|WILLIAM H. BENHAM, a well-known
farmer of North Waterford, New London County, Conn., was born in this town
on the farm he now occupies, June 17, 1856. His parents were William
H. and Sally A. (Edgecomb) Benham. His ancestors were English.
His paternal grandfather, John Benham, was
a native of the Isle of Wight, being born in 1786. He was of wealthy parentage;
but, as the property went to the eldest son, he came to America in early
manhood, and settled in Groton, Conn. After serving a seven years' apprenticeship,
he became an itinerant shoemaker, with his bench and tools going from house
to house among the farmers, as was the custom in those days, and remaining
in each, using their stock, mostly home tanned, until the family were all
shod. He married Betsy Taft, of Mystic, and they reared eight children,
but two of whom are now living: Austin, of New London; and James. John
Benham died in 1859; and his wife died in 1877, aged ninety-seven years.
William H. Benham, Sr., son of John and Betsy
(Taft) Benham, was born in the town of Groton, July 16, 1816. He was a
carpenter by trade, and began his business career with his chest of tools
and twenty-five dollars. He acquired considerable property as the years
of activity went on, and purchased a farm of eighty acres for six thousand,
five hundred dollars. He erected a new house in Groton, which he sold when
they came to North Waterford, in April, 1848. On July 2, 1840, he married
Sally A. Edgecomb, with whom he lived over fifty years. They had six children,
and they reared one son and three daughters; namely, William H., Mary Emma,
Sarah J., and Josephine. Mary Emma married George Payne, and lives in New
London; Sarah Jane is the wife of James E. Comstock, of Quaker Hill in
this town; and Josephine married Asa O. Goddard, of New London. The other
children were: George H. Benham, who died at the age of six; and Walter
G., who died at the early age of eighteen months. William H., the father,
died on October 10, 1893; but the mother still lives with her son, being
bright and active in mind and body. Her parents were Jabez and Bridget
(Chesebrough) Edgecomb. Her father was a native of Groton; but her mother
was born in Stonington, Conn.
William H. Benham, Jr., attended the common
schools and also the business evening school in this town, remaining on
the farm until his marriage. He has a good dairy farm, keeping sixteen
cows of the best breeds, and sells milk in New London. His farm, which
is pleasantly located on the west bank of the Thames River, has a most
accessible shore and a commanding view. In politics Mr. Benham is a Republican.
He has served on the School Committee. Fraternally, he is identified with
the American Order of United Workmen.
On June 1, 1882, he was married to Maria
S. Brooks, daughter of George A. and Mary T. (Steward) Brooks. Mrs. Benham's
mother died in 1870, at the age of forty-three; and her father, who was
a butcher in the firm of Steward & Brooks, died in 1894, at the age
of seventy-four. They reared three children, namely: Emma A., a professional
nurse, now the widow of Charles Field, and living in Montville, this county;
Mrs. Benham; and Jennie C., wife of Oliver T. Collins, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mrs. Benham was educated in the New London public schools. She has four
children: Mary J. Benham, who is nine years old; Ida E., who is seven;
Tryon G., aged four; and Lloyd Brooks, aged two years.
Biographical Review Volume
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens
of New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company
pgs 194 - 195