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 • Bibb County
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Catherine Elizabeth Brewer Benson
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Birth: Jan. 24, 1822
Richmond County
Georgia, USA
Death: Feb. 27, 1908
Bibb County
Georgia, USA

Catherine Elizabeth Brewer was born in Augusta, GA to Thomas Aspinwall Brewer (1792-1874) and Mary Foster Brewer (1795-1871). Originally, she enrolled in Clinton Female Cemetery at Gray, GA. However, the seminary was closed and its students entered Georgia Female College (now Wesleyan College) in 1839. Brewer became the first American woman to receive a degree from a chartered college (as her name was first alphabetically in her class), graduating in 1840 with a bachelor's degree.

She married Richard Aaron Benson on 24 Nov 1842 in Macon, GA. Together, they had eight children:
Catherine Colvard Benson (1844-1885)
Richard Edward Benson (1846-c.1897) - m. Emma Haskins
Thomas Brewer Benson (1849-1880) - m. Hattie E. Freeman
Eliza Sophie Benson (1850-1912)
ADM William Shepherd Benson (1855-1932) - first Chief of Naval Operations
Frank Cook Benson (1857-1943)
Howard Burke Benson (1862-1887)
Gertrude Benson (1864-1952) - m. Henry C. Arnall

At every annual meeting of the Wesleyan College Alumnae Association, graduating seniors are inducted into the association using the Benson Charge, a quote taken from a speech she gave to the Class of 1888:
"Members of the graduating class, demands will be made upon you which were not made upon us. Your training, if you are true to it, will amply qualify you to meet those demands. No wiser blessing could I wish for you than that you may be true to every God-appointed work."

The following obituary is taken from USGenWeb Archives:
File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:
Carla Miles March 24, 2005, 9:20 pm

The Marion County Patriot, March 6, 1908
The Marion County Patriot, No. 8
Friday, March 6, 1908
Page Two

Georgia Briefs

Wesleyan's First Graduate Dead

Mrs. Katherine E. Benson is dead at her home in Macon after several weeks'
illness. She was the first graduate of Wesleyan College and was the first
woman in the world to receive a diploma from a chartered college. She was
widely known and beloved as a woman of excellent Christian character. She had
reached the advanced age of 86.

Copyright. All rights reserved.
Family links: 
  Thomas Aspinwall Brewer (1792 - 1874)
  Mary Foster Brewer (1795 - 1871)
  Richard Aaron Benson (1821 - 1877)*
  Catherine Colvard Benson Melrose (1844 - 1885)*
  Thomas Brewer Benson (1849 - 1880)*
  Eliza Sophie Benson Fargo (1850 - 1912)*
  William Shepherd Benson (1855 - 1932)*
  Frank Cook Benson (1858 - 1943)*
  Howard Burke Benson (1861 - 1887)*
  Gertrude Benson Arnall (1864 - 1952)*
  Catherine Elizabeth Brewer Benson (1822 - 1908)
  Adeline Brewer Clayton (1825 - 1896)*
*Calculated relationship
Rose Hill Cemetery
Bibb County
Georgia, USA
Created by: Jimmy Allen
Record added: Oct 26, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 119313888
Catherine Elizabeth <i>Brewer</i> Benson
Added by: Jimmy Allen
Catherine Elizabeth <i>Brewer</i> Benson
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Rich Dohm
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Loree Beacham
 Added: May. 3, 2015

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