Section II - Benjamin Franklin Massey, 1811-1879:
Missouri Career as Merchant-Trader; Politics; 1856-1864 Secretary of State of Secessionist Missouri Administration.
One Maryland Massey Family by George Langford, Jr. 1901-1996
©Cullen G. Langford and George Langford, III, 2010

A Biographical Narrative of his Life and Career
B.F. Massey's Health and Fortunes Deteriorate, and He Tries Newspapering
In March 1864, 6.Benjamin Franklin Massey wrote Dr. Snyder, seeking a repair part for an inhaler his wife was using.  On 25 Jul.1864, his wife, Maria Hawkins Whithers Massey, died and was buried.  The family was scattered; his eldest daughter, 43.Nina Massey Hough, became foster-mother to the little girls; the boys continued to live on the farm with their father.
Massey felt an urgent need to move away from the Fayette farm.  In January 1865, he travelled to Illinois, spending over a month there in search of a new home site in a large area near Dr. Snyder's Cass County, Illinois home.  This trip was unsuccessful.
Still feeling the urgent need to leave Fayette, in Feb.1865 he wrote Dr. Snyder:
"I am worried, wearied, bothered, distressed, pained & etc., beyond my power to express.  ... Getting away from my present abode involves, in my opinion, the small matter of life and death."
He was trying to find a farm of at least 100 acres that he and his boys could operate.
Failing to find a suitable Illinois farm site, he continued to farm in the Fayette area and the St. Louis area.  In Jun.1868, about three years later, he wrote his friend, Dr. Snyder, seeking help in disposing of 220 head of Texas steers, the letter being notable for its unworried, businesslike tone.  This seemed to mark the end of his farming.
In November 1868, he wrote to Dr. Snyder from Newtonia, Missouri:
"I am selling goods for an old acquaintance - entirely penniless, but making my board and clothes. ... My youngest, now 10 years old, is here with me."
Although B.F. Massey's fortunes had hit rock bottom, he writes clearly and calmly about his situation.  He also delivered a quite complete report on how all of his older children were faring.  He was still a strong, undefeated man.  But, a year and a half later, there was a great change.
A letter to Dr. Snyder, dated in Jun.1870, was clear and forceful, but poignantly describes his state of mind:
"What ever my wishes may be ... it is not probable that I shall be a great while longer here.  And I think I can in sincerity say this a matter I am quite reconciled about.  I do ask, or would ask, if the asking would amount to anything, to pass away without much pain or suffering. ... Let the hereafter be what it may, I can not but look on it as a great relief to the hopelessly disconsolate.
"I have not a hope, and consequently not an objective purpose in life, and if I had, no means of any sort to accomplish either.  Without a farthing of money capital, with no trade or profession, I can of course do nothing.
"You refer to honesty.  Within the last few years, I have tried in St. Louis more that once, with old acquaintances, to get a lift up, in some kind of occupation they know I was qualified for.  My own unimpeachable integrity was admitted, but when that was said, all was said.
"In a couple of months I shall leave my present location, and don't know where I may next cast anchor.  I have no house, no home, and I do not expect to have any.  Like a chip in the water, I may find an eddy somewhere and when I do, will write you."
In this same letter, and rather surely referring to the disastrous Tingle & Massey ventures into merchandising and real estate back in the 1840's he writes:
"But for the efforts of my older sons, several of my younger children must have relied on charity, either public or private.  For this state of affairs, I reflect on myself most severely.  I have been simply a fool, an idiot, in a business light."
Although this letter appears to be an admission that he has completely given up all hope of any financial security at all, he was still trying to keep his head above water.  In the 1870 Newtonia, Newton Co., Mo. census he is listed as Benjamin Massey, age 59, store clerk; along with his son 90.Robert D. Massey, age 11.  They were in the household of Drury Tatum, age 45, Dry Good Merchant.
In October 1870, still trying, he wrote from Pierce City, Lawrence Co., Mo. to Dr. Snyder, at Virginia, Ill.:
"You will note that I am trying to be an editor, in the interest of the so-called Rebel."
He was particularly interested in the possibility that he and his fellow Rebels would be allowed to vote in the 1872 elections, that their disenfranchisement would be rescinded.  He was also keenly interested in the Convention planned to amend both the Missouri and the Illinois Constitutions.  B.F. Massey's morale had obviously much improved.
In 1870, he even attempted to re-enter the political arena as a candidate for the nomination for the Missouri office of Secretary of State; but it was considered too soon to endorse an ex-Rebel, and this attempt came to nothing.
In 1873, his newspaper, the Pierce City Herald ceased publication, and he moved to Springfield, Mo., to be with two of his sons.  He seemed reasonably well reconciled to his altered status when he wrote to Dr. Snyder in 1873:
"I have two sons keeping house here, and am staying with them. ... I am not making a living, indeed not even trying. ... I have not been able to do anything in that way for several years. ... I no longer have the least interest in life."
In this same letter he disclaims any further interest in political matters.  His spirits have improved; he twits Dr. Snyder about his interest in Geology:
" ... of course I knew nothing, of anything about any book of such a humbug character, as a Geological Report.  But because you want to know something of that matter, I say ... the report has only been as yet in part published."
Some time in 1874, he went to live with his son, 42.Frank R. Massey who, in partnership with a brother-in-law, was operating a prosperous department store in Neosho, Missouri.