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Chicago: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street

Page 742

THOMAS BENNETT, farmer, Sec. 7; P.O. Petersburg. Prominent among the successful and enterprising businessmen in this county, is the party whose name heads this sketch. He was born in Mecklenburg Co., Va., May 11, 1833; he is the son of John Bennett; his mother's maiden name was Mary Boyd. Thomas was but 2 years old when he came to this State with his parents; they first stopped near Rochester, remaining but a short time, and then came to Menard Co., where his father located, and was for several years a prominent business man in that place, and was engaged in merchandising several years; he built what is now known as the Menard House, which he ran for a few years, and, after the sale of the same, he returned to his former love, that of selling goods; this he continued until the year 1857, since which time he has retired from business. Thomas remained with his father until he attained his majority, during which time, from the age of 16 years, he was engaged in the store as clerk for his father; after reaching manhood, he engaged in business with his father, which he continued for three years; he then began on his own account in the dry-goods line, and being an active business man, an excellent salesman, and enjoying the confidence of the people, his efforts as a merchant were crowned with success; he continued in the business until 1873, when the close confinement and the nature of the business had so impaired his health that he was compelled to abandon the business; he then moved to Town 19, Range 6, where he now resides, where he had purchased a large tract of land on the rich alluvial soil in the Salt Creek bottom, and has since been engaged in agricultural pursuits; his first efforts as a farmer were not attended with the flattering results that marked his career as a merchant, his lands being subject to the encroachments of high water from the overflow of Salt Creek; his crops have been for several years almost, and, in several instances, quite destroyed; this was very discouraging, and, added to the insinuations of many who pronounced the whole things a failure, was not at all calculated to afford much consolation, yet Mr. Bennett, notwithstanding all this, never lost his courage, and with a determination and firm resolution characteristic of the man, set to work to counteract these damaging overflows by the erection of suitable levees, and after much labor and expense, has now 1,800 acres corralled by a substantial earthwork, and the land that was by the masses considered worthless is to-day the most valuable land in the county, and he has a bonanza in his bottom farm of 1,800 acres; this land will produce, with good cultivation, from seventy-five to eighty bushels of corn to the acre, and for farming purposes, is much more valuable than the upland. In November, 1855, was united in matrimony to Lucy Wright, born March 29, 1838, who is the daughter of A.D. Wright, an old and well-known citizen of Petersburg. They have eight children - Thomas W., Lucy A., John A., Sandy B., Mary C., Elbert Lee, Ellen B. and Johnnie; all the family are at home. Mr. Bennett is member of Clinton Lodge, No. 19, A., F. & A. M., of which his father was the founder, and has been W.M. of same for many years, and is now and has been for several years Deputy Grand Master of the State.

1879 Index

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