Beware of what you might find when researching your family history. My family in particular seems to have more than its share of ghosts in the closet. Here are a few that I’ve discovered so far.
When Judah P. Benjamin fled the country following the Civil War — he needed to skedaddle since he’d served as Secretary of State for the Confederacy — there was only so much he could take with him. First, the portly attorney could only fit so much on his horse, which he rode through the South, […]
My self-appointed mission: To drive all the way to New Orleans for a special viewing of clothes belonging to my third great grand uncle Judah P. Benjamin. With any luck, the Touch the Wig tour would end with a precious co-mingling of DNA, so that genealogists many years from now would know that I’d made […]
Row 8, plot 85. With the coordinates in hand, it should be simple to find the grave of Rebecca de Mendes Benjamin. But the sun has set over the Dispersed of Judah cemetery, the moon is reduced to a crescent, and an ominous chill has settled in over otherwise warm-blooded New Orleans. Ethan points a meager flashlight borrowed […]
Peninah Benjamin Kruttschnitt died on April 18, 1903, at her son Ernest’s home, according to her obituary in the Times Picayune. Remarkably, the stately residence at 1423 First Street is still standing, and it’s in very good condition. In fact, the eclectic house, with its Classical columns and Palladian windows, is one of the most beautiful […]
Born in Brenz, Germany, Johannes Kruttschnitt came to this country in 1837, seeking (what else?) fame and fortune. He achieved both. A successful merchant, a published scientist, a civic leader, and the father of highly accomplished children, Kruttschnitt rose to become one the best-known, most-respected men in New Orleans in the late 19th Century. “Despite his modesty and self-seclusion, few […]