Historic Houses and Buildings of the County
Chemung County NY

1908 Postcard of the Miller-Bennett House
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Town of Big Flats Page

Comfort Bennett was an early settler in Big Flats. It is oft repeated that he could have walked from Horseheads to Big Flats on his own land and that
he gave a fully equipped farm to each of his children upon their marriage.

His daughter Nancy married Benjamin Duzenberry Smith, and this match produced my wife, Joanne Smith several generations later (details below).Comfort provided Benjamin and Nancy a farm on the Chambers road just off the east end of the present runway at the Airport. Joanne's dad, Bob Smith, grew up on the farm and fondly recalled childhood memories, such as eating with the hired men, working the tobacco and the diary operation. It was a happy era, until TB claimed the dairy herd and then his father succumbed to the disease as well. There was a major fire that destroyed the barn and outbuildings, and hail ruined the tobacco crop. Through it all the old homestead stood proud.

Bob worked in Rochester during WWII, but the family returned after the War, and Bob started diary farming again, his first love. Joanne lived in that old homestead until we were married, so memories of it are important to me too. It was sad when the Airport claimed the property and the great old house was razed. We have a number of photos of the place and I am attaching some.  Assuming the barn, outbuildings and rest of the farm matched that house, a young man was indeed fortunate to win the hand of one of Comfort Bennett's daughters.
Walt Samson in Roaming Shores Ohio
Jan 2007

House in 1952
Another view of the Abigail Miller - Comfort Bennet House

PS- Remember the attached drawings of Comfort and Abigail Bennett? My wife often told our kids a story about going upstairs to bed on dark, cold winter nights. She and her brother had to pass a picture of a lady and an "old man with a patch over his eye". His remaining eye seemed to follow them and they would cover their heads and run fast past the portraits.One day I happened to have that picture on the computer screen when she passed by and stopped in her tracks and cried out "THAT'S THEM".


1822 - 1972

"Comfort Bennett was an early settler and reputed to be the wealthiest farmer in southern New York. He could walk from Big Flats to Horseheads on his own property. He had ten children and when each one was married, he built them a homestead."

Direct Descendants of Comfort Bennett and Abigail Miller
1        Comfort Bennett       b: 18 Jan 1781 Town of Warwick, Orange Co. NY d: 12 Aug 1864 Big Flats, NY Aged 83 yr. 6mo. 25 da.  Maple Grove Cemetery 83
          +Abigail Miller b: 1787 Orange Co., NY       d: 27 Feb 1872 Big Flats, NY Aged 83 yr. 9 mo.    m: 03 Nov 1806   85 est.

2        Nancy Bennett         b: 1820         d: 1898                   78 est.
          +Benjamin Duzenberry Smith, Jr.     b: 1820         d: 15 Mar 1903 m: 01 Apr 1843        83 est.

3        George Bennett Smith         b: 15 May 1844 Big Flats, NY d: 18 Apr 1903 Horseheads, NY.  b  Maple Grove Cemetery                  58
          +Catherine Sayre Carr         b: 30 Jul 1843 Horseheads, NY d: 11 Mar 1903 Horseheads, NY                59

4        Harry Carr Smith       b: 03 Jan 1869 Big Flats, NY d: 18 Mar 1928
Big Flats, NY          59
          +Cora Virginia Hendershot    b: 14 Aug 1872 Bath, NY     d: 20 Mar 1956 Horseheads, NY      m: 24 Sep 1902   83

5        Robert Bush Smith     b: 23 Mar 1907 Big Flats, NY d: 18 Jul 1995
Ashtabula, OH / Horseheads, NY               88
          +Lila Rachel Marsh    b: 06 Mar 1910         d: 20 Oct 1994  Horseheads, NY      m: 21 Aug 1926 in Elmira, NY      84
6        Joanne NMI Smith       b: 04 Feb 1935 Honeoye Falls, NY

Chemung County NY
Published On Site 2/20/2007
By Joyce M. Tice

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