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Clay, Benjamin M.


Age: 21, credited to Thetford, VT
Unit(s): 3rd VT LARTY
Service: enl 10/28/63, m/i 1/1/64, CPL, 3rd VT LARTY BTRY, m/o 6/15/65

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 04/28/1842, Danbury, NH
Death: 03/11/1891

Burial: Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Thetford, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Bob Hackett
Findagrave Memorial #: 41555415


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, Widow, 3/18/1891
Portrait?: USAHEC off-site
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Thetford, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.



The news on Wednesday that Benjamin M. Clay had taken his life was a painful shock to the whole community, and at first the truth could hardly be realized, for Mr. Clay was known as a strong, able, cheerful, and self contained man, prosperous in a quiet way, and the father of a promising, happy family. The cause for committing the deed is a mystery, but one explanation that is just to the man that he was suddenly seized with a form of insanity, in which there was one fixed purpose--suicide--from which he might have have been turned if there had been anything to break the spell upon him. The fact of the case are these:In the morning Mr. Clay arose about 6 o'clock, and left the house. His wife, who had been suffering through the night with a toothache, and was in a drowsy condition, and only realized that he had arisen. When Mrs. Clay began to get breakfast, and found that nothing had been done to the fire, and that Mr. Clay had not performed other little duties he was accustomed to do. After breakfast the family thought it strange that he did not return, and Samuel Stevens, of Thetford, who, with his wife was visiting the family, went to the Fletcher Mill on Birge street, where Mr. Clay had some work to be done. Later, after returning to the house, Mr. Stevens went out through the cemetery to where Mr. Clay had been cutting wood a few days previous. As he was coming up from where the wood had been cut he noticed tracks leading to the hearse house, and upon looking into the house was horrified to see his friend hanging from a small rope, which was fastened to one of the cross beams. Mr. Stevens quickly went down street and informed Col. Hooker, first selectman, who summoned Dr. Pratt, and they went directly to the hearse house. It was now nearly 11 o'clock. the body was cut down, and taken to the house. A messenger wa sent to bring home Mr. Clay's daughters, Lulu, teacher of the Chase Street primary school, and Cora, a pupil in the High School. The footprints in the snow that Mr. Clay went from his home directly to the hearse house. The rope that he used was taken from home. After arranging the rope he must have swung off from the old hearse. George Clay, Mr. Clays only son, who is employed in Boston, was summoned by telegraph, and reached home yesterday afternoon. He did not know why he had been sent for until he reached Millers Falls, when conductor Wheeler broke the news of the sad event to him.

Mr. Clay was born in Danbury, N.H., April 28, 1842, but he came to Brattleboro from Thetford, this state, 16 years ago, and entered the employ of the Estey Organ company, where he worked in the iron department up to two years ago, when he gave up his place to become sexton of the Prospect Cemetery Association. Mr. Clay's wife was the daughter of G. W. Heath, of this village, and they were married in Thetford. Mr. Clay served as Sargeant in the Third Vermont Battery for 18 months, and took part in the siege of Petersburg, and in other important engagements of the Civil War. . He was lieutenant in the Fuller Battery until he resigned less than two years ago, and had been a member of the board of village bailiffs.

The funeral was held at the house this morning at 9 o'clock, the members of the Grand Army. Odd Fellows, and Knights of Honor bodies, of all of which he was a member, attended in a body. The burial will be in North Thetford.

Mr. Clay was a man held in universal esteem, and was possessed of many sterling qualities. His habits were exemplary, he had no outside trouble, his domestic relations were of the pleasantest character, and everything tends to show that the final deed was not premeditated. In his death the community loses a good citizen, and there are many that mourn his loss sincerely as that as a good companion, and a firm and faithful friend. To the stricken family the deep sympathy of all go out.

Since the above was in type, it has been learned that Mr. C. D. Noyes is positive that he met Mr. Clay on Canal Street Wednesday morning, about 9 o'clock, a fact which adds to the mystery of the case.

A CARD--We wish to extend to our friends and neighbors, and to the Old Soldiers, Odd Fellows, and Knights of Honor, our sincere thanks for the many kind deeds, and expressions of sympathy in our late bereavement in the death of our beloved husband and father.

Mrs. Ellen L. Clay & Family.

Source: Vermont Phoenix, March 13, 1891


At a meeting of Alpha Lodge, no. 810, Knights of Honor, march 19, the following resolutions were passed to our deceased Brother, B. M. Clay

RESOLVED: That by the death of our brother, Benjamin M. Clay, the lodge has not only lost a valued member, and efficient officer, but a true and trusted friend.

RESOLVED:That while we mourn the loss of our brother with deepest sorrow, our sympathy goes out to the widow and orphans of the deceased who have been bereft of a kind husband and indulgent father whose protecting arm can no longer shield them from harm, but whose precepts and examples have engraved upon their hearts, virtues and memories never to be effaced.


H. A. Strong
J. M. Allen
C. L. Piper.

Source: Vermont Phoenix, March 20, 1891
Courtesy of Deanna French

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