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BENHAM, Alanson J.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 562-563

Alanson J. BENHAM, deceased, was for many years one of the representative citizens of Winnebago village [Winnebago County, IL].  He was born in Marcellus, Onondaga County, NY, 02 Aug 1814, and is a son of Isaac B. BENHAM, who it is thought was a native of CT.   The father, on removing to NY, located in Marcellus, and a few years later moved to the town of Dryden [Tompkins County, NY], where he purchased a farm and resided for a number of years.  He later became a citizen of Sennett [Cayuga County, NY], where he improved a good farm, and finally removed to Auburn [Cayuga County, NY], where his decease occurred.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Eunice BAKER; she also died in Auburn, NY.  Alanson J. BENHAM was reared in Onondaga County, and subsequent to his marriage rented a farm in Cayuga County [NY], and after residing there a few years, lived for three years in Sennett.  At the expiration of that time, he purchased and lived upon property for two years in Scripto, and in 1856 came West to Barry County, MI, and became the proprietor of a quarter section of land, 40 acres of which were partially cleared, the only other improvement being a log house.  Battle Creek at that time was the nearest market place, and also the nearest railway station.  Mr. BENHAM improved his property, erected thereon a fine set of frame buildings, and in 1870 sold the farm and came to Winnebago County, IL.  Here he purchased a farm one mile north of the village, where he made his home until 1881, when he became identified with the interests of the village until his decease, 23 Jun 1883.

Mr. BENHAM was united in marriage to Maria O'FARRELL, 08 Jan 1837.  The lady was born in the town of Spafford, Onondaga County, NY, 12 Apr 1816, and is the daughter of William O'FARRELL, also a native of NY.  Her father being orphaned at an early age, he was adopted by a Mrs. PARMALEE, of Oneida County [NY], with whom he resided until her decease.   The maiden name of Mrs. BENHAM's mother was Diana TURBUSH, a native of Poughkeepsie [Dutchess County], NY, whose decease occurred in Spafford, five years after that of her husband.

The four children born to our subject and his wife are George Edward, Mary F., John H. and Emma.  George married Elizabeth DICKINSON, resides in Winnebago Township, and has five children:  Mary A., Alanson J., Fred C., Maud M., and Alice M.  Mary is Mrs. Henry NEWTON, and makes her home in Hastings [Barry County], MI, being the mother of three children:  Adelbert H., Fred, and Frank.  John married Christiana E. COOPER, and resides in Felix Township, Grundy County, IA, and has one child, Gertrude Maria.  Emma A. is Mrs. Hiram THORN, has one son, Ralph, and resides in CA.  Mr. and Mrs. BENHAM became members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1829, in which denomination our subject served as Class Leader for a number of years.

The father of our subject has been three times married, and reared five sons:  John B. was a Methodist minister, and for seven years was a preacher and teacher among the Indians of Canada, and later went as a missionary to Africa.  Vincent was [p 563] a coppersmith residing in Albany, NY.  Asa B. was also a Methodist minister.   Daniel was a carpenter, and Isaac a machinist.  Mrs. BENHAM had five brothers:   Francis E., a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church; William M., a farmer; David McDonald; John W., a farmer; Elihue A.; and Henry T., a physician.  [Note this biography states there are five brothers, but six are named.  See also the Winnebago County, IL, biography of David McDonald O'FARRELL, which lists his brothers and sisters as:  Jeremiah, Francis A., William McDonald, John W., Elihue, Maria, Catherine, Cornelia, and Henry T.]

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.