Family:Whitney, Benjamin Augustus (c1825-1863)

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Benjamin Augustus Whitney, parentage unknown, was born circa 1825, MA, and died 29 Sep 1863, in a hospital at Fort Gaines, AL.

He married, 25 Dec 1848, New Orleans, LA, Mary Ann Foster, daughter of John Burchman and Jeannette B. (Carson) Foster. She was born 1 Dec 1831, Pensacola, FL, and died 21 Jan 1924, Houston, TX. She was buried in Memory Gardens of Edna Cemetery, Edna, TX.[1]

On 26 Nov 1921, Mary Ann applied to the State of Texas for a pension based on Benjamin's service as a Confederate soldier. He enlisted at Port Lavaca, TX, under General Shea [I can't find such a person. There was, however, a Major Shea involved in torpedo work.--RLW]. Later detailed for service with Singer's Special Corps and attached to Engineers Department of Confederate Army for torpedo service. Died from effects of experimenting on this submarine in Mobile Bay.[2] [This submarine was the, which was built and tested in Mobile Bay during this period.--RLW]

Speaking of the men recruited at Port Lavaca for the Singer Special Service Corps, Mark K. Ragan writes:

"It was obvious from the start of the operation that several men were necessary to fabricate, maintain, and deploy these torpedoes, and Singer and Fretwell looked no further than the membership roster of their local Masonic Lodge. Most of the soldiers in Shea's company were either unfit or too old for active field service east of the Mississippi River, where the vast majority of Texas regiments were then deployed. ... Of this early core of associates, thirty-seven-year-old merchant B. A. (Gus) Whitney was perhaps one of the more energetic and charismatic members, who journeyed to Charleston to eet with Confederate military officials regarding the deployment of the Hunley."[3] "Gus Whitney, the Singer Secret Service Corps' chief spokesman, 'died in [late August] 1863, as the result of pneumonia contracted while experimenting with the boat.' Thus Whitney could be considered the first casualty of the vessel ..."[4]

Children of Benjamin Augustus and Mary Ann (Foster) Whitney:

i. Minnie Florence Whitney, b. 4 Dec 1849, New Orleans, LA; d. 11 Jan 1940, Jackson Co., TX; bur. Memory Gardens of Edna Cemetery, Edna, TX;[5] m. 31 Dec 1872, Victoria, TX, Leander Evan Ward.
ii. A. R. Whitney, b. ca. 1851, LA; d. aft. 1860.
iii. Creamer Francis Whitney, b. ca. 1853 or 1854 or 1855, TX; d. 1884; bur. Memory Gardens of Edna Cemetery, Edna, TX;[6] m. Matilda -----.
iv. Theresa Ellen Whitney, b. 17 Jan 1858, Port Lavaca, TX; in 1870 she was listed as Thoricea Whitney; d. 14 Jun 1943, Houston, TX; bur. Memory Gardens of Edna Cemetery, Edna, TX;[7] m. 1883, Jackson Co., TX, Shubel Bohan York.
v. Charles Henry Whitney, b. 24 Sep 1859, TX; d. 11 Nov 1925; bur. Memory Gardens of Edna Cemetery, Edna, TX;[8] d. 4 Nov 1925, Houston, TX.


1006 1038 John Faster 45 M - Mcht. Mass. Jennett " 37 F - Penn. William " 17 M - La. Augusta 11 F - " Attended school Ellen 8 F - " Attended school Benjamin Whitney 25 M - Cotton picker Mass. Mary Whitney 19 F - La. Rosa ----- 25 F - Ireland

459 385 B. A. Whitney 34 M - Merchant $500 $10000 Mass. M. A. " 30 F - Fla. M. F. " 10 F - La. Attended school A. R. " 9 M - " Attended school F. C. " 7 M - Texas Attended school E. T. " 3 F - " C. H. " 8/12 M - " L. Legirse 20 M - Clerk $500 Saxony

59 59 Foster, J. B. (Mrs.) 54 F W Stock Raiser $1000 $1600 Penn. Whitney, Mary 40 F W At Home Florida Creamer 16 M W In Telegraph Office Tex. Thoricea 12 F W At School " Attended school Charles 10 M W " " Attended school

Creamer F. WHITNEY 25 Self M M W TX Farmer MA FL Matilda WHITNEY 26 Wife F M W LA Keeping House LA LA

Leander E. WARD 31 Self M M W TX Farmer KY MD Minnie F. WARD 30 Wife F M W LA Keeping House MA FL Minnie Lee WARD 5 Dau F S W TX TX LA Lafayette WARD 3 Son M S W TX TX LA William SHORTER 19 Oth M S B GA Servant-Laborer GA GA Henry HOLMES 8 Oth M S B TX TX TX John A. BURWELL 23 Oth M S W TX Works On Farm AL NY Theresa E. WHITNEY 22 SisL F S W TX At Home MA FL Jeanette B. FOSTER 67 MotL F W W PA At Home KY PA

 NOTE: Jeanette was Minnie's grandmother, not mother.


  • Census records.

1.^  Find A Grave Memorial #106168722, Mary Ann Whitney. Also Find A Grave Memorial #125421821

2.^, from

3.^  Mark K. Ragan, Confederate Saboteurs: Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War (Texas A&M University Press, 2015), pp. 19-20.

4.^  Ibid., p. 53.

5.^  Find A Grave Memorial #106267823, Minnie Florence Whitney Ward.

6.^  Find A Grave Memorial #106168982, Creamer Francis Whitney.

7.^  Find A Grave Memorial #106122192, Theresa E. Whitney York.

8.^  Find A Grave Memorial #106173209, Charles Henry Whitney.

Copyright © 2010, 2019, Tim Doyle, Robert L. Ward, and the Whitney Research Group.