Godfrey, Benjamin

Born: 1794-05-20 Massachusetts

Died: 1862-08-13 Madison County, Illinois

Flourished: Madison County, Illinois

Godfrey was born on Cape Cod and as a young man he went into business on the sea, eventually becoming a ship's captain. After working as a sea captain and a merchant in Mexico and New Orleans, Godfrey settled in Alton, Illinois, in 1833. After the death of his first wife, he married Rebecca Petit in 1839. With Winthrop S. Gilman, he opened Godfrey, Gilman & Co., a commercial house in Alton. Godfrey served as president of the State Bank in Alton in 1835, and founded the Monticello Female Seminary in 1840. Religiously, Godfrey was a Presbyterian, and he served in the Alton church as an elder. In 1850, Godfrey gave his occupation as "farmer," and he owned $50,000 in real estate.

Elizabeth Pearson White, "Captain Benjamin Godfrey and the Alton and Sangamon Railroad," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 67 (November 1974): 467; W. T. Norton, ed., Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and Its People 1812 to 1912 (Chicago: Lewis, 1912), 1:121, 308, 449; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Madison County, IL, 429; History of Morgan County, Illinois (Chicago: Donnelley, Loyd, 1878), 124; Gravestone, Godfrey Cemetery, Godfrey, IL.