September 5: Benjamin Franklin Larned (1862)

Benjamin Franklin Larned was the tenth Paymaster-General of the U.S. Army, a position he held from 1854 until his death in 1862. Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Larned was named for American statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin, who had died just four years before Larned’s birth. Enlisting in the U.S. Army on Oct 1, 1813, Larned devoted the next 50 years to the service of his country. He was promoted to 3rd Lieutenant on March 7, 1814; made 2nd Lieutenant on March 8, 1814; and 1st Lieutenant on August 4, 1814. On August 13-15, 1814, Lt. Larned commanded his company under Major-General Gaines and defeated General Drummond of the British Army in the defense of Fort Erie. He was promoted to Regimental Paymaster in 1815; Major Paymaster in 1821; Deputy Paymaster General with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1847; and then U.S. Paymaster General with the rank of Colonel in 1854. He was one of the oldest officers in the Army during the Civil War.

On September 1, 1851, Benjamin Larned married Elizabeth Rachel Newman at the Church of the Epiphany. His first wife and mother of his seven children had died four years earlier. Elizabeth died just five years after her marriage to Larned and was buried from Epiphany. Fort Larned, an Army post in central Kansas named in his honor, was established during his tenure as Paymaster-General and was built to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail from hostile American Indians. In announcing his death to the Army, by order of the Secretary of War, Adjutant General, L. Thomas concluded with these words: “A man of the most genial disposition, attractive society, and unsullied life – a sincere Christian above all – Col. Larned was deservedly respected and beloved by all who had the happiness of knowing him. May the Army, which has the reason to be proud of such a son, never cease to imitate the virtues of which he was so worthy an example.”

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