The Bensons of Grant
& Pendleton Co., KY
Ben N. Benson, M.D., thanks Ben!
The Benson family of Grant and
Pendleton Co., KY most likely has its origin in Virginia in the
marriage of Robert Benson b. ca. 1685 in King George Co., VA and
Frances Prou b. 1689 in Lancaster Co., VA. Robert's family origin is
not known but Frances' family was from Middlesex, England. They had
seven known children, the second being Prou, b. ca. 1720/25 in VA
and d. ca. 1792/99 in SC. Prou married Elizabeth ____ (possibly
Thomison or Thomason) b. 1729 in SC, d. 1813 in SC. Tax and other
records show that much of Prou's adult life was spent in Orange,
Culpeper, and Fauquier Co., VA . Prou and Elizabeth had fourteen
known children, four of whom apparently migrated to Kentucky as
young adults while most of the rest of the children migrated to SC
along with their parents. Those ending up in Kentucky were: 1) Sarah
b. 1754/55 married William Hume, 2) William b. ca. 1759, 3)
Zachariah b. 1764 in Fauquier Co., VA married Sarah Partlow on 11
May 1785 in Fauquier Co., VA (this is the line I will follow), and
4) George b. 1768.
As mentioned above, Sarah and William Hume (and his brothers ?)
along with their sons figured into Pendleton, Grant, Harrison, and
Bourbon Co. history. William, George, and Zachariah Benson are
listed in Pendleton Co. court records (wills) in Pendleton Co. which
tie together the close relationship of Sarah and William Hume,
William Benson, George Benson, and Zachariah Benson, suggesting that
they are all of one family, along with others (James Benson, Thomas
Benson, Gabriel Hume, and Stripling B. Hume).
As far as Grant Co. history is concerned, the Benson family stems
from Zachariah Benson, b. 1764, d. before June 1838 and his son,
Reuben. Zachariah and his family lived on the Main Licking River on
land that included Indian Spring (Campbell Co.?). There were at
least seven known children: 1) Reuben b. ca. 1791 in VA and d. ca.
Sep 1860 in Pendleton Co. (?), 2) Martin K. d. ca. 1829 in Pendleton
Co. (?), 3) Judy, 4) Mima, 5) Nancy, 6) Matthew, and 7) possibly
Reuben Benson and his family lived at various times in Campbell Co.,
Kenton Co., and apparently lastly in Pendleton Co. He is listed as a
farmer in the 1860 census. Reuben first married Winney McCollum (b.
VA., d. before 1839) on 23 May 1817 in Campbell Co. They had seven
known children: 1) James M., b. ca. 1818 and d. ca. 1884, 2) John b.
ca. 1820, 3) Margaret b. ca. 1820, wife of Zachariah Kleete, 4)
Martin b. ca. 1824 and d. 16 Apr 1857, 5) Zachary (Zachariah) b. 30
Apr 1826 and d. 7 Mar 1895, 6) William Grant, and 7) Sarah, married
a Bradley. After Winney's death, Reuben married Margaret Mardis on
18 Feb 1836 in Campbell Co., KY. They had six known children: 1)
Mary b. ca. 1839 in Kenton Co., married James E. Spegle/Speigle/Spegal
b. Grant Co., in Pendleton Co., 2) Catherine b. ca. 1844, 3) Lucy b.
ca. 1846, 4) Mathew b. ca 1848, 5) Thomas b. ca. 1851, and 6)
Juliann b. ca. 1854. Reuben's will was written 3 Sep 1860 and
probated 1 Oct 1860 in Pendleton Co. He lists all his children, and
appointed his son Zachariah as executor. Of those children whose
records are known, they were farmers or married farmers, most
residing in Kenton or Pendleton counties.
Zachariah was born in Kenton Co., but resided most of his life in
Grant Co., KY. He was a farmer all of his life. In 1856, he lived in
Crittenden where he also had a tavern license. He lived in the
Cordova area in 1870, in Williamstown in 1880, and was living at the
time of his death at the age 70 in 1895 on the Knoxville Rd., about
3 miles east of Williamstown. He was known later in life as 'Mr.
Zach' by family and friends. While there are Grant Co. records of a
Zachariah Benson and Manerva (Minerva) Northcutt, daughter of Henry
Northcutt, marrying on 26 Feb 1852, family history and records show
that he was a bachelor when he married Catherine Rennecker Bennett
(b. 3 Jan 1832 in Grant Co.), widow of Loyd Bennett on 12 Sep 1855
in Grant Co., KY. Catherine brought one child into the marriage,
William Henry Bennett, b. 1854, d. Oct 1862. Catherine and Zachary
had eight children, all born in Grant Co.: 1) James H., b. 1856, d.
Oct 1862, 2) Susan F., b. 1858, d. Nov 1862, 3) Christenia J., b.
1860, d. Oct 1862, 4) Forest B., b. 24 May 1863, d. 23 Dec 1950, 5)
John Thomas, b. 28 Jan 1866, 6) Nancy E., b. 1868, d. 1869, 7) Edwin
W. (Eddy), b. 30 Jun 1870, and 8) Matthew Fleming, b. 6 May 1874, d.
Feb 1920. Due a diphtheria epidemic (?) in 1862, all of the children
died. Only the four boys born after 1862 lived into adulthood.
Catherine was known to be a Baptist most of her life and it is
assumed that Zachary was also.
Forest was born in Williamstown, where he grew up, raised his
family, and in retirement, lived in Erlanger, Kenton Co., but died
at his daughter's home outside of Maysville, Mason Co., KY. He was a
master carpenter, and a general contractor, building many homes,
barns, and some commercial buildings in the area, as well as the
Williamstown Christian Church. Many of these structures are still in
use today. In the early 1890's, brothers John and Matthew worked as
carpenter helpers with Forest. In 1900, he was in business with G.M.
Shields as 'Shields & Benson, Contractors, Architects, and
Builders'. Apparently, starting from 1912, possibly continuously
through at least 1921, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of
Williamstown, serving in 1921 as Chairman, a position equivalent to
mayor. Forest married Jennie Norton, (b. 31 Jul 1867 in Dry Ridge,
Grant Co., KY, and d. 8 Feb 1958 in Washington, Mason Co., KY),
daughter of George Hanan Norton and Elizabeth M. Hutchison on 15 Dec
1897 in Dry Ridge. Forest and Jennie were Methodists most of their
lives. They had three children (all graduates of the Univ. of KY),
all born in Williamstown: 1) George Wesley b. 27 Oct 1898 and d. 26
Jan 1985 in Macon, Bibb Co., GA, degree in civil engineering, worked
for Central of Georgia RR as chief bridge engineer most of his life.
He married Inez Elizabeth Davis on 6 Aug 1927 in Vincent, AL. 2)
Thomas b. 18 Dec 1900 and d. 13 Apr 1984 in Granbury, Hood Co., TX,
degree in civil engineering, worked for Tennessee Valley Authority
in Knoxville, TN as head of drafting services. He married Nellie
Virginia Jahnke of Chattanooga, TN on 22 Dec 1928. 3) Lucy Catherine
b. 16 Oct 1904 and died 31 Oct 1999 in Maysville, Mason Co., KY,
degree in Home Economics. She taught school in Erlanger from
1928-30, and she was appointed postmistress of Dry Ridge in 1937 for
two years. Lucy first married Robert O'Hara Blaine (d. 1940), son of
Dr. A.D. Blaine, a prominent local physician, on 14 Jul 1930. They
had no children. She later married John Wallingford Clarke of Mason
Co. on 23 Oct 1943. All three children moved away from the Grant Co.
area when they married and raised one child each.
John Thomas was born in KY, probably in Grant Co. He was a carpenter
by trade. He first married Elizabeth Katie Lafferty, (b. Aug 1872,
d. 10 May 1901), daughter of Mrs. James D. Lafferty of Dry Ridge on
7 Apr 1897. They had one child who died at about one year of age.
They resided in Covington, in Kenton Co. After Katie's death, he
moved to California, where he married a German widow with two young
girls whom he adopted and gave the Benson name.
Edwin W. (Eddy) was probably born in Grant Co., KY. He worked at
several trades: teacher in the early 1890's to early 1900's in
Williamstown; a photographer in Williamstown; and later, he resided
in Cincinnati, OH where he worked as a carpenter. He later may have
lived with a daughter in Hutchinson, KS. He died in St. Augustine,
FL. He married Effie J. Kennedy, (b. 1872 in IL, on 11 Oct 1893),
daughter of Joseph C. Kannady, in Verona, Boone Co., KY. They had
six known children, five born in KY, most probably in Grant Co., and
the last in OH. All apparently lived their adult lives outside of
Grant Co. area.
Matthew Fleming was born in Grant Co., KY. He worked both as a
carpenter's helper and as a farmer from known records. He first
married Minnie B. Northcutt (b. Nov 1870, d. 17 Sep 1902), daughter
of James Northcutt of Grant Co. about 1896. They had four children:
Thelma, Lillian, Marie, and Roy. Only the first two girls lived to
maturity, apparently in the Cincinnati, OH area. After Minnie's
death, Matthew remarried at least once, possibly twice, and lived in
the Covington area. His last known marriage was to Katherine Ehmet
on 21 Sep 1918 in Washington, D.C. He died in late Feb 1920 in
Chickasaw, Mobile Co., AL of smallpox contracted while working in
New Orleans, LA.
19 Oct 1998
Updated: 27 Apr 2000