Elias Cornelius Benedict

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Elias Cornelius Benedict circa 1913 aboard his yacht Oneida

Elias Cornelius Benedict (January 24, 1834 – November 22, 1920) was a prominent New York City banker and yachtsman. He specialized in the gas and rubber industries. He was president of the Commercial Acetylene Gas Company and of the Marine Engine Company.[1][2][3]


He was born in 1834 in Somers, New York. His father, Henry Benedict, was a Presbyterian clergyman. His mother was Mary Betts Lockwood, daughter of Captain Stephen Lockwood, of Norwalk, Connecticut.[4]

At fifteen in 1849, he joined the banking house of Corning & Co., New York. In 1857 he opened his own stockbroker's office on Wall Street.

In 1859, he married Sarah Hart, daughter of Lucius Hart of New York. They had four children: Frederick Hart Benedict, who married Henry Flagler's daughter, Jennie Louise; she died after complications from childbirth, along with their child aboard the Benedict yacht Oneida while on their way to see Henry Flagler in St. Augustine, Florida, and Frederick was killed not many years later in an automobile accident near West Point; Martha, who married Ramsay Turnbull; Helen Ripley, who married the architect Thomas Hastings;[5] and Louise Adele Benedict, who married Clifford B. Harmon.[4]

During the United States Civil War he and his brother organized the Gold Exchange Bank.[3][4]

Benedict was close with President Grover Cleveland, and it was on Benedict's yacht, the Oneida, that Cleveland had his secret surgery to remove a cancerous growth from his jaw in 1893.

Benedict commissioned the architects Carrère and Hastings to build an estate on the peninsula at Indian Harbor in Greenwich, Connecticut.[6]

In later life Benedict was Commodore of the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club.[3][7] He had been ill for more than a year when he died on November 22, 1920, at his estate in Greenwich.[1]

Indian Harbor, built by “Commodore” E.C. Benedict, 1895, on an-80 acre waterfront peninsula. The home and outbuildings were designed by Carrere & Hastings, who collaborated with renowned Olmstead, Olmstead & Eliot on the landscape. The home, although modified, still stands today.
EC Benedict Yacht Oneida leading the way and yacht sapphire following.


  1. ^ a b "E. C. Benedict Dies in his 87th Year. Was Sixty-four Years in Wall St. and One of the World's Leading Yachtsmen. Loved Long Cruises in Strange Waters. Once Shipwrecked. Was Cleveland's Friend." New York Times. November 24, 1920. Retrieved 2009-02-03. E.C. Benedict, banker and yachtsman, died last night in his eighty-seventh year at his home, Indian Harbor, Greenwich, Conn. Mr. Benedict had been ill for more than a year, and his end came quietly from a complication of diseases incident to old age, shortly before 9 o'clock. 
  2. ^ "Commodore Benedict". New York Times. November 25, 1920. Great artist in the difficult art of viability, Elias Cornelius Benedict had nearly eighty-seven years of fortunate life in which there can have been few days of dullness. ... 
  3. ^ a b c America's successful men of affairs. New York Tribune. 1895. banker and stock broker, born Jan. 24, 1834, is a son of the Rev. Henry Benedict. His native place is Somers in Westchester county, N. Y. The family was planted in America by Thomas Benedict, an immigrant from Nottinghamshire, England, in 1638. At the age of sixteen, Elias, without means and with only a fair education, began to master the mysteries of stock broker age, as clerk in the employ of Corning & Co., in New York city. In 1857 he opened an office of his own on Wall street, displaying the sign of Benedict & Co., and for nearly forty years has been one of the most active, ingenious and indefatigable operators in the whirlpool of this centre of speculation. ... 
  4. ^ a b c Summers, Capt. James C. (June 1916). "Com. E. C. Benedict, Veteran Yachtsman". The Rudder. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  5. ^ Miss Benedict Married; Becomes the Wife of Thomas Hastings at Greenwich, Conn., The New York Times, 1 May 1900
  6. ^ Ossman, Laurie; Ewing, Heather (2011). Carrère and Hastings, The Masterworks. Rizzoli USA. ISBN 9780847835645.
  7. ^ Herreshoff Marine Museum Chronicle (pdf)