Saturday, August 30, 2014

52 Ancestors: #34 Beniah Pratt Brackley (1833-1896)

Beniah Pratt Brackley, my 1st cousin 5x removed, was born on this date in 1833, in Freeman, Maine, the seventh of eight children born to John Brackley and Mary Trumble, and their sixth son.

Beniah lived in Freeman until his early teen years, but eventually made his way to the coast of Maine, settling in Rockland, answering the call of the sea. He signed on to a fishing voyage with his older brother Silas for three months, and may have made it all the way to Cuba with him. There is evidence he also worked on the Boston and Lowell Canal for a time. In the 1860 Rockland census, he listed his occupation as "sailor."

He met Fannie Ulmer there, and married her in Rockland on May 9th in 1861.  Two years later, the couple welcomed their only child, a daughter Elizabeth, whom they called Lizzie.

Beniah answered the Union call and enlisted at Augusta on February 22, 1864, in the 4th Maine Regiment of Volunteers. After one year, he was promoted to Lieutenant. His second enlistment was with the 31st Maine, where he rose again in rank from Private to Lieutenant. He fought in the Battle of Bull Run, and witnessed the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox.

At the end of the war, Beniah returned to Rockland and joined the police force. In the 1870 census, he listed his occupation as "police man." After about ten years, he held various civic positions in Rockland and Knox County.

Beniah lost his wife in 1894, and followed her in death two years later, dying on February 4, 1896, of what later came to be known as Parkinson's Disease.

He and Fannie are buried in the Achorn Cemetery, in Rockland, Maine. I hope to find and photograph their graves on my next trip to Maine.


1850 US Census ; Census Place: Freeman, Franklin, Maine; Roll: M432_253; Page: 231A; Image: 447, Beniah Brackley.

1860 US Census; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: M653_443; Page: 728; Image: 728; Family History Library Film: 803443, Beniah I Brackly.

1870 US Census ; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: M593_548; Page: 172B; Image: 348; Family History Library Film: 552047, Benniah Brackley.

1880 US Census ; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: 482; Family History Film: 1254482; Page: 160A; Enumeration District: 109; Image: 0807, Bennia P. Brackley.

1890 Veterans Schedule; Census Place: Rockland, Knox, Maine; Roll: 7; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 204, Beniah P Brockley.

"Maine, Marriages, 1771-1907," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 Aug 2014), Beniah P. Brackley and Fannie P. Ulmer, 09 May 1861; citing Rockland,Knox,Maine, reference ; FHL microfilm 12045.

"Maine, Veterans Cemetery Records, 1676-1918", index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 Aug 2014), B P Brackley, 1896.

Thompson, George A. and F. Janet Thompson. A Genealogical history of Freeman, Maine, 1796-1938, in three volumes. 3 vols. (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1996), 1:340.


This is the 34th in a series, “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks,” coordinated by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small.

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