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The Bentley Family Papers - MS 720
The Bentley Family Papers consists of over 10 linear feet of correspondence, genealogical research files, photographs, books, and artifacts relating to the Bentley and allied families.
The donation and transfer of these records to the Center for Archival Collections was arranged through the cooperation of Hilda Grosh Bentley from March through July, 1996. No part of the collection may be duplicated for publication purposes without the written authorization of Mrs. A. Lewis Bentley, Senior, or the Bentley family heirs. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The register was completed by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in July 1996.
The two family groups represented in this collection cover branches of the allied Lewis, Perky, and Bentley families on the paternal side, and the Chamberlain, Hascall, Grosh, and Ritchie families on the maternal. Two separate published family histories for both groups were written by Hilda Grosh Bentley and are contained in this collection; The Bentley-Lewis Story: Finding the American Dream in Ohio, and The Chamberlain-Hascall, Grosh-Ritchie Families in Direct Line, 1598-1991: A Journey of New Beginnings. Although the families characterized in this collection came to the United States from different countries, over a period ranging from the Colonial era to the late 19th century, all found the American Dream and were significant contributors to their communities.
The Bentleys were originally from Bradford, in Yorkshire, England. Coming to the United States in 1871, Anderton Bentley settled in Toledo, Ohio, where he found employment as a carpenter. He was joined shortly thereafter by his wife Elizabeth and daughter Ethel. One of his first jobs was working on the Boody House in Toledo, and later the Lonz Winery on Middle Bass Island. The Bentley name would be associated with construction in the city for the next century, connected with such landmark buildings as the Gardner Building, the Secor Hotel, and the Odd Fellows Temple. Anderton was joined in the business just before the turn of the century by his sons, James and Thomas, and the business was incorporated as a partnership in 1907. In 1898 Thomas married Katherine Stewart Lewis, daughter of E.N. and Abigail Perky Lewis of Defiance, Ohio. A third generation became involved in the business in 1924 when A. Lewis Bentley and James joined their father Thomas. Two years later in 1926, A.L. Bentley was married to Hilda Grosh. The Company was liquidated in 1982, after more than a century of building Toledo.
The family of Brandon and Sarah Lewis emigrated to the United States in the early 19th century, settling in Chillicothe, Ohio. The oldest son in their family, Edmund, served as a hospital steward during the Civil War in Company C of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, which was posted in the Wyoming Territory to guard the Oregon Trail. Upon his discharge, Edmund settled in Williams County, Ohio, marrying Abigail Elizabeth Perky in 1868. Their family, consisting of five children, Harry, Martin, Katherine, Emma, and Edmund Jr. relocated to Defiance, where Edmund operated a pharmacy. After Katherine married Thomas Bentley, she moved with him to Toledo.
The Perky Family first appear in America in the late 18th century in the frontier area of Pennsylvania, with the family of Christopher and Mary Perky. One of their nine children, Christopher Jr., served on the Ohio frontier during the War of 1812, returning to Pennsylvania for a few years after the conflict before relocating to Seneca County, Ohio with his family in 1819. During the Civil War, Martin Perky, one of Christopher's sons, served briefly as Chaplain in the 68th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and then returned to Pioneer, In Williams County, Ohio, where he later was elected Probate Judge. It was his daughter, Abigail, who married E.N. Lewis.
As a contrast, on the maternal line, the Chamberlains came to America in 1647, settling in colonial Massachusetts. During the Revolutionary War, Ebenezer Chamberlain, along with his sons Ephraim, Jonathan, and Daniel, served in the companies of Bedel's Regiment. During the War of 1812, Joshua Chamberlain was involved in the shipbuilding industry and was followed in that profession by his sons, Ebenezer Mattoon and Elbridge. Service to the country continued in the person of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, nephew of Ebenezer and Elbridge (his father was their other brother Joshua), who gained fame during the Civil War at Gettysburg in command of the 20th Maine for his daring maneuver on Little Round Top, for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His accomplishments were held in such high esteem in the family that one of his cousins, Mary Chamberlain Grosh, named her eldest son after him. The name was carried on in succeeding generations into the Bentley family as well.
Ebenezer Mattoon Chamberlain left Main in 1832, traveling West to Indiana, where he taught school for a short period and then studied for the bar and became a lawyer, settling in Goshen in 1832. His brother, Elbridge, joined his older brother in Goshen the following year. Ebenezer married Phoebe Ann Hascall in 1838; his brother Elbridge married her sister Avaline Hascall in 1841. The family of Ebenezer and Ann resulted in eight children, including Mary Henrietta, who was born in 1846. She taught school at Redfield, Indiana, where she married Emil Grosh, a German immigrant, in 1868.
Emil Grosh (originally spelled Grosch) was born in Sonnenburg, Thuringia, Germany in 1841. After being orphaned at an early age, Emil emigrated to the United States to join an uncle, Henry Schmidt, in Buffalo, N.Y. Well educated by his family, Emil moved to Goshen, Indiana, where he worked for the hardware firm of Lawrence and Noble. In 1868 he married Mary H. Chamberlain, eventually moving from Goshen to Toledo, Ohio. They had two sons, Lawrence Chamberlain Grosh and Jerome Emil Grosh (who drowned in 1903). Lawrence, who studied medicine at the University of Michigan and became a doctor in 1898, married Caroline Eugenia Ritchie in 1899. When Dr. Grosh began practicing medicine, as a pioneer in the specialty of diagnostician, he became associated with Toledo Hospital, where he eventually became Chief of Staff. Their first child, Hilda, was born in 1902, followed two years later by Lawrence Chamberlain Grosh Jr.
The Ritchie Family first arrived in America in 1832 when Thomas Ritchie, a mason from Parish Crieff, Scotland, emigrated to St. Lawrence County, New York, with his wife Ann and four children, including two year old James Monroe Ritchie, named for the American President. Eventually his family would grow to a total of ten. James taught school in Ogdensburg for a while, before moving to Ohio, where he began legal training. He was admitted to the bar in Toledo in 1857. Married in 1852 to Tirzah A. Foster, who died in 1854 leaving him with a 2 year old son, James married a second time in 1855 to Samantha S. Jones of Grafton, Ohio. His son from his first marriage, Byron, followed his father in the practice of law, eventually distinguishing himself by serving in Congress in 1892, and being elected Common Pleas Judge in 1914. His marriage to Samantha, who died in 1865, resulted in one daughter, Ada Malinda Ritchie. James married for a third time in 1869 to Eugenia Arabella Jones, the younger sister of his second wife. Their two children included Caroline Eugenia Ritchie (who married Lawrence Chamberlain Grosh in 1899), and Maurice A. Ritchie.
The rich heritage of each of these families was brought together by Hilda Grosh Bentley, who in her investigation of her family compiled an extensive collection of material. As the firstborn child of Dr. Lawrence Chamberlain Grosh, Hilda benefited from an upbringing which included a period of living in Europe while her father pursued advanced medical studies, education in Toledo (at the insistence of her aunt Ada Ritchie) at the Janes-Franklin School and the Smead School for Girls, and a year of college at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Married in 1926 to Anderton Lewis Bentley, she had three children, Anderton Lewis "Peter" Bentley, Jr., and twins Thomas Northrup and Lawrence Chamberlain Bentley. Through the years, in addition to her attention to her family and the concerns of the Bentley construction business, Hilda was deeply involved in community affairs in the areas of history, historic preservation health, mental health, art, conservation, and education. Her activities with such organizations as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Ohio Historical Society, Maumee Valley Historical Society (as a founding member of its Landmarks Committee), Friends of the Library and Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University, Toledo Hospital, Mental Health Association of Toledo, and the Toledo Museum of Art, have demonstrated her continuing commitment to her community.
The Bentley Family Papers consist of separate groups of research material compiled by Hilda Grosh Bentley relating to her family history. Families represented include the Chamberlain, Hascall, Grosh, Ritchie, Perky, Jones, Lewis, and Bentley families. The collection has been maintained as two discrete groupings, based on the maternal and paternal lines, in the general arrangement established by Mrs. Bentley. Each segment contains similar types of material, including correspondence, genealogical research files, photographs, and books.
In addition to general documents and correspondence related to genealogical research on the Chamberlain-Hascall, Grosh-Ritchie families, the collection includes a nice series of personal correspondence dating back to 1835. The early letters are mainly between Ebenezer, Elbridge, and Joshua Chamberlain during the 1830's and 1840's, a few from Jerome Chamberlain while serving during the Civil War, scattered correspondence between various members of the Grosh Family during the 1890's, and a group of letters between Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (the Civil War General, who played a pivotal role at Gettysburg), with his cousin, Mary Chamberlain Grosh (primarily dealing with family matters.) There are typed abstracts to these letters in the collection.
Included in the literary productions among the manuscripts is the original of a sketch book or journal of Ebenezer Mattoon Chamberlain, which consists of an account of his trip to Indiana in 1832 and his early years there until 1835, as well as an undated speech to the Fayette County Agricultural Society (written from the back of the volume, inverted); and a copy of his 1846 diary describing a return visit to his home and family in Bangor, Maine after an absence of 14 years.
Miscellaneous items in the collection include a rare opalotype of Emil Grosh (a photographic process where the image is on frosted glass), as well as a few striking artifacts representing the material culture of the time, which include two beaded bags, on with colored glass and the other metal beads.
Some notable items included in the Bentley-Lewis portion of the collection are materials relating to Bentley Construction, including Nicholas Building construction photos from 1905; a series of photographs and biographical sketches of prominent Toledo businessmen, architects, and buildings, compiled by James Bentley; mementos of small prayer books and both Lewis and Bentley Family Bibles; a ledger belonging to E.N. Lewis; photo albums; a collection of family historical sketches; and numerous artifacts belonging to the Bentley and Lewis Families, including hair combs, shirt studs, an initial seal, and an autographed scroll.
CHAMBERLAIN-HASCALL, GROSH-RITCHIE PAPERS
CORRESPONDENCE - CHAMBERLAIN-GROSH FAMILIES
Personal correspondence, with the early letters mainly between Ebenezer, Elbridge, and Joshua Chamberlain during the 1830's and 1840's, a few from Jerome Chamberlain while serving during the Civil War, scattered correspondence between various members of the Grosh Family during the 1890's, and a group of letters between Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (the Civil War General, who played a pivotal role at Gettysburg), with his cousin, Mary Chamberlain Grosh (primarily dealing with family matters.) Includes typed abstracts
DIARIES - EBENEZER CHAMBERLAIN
Sketch book or journal of a journey west to Indiana, and diary of a return visit to his home and family in Bangor, Maine after an absence of 14 years. Sketch book in original handwriting; diary copied from the original by his daughter Mary C. Grosh
RESEARCH NOTES - GENEALOGICAL
Arranged alphabetically, by family name
Material collected in the course of doing genealogical research; includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, maps, and printed material relating to Chamberlain, Hascall, Grosh, Ritchie, Jones, and Perky families
RESEARCH NOTES - TOPICAL
Arranged by topic
Includes notebooks with family information, subject files on a variety of topics, Family Bibles which include record pages, a Baby Record book of Hilda Grosh Bentley, and computer printouts of genealogical information using the Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software. Folder on Burpee Prouty located in Oversize flat box 3
Proof pages : The Chamberlain-Hascall, Grosh Ritchie Families in Direct Line, by Hilda G. Bentley. Located in Oversize flat boxes 1-2
SCRAPBOOKS AND SCRAPBOOK MATERIALS
SCRAPBOOKS - RITCHIE-JONES FAMILY
Scrapbook of clippings of the Ritchie and Jones families, with births, marriages and deaths, including an envelope of loose clippings and a copy of an 1812 almanac.
MAPS, CHARTS, DIAGRAMS, GRAPHIS, LISTS, ETC.
Framed map - The Continent of Scotland : in Which are Marked the Several Shires and Principal Places Mentioned in this Book [from unidentified book]. Located in Oversize flat box 3
1923, 1948, 1964-1990
Arranged by title
Genealogical periodicals relating to Scottish family associations; includes Clan Chattan, Stewart Clan Magazine, and Clan Mackintosh material.
Published works dealing with genealogy, family history, Scottish culture, and general history.
Appointment, award, commendation, recognition, and resolution certificates for Hilda Bentley, representing activities with Ohio Historical Society, Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board, American Association for State and Local History, Garden Club of America, Maumee Valley Historical Society, and the Landmarks Preservation Council. Located in Oversize flat box 4
Thomas Menzie Ritchie, Mary Lois Ritchie, and Anne Robertson Ritchie, Heuvelton, NY, (11" x 17" print). Located in Oversize flat box 3
Two beaded bags, one with colored glass beads, the other with metal beads. Both belonged to the Grosh family. Located in Oversize flat box 3
Award and recognition plaques for Hilda Bentley from Bowling Green State University, Friends Award; Center for Archival Collections Local History Conference; and Toledo Metroparks for supporting preservation of Isaac Ludwig Mill. Located in oversize flat box 4
RESEARCH NOTES - GENEALOGICAL
Arranged by family
Material collected in the course of doing genealogical research; includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, maps, and printed material relating to Lewis and Bentley Family members
RESEARCH NOTES - TOPICAL
Arranged by topic
Extensive biographical sketches, with photographs, of prominent Toledo businessmen, architects, and builders, compiled by Thomas Bentley; subject notebooks; Family Bibles for the Lewis and Bentley Families with genealogical record pages; and the Funeral Memorial Album of Anderton Lewis Bentley
Proof pages : The Bentley-Lewis Story: Finding the American Dream in Ohio, worksheets, proofsheets, and negatives of photos used
E.N. Lewis ledger
SCRAPBOOKS AND SCRAPBOOK MATERIALS
Album of family historical sketches (with some inset photos), compiled from family stories by Thomas Bentley
Wedding album of Lawrence Chamberlain Bentley and Mary Mercer Wright
Ambrotypes, ferrotypes, carte-de-visites, and cabinet cards of members of the Bentley family, many with identification
MAPS, CHARTS, DIAGRAMS, GRAPHIS, LISTS, ETC.
Framed map of the West Riding of Yorkshire, including Bradford and nearby parishes. Located in Oversize flat box 3 of the Chamberlain Papers
BOOKS - FAMILY PERSONAL MEMENTOS
Various small pocket Bibles, prayer books, and hymnals belonging to members of the Bentley and Lewis families
BOOKS - GENERAL
Published works dealing with genealogy, family history, and Yale University
Miscellaneous family items, including wax seals, hair combs, pins, shirt studs, autographed scrolls, and ivory artifacts
- Chamberlain-Hascall, Grosh Ritchie Papers
- Lewis-Bentley Papers
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