PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF TAZEWELL & MASON COUNTIES, ILLINOIS, 1894
WILLIAM BENNET, who follows farming on section 19, Little Mackinaw Township, is one of the native sons of Tazewell County. He was born in Elm Grove Township, May 5, 1829, and is a representative of an honored pioneer family. His grandfather, Timothy Bennet, was a native of England, and emigrating to America, served in the Revolutionary War. When his son Nathaniel, a native of Kentucky, was five years old, he removed to Clinton County, Ohio. This was in 1804. He took up land from the Government, cleared and developed a farm, and there spent his remaining days. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Hoblitt, was of German descent.
Nathaniel Bennet was born February 28, 1799, and was reared in Clinton County, Ohio.He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Manker, a native of Germany, and lived upon a farm in Clinton County until 1828, when he started with his wife and three childen in a "prairie schooner" to Illinois, locating in what is now Elm Grove Township, Tazewell County. Later he entered eighty acres of timber land and eighty acres of prairie land in Hopedale Township, and lived in a tent until a log cabin could be built. The Indians wee more numerous in the neighborhood than the white settlers, and deer and other wild game abounded. Mr. Bennet was an expert hunter, so his table was usually supplied with meat. He did his hunting with an old flintlock rifle which his father used in the Revolutionary War. His death occurred on the old homestead May 28, 1870, and his wife passed away in 1864. He was one of the first County Commissioners of Tazewell County, and was a prominent and influential citizen. In politics he was first a Whig and afterward a Democrat. At his death he owned about three hundred acres of land which he had himself improved.
In the Bennet family were nine children, six yet living: John, a farmer of Elm Grove Township; William; Mrs. Eliza J. Mount, of Dillon Township; Mrs. Mary Emily McMullen, of Treemont; Mrs. Melinda Ellen Farward, of Hopedale; Mrs. Elizabeth Amanda MdMullen, who is living on a farm two miles from Hopedale; Timothy, who died at the age of twenty-three; Margaret, who died at the age of nineteen; and Sarah Ann, who passed away at the age of fourteen years.
William Bennet was reared on the old homestead, and was educated in an old log schoolhouse with slab seats, greased paper windows and puncheon floor. He bore all the hardships and experiences of frontier life, and also shared in the oldtime pleasures. He became an expert marksman, and is yet quite skillful with a rifle. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey he chose Angelina Kimler, and they were married September 3, 1854. Her father, Evan Kimler, was a native of Virginia, removed to Montgomery County, Ind., and subsequently became a resident of Knox County, Ill.
In 1853, Mr. Bennet purchased a part of his present fam, and since his marriage it has been his home. He now has here one hundred and fifty-seven and a-half acres of valuale land. Twelve children came to bless the home. Emerson Luther and Emma Jane were twins. The former married Mary Gillen, and is engaged in the machind business in Lone Tree, Iowa. The latter is the wife of U. S. Gunter, a farmer of Green Valley, Ill. James Sanford is at home. Maggie is the wife of William R. Tanner, a farmer. Mary is the wife of John Hodson, an agriculturist of Little Mackinaw Township. Bertha is the wife of Fred Waltmier, who also follows agricultural pursuits. Guy C. resides at Hopedale. The others died in infancy.
His fellow-citizens, appreciating his worth and ability, have frequently called on Mr. Bennet to serve in positions of public trust. He was Town Supervisor for four years, Highway Commissioner six years, School Trustee three years, Justice of the Peace nine years, was Assessor three years, and is now filling that office. He has ever proved a faithful and cpable official, true to the trust reposed in him. He belongs to Hopedale Lodge No. 622, A.F.& A.M., and votes with the Democratic party. For sixty-fove years, he has lived in Tazewell County, has therefore witnessed almost its entire growth and development, has ever borne his part in the work of public advancement, and is numbered among the most honored pioneers.
Submitted by Betty Doremus