The Great Adventure
Benjamin Franklin Appleby
From his birthplace in St. George Parish, South Carolina, 30 August 1822, Benjamin
Franklin Appleby moved with his parents to Macon County, Alabama. He was still a very small boy at the time.
At the age of sixteen, and for health reasons, his father, Peter Ridley Appleby permitted Benjamin and a slave, later known as Frank Appleby, to travel west.
In California, Benjamin met a man, named Bert, and they became partners in gold mining. Their mines, so successful, Benjamin traveled by boat around Cape Horn to Boston, Massachusetts, to purchase several thousand dollars worth of mining equipment.
When the gold rush in California slowed, Benjamin, his partner and the slave, left for the newly-discovered gold fields of Australia. The three men returned to California at the outbreak of the Civil War, with plans to join the Confederate Army. Loaded with gold and provisions, they attempted to return to the South, but Federal Troops wer blockading all roads leading from California. Benjamin and his slave managed to escape an ambush and they fled to Mexico.
Benjamin Franklin Appleby, working as a civil engineer, built the wharves at Mazatlan, Mexico. He, also, built the first paved roads on the west coast of Mexico.
After several years in Mexico, he returned to the family plantation in Alabama, about 1870. The slaves had been freed, but large numbers remained on the plantation. The former slave, now Frank Appleby, became a road and bridge builder in the southern part of Alabama.
Upon first sight of Martha Frances Sego, Benjamin declared his intention to marry her. They were married on 30th June 1875. Around the turn of the century, Benjamin, his wife and their eight children moved to Lee County, Alabama, later becoming Russell County.
Martha Frances Sego-Appleby died 17th April 1900 and was buried in the Little Texas Campground Cemetery in Macon County, Alabama. Benjamin died 30th of June 1907, the result of an accident involving a runaway horse and buggy. He was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Phenix City, Alabama. Roads made impassable by flood waters prevented his burial in the Little Texas Campground Cemetery.
The children of Benjamin Franklin and Martha Frances Appleby were all born in Macon County, Alabama, between the years of 1876-1892. Their names were: Lear, Byron, Bert, Susanna, Joel, Cornelia Frances, Homer and Beatrice.
Appreciation and thanks to Forrest Appleby Shavers and Jewell (Kirkland) Shavers for permission to use information from their book, "Benjamin Appleby, His Ancestors and Descendants." Father of Benjamin: Peter Ridley Appleby.
More recently (2004) the entire story has been placed on this website.
revised: 16 May 2001
revised: 14 Sept 2004
reviewed: 05 March 2005