Clara E. Allyn – Benitz Page last modified:
Missing portrait

Clara Electa Allyn

(Source: F. Malcolm Benitz)

Clara Electa Allyn

Clara had an adventurous spirit and a romantic heart.  To recover from a broken engagement in Minnesota, she accepted her sister Franc’s invitation to become teacher in Argentina.  On the Paraná river ferry taking her to her new posting she met and fell in love with a man from California.  Not long after, she accepted his proposal of marriage.  However, when Franc learned of this she banished Clara back to their brother in Corsicana, Texas.  William Benitz followed her.  They were married in Texas and returned to Argentina where they had eight children.

Event Timeline — Clara E. Allyn de Benitz

Year Age Event
1859 0 Born on 23 November, 1859, in Rochester, Minnesota, the youngest in her family, the 7th child of her father, Joseph Benjamin Allyn (a cobbler by trade) and the 4th child of her mother, Jane Smith.
1861 <2 Clara was 22 months old when her mother, Jane Smith, died 28 September, 1861, age about 34 years old.  Clara's older sister Franc assumed the role of mother. (Born 6 Feb., 1851, Franc was 13 years old.)
abt.1870 11 Her father moved his business from Rochester to Winona, Minnesota.
1872 13 Her father retired (aged 61) and went to live with his son, Charles H. Allyn, in Corsicana, Texas.
1877 18 Graduated from the Normal school in Winona, Minnesota.
1878 19 Taught at a grade school in Duluth, Minnesota.
1879 21 Invited to Argentina as a school teacher by President Sarmiento, Clara joined her sister Franc, teaching at the Normal School in Paraná, Corrientes. (See their bios in the book “65 Valiants”.)
1881 23 Her sister Franc, learning of Clara’s intention to marry William O. Benitz, sent her back to the US, to the home of their brother Charles H. Allyn, in Cosicana, Texas.  Willie followed her and they were married in Corsicana on April 25, 1881.
1882-97 24-40 Clara had 8 children: Hattie 1882, Katie 1884, Willie (W.A. Bz) 1888, Nena (Josephine) 1889, Clarita 1891, Frank 1893, Bernice 1895, & Marion 1897 – all born in Argentina except Marion, USA.
1888 29 Clara's father, Joseph B. Allyn, died in Winona, Minnesota, at the home of Clara’s sister, Franc Allyn (married to S.W. Morgan, a jeweller).  Both of Clara’s parents were buried in Rochester, Minnesota.
1897 37 Willie & Clara travelled to England & the US with their children, and Willie’s mother (Josephine Kolmer/Benitz).  Clara and the younger children stayed on in Winona, Minnesota, while the rest (including Hattie & Katie) visited California and Fort Ross.
1897-98 38-39 Clara and all the children stayed in Winona, Minnesota; she rented a house for two years and placed the children in local schools.  While there, she had her last child, Marion.
1899 40 The entire family returned to Argentina in August to live at estancia “La California” (Las Rosas, Santa Fé).
1903 45 “Greystone” – Clara bought ½ hectarea in the Córdoba hills (once part of the original estancia “Los Cocos”) for a summer home; she expanded it in 1909 to a total of 55.6 has.
1906 47 Travelled to Europe with Willie and two eldest daughters (France, Switzerland, Germany) & possibly New York.
1911 53 April 1, her husband Willie O. Benitz died in Corsicana, Texas.
1914 56 With Edward C. Schielle, bought a farm (chacra) of 1,365 has. (in suerte D-126bis) south-west of & close to Bell Ville, Córdoba.
1918 60 Son Frank Allyn Benitz, WW-I RAF night-fighter pilot, was killed-in-action, England.
1925 67 April 2, became a citizen of Argentina (likely to avoid the recently enacted US tax on world-wide income).
1926+ 68+ Brother-in-law Alfred Benitz resumed wrting a diary, in which he always referes to Clara as “Doña Clara”.
1930 72 Died on 12 October, 1930, in Buenos Aires, Arg.; she was buried in the family cemetery at estancia “La California”, Las Rosas/SFé, Arg.

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)