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Friday, June 24, 2016

A Love-Suicide in Gwinnett County #genealogy #history #georgiapioneers


Jeannette Holland AustinLove Suicide of George A. Benson of Lawrenceville
By Jeannette Holland Austin

In 1885, George A. Benson, whose parents resided in Philadelphia, lived in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Before coming to Georgia, he was employed at Benson and Townsend, a banking house in Philadelphia. Benson was romantically involved with with a young woman from Alabany, New York, a belle by the name of Miss Ruth A Larrabe, the daughter of E. J. Larrabe, had written him 86 love letters. The letters were tender expressions of love, written in the fine fashion of a cultured lady of the times. From the letters, they couple had agreed to be married in April of the previous year. For some unexplained reason, however, the marriage was broken off. Even son, the letters which followed the broken engagement, were filled with affection, then a sadness. Some obstacle seemed to stand between them. According to Miss Larrabe, she was powerless. Her mother denied that such an engagement had ever existed, and refused to allow her daughter to be interviewed by the newspapers. However, the Albany newspapers managed to interview a well-known gentlemen in the social circles of Albany, who said: "I know Miss Larrabe as a graceful, engaging, refined young lady. Benson I did not know, nor had I heard that any engagement of marriage existed between him and Miss Larrabe. They had probably become acquainted at Washington where Miss Larrabe spent one winter with the family of Secretary McCullough, and went much into society, where she was a general favorite. She also visited Mrs. McElroy, sister of President Arthur. The young lady is bright and charming and has participated prominently in the social festivities of the past few weeks in this city.""

Gettysburg

Another person, however, who was quite familiar with the family, said: "I understand the young man was a suitor for Miss Larabe's hand. They were devoted to one another, but her parents objected a year ago to an engagement on account of the youth of the parties. For a time there was an understanding that his suit might be heard at a later day if the affections of the young people did not undergo a change as they became older. When, however, Mr. Benson became dissipated all thought of an engagement was abandoned. The conduct of Miss Larrabe in the matter has been above reproach, and she is deeply pained by the publicity that has been given the case."

Before the suicide, Benson had just asked Mr. Holliday of Atlanta to endorse a fifty dollar draft for him. Mr. Hotchkiss, a New York traveler staying at the Markham, boarding house where Benson lived, knew Benson slightly, and sent a telegraph to the Benson family in Philadelphia. Even though it was addressed "Mr. and Mrs. Benson, Philadelphia," the telegram was fortunately delivered to the correct address. The family instructed that the body be shipped home. Oddly enough, Mr. Holliday had referred the draft to Mr. Hotchkiss, who honored it. When Benson asked Mr. Holliday to endorse another fifty dollar draft for him, Mr. Holliday told him that he would have to get his father to telegraph instructions to that effect. A short while later, Benson brought in a telegraph from his father, directing Mr. Holliday to endorse it. Ultimately, the father of the young man telegraphed Mr. Holliday not to advance his son any more money. Ref: The Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, 5 January 1885 and 9 January 1885.
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