Elizabeth Benedict, born in 1789, never married. At a time when women landowners were almost exclusively widows, Elizabeth put together a farm on Great Hill in East Cornwall, buying land slowly over the course of about ten years. She hired farmers to work the land for her, giving them a home in return, and lived comfortably until her death in 1870.

Numerous documents recording Elizabeth’s real estate dealings show how she was able to piece together both a farm and modest wealth (only a few are shown here; the rest are in the archives of the Cornwall Historical Society).

Elizabeth had inherited land in Danbury and Ridgefield from her grandmother, Abigail Hickok Benedict, which she sold in 1817 to her brother, Silas Benedict, for $70.

Elizabeth Benedict, Land Deed, 1817.
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

Elizabeth Benedict, Land Deed, 1818.
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)

In 1818, Elizabeth purchased a tract of land in Cornwall from her brother, Eli Benedict, for $99. Eli had inherited the land from their father.

In 1827, Elizabeth purchased another tract of land in Cornwall, this time from Martin and Annah Hacket. Annah was Elizabeth’s sister, and the land had been inherited by Annah from their mother. Because Annah was married, the sale of her land required her husband’s involvement.

Elizabeth Benedict, Land Deed, 1827.
(Collection of Cornwall Historical Society)