Miss Maude Benedict 1875-1959 ~ Canton, Pennsylvania

Canton Beethoven Club Organized and Active Since Spring of 1897

In the spring of 1897 a small group of music-loving Canton women were prompted to share their common bond by occasional gatherings in their homes.  The meetings were devoted to discussions of current musical events, followed by programs.  The group was the forerunner to the present Beethoven Club and was known as the Bi-Weekly or Ladies Musical Club of Canton.

Charter members were Miss Mary C. Krise, Mrs. E. J. Cleveland, Mrs. G. F. Krise, Mrs. Carleton M. Manley, Mrs. C. M. Harding, Miss Hattie Benedict, Mrs. C. F. Biddle and Mrs. Frank Owen.  The original group was augmented during the next two years by Mrs. George Somerville, Mrs. F. W. Hull, Miss. Maud Benedict, Mrs. B. J. Briggs and Mrs. L. M. Marble, Mrs. George Davison, Mrs. L. T. McFadden.At the turn of the century the group decided to formally organize and adopt a permanent, more appropriate name.  Mrs. F. W. Hull suggested that they call themselves “The Beethoven Club.” The wisdom of assuming the name of the greatest composer was questioned but it was argued that by so identifying itself the club must maintain only the highest musical standards; the name of itself would preclude lowering them. The logic of this prevailed and thus the club in 1901 became the Canton Beethoven Club with Miss Mary C. Krise as its first president.Now in its forty-ninth year of the organization has played a major role in the musical life of Canton. The minutes of the club, covering five decades have been carefully kept and represent a valuable record of such culture. The minutes reveal that in the early years the ladies were asked to respond to the roll call by giving musical notes and quotations.  Dues were fifty cents a year. Members were penalized five cents if they failed to perform. The constitution defined the club’s purpose as “the mutual helpfulness of its members and the advancement of music.” From the outset it sought to advance music not alone for its members but for others as well.The first important project was undertaken in the year of its formal organization.  Most cities but few small towns in Pennsylvania had public school music at the beginning of the twentieth century, so it was in Canton. The club anxious to correct such a deficiency, suggested to the School Board that music be added to the curriculum of our public school. To demonstrate its educational advantages programs were arranged and sponsored by the club. School children and townspeople took part and teachers of public school music in more advanced systems were brought to Canton as lecturers.  The Mendelssohn and Beethoven Clubs conducted Music Memory Contests in the schools for several years and an active interest in school music had been maintained throughout the years.Although the advancement of music has been its primary concern, the club has assisted in many other community enterprises.  Benefits have been given for various charities and donations are allotted each year for altruistic purposes.

The past presidents of the club have been Miss Mary C. Krise, Mrs. James Martyn, Mrs. E. J. Cleveland, Mrs. L. M. Marble, Mrs. C. M. Harding, Mrs. W. T. Davison, Mrs. Carlton M. Manley, Miss Maud Benedict, Mrs. John E. Roenitz, Mrs. Mabel Gleason, Mrs. Floyd C. Griswold, Mrs. T. H. Beam, Mrs. Richard, S. Barnes, Mrs. Robert Gleckner [Georgia Benedict], Mrs. Arthur Bullock, Miss Florence Bennett, Mrs. Edmund S. Fanning, Mrs. Lynn R. Ballard, Mrs. B. Lloyd, Mrs. Lacelle Leggett, Mrs. Dale S. Guthrie.

The Methodist Church was founded in 1851, and for a number of years was but one operation in a large circuit of the Elmira District. In June 1887, the cornerstone of the present church was laid.  Members still living who have been affiliated with this church 70 or more years are, Mrs. L. J. Moody, Elmira, since February 8, 1872; Mrs. Fannie Darrah, Canton, from December 30, 1883, Miss Maude Benedict and Miss Elizabeth Wolfe since March 1886. The sanctuary of the church was completely renovated and redecorated in 1949 and dedicated in January, 1950.  The Rev. Lewis F. Bachman has served the church since 1948.

The following was taken from the Canton Sentinel of Thursday, November 27, 1913, and tells about the opening of the Green Free Library on Thursday, November 20, 1913

The formal opening of the Green Free Library occurred Thursday afternoon and evening and was much enjoyed by the people of Canton and vicinity, who are proud of this addition to their town. In the afternoon the building was thrown open for the first time for inspection by the public. The tables and desks were adorned with large bouquets of Chrysanthemums and roses and the Muncy orchestra played during the afternoon. Throngs of people were shown through the building by the librarians and the Board of Directors.

The exercises were held in the Presbyterian Church in the evening and opened with an overture by the orchestra. After the invocation by Rev. G. W. S. Wenrick, H. F. Lundy rendered a tenor solo, - A Song of Praise, by Goebler. W. C. Sechrist then read a biographical sketch of Charles S. Green, the material of which was gathered during the writer’s personal acquaintance with Mr. Green. This was followed by a contralto solo by Miss Maud Benedict, - The Day is Done, by Balse. The membership of the choir included Mrs. J. E. Roenitz, Miss Lillian Cupp, Mrs. W. T. McFadden, Miss Maud Barnes, Miss Edna Yeats, Miss Maud Benedict, Mrs. G. E. Newman, H. F. Lundy, Joseph Mason, Edward Hallett, Robert Gleckner, E. J. Bailey, Willard Hagar, and Fred Newell, Jr. J. Fred Clark was the organizer and leader of this choir.