Benson Family of Grant Co KY


The Bensons of Grant & Pendleton Co., KY


Written by 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 Jane.

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