Lithographer and renowned landscape, portrait and floral painter, Benjamin Champney, was born in New Ipswich New Hampshire, 17 Nov 1817.
He began his career as a lithographer in Boston, but became a renowned landscape, portrait and floral painter. He was especially associated with scenes of the White Mountains of New Hampshire and described by one art historian as the “dean of the White Mountain painters” (Falk). He is considered the founder of the “White Mountain School” of painters who came to North Conway and surrounding areas during the second half of the nineteenth century. He died in Woburn, MA in 1907.
In 1834 he graduated from Appleton academy, New Ipswich, and removed to Boston, where he was employed in a lithographic establishment, 1837-40. In 1841, he took the first of numerous European trips, studying with Robert Cooke in Paris. He studied at the Louvre life school in Paris 1841-46. In 1847-48 he painted his notable panorama of the Rhine.
While still relatively unknown (1853), he built an artist studio in North Conway NH on the southern slope of the White Mountains. He lived there in the summer in a cottage, on the main road. White Hills view is seen from this spot. Close by to where he lived, other artists (i.e. Kennett, Shattuck and Brown) painted the view. He was early encouraged by the highly acclaimed Washington Allston, who persuaded him to study in Europe. He exhibited regularly at the Boston Anthenaeum. In 1855 he was a founder of the Boston Art Club, and its president in 1857. In 1900 he published his autobiography, “Sixty Years’ Memories of Art and Artists.”
He was the uncle of artist Edwin Graves Champney. [see his family tree below].
– Additional Reading –
– Biography of Benjamin Champney –
– Examples of Benjamin Champney’s Artwork –
– History of the Champney family: containing biographical sketches, letters, reminiscences, etc by Julius Beresford Champney (Google eBook), 1867-
****FAMILY TREE OF ARTIST BENJAMIN CRACKBONE CHAMPNEY*****
Note: Much of this genealogy comes from the “History of New Ipswich NH” with additional notes and research added.
ADDENDUM: On August 25, 2006 I received an email from Emma C. Foncea Champney de Garcia-Salas, great-granddaughter of the artist, Benjamin Crackbone Champney, who helped me to clarify her immediate family in Central America.
Richard Champney/Champnes, born 1607 in Messingham, Lincoln, England. He is believed to be descended from Sir Henry Champney, who in turn was descended from those who fought under William the Conquerer at the battle of Hastings. Richard came with his wife Jane from Lincolnshire England to Cambridge Mass, in 1634/35, on the “Defence” and settled in the part which is now Brighton MA, where he was made freeman in 1636, and was a ruling elder in the Cambridge Church. [Richard and Jane married abt 1629 in Stisted, Essex England] He died 26 Nov 1669 in Cambridge MA. Jane was alive 30 June 1669 the date of her husband’s will. An extensive biography can be found in “Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-33” [Also see online book, “Descendants of Richard Champney” (PDF). [The old records of Boston, per NEHGS Register Vol. 4, page 55 list two additional children, “Mary, b. 8mo 1635” and “John b 3rd mo 1641.” No more is known about them.]
Children of Richard and Jane (?) Champney:
1. Sarah [Sarai] Champney, baptized Stisted, Essex England, 21 June 1629. [One source states the following, while another completely disputes that this Sarah married William Barrett]: She married 19 Aug 1656 to William Barrett of Cambridge MA. She died 21 Aug 1661. He married 2nd, Mary Barnard who d. 28 March 1673; He m3rd) Mary Sparhawk who d. the same month. He m4th) Margaret Barlett who survived him. He had 12 children, the eldest Lydia was his only child by his first wife. ThisLydia Barrett m. John Ballantyne of Boston and had issue.
2. Esther Champney, baptized Stisted, Essex England, 31 Oct 1630; m(1) Josiah Converse, son of Edward Converse; m2) Jonathan Danforth
3. Joseph, baptized 8 Apr 1632 in Stisted, Essex England; m. Sarah Poole
4. Noah Champney, baptized 8 Apr 1634 in Stisted, Essex England.
5. Samuel Champney, b. September 1635 in Cambridge MA; m(1) Sarah Hubbard; m(2) Ruth (Mitchelson) Green, dau of Edward Mitchelson and widow of John Green
6. Mary Champney, b. Nov 1639 in Cambridge MA; m. Jacob French
7. +Daniel Champney, b. 9 March 1644/45 in Cambridge MA
8. Lydia Champney, b. abt 1649 in Cambridge MA; m. John Seaborn Hastings
Daniel Champney, b. 9 March 1644/45 in Cambridge MA; d. 19 Nov 1691 in Cambridge MA; m(1) 3 Jan 1665 [or 14 Jan 1666] in Cambridge MA to Dorcas Bridge, dau of Thomas and Dorcas Bridge. She b. 16 Feb 1649 in Cambridge MA and d. 7 Feb 1683/4. He married 2nd) 9 June 1684 in Cambridge MA to Hepzibah, dau of Elijah Corlet/Corlot and widow of James Minot [son of George Minot]. They resided in Cambridge MA.
Children of Daniel & Dorcas (Bridge) Champney:
1. +Daniel Champney, b. 14 Dec 1669 in Cambridge MA
2. Dorcas Champney, b. 22 Aug 1667 in Cambridge MA
3. Thomas Champney, b. 12 Sep 1673 in Cambridge MA
4. Noah Champney, b. 27 Sep 1677 in Cambridge MA
5. Downing Champney, b. 1 June 1680 in Cambridge MA
6. Abigail Champney, b. 26 Apr 1683 in Cambridge MA
Children of Daniel & Hepzibah (Corlet/Corlot) Champney
7. Hepzibah Champney, b. 23 June 1687 in Cambridge MA
Daniel Champney, b. 14 Dec 1669; m. Bethiah Danforth Phipps, dau of Solomon & Mary (Danforth) Phipps. She b. 1671 in Charlestown MA and d 1754 in Cambridge MA.
Children of Daniel & Bethiah D. (Phipps) Champney:
1. Thomas Champney, b. abt 7 March 1697 in Cambridge MA
2. Dorcas Champney, b. abt 18 Apr 1697 in Cambridge MA
3. Daniel Champney, b. 21 July 1700 in Cambridge MA
4. +Solomon Champney, b. 17 March 1701/02 in Cambridge MA
5. Noah Champney, b. 14 Sep 1704 in Cambridge MA
6. Downing Champney, b. 10 March 1706 in Cambridge MA
7. Richard Champney, b. abt 23 Nov 1707 in Cambridge MA
8. Thomas Champney, b. 14 Oct 1709 in Cambridge MA
Solomon Champney, b. 17 March 1701/02; d. 1760; m(1) 1723, Elizabeth Cunningham; m(2) Abigail Crackbone. She b. abt 1710 and d. 18 Jan 1785. He began life as a mechanic, but entered the English army and was serving at Castle William, Boston Harbor, at the time of his death.
Children of Solomon & Elizabeth (Cunningham) Champney:
1. Solomon Champney Jr., b. 7 Jan 1725 in Cambridge MA
2. Elizabeth Champney, b. 4 Nov 1723 in Cambridge MA
3. Ebenezer Champney, b. abt 4 May 1729 in Cambridge MA, d.y.
4. Ebenezer Champney (2d), b. 27 Apr 1730 in Cambridge MA, d.y.
5. Nathan Champney, b. 26 Sep 1731 in Weston MA
6. John Champney, b. 25 Sep 1735 in Cambridge MA
7. Nathan Champney, b. 27 Sep 1733 in Cambridge MA
Children of Solomon & Abigail (Crackbone) Champney:
8. Silence Champney, b. 22 March 1740 in Cambridge MA
9. +Ebenezer Champney (3d), b. 3 Apr 1744 in Cambridge MA
Ebenezer Champney, Esq., son of Solomon & Abigail (Crackbone-MacSparron) Champney was b. 3 Apr 1744 in Cambridge MA and d. 10 Sep 1810. He m. 9 Oct 1764 in Groton MA to Abigail Trowbridge, dau of Rev. Caleb & Hannah (Walter) Trowbridge. She b. 3 Nov 1740 in Groton MA and d. 23 Oct 1775 in Groton MA. He was an attorney (Esq.) in Groton MA. He married 2nd, 1778 Abigail Parker, dau of Samuel Parker. She died in 1790. He married 3rd) March 1796 Susan Wyman. She d. Sept 1796. He graduated from Harvard College in the class of 1762. He studied under Parson Trowbridge of Groton MA, whose daughter he subsequently married. He became a minister and preached about two years, when he left the profession. Soon after he took up the study of law and in 1764 was admitted to the bar at Portsmouth NH. He then opened an office at New Ipswich NH where he began to practice law. In the year 1775 [one source says 1795] he was appointed Judge of Probate for Hillsborough County NH. In the spring of 1783 he moved back to Groton NH, remaining there until 1789 when he again returned to New Ipswich. In 1785 he was justice of the peace in Groton MA (He had received his first commission as Justice of the Peace from Gov. John Hancock). The “History of New Ipswich NH” calls Ebenezer Champney “a moderate Tory…but like so many others who forebore to take part in the contest he lived to acknowledge the beneficent effects of that struggle which gave us our liberties and free institutions.”
Children of Ebenezer & Abigail (Trowbridge) Champney:
1. +Benjamin Champney, b. 20 Aug 1764 in Groton MA
2. Francis Champney, b. 27 Jan 1766 in Groton MA, d. Groton MA 22 Feb 1837; m. 23 Dec 1786 to Abigail Trowbridge. She b. 11 June 1765. They had at least one ch, Samuel Trowbridge Champney Esq., b. 10 Sep 1798 in Groton MA and d. 21 Oct 1885 in Brooklyn NY. Samuel had a son, Addison Weld Champney, b. 24 May 1839 in Brooklyn NY and d. 22 Oct 1876 in Brooklyn NY.
3. Abigail Champney, b. 4 May 1767 in Groton MA; d. 1805; m. 10 Dec 1789 Thomas Gardner of Groton. Seven children.
4. Hannah Champney, b. 23 Sep 1768 in New Ipswich NH; m. 18 Feb 1792 at New Ipswich NH to James Prescott Jr., Esq. of Westford MA; Ten children.
5. Elizabeth Champney, b. 12 Sep 1770 in New Ipswich NH, d. 27 Aug 1775
6. Sarah Champney, b. twin, 25 Dec 1771 in New Ipswich NH; d. 20 Aug 1775
7. Ebenezer Champney Jr., twin, b 25 Dec 1771 in New Ipswich NH; d. 29 Aug 1775
Children of Ebenezer & Abigail (Parker) Champney:
8. Elizabeth Champney (2d), b. 6 Feb 1779; d. 19 June 1869; m. 21 Jan 1798, Dr. John Preston
9. Ebenezer Champney, b. 19 July 1780; m. 8 Nov 1803 to Mehitable Goodrich
10. Jonathan Cutler Champney, b. 17 Apr 1783
Benjamin Champney, b. 20 Aug 1764 in Groton MA, bap 9 Dec 1764 in Groton MA; d. 12 May 1827 in New Ipswich NH, age 66; He m1) 1791 Mercy Parker, dau of Samuel & Abiah (Cook) Parker. She b. 3 July 1765 in New Ipswich MA, and d. 4 Apr 1795 in New Ipswich MA. He m2nd 14 Oct 1809 in New Ipswich NH to Rebecca Brooks. She b abt 1782 and d. 15 Aug 1849 in Woburn MA. He was studied law with his father, and after his admission to the bar, opened an office with him at Groton MA in 1786. He remained here until 1792 when he joined his father as an attorney in New Ipswich. He was postmaster for twenty years, a selectman for eight years and was one of the proprietors of the first cotton mill in the town, this also being the first in the state. He succeeded to the home of his father in the Center Village.
Children of Benjamin & Mercy (Parker) Champney:
1. Sarah Champney, b. 22 July 1792 in New Ipswich NH and d. 15 July 1864 in Woburn MA
2. Maria Champney, b. 23 July 1793 New Ipswich NH; d. 11 Nov 1796
3. Benjamin Champney, b. 12 March 1795; d. 13 Nov 1813. He had entered Dartmouth College the year preceding his death, but a stone thrown by a fellow student struck his head and ultimately caused his death.
Children of Benjamin & Rebecca (Brooks) Champney:
4. +Edward Walter Champney, b. 18 Aug 1810 New Ipswich NH; d. 1 May 1886 Woburn MA; m. Oct 1845 to Caroline Letitia Floyd
5. George Mather Champney, b. 6 March 1812 in New Ipswich NH; d. 4 Jan 1882 in Woburn MA; m. 13 Jan 1836 to Lucy Ann Brown, dau of Eugene & Hannah (Morgan) Brown. She was b abt 1813 in New Ipswich NH and died 22 Oct 1909 in Woburn MA. They had 5 children, one of whom was Edwin Graves Champney, b. 24 Aug 1842 and who m. 21 July 1880 to Martha Ann (Wilson) Capron.
6. Maria Louisa Champney, b. 14 Nov 1813 in New Ipswich NH, d. 9 July 1881 in Woburn MA; m. Dec 1837 to Francis K. Cragin; resided Woburn MA.
7. Ellen Eliza Champney, b. 17 Oct 1815 in New Ipswich NH, d. 5 June 1888 in Woburn MA; m. 31 Dec 1840 to Dr. John CLOUGH. They had one ch, Sarah Maria Clough, b. 11 Apr 1842 who m. Robert J.W. Phinney.
8. +Benjamin Crackbone Champney, b. 9/20 Nov 1817 New Ipswich NH
9. Mary Jane Champney, b. 22 Nov 1819, New Ipswich NH; d. 2 March 1827/37
10. Henry Trowbridge Champney, b. 19 Sep 1825 in New Ipswich NH; d. 17 Nov 1913 in West Medford MA; m. 11 Nov 1849 to Lydia S. Parshley, res. W. Medford MA.
Edward Walter Champney, son of Benjamin & Rebecca (Brooks) Champney, b. 18 Aug 1810 New Ipswich NH; d. 1 May 1886 Woburn MA; m. Oct 1845 to Caroline Letitia Floyd, dau of John Floyd Esq. She was b about 1821 in Brooklyn NY, and died 6 October 1865 in Woburn MA. [Caroline’s father superintended the building of government ships. At the age of 17, after the death of both of her parents in Maine, she moved to Boston to support herself. The two children, Albert and Mary G. are her orphaned nephew and niece who were adopted]. Edward married 2nd) 8 April 1868 to Esther Agnes Frost, daughter of Walter & Esther (Ingraham) Frost. She b. abt 1837 at Webster MA.
Boston Evening Transcript (Boston MA) Vol XVI, Issue 4666, page 2, Saturday Oct 11 1845
At Brooklyn, N.Y. 8th inst., by Rev. Mr. Farley, Mr. Edward Champney of Boston to Miss Caroline L. Floyd, youngest daughter of the late John Floyd Esq. U.S. Naval Constructor, formerly of Brooklyn.
Boston Evening Transcript (Boston MA), page 3, Monday, October 9, 1865
At Woburn, 6th inst. Mrs. Caroline L., wife of Edward W. Champney and daughter of the late John Floyd US Naval Constructor. Funeral on Tuesday at 2 PM. Friends are invited without further notice.
Boston Journal (Boston MA) Vol LIII, Issue 17418, page 4
Tuesday, May 4, 1886
CHAMPNEY–In Worubrn, May 1, Edward W. Champney, 76 years. Funeral services Tuesday, May 4 at 2 PM from his late resident ## Warren Street. Relatives and friends invited.
Boston Journal (Boston MA) Vol LIII, Issue 17417, Page 4
Monday, May 3, 1886
Mr. Edward W. Champney of Woburn died on Saturday, [1st] aged 76. For many years he was a member of the millinery firm of Champney Bros., Devonshire Street Boston, but when the store was burned out in the great fire of 1872 he retired from business. He was a brother of Benjamin Champney, the landscape artist, and leaves a widow and one son.
1855 US Census > MA > Middlesex > Woburn
Edward W. Champney M 45 NH
Caroline L. Champney F NH
Ellen Forley F 21 Ireland
1860 US Census > MA > Middlesex > Woburn
Edward W. Champney 50 NH
Caroline L. Champney 39 NY [b abt 1821]
Albert C. Floyd 8 DC [Albert C. Floyd, b. Nov 1851 Washington DC, d. 17 Oct 1924 Washington DC, son of John B. & Mary E. (Beers) Floyd, buried Richmond VA; He m 2 April 1878 in DC to Alice M. Addis. She b Nov 1859 in Ohio. Children: Bessie L. (b Oct 1885 DC), and Walter B.( b Dec 1883 DC). Albert was a clerk in the treasury department
Mary G. Floyd 6 DC
Bridget Murray Ireland
1870 US Census > MA > Middlesex > Woburn
Edward W. Champney M 60 NH 20,000 / 10,000
Agnes F. Champney F 33 MA [b abt 1837]
Albert C Champney M 19 DC
Mary G. Champney F 15 DC
Walter F. Champney M 1 MA
Ellen Burk F 40 Ireland
Fannie M. Gonigh F 18 Ireland
1880 US Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex > Woburn
Edward W. Champney 69 NH MA NH Drygoods merchant
Agnes F. Champney 43 MA MA MA
Mary G. Champney 26 daughter DC Nova Scotia DC [?adopted]
Walter F. Champney 11 son at school Mass NH Mass
Children of Edward W. & Agnes (Frost) Champney:
1. Walter Frost Champney, b 29 January 1869 Woburn MA. In December 1887 he removed to Senahn, Guatemala where he had a plantation with his cousin Kensett Champney. In 1901 renewed his US passport indicating he was residing still in Guatemala.
2. George Kuhn Champney, b. 17 Oct 1872 in Woburn MA
Benjamin Crackbone Champney, [see disclaimer below about his middle name] son of Benjamin & Rebecca (Brooks) Champney, was born 9 Nov 1817 in New Ipswich NH and died 11 Dec 1907 in Boston, Suffolk Co MA. He married 1st) 6 July 1853 to Mary Caroline Brooks, dau of Daniel and Miram Brooks. She b. 17 July 1829 at Mount Pleasant Indiana and d. 24 Oct 1876. He m2d) 26 June 1879 prob Woburn MA to Margaret Stevenson. She b. 26 Feb 1841 in Scotland and d. 17 Nov 1895 in Worburn MA. In 1890 residing 21 Bromfield Street in Woburn [Boston] MA.
Editor’s Note: Please be advised that through his lifetime, and including identifying primary documents such as passports and vital statistics, Benjamin Champney did not use a middle name. The ONLY and SINGLE source of the middle name Crackbone I could find is in the History of New Ipswich, New Hampshire in the genealogical-family history section. It is also known that Benjamin’s grandmother’s maiden surname was Crackbone, so it was a family name. I leave it up to my readers to determine whether to include this middle name in their research projects, or not.
U.S. Census > 1870 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Carroll > Conway
Champney Benj 55 M W Photographer 1500/200 NH
Champney, Mary C 40 F W keeping House Indiana
Champney Caust/Gaust 15 M W at home NH
Champney, Infant 5/12 F W NH Dec
Census > U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Carroll > Conway > District 16
Champney Benjamin W M 62 artist NH NH NH
Champney, Margaret W F 38 wife keeping House Scotland Scotland Scotland
Champney, Alice, W F 10 dau at school NH NH unknown
1900 United States Federal Census > Massachusetts > Middlesex > Woburn Ward 1 > District 999 [40 Pleasant Street]
Champney Benjamin Head W M Feb 1818 82 widow NH NH NH artist
Wyer Arthur C son in law W M July 1871 28 married 4 yrs MA MA MA RR Freight Agent
Wyer Alice C. dau W F May 1870 30 married 4 yrs 1 ch 1 living NH NH NH
Wyer, Alice, grand daughter W F Aug 1898 1 single NH MA NH
Children of Benjamin C. & Mary Caroline (Brooks) Champney:
1. +Kensett “Benjamin” Champney, b. 15 Dec 1854 North Conway NH [prob named after artist John Frederick Kensett, a good friend of his father’s]
2. Grace Champney, b. July 1856 in North Conway NH; d. 28 Dec 1862 in Woburn MA
3. Edith Champney, b. Dec 1859; d. 24 Dec 1862 Woburn MA
4. Alice Cone Champney, b. 14 December 1869 prob North Conway NH; m. 5 Feb 1896 Arthur C. WYER. He b. 9 July 1871. They had one daughter, Alice Brooks Wyer, b. 27 July 1898 in Conway NH, who m. 30 Sep 1923 in Conway NH to Roy Gordon Spark, son of Luther W. & Addie F. (Newcomb) Spark, as his 2nd wife.
Kensett “Benjamin” Champney, son of artist, Benjamin C. & Mary C. (Brooks) Champney, b. 15 Dec 1854 North Conway NH [prob named after artist John Frederick Kensett, a good friend of his father’s], and died December 10, 1939 in Guatemala; coffee planter in Guatemala, Central America. Reportedly archaeologist Robert J. Burkitt lived on his ranch in Guatemala from 1896 to 1945. According to a web site about Alta Verapaz History, he “owned ‘Sepacuité’, a finca of more than 100,000 acres in the eastern municipios of Cahabón and Senahú., Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. He fathered 12 children with Catalina Choc. In 1904 he patented a coffee hulling machine.
Children of Kensett & Catalina (Choc) Champney:
1. Juan Champney Choc, b. 1901 Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
2. Martina Champney
3. Carolina Champney
4. Clara Champney
5. Maria Champney, b. 05 May 1906 Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
6. Lucia Champney, b. 30 Dec 1911 Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
7. Benjamin Champney, b. 18 Sep 1913 Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala remained in Alta Verapaz and fathered 3 children: Jaime Champney Sommer, Erika Champney Sommer, and Edgar Champney Zuñiga.
8. Elena Champney, b. 03 June 1915 Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
9. Alicia Champney, b. 30 March 1917, Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
10. Irene Champney, b. 24 Feb 1919 Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
11. Luna Champney
12. Nery Champney, died July 2006
13. Emma Carlotta Champney, b. 09 Oct 1925 Senahu, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
Editor’s Note: This post was updated 23 October 2014