second person unknown. His daughter Sylvia Benson Cole was living in Chicago in 1930. Her husband, Walter Cole (not sure where this name came from.) was in the ice business as was Levi. this might be him..
Benson Newspaper Announcement.
Elisha Benson (1821-92), Civil War Muster Out Card. Elisha was father of Levi Winslow Benson.
Death card for Elisha Benson (d. 1892), Father of Levi Winslow Benson
Elisha & Emaline Thomas Benson calling card
Plymouth, MA

Griffin Brothers and Sisters, Label on picture incorrect.
Back Row: L to R: Charles Gilbert (1855–?), William H. (1853–1942), Daniel Benjamin (Ben) (1863-1956)
Front Row: Amelia Griffin Shaw (1848–1937), Jane Griffin Follenbee (1868–1935), Alvina Griffin Benson (1860–1934)

Photo below has some of the same people from same occasion, ca. 1920

Griffin siblings: L to R, Amelia G. Shaw (72), Alvina G. Benson (60), Jane (Jenny) G. Follansbee (52)
Back Row: Charles Gilbert Griffin (65) (1855-?) maybe Julie Ann Griffin or Charles' wife. she appears in 1936 Benson reunion photo. ca. 1916
Griffin siblings: L to R Alvina Griffin Benson, D. Benjamin "Ben" Griffin, Amelia Griffin Shaw, James Albert Griffin. and Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee about 1920. According to a story in "The Daily Gleaner", Akron, Ohio. "James lefft Green Hill, N.B. and went to live in Dexter, Maine where he married and remained until 1916. When he was offered better wages in Akron, Ohio, he moved and settled in that State. During all those years of his absene he never wrote to his family and relatives in New Brunswick. While in Ohio, two sons and a daughter were born. The daughter later married William Thompson" If that is James Albert Griffin in the picture then this would likely date the picture no later than 1916. James was born 1871 so would be about 44 years of age in photo.
(Photo from Bob Haraden.)

James Albert (b.1871) & Lillian Mae Griffin about 1910
James was the youngest child of Thomas Griffin and Mary Matthews (his 16th child!--4 by his first wife and 12 by his second)

According to a story in "The Daily Gleaner", Akron, Ohio. "James lefft Green Hill, N.B. and went to live in Dexter, Maine where he married and remained until 1916. When he was offered better wages in Akron, Ohio, he moved and settled in that State. During all those years of his absene he never wrote to his family and relatives in New Brunswick. While in Ohio, two sons and a daughter were born. The daughter later married William Thompson" If that is James Albert Griffin in the picture then this would likely date the picture no later than 1916. James was born 1871 so would be about 44 years of age in photo. (Photo courtesy of Bob Haraden.)

Levi and Alvina Benson’s Children (5 of 7)
Back: Merle, Madeline,
Front: Ruby, Norman, Sylvia 1902
Levi and Alvina Benson, 50th Anniversary,
May 8, 1930 One of Alvina's sayings, "We'll weather the weather whatever the weather whether we like it or not."
Charles Thomas "Tom" Shaw, son of Thaddeous P. "Tom" and Amelia Griffin Shaw, a cousin of Ruby Benson.
Isabelle N. Shaw (1884–), spouse of Tom Shaw.
Isabelle and Tom Shaw with Ruby Benson Brown 1940s Tom is a Griffin cousin of Ruby/s.
Levi and Alvina Benson, 25th Wedding Anniversary,. May 19, 1905.
Seated: Norman, Sylvia, Levi, Alvina, Merle.
Standing: Ruby, Tom, Ed, Madeline.
Hanson, MA,
Probably taken at the Benson Cafe about 1907 or earlier, Bryantville, MA
Back left: Alvina and Levi Benson, Edmund, ? w/dog
Third Row: ? M, ? W, ? M, ? M, ? Tom Shaw, ? Merle?
Second Row: ? W, ? W, ? W, ? W, ? W
Front: Ruby, Sylvia and Norman Benson. Thomas Shaw and Merle Benson are seated on the right middle, Madeline and Effie? are seated between Ruby and Sylvia
Benson Cafe, L to R: Alvina Benson,?, ?, Ruth Howe, ?, Madeline Benson Howe, Ruby Benson
Running Board: Merle & Tom Benson, Henry Howe, c. 1910 If 1910 is correct then can't be Ruth Howe.
Sylvia Brewer, Maud Shaw, Amelia Griffin Shaw, Alvina Griffin Benson, Alwida B. (Lillian) Griffin Brewer,
Front: Gladys Follansbee, Maybe Margaret E. Andrews, she married Charles in January 1916,, Charles Gordon Follansbee (1895–1975), c. 1915-1916

Caption on photo, "Gladys Mother Harold" another caption on picture "Aunt Jenny, Gladys-Walter-Gordon"

The woman looks like Ruby Benson Brown. The caption could indicate:

Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891–1951), Ruby Benson Brown(1894–1977), Harold Richmond Brown (1913–1922) about 2 years old

With this identification: Year would be 1915, Gladys 24, Ruby, 21, Harold 2. Now the question is who is "Who sent the picture" Siince Harold was Ruby and Harold Foster Brown's first child the picture would have been sent by one of the later Brown children.much later than 1915.

Another identification suggested by second caption:

Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891–1951), Jenny Griffin Follansbee (1868–1935), Harold Richmond Brown (1913–1922) about 2 years old

Gladys 24, Jenny, 47, Harold 2. This does not work as woman is far younger than 47.

A gathering of Bensons and Griffins. L to R: Clara Shaw, Alvina Griffin Benson, Aunt Lena Benson, Sylvia Benson Cole, Aun (1848–1937), Ruby Benson Brown. From Aunt Doris's scrapbook: Clara Cook Shaw is Amelia's daughter, Lena (1885–1962) is the wife of Tom Benson and daughter -in-law of of Alvina, Alvina and Amelia are sisters, and Sylvia and Ruby are daughters of Alvina. I wonder why they are carrying flowers? (Ruby was born in 1894 and married in October 1912.) She had her first child in May of 1913. She looks less than 18 to me, however the smock could indicate she is pregnant making the year of photo 1924-25). Amelia would be 77.

Martha Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee(1868–1936) and Sylvia Avis Merrit (1906–1990)
Martha Jane was spouse of Frank Follansbee. Sylvia was grandaughter of William Henry Griffin.

Note: Examining closely the many pictures we have of Alvina Griffin Benson (1860-1934), wife of Levi Benson, I strongly believe this is Alvina, not Jenny.

Martha Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee (1868–1936) and grandaughter, Dot Follansbee
Dot Follansbee (1917–1975). and Sylvia Avis Merrit (1906–1990). Dot became the spouse of Louis E. Young, Jr. Dot looks about 16-18. Were she 17 this would have been about the time that Alvina died (1934).
Martha Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee(1868–1936) and Dot?
Levi and Alvina Benson, 50th Reunion Gathering, 1930
Front kneeling: ?, Elsie Brown, Standing Lois and Doris Brown.
Second Row: Madeline, Levi and Alvina Benson, Lena Benson,?,?
Back: ?, Sylvia, Tom, Merle Benson, Merle's wife Lydia, ?, Florence (peeking), Follansbee?, Follansbee? , Edmund Benson,

Hanson, MA, Levi, Sylvia, Merle, Alvina, Tom, Ruby, space for Norman, Madeline, & Edmund on Levi and Alvina's 50th Wedding Anniversary. May 8, 1930

Link to Hanson Daily Enterprise article on Mr. and Mrs Levi W. Benson Observe 50th Anniversary.

Benson Reunion September 13, 1936

There are 30 adults in the picture and 36 on the reunion list. Names in bold have high to medium confidence.
Ruby Brown hosted a reunion of her family at Sunny Acres Farm in Wrentham, MA where she raised chickens and prize-winning gladiolus bulbs.

Fourth Row Standing: Elton "Bud" Brown is in the back by the left porch pole, Frank Joseph Bagnell (57) , Maude Ellen Logan Bagnell (46) (Maude's mother was Sarah Ellen Griffin who married Hugh Logan), Charles Gordon (40) and Margaret E. Follansbee (40), Edmund Benson standing by the right hand pole

Row Three and one half: Ruby Benson Brown is in the almost back row in the middle (polka dot dress);

Third row standing: Lois Brown is on the far left; Richard Shaw Fratus (age 26 in photo, 1910-–1973), Alice Brewer, Ralph C. Brewer, Alton Shurtlef,. Ruth Howe Shurtleff, Maude Shaw? (If Prescilla Maude Shaw, she is 53, too young for this person), maybe Clara Cook Shaw Fratus (61), Helen C. Perkins, Joseph Forcha Fratus (58), Frank W. Ramsdel (40), Helen Fratus Ramsdell, Martin Bannican, Isadora Frances Benson Bannican (daughter of Ed and Sylvia Hernandez Benson)

Second Row Seated: Alice Elizabeth Bell Fratus ( age 17 in photo, 1919-2013) with 6 months old Marjorie L. Fratus, Mrs. Charles Thomas "Belle" Shaw, maybe Phebe Ann Strout Griffin (63), maybe Forest Colon Griffin (59), Amelia Griffin Shaw, Levi Benson, Maybe Priscilla Maude Shaw, Frank Joseph Griffin (69), Sylvia Hernandez Benson (spouse of Edmund Benson)

Front Row, Doris Ramsdell (13-14), Shirley Ramsdell (11), George Shurtleff (5), son of Ruth Howe Shurleff (age 6), Barbara Fratus (age 6), Doris Brown is on the grass in the front right

Others present : Forest C. (59) and Phoebe (63) Griffin from Cambridge, Mrs. Florence Dewhurst, Austin Shaw (43). and Mildred N. (44) Fratus and child Barbara A. (born 1930, age 6 in picture), Plymouth., Marion N. Stott (40), Brookline, MA, Mrs Effie M. Logan Stott (58) (wife of Thomas H. Stott) Mr. and Mrs Joseph Forcha (52) Fratus (In 1940 census a Joseph F. (born 1878). and Clara Cook Shaw (born 1875) Fratus have a border, Benjamin Shurtleff in their home. Clara is the daughter of Thaddeus P. and Amelia Shaw, they married in 1900), Mr. and Mrs Richard Shaw (1910–1973) and Alice Elizabeth Bell Fratus and Marjorie L. (Simpson)(March 28, 1936–2017), Rockland; MA. Mr and Mrs Martin and Isadore Frances Benson Bannican, Whitman, MA; Frank Joseph Griffin (69) 1891 Canada census is below. He is born in Nova Scotia. He  came to US in 1902 and was naturalized in 1915. He worked on the docks in Boston. His wife is Mary Ellen Griffin. Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Ramsdell and children (two daughters).

Guest list, Benson Reunion, September 13, 1936.

Death Certificat for Merle Benson's first wife, Lettie Collins Benson. born 1886 and died April 21, 19644 at Maplecrest Nursing Home, Plymouth, MA
They were divorced in 1906.

Forest C.(1876–1956) and Phoebe Griffin with children John B. Griffin (1898–1912) and Evelyn Bernice Griffin (Grimes) (1901–1991) from Cambridge, Forest was the son of John and Ida Griffin. John was the son of Thomas and Leah Savage Griffin. Forest siblings included Mabel and Eugene Foster Griffin

Phoebe Ann Strout Griffin

Forest C. Griffin and Blanche Sprague, Millridge, Maine
Forest Colon Griffin
John W. Griffin (1837–1911), husband of John W. and Ida E. Bracy Griffin.
Ida E. Bracy Griffin (1856–1947), wife of Jown W. Griffin
Mabel Griffin (1881–1906), Sister Of Forest Colon Griffin, daughter of John W. and Ida E. Bracy Griffin.
Eugene Foster Griffin (1884–1960), brother Of Forest Colon Griffin and Mabel Griffin, children of John W. and Ida E. Bracy Griffin.
Siblings Tom, Sylvia, Ruby and Norman Benson, 1920s
Tom, Levi, Tom’s wife, Lena, Alvina and Norman Benson, ca. 1930

Levi and daughter Ruby Benson and cousin Bill Griffin (big game hunter from Frederickton and New Brunswick). c. 1934.

Levi Benson about 1917-18. Motor Home, self-built. He took a trip to Florida from Massachusetts in it.

Benson Cousins, 1916, Back, l-r, Ruby Benson (1911), standing, and Madeline Benson (1915) is the baby on lap of Isadora Benson ( (1903) and Hosea (1901), sitting holding Elton Brown (1915) ; Frances Anna Benson, sitting (1907) Ruth Howe, standing (1912)

Front: Harold (1913, playsuit), and Elsie Brown (1914 on pillow)


Ruby, Madeline and Frances are are children of Merle and Letiticia Benson's children)

Isadora and Hosea Benson are children of Ed and Sylvia Benson

Ruth Howe is daughter of (Henry and Madeline Benson Howe(

Harold, Elsie and Elton and children of Harold Foster and Ruby Benson Brown

Photo about 1915-1916

Adults: Back 5th Row: Tom, Lena (Tom’s Wife), Alvina Griffin Benson, Ruby Benson Brown

Fourth Row: Madeline Benson Howe, Frances Anna Benson 1907)
Third Row: Ruby Benson (1911), Ruth Howe (1912)
Second Row: Elsie Brown (1914), Harold Richmond Brown (1913)
Front: Florence (1916) and Madeline Benson(1915)


ca 1918

Policemen: John Ibbitson, Ed Churchill, E. W. Benson, Napoleon Angie, Fred Brown, ?. Fred Brown was a brother of Harold Brown, who married Ruby Benson, sister of E. W. Benson. 1920s
Wretham, MA, Benson and Griffin reunion, ca. 1927
Front Row: R to L: ?, Elsie, Doris, Lois, Florence Brown
Ruby Benson's High School Class 1911, Hanson, MA. Ruby second row, at left, in white blouse
Merle Benson (1889-1945) about 1920
Merle was Ruby Benson Brown’s brother
Lena (1885–1962) & Tom Benson (1883-1960) about 1920
Tom was Ruby Benson Brown’s brother.
Merle Chestger Benson (1889–1945), Son of Levi and Alvina Benson, brother of Ruby Benson Brown. He married Lydia Margaret Bauman.
Sylvia Benson
Sylvia Benson and Sylvia Merritt
Sylvia and Norman Benson
Merle and Lydia Margaret Bauman Benson, (?-1939)
Lydia was Merle’s second wife. Married after 1930.
Ed Benson with cousins, Alice and Ralph Brewer. Alice is a cousin-in-law of Ruby Benson, 1932
Ruby Benson Brown, ca 1912
Harold Foster Brown, ca 1912
Harold & Bud Brown with Gramma Alvina Benson 1921
Ruby Benson Brown (1894-1977)
Ruby Benson Brown (1894-1977)
Ed (1880-1960) and Sylvia Hernandez (1877-1954) Benson about 1950.
9/1940  ? and ?, Sylvia and Ed Benson, Martin Bannican--Probably taken in Hanson, MA--not sure of the date.  Martin Bannican was the husband of Isadora Benson,  a nephew of Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York
Isadora Frances Benson (1903-67), about 1921
Daughter of Ed and Sylvia Benson
Ed Benson, Isadora Benson and Doris Brown
1930s  Doris Brown, Uncle Merle Benson, Virginia Benson  in Wrentham, MA--Merle is Ruby Benson's brother and Virginia's father was Merle's brother Norman Benson.  Virginia lived with Gramma Brown for a while when in high school in Wrentham
Lois and Doris Brown with cousin Virginia Benson about 1929—note brace on Aunt Doris’s right leg

Virginia A. Benson (1920–1995), daughter or Norman Levi and Florence Fullerton Benson. Norman was Ruby Benson's brother.
Sylvia Brewer (1899-2002), a cousin of Ruby Benson, Her mother was Alwilda Blanche (called Lillian) Griffin Brewer, ca. 1903
Sylvia Brewer (Haraden), a cousin of Ruby Benson Brown about 1915. The link is to an article in the Bar Harbor Times, Dec. 30, 1999 about Sylvia.
Hosea Benson. 1940
Son of Hosea Delano Benson (1900-80)
Hosea Benson. 1940
Son of Hosea Delano Benson (1900-80)
Charles Gordon Follansbee (1895-1975)
Walter Edmund Follansbee (1904-1998)
Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891-1951)
Siblings: Gladys Esther and Gordon Follansbee
Margaret E. and Charles Gordon Follansbee, middle two, standing. At right is Florence Brown Caldarone and daughter, Judy. At left might be Dorothy G. Follansbee and her husband. Their children likely in front. 1953

Hosea's Restaurant, Hosea Benson in doorway, Pembroke, MA, 1950s

Hosea's Restaurant, Pembroke, MA, 1940 Hosea was the son of Ed and Sylvia Benson.
Merle Benson's restaurant on School Street in Bryantville, MA. Young Hosea says, "I do recognize this restaurant on Rt. 27 in Bryantville across from the Mayflower Grove. Merle took the restaurant over from Levi Benson, his father. Merle died in 1945. It was torn down in the '50s." In the book on Mayflower Grove--1901-45, Robert Wessa recalls that he and his friend Pee Wee were playing near the café. Pee Wee's waitress mother, called them to meet James Cagney on his way to his summer home on Martha's Vineyard.
Olive Griffin Stevens (Jan 6, 1835-Oct 26, 1908), Milbridge, ME, Husband, Robert (1825-90+) Seaman. Children: Thomas (1853), Joel (or Noel) (1857), Mary (1858,) John (1861), Robert Jr. (1866). Half-sister to Alvina Griffin Benson (wife of Levi Benson)

Elwilda (Alwilda) Blanche (“Lillian” Griffin Brewer-12/7/1861-1/1/1920
Lillian was a sister of Alvina Frances Griffin who married Levi Benson. They were the parents of Ruby Emeline Benson who married Harold Brown. ca. 1885. See her photo at right. Lillian married Chester Brewer

Elwilda (called-Lillian) Griffin Brewer (1861-1920).
Lillian was an aunt of Ruby Benson and wife of Chester Brewer.
The six children of Lillian (Griffin) and Chester Brewer, Bar Harbor, ME, about 1920
Back row: Ralph (Feb. 21, 1889--July 6, 1951), Irving (Dec. 27, 1883--April 24, 1966), Harold (March 4, 1881-May 19, 1952)
Front: Shirley--(Aug. 6, 1890-May 10, 1934), Sylvia--(Oct. 22, 1899--Oct. 17, 2002),
Reginald--(July 21, 1901--Jan. 17, 1950)
Madeline Benson Howe, (1890–1933), daughter of Levi and Alvina Benson, sister of Ruby Benson. She married Henry E. Howe. They had daughter Ruth Howe, seen in photos below.
Ruth Howe (1912-1984), daughter of Henry & Madeline Benson Howe
Ruth Howe, daughter of Henry & Madeline Benson Howe about 1920
Browns, Bensons, Winters, Caldarone, 1956
L to R: Bud Brown, Pat Winter, Ed Benson, Nancy Winter, Judy Caldarone, Bob Winter, Becky Brown, Hosea Benson (proprietor, son of Ed Benson), Sandy Winter, Lois Winter, Martha Brown–at Hosea's restaurant in Bryantville, MA. Bud, Hosea, and Lois were cousins.
Frances (Benson) and Olin (Hutch) Hutchinson
w/ pictures of their sons, Bob and Billy, 1956

Sylvia Benson Cole (1896-1953), c. 1950
Cape Cod 1958--William (Bill) Hutchinson, a Benson cousin, with his parents Olin and Francis (Benson) Hutchinson and daughters Holly, 3, and Margaret, 1. Francis was a daughter of Merle Benson, brother to Ruby Benson.

Hutchinson Family: Backrow: William Henry, Marcella Joune Milton, Alexander (4 months). Front Row: Willam (10), Robert (6), Edwin (8)

Sisters Ruby Benson Brown and Sylvia Benson Cole--late 1940s
Sisters Sylvia Benson Cole and Ruby Benson Brown. Daughter of Ruby, Lois Brown Winter, Havana, Cuba, 1947.

1947 Cuban Rum Factory Trip, L to R at right end: Ruby Benson Brown, Lois Brown Winter and Sylvia Benson Cole. During this trip the weather in Havana was very hot, so the factory had made available a punch at various points on the tour for the convenience of the tourist. Ruby Brown indulged quite liberally. As a teetotaler, she failed to recognize the presence of the rum in the punch. By the end of the tour she was quite inebriated and male members of the tour and rum factory staff had to lift her onto the bus. Several years ago we told the story to the proprietor of the Cuban restaurant, El Meson, in Rice Village in Houston. They decided they would create a rum drink and call it the "Ruby Brown." We haven't been back to see if they did so.

Pat Winter (foreground), Sandy W. with Isadora Benson Bannican, Bob Winter, Martin Bannican, Nancy W., Uncle Ed Benson, 1958
Oliver Brewster Delano (1818-?)
Great-uncle of Sylvia Hernandez Benson,
Husband of Hannah Read Holt
Hannah Read Holt (wife of Oliver B. Delano)
Great-aunt of Sylvia Hernandez Benson
Louis M. Bailey (1826-1924), Husband of Deborah Brewster Delano,
Great-uncle of Sylvia Hernadez Benson
Deborah Brewster Delano Bailey (1825-1915),
Wife of Louis M. Bailey, Jr.
Great-aunt of Sylvia Hernandez Benson
Harriet E. Delano "Aunt Hattie" Kenrick,
Daughter of Olivier B. & Hannah Read Delano
Believed to be Charles A. Kenrick, son of David and Harriet E. Delano Kenrick. Name in photo probably misspelled.
Great-aunt Lucy ?
Probably José Hernandez (1847-), husband of Isadora Delano and father of Sylvia Hernandez Benson
Lucy C. Delano, (1857-)
Daughter of David and Martha (or Sylvia) Delano
Wife of Claude M. Chandler
Edgar Chandler, (1885-)
Son of Claude and Lucy Delano Chandler
Uncle Mell
Walter E. Delano (1871-)
Son of David and Martha Delano.
Dora Delano ?, and Walter Scott Delano (1882-1961). Walter is the son of Otis and Elizabeth Delano. His siblings include: Wintrhop O. Delano (May 1875–September 1875), Grace M. Delano (April 22, 1881–Dec. 3, 1881), Walter Scott Delano, (May 5, 1882–June 3, 1961), Harold Kelton (May 3, 1891–)
Melzar Parker Delano (1867-)
Son of David and Martha Delano. Married Annie Rogerson, 1891.
He was a carpenter.

Grace Marie (or Marion) Delano, born April 22, 1881,in Duxbury, MA, to Otis and Elizabeth Frances Osborn Delano. She married Percy Lewis Walker (1874–1958) on September 29, 1909, in Duxbury, MA. She was a school teacher in Wilmington, Vermont, in 1900. They had four children: Donald D., Kenneth M., Percy Lewis Jr., and Unknown. Grace died December 3, 1968 and is buried in Duxbury, MA.

Students in the class: Seward and Cora Brown are siblings of Harold Foster Brown.