Mary "Mamie" (Penny) Benton: 1879 - 1917

My 2x great grandmother, Mamie Penny, was born about 1879 in Louisiana to Jack Penny, a former slave and United States Colored Troop (USCT) and Mariah Green, a slave originally from Macon County, Alabama. It is unclear whether she was born in St. James or East Baton Rouge Parish.

Mamie’s siblings were:

  1. David Penny (1872 – 1914)
  2. Luella “Ella” Penny (1881 – 1918)
  3. Elise Penny (1882 – ????)
  4. Odile “Della” Penny (1886 – 1945)

On August 23, 1905, Mamie married Edward Benton in East Baton Rouge Parish, but the couple moved to Gramercy, Louisiana in St. James Parish shortly thereafter. According to her granddaughter, the late Marguerite Jackson Vernell, all their children were born in Gramercy, but Mamie died unexpectedly in 1917, leaving Edward and their oldest child, Artimease, 15, to raise the children. The family ended up moving back to Baton Rouge to be closer to the Benton Family.  Unfortunately, as with most families in this situation, time has a way of eroding relationships, family ties and memories.  Most of my family was unaware of Mamie’s maiden name and the Penny family until 2016 when I uncovered information on one of her son’s social security index records that unlocked the mystery.

The children born to Edward Benton and Mamie Penny were:

  1. Arthur Benton (1905 – 1907)
  2. Artimease Benton (1902 – 1992)
  3. Mamie Benton (1906 – 1996)
  4. Percy Benton (1908 – 1979)
  5. Dalton Benton (1910 – 1996)
  6. Velma Benton (1914 – 1976
  7. Ernest Benton (1915 – 1991)

Mamie’s death certificate suggests that, at the age of 38, her death resulted from either complications of pregnancy, or post labor. She must have suffered for some time because she also had a kidney infection.


  1. Information obtained from the oral histories of Marguerite Vernell.
  2. “Marriage Index Record for Edward Benton and Mary Penny,” EBR Parish “Index to marriage licenses, v. 1 (1840-1910),”;  accessed 24 Feb 2020 
  3. Mamie (Penny) Benton’s Death Certificate acquired from the Louisiana State Archives on 2 8 Apr 2013.
  4. 1880 U.S. Federal Census
  5. 1900 U.S. Federal Census
  6. Mariah (Green) Penny, “United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934,”, accessed 18 May 2016
  7. Mariah (Green) Penny, “United States Civil War Widow’s Pension File,” (NARA); accessed Nov 2016
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