Samuel Benner (1763-1832)

Samuel (James) Benner


Samuel Benner was born on the 18th of November 1763, the second son of Henry Benner (1736-1806) and Elizabeth Dolmege (1742-??).

He married Anne Cronsberry in 1786.

Samuel was a Postmaster, and also kept the Blennerhasset Arms Hotel in Tralee. This estabishment was named after the Blennherhassets on whose property the family had been tenants when they arrived from Germany. The hotel was later renamed Benners Hotel, and still exists today, although not in the family ownership, and it has also been rebuilt.

On his death in 1832, the hotel was taken over by his son Robert.

In the Limerick Evening Chronicle in 1832, a final notice read  
‘Died 2nd May at his residence Upper Castle St, Mr Samuel Benner,  many years respectable innkeeper of Tralee’.

Samuel Benner had a large family of ten children

Mary    Eliza    Anne    John    Sara    Samuel    William     Lucy      Robert    Arthur          
b1788    b1789   b1793   b1794  b1796   b1797     b1798        b1799    b1802      b1806  

The children followed their fathers pioneering way and went into the catering trade  

Mary married Robert Splents.  Later in the 19th century Splents Hotel was opened in Upper Castle St near the Blennerhassett Arms.   
Eliza married Maurice Connor, a publican.   
John and Robert, two of the boys, married two sisters Mary Ann and Margaret Gallagher.  These were the daughters of William Gallagher, an hotelier who ran the well- respected
Leslie Arms in Tarbert, [later Gallagher’s Hotel]

Samuel lost many of his family before his own death.  A notice in the Tralee Chronicle for Tuesday, 4th Dec 1827 gives the sad details of multiple family deaths:
‘In Tralee of fever, Samuel Benner jun. Son of Samuel Benner of the Blennerhassett Arms Tavern, being the fourth member of his family called away by death in six weeks, a sister, two daughters and a son’.

Higher education
Samuel was the first of the Kerry born Palatines to consider  university education for his children.  In 1814, he sent his son William to Trinity College Dublin when he was aged sixteen.  There were Blennerhassetts ‘up at Trinity’ at this time,  perhaps this influenced the decision to send his son to Dublin.  William graduated in 1818.  He married in 1827, to Mary, a daughter of his old school master Robert Slattery.  William was a classics master and later opened a boarding and day school himself in Tralee.   

Arthur, the youngest son of Samuel,  was sent to Dublin in 1826, where he entered Kings Inns and qualified as a solicitor.  Arthur married Sarah Worrell, a solicitor’s daughter.