Benjamin Darlington (1790-1856), one of Pittsburgh’s elite businessmen and benefactors of the 1800’s, was the husband of Agnes McCullough and father of William M. Darlington. Benjamin Darlington owned a thriving store and hotel, and eventually his wealth, prestige and family connections presented him with the opportunity to assist in leading the Allegheny Valley Railroad Company. Benjamin Darlington was the fourth generation of Darlingtons in the United States. Benjamin Darlington began as a carpenter’s apprentice. After working in a store on Market Street, he gained enough capital to buy a hardware store with his brother, Samuel Darlington, and later owned one of Pittsburgh’s only hotels. In 1833, he was elected president of the Allegheny Engine and Hose Company, and by 1837 he was one of the first officers on the Board of Trustees for Pittsburgh’s Gas Works. Benjamin Darlington served as commissioner for the Allegheny Valley Railroad Company and contributed a major donation for the building of the Pittsburgh Theater.
The series concerning Benjamin Darlington includes documents explaining his endeavors as a successful entrepreneur while Pittsburgh was growing into a major city. The receipt books contain handwritten records of various transactions made by Benjamin Darlington, explaining his relevance to the real estate business in Pittsburgh. Listed are property holdings and rent collections including one by Alexander Brackenridge, who was at the time president of the United States Bank in Pittsburgh. Accompanying this are other transactions made by Benjamin Darlington as the executor to the estate of Jane McCullough (1766-1821), his mother-in-law. In addition to the receipt books, there are various letters to and from Benjamin Darlington, including correspondence from his brother, Samuel Darlington. A number of names appear within the two receipt books, aside from those mentioned above; a brief list follows: John Wright, James Appleton, Thomas Dickson, Jane McCullough, Anderson Evans, Jacob Negley, Irvin Boyle, Isabella Miller, Mary McCullough, Sarah Simpson, Will Porter, William Whitton, John Stewart, James Wilson, James Caoper, Jane Smith, Margaret White, and others. For more documents related to this series, see Box 25, with oversize materials.