BENSON, L. E.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, p 662
L. E. BENSON, a veteran of the Mexican War, was born in Cazenovia, Madison County, NY, 10 Mar 1826. His father, Isaac BENSON, was a native of Albany County, NY, and was of Prussian descent. When a young man he went to Madison County, and after a short residence in Cazenovia, removed to Fayetteville, Onondaga County, where he followed the blacksmith trade until 1845. He married Julia THOMAS, a native of Williamstown [Berkshire County], MA, and with his wife and seven children emigrated to IL, making the entire journey overland with teams. He located in the village of Belvidere, opened a smithy and followed his trade for a number of years, after which he lived retired until called to his final rest. Both Mr. and Mrs. BENSON died in Belvidere [Boone County], IL.
Our subject was an infant when he parents removed to Fayetteville, where he was reared and educated. At the age of 16 he commenced working with his father at the blacksmith's trade, and continued with him until 1847, when he enlisted in Captain Shepherd's Company of the 6th IL Infantry, and went with the command to Mexico, where he participated in several engagements, serving about a year and a half, when he returned to Alton [Madison County, IL], and was honorably discharged. His health was greatly impaired during his service. On 03 Mar 1849 he started with a company for CA, making the journey across the plains with ox teams. At that time there were no white settlers between St. Joseph, MO, and the Pacific Slope except the Mormons at Salt Lake. Large herds of buffalo were seen on the prairie, also deer and antelopes. After 180 days of travel, the party arrived at Bidwell's ranch in Butte County, whence they went to the Feather River country. Mr. BENSON continued to engage in mining in CA, with the exception of two winters spent in IL. In 1862 he returned to Belvidere, where he made his home until 1870, when he purchased a farm in DeKalb County.
On 08 Jan 1860 Mr. BENSON married Adeline A. HARPER, who was born in Huron County, OH, and was a daughter of Joseph HARPER. She died in 1887, leaving five children: Frank, Eben, Cora, Mary, and Jessie. In his political affiliations our subject is a Republican, and has served as Street Commissioner for the past three years. Socially he is a member of the Belvidere Lodge No. 60, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Kishwaukee Chapter No. 90, Royal Arch Masons; Crusader Commandery No. 17, Knights Templar; Freeport Consistory and LaFayette Garrison No. 27, K. G. His life has been a vaired one. There are few men who served in the Mexican War and also made the trip to CA among the 49ers. He has likewise borne the experiences of pioneer life. In every community where he has resided, he has been recognized as a valued citizen, and wherever he goes he wins friends.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.