Stark, Benjamin, 1820-1898

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1820-06-26
Death 1898-10-10

Biographical notes:

Benjamin Stark was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 26, 1820, and attended school in New London, Connecticut. In 1845 he sailed for Oregon, where he purchased an interest in a Portland land claim. Later he entered a New York business partnership to ship merchandise to California during the gold rush. When the New York parent company went bankrupt, Stark was only able to salvage his Portland property. In 1850 he moved to Portland and married Elizabeth Molthrop in 1854. He was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Oregon senator Edward D. Baker in 1862. Stark moved to New London after his senatorial term, where he died in 1898.

From the description of Benjamin Stark papers, 1829-1894. (Oregon Historical Society Research Library). WorldCat record id: 35619640

Benjamin Stark was born in New Orleans, La., and attended school in New London, Conn. In 1845 sailed for Oregon where he purchased an interest in a Portland land claim. Later he entered a New York business partnership to ship merchandise to California during the gold rush. When the New York parent company went bankrupt, Stark was only able to salvage his Portland property. Moved to Portland in 1850 and married Elizabeth Molthrop in 1865. He was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Oregon senator Edward D. Baker in 1862. He moved to New London after his senatorial term where he died in 1898.

From the description of Benjamin Stark papers, 1782-1933. (New London County Historical Society). WorldCat record id: 265142760

Benjamin Stark was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 26, 1820, the eldest son of sea captain Benjamin Stark, of New London, Connecticut. Apparently his mother died when he was quite young and his father remarried; his step-mother, Charlotte Stark, was the mother of his three half-brothers, William, Richard, and Charles. Stark attended school at New London, then at age fifteen started his business career with a New York counting-house. In 1845, he sailed for the Oregon Territory with Capt. Nathaniel Crosby, Jr. aboard the bark Toulon . Stark represented the firm of A. G. & A. W. Benson of New York. The Toulon, a Benson ship, carried cargo destined for Francis W. Pettygrove who had come to Oregon with a consignment of goods from the Bensons in the spring of 1843.

In Oregon, Stark purchased an interest in the land claim of Asa Lawrence Lovejoy, owner of half the town site of Portland, Oregon. Much of Stark's future was to depend upon this fortunate acquisition. During the years 1846-1848 he sailed on the Toulon for China, having severed business connections with the Bensons. From China he took another ship to New York, arriving there in time to hear the first news of the gold discovery in California.

Using his Portland land claim as a good part of his equity, Stark entered into partnership with Edward and John Sherman of New York to ship merchandise to California and capitalize on the gold rush boom. Sherman & Stark sent a load of lumber and other goods to California on the Madonna, captained by John H. Couch, whom Stark had previously met in Oregon. Traveling out ahead of the Madonna via Panama, Stark set up two subsidiary companies: Stark & Co. at San Francisco, and Couch & Co. at Portland. Meanwhile the New York parent company went bankrupt due to the Shermans' unwise investments in an oar business, and Stark was able to salvage only the title to his Portland property. In 1850 Stark moved to Portland and became a prominent civic leader, businessman, builder, and land proprietor. In 1854 he married Elizabeth Molthrop, daughter of New England sea captain, William E. Molthrop.

Stark was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Oregon Senator Edward D. Baker, who was killed at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. Stark served in the Senate from February through December, 1862. During this period his wife and son, Benjamin III, moved to New London, and Stark joined them there after his Senatorial term expired. In 1864 he was an Oregon delegate to the National Democratic Convention at Chicago, and in 1868 was a Connecticut delegate to the New York convention. He continued to make his home in New London, but retained his valuable property interests in Portland until his death in 1898.

From the guide to the Benjamin Stark Papers, 1829-1894, (Oregon Historical Society)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w60g3ktk
Ark ID:
w60g3ktk
SNAC ID:
49501113

Subjects:

  • Business enterprises
  • Political Campaigns
  • Business enterprises--Oregon
  • Schools
  • Businessmen--Correspondence
  • Pioneers
  • City and Town Life
  • Businessmen--Oregon--Correspondence
  • Senators, U.S. Congress
  • Real property
  • California
  • Cemeteries
  • Oregon
  • Privateering

Occupations:

  • Landowners--Oregon--Portland
  • Landowners--Connecticut--New London

Places:

  • Connecticut--New London (as recorded)
  • Portland (Or.) (as recorded)
  • Portland (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Connecticut--New London (as recorded)
  • Oregon Territory (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • Oregon--Portland (as recorded)
  • Oregon (as recorded)
  • New London (Conn.) (as recorded)