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Benning family papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS60

Scope and Content

These papers consist of correspondence between various members of the Benning family, personal documents, genealogy of the Benning family, and business papers from Hong Kong, New York and Atlanta.


  • 1862-1963, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

Thomas Cobb Benning (1799-1874) and Margaret Elizabeth Broughton Benning (1816-1887) lived in Chatham County, Georgia, and had four children: Thomas Theodore (1835-1887); Augustus Harrison (1840-1904), also called Gus or A.H.; Henry Columbus (1845-1898); and Rowena Eloise (1831-1898). The family moved to New York in the mid-1860s. After serving as a private in the Confederate Army, Henry C. Benning went into business in New York City, marrying Ella M. Van Nuise (1856-1896) in 1888. Thomas Jr. and Augustus Benning joined the United States Merchant Marine and rose to the ranks of captain by working on voyages to Hong Kong. After Thomas Jr. died of yellow fever, Augustus moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and joined the coal merchant firm of Moss and Morson. He became the sole owner of the company and changed its name to Benning Coal and Wood Company in the early 1890s. Augustus was also the president of the English-American Loan and Trust Company, which financed the construction of the English-American Building (commonly called the Flatiron Building), on Peachtree Street. In 1888, he married Margaret Rowena Russell (1867-1945) of Atlanta, and had five children: Augustus Harrison, Jr. (1901-1939); Elizabeth Lawrie Benning Kistner (1889-1941); Theodore Russell (1892-1972); Thomas Cobb (1894-1984); and Broughton Walton (1897-1964). After Augustus’ death, Margaret owned and operated rental properties in the Atlanta area. Broughton W. Benning was a radio operator involved with the American Radio Relay League, founded in 1914.


9.833 linear ft. (ten document cases, two half document cases, and seven oversize boxes)