Sunday’s Obituary – Benjamin Cottrell


I have copies of two obituaries for the same person, Benjamin Cottrell, who died at age sixty-eight in 1906. My problem is that I have the source information for the first, but not the second.  Oddly I have not been able to locate it again. Have you located the second article in this post?

First article:

 COTTRELL — Entered into eternal rest,

February 25, 1906, at 10 o’clock A. M., at


aged sixty-eight years.

     The funeral will take place from Cal-

vary Baptist Church THIS (Monday)

EVENING at 4 o’clock.

    Owensboro (Ky.) papers please copy.

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch, 26 Feb 1906. Deaths.

Second article:


Mr. Benjamin Cottrell Passed Peacefully Away Yesterday

Began Business Here Before the War — War Record.

     Mr. Benjamin Cottrell, Richmond’s

oldest coal dealer and one of her most

substantial citizens, died yesterday

morning just as the town bells were

striking ten, at his home, 11 West

Cary Street, after an illness of nearly

three months.

     If ever death came gently, it was

when it visited Mr. Cottrell’s abode

to summon him to his last reward.

His end was peaceful and painless,

and gathered about him in his final

hours were all the loved ones who

had brightened his life.

     Mr. Cottrell’s demise was the result

of some strange, almost inexplicable

tubercular trouble, which developed

very suddenly and made alarming

headway. He was last seen on the

streets when he went to the polls to

vote for Mr. Pace for City Treasurer.

After that effort in behalf of his

friend, he never was again able to

leave the house, though he seldom

took to his bed and retained his in-

terest in the affairs of his household

almost to the last.

     By the passing of Mr. Cottrell, Rich-

mond loses a man whom she can ill

afford to spare– a modest, unobtru-

sive citizen, who answered every call

of duty and held friends and family

by the strongest ties.  He never held

or sought public office, though he

would have had such honors for the

making, and rarely, if ever, appeared

in public without his son or one of

his daughters.

A Link With the Past.

Mr. Cottrell’s career as a coal mer-

chant is closely interwoven with the

history of the city, and forms a link

with the almost forgotten ante-bellum

past.  He was sixty-eight years old

last December, and was born in Hen-

rico county at the old home place not

far from the Gayton coal mines– the

son of William Cottrell — a sterling

Virginian who reared his sons for use-

ful manhood.  There were six broth-

ers– William, Joseph, Richard, Peter,

Luther and Benjamin– and a half-

brother, Seth Duval.  Of these only

one now survives, Mr. Luther Cottrell,

of Louisville.

     Mr. Cottrell’s mother, who was

thrice wedded, and died Mrs. Frith,

at the ripe old age of ninety-five, be-

fore her marriage was a Miss Halsey,

of Lynchburg.  She was a  sister of

Mrs. Anne Hollins, who endowed the

famous school that bears her name

and the two were connected with

some of the wealthiest and most

prominent families of the Old Domin-


     Mr. Cottrell was twice married. His

first wife was Miss Rebecca Imogen

Pilcher, a sister of the late W. C. pil-

cher, and by this union one child sur-

vives, Mrs. T. T. Willhoyte, of Louis-

ville. His second wife, formerly Miss

Marla Elizabeth Pace, and a sister of

Professor George R. Pace and Mr. M.

R. Pace, of this city, survives him

with the following children: Mr Ben-

jamin H. Cottrell, Mrs. James G. Hen-

ning and Misses Jennie, Olive and

Etta Cottrell.

Here Before the War.

     Some time about the year 1856– just

after the memorable snow which old

timers still discuss– the subject of

this sketch, who had been attending a

military school at Lynchburg, came

to Richmond, and started the coal

business as agent for brothers who

were working the mines near Gay-


     In those days West Virginia coal

had not been put on the market, and

the Virginia capital was supplied by

fuel mined almost at her very doors.

This coal was shpped on canal barges

and Mr. Cottrell had his office near

Basin Bank.  By a strange coinci-

dence, many, many years afterwards,

circumstances cast him and his office

on exactly the same spot where he

had begun his business career as a

mere youth.

     For many years following the war,

his place of business was on the south-

east corner of Eight and Main

Streets, now the site of part of Pace

block, and then the empty, depressed

space left by the ruins of the burned

Spotswood Hotel.

     More recently Mr. Cottrell had

changed his place of business several

times, and his office at present is

at 201 South Ninth Street.  Conditions

have changed vastly, too, since, as a

boy, he started the coal business.  In

recent years Mr. Cottrell and his son

have devoted themselves almost exclu-

sively to the steam coal business, and

they have supplied fuel in vast quant-

ities to some of the city’s largest man-

ufacturing establishments.

     Mr. Cottrell, besides being a pioneer

in the coal business, was one of the

first to build on West Cary Street.  He

had been living in the house in which

he died for thirty-three years, and

when he first broke ground in that

neighborhood, only two or three other

residences were on the block.

Kept Watch on Dahlgren.

     During the civil war, Mr. Cottrell

was associated with the Twenty-fifth

Virginia Regiment, Cavalry, of which

Colonel Robins was commander, and

being a non-commissioned oficer [sic] who

could be depended upon, he was often

detailed to scour the country with

small detachments in pursuit of Fed-

eral raiders.  Many was the time he

and his men chased the dashing Dahl-

gren.  Indeed, he was on the trail of

that bold spirit but a short time be-

fore Dahlgren was shot down.  The

pistol which the rash young Federal

officer used and which was taken from

his {page torn} Alvis, is {page torn}

     Mr. Cottrell was not

                          a man to court

praise or publicity.  His most strik-

ink [sic] qualities were his sincerity; his

keen sense of honor, his punctilious

regard for every business and social

obligation, and his beautiful love of

his family.  He had no pleasure in

which his wife and children did not

share– no worries they did not know

and no laughter in which they did not

join.  Better still, he walked in the

divine light and with faith as his staff.

He was one of the charter members

of Clay Street– now Calvary Baptist–

Church, and from there the funeral

will take place this afternoon at 4



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  1. elisabeth

    I can only hope to find obituaries like that, with so much information and so many clues.

    • 1ancestry2littletime

      I agree. In my case, most are either non-existent (or at least I can’t find them) or don’t have much information. I have my grandfather’s which even has WRONG information in it. I should post that one too… it is another case in which the clipping has no info on it to identify which paper it came from and so far I haven’t found it.

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