Norval L Bennett

Norval L Bennett

From an article by Jim Reis, published in Pieces of the Past, Volume 3, page 41 and reprinted here with his permission.

Norvall L Bennett was born near the Latonia Springs resort along what is now Madison Pike in Kenton County on July 17, 1853.  His grandfather, George W Bennett, was a native of Virginia and owned several flatboats that operated between Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

Norvall's father, George Bennett Jr. was about 16 when the family moved to Kentucky.  George Bennett Jr. later operated a farm in the Cold Spring area for many years.

Norval Bennett grew up in Campbell County and worked as a farmer until 1878, when at the age of 25 he enlisted in the Army.  He served five years, seeing duty during the campaign against the Ute Indians in the West as well as along the Mexican and Canadian borders.  Bennett rose to the rank of first sergeant in Co H, Sixth Regiment, US Army Infantry.

He left the Army on April 28, 1883 and eventually settled in Newport, where he began practicing law in 1889.  In 1894 he was elected Campbell County judge.  In 1896 he surprised a lot of people and irritated his peers by reducing his annual salary as county judge from $1700 to $1400.  He told people the job paid too much.

America's shortest military conflict, the Spanish-American War, April 24, 1898-August 12, 1898, dominated life in Newport during its brief duration. Some older veterans organized unofficial citizen militias to train themselves and then offer their services to the government.

Chief of Police Norvell L Bennett, a veteran of the Indian campaigns, founded the "Bennett Veterans" who encouraged everyone to "remember the Maine", in reference to the USS Maine which had exploded in Havana harbor killing 266 U.S. sailors, and stimulated enlistments among young men.

After his term as county judge, Bennett was appointed Newport police chief.  Bennett died on June 5, 1936 at the home of his grand niece Mrs. Oscar Hellmann, 55 Vernon Place in Ft. Thomas.

Another biography of Norval L Bennett from the Biography Cyclopedia.

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