Biography of Harry H. Benford
Cambria County, PA Biographies

Harry H. Benford, who ranks among the successful real estate and insurance men of Johnstown, is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Somerset, Feb. 24, 1856, and is a son of James H. and Eve Elizabeth (Row) Benford, both deceased.

James H. Benford was born in Somerset, April 20, 1822, and his wife near Adamsburg, Pa. Aug. 29, 1825. In 1850 James H. Benford, who was a tanner in early life, went into the hot!el business in Somerset and also operated the Concord stage line which carried mail and passengers between Pittsburgh and Washington, D. C., via Cumberland. Before the breaking out of the war Mr. Benford sold his Somerset business and moved to Harrisburg, Pa., operating what was known as the Herrs Hotel, later the Lochiel House for several years, then moving to Indiana, Pa., continuing in the hotel business. During the war he and John F. Suter recruited Company E. One Hundred Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, In 1865 Mr. Benford moved to Johnstown and took possession of the Scott House, on the site of the Merchants Hotel, Main Street. In 1872 the family moved into the Hulbert House, on Clinton Street, the most prominent hotel in the city, where Mr. Benford died Nov. 15, 1878. Mrs. Benford and her sons continued the hotel until the great flood of May 31, 1889, swept it away, with the loss of 55 lives out of 64 persons in the building, among those lost being Mrs. Benford, two daughters and one son.

Harry H. Benford was educated in the public schools of Johnstown and about 1872 went to work for Mr. Lou Cohen, hatter, on Main Street, opposite Schwartz Bros. store. About 1874 he became associated with the late Dr. A. N. Wakefield in the drug business on Franklin Street, He went to Charleston, W. Va., in 1877 as a druggist, with his brother-in-law, Ed L. Boggs, son of Pennsylvania State Senator Harry L. Boggs, where he remained until 1879, when he returned to Johnstown, entering the hotel with his mother and brother. In 1880 Mr. Benford entered the employ of Wood Morrell & Company, now Pennsylvania Traffic Company, as a grocery clerk, and later in the year was married to Susan E. Fry, daughter of Dr. John F. and Christina Fry, the marriage ceremony being performed by Dr. Ruben A. Fink, pastor of the English Lutheran Church. They were the parents of three children, Miriam E., at home; Ned F. and R. Lou, associated with their father in business at No. 244 Market Street.

In 1884 Mr. Benford moved to Beaver Falls. Pa., entering the Western File Works of the Economite Society as bookkeeper and paymaster, returning to Johnstown after the flood to engage in the livery business with his brother Frank on the site of the Johnstown Tribune Building. Several years later he entered the dental office of his brother-in-law, Dr. Harry M. Fry, where he remained until 1898, when he purchased the fire insurance business of John and James McCrory and has continued the business to the present day. Mr. Benford has been identified in some of the most important real estate transactions in the city and has the confidence of many of the most prominent business and professional men.

Mrs. Benford died January 12, 1921, and Mr. Benford remarried in September of the same year to Miss Rosalia Cann, daughter of George and Elizabeth Cann, of Johnstown, and are spending their days at their beautiful home on Luzerne Street, extended, Westmont Borough.

Mr. Benford's family are members of the Lutheran Church, and he is a member of the Johnstown Chamber of Commerce, the Y. M. C. A. and Royal Arcanum. Politically he is a Democrat.

History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania
By: John E. Gable
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis, 1926

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