From: Anonymous, 1878, American
Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Vol. 2, Western
Biographical Publishing Co.
Judge William P. Bennett
of Cassopolis, Michigan, was born at Maulmain, Burmah, British East Indies, October 17, 1831. His parents, Cephas and Stella (Knealand) Bennett, have been for many years laboring as Christian missionaries in India, under the auspices of the American Baptist Missionary Union. His grandfather, Alfred Bennett, was well known to the entire Baptist denomination in the United States, as general agent of the Missionary Union for twenty years before his death. His maternal great-grandfather was the famous Abner Knealand, he first apostle in New England of the Universalist doctrine. William P. Bennett was brought to this country when he was eight years old. He found a home in the family of R.P. Gorton in (New Woodstock) Madison County, New York, until he was seventeen. His educational advantages were such as the common schools afforded, supplemented by a few terms at the Oneida Conference Seminary at Cazenovia, and at Groton Academy in Tompkins County. His summers were employed in farm work. From 1848 to 1851, he taught in the district schools of New York State, occupying his intervals of leisure with work on a farm. The year 1851 was spent in Jackson County, Michigan, where he bought land; but, in 1852, he exchanged it for property in Cass County, and settled in Marcellus Township. He was a successful farmer in this locality seventeen years. In 1868 he was elected Probate Judge, and removed to Cassopolis to attend to the duties of that office, which, by repeated elections, he has held until the present time. During his residence in Marcellus, he was for ten years, between 1855 and 1867, Supervisor of the township; and, in that capacity, was able to render valuable service to the national cause during the civil war. He was a Whig while that party maintained an existence, and afterwards joined the Republicans. Mr. Bennett has been a careful student. Although his early education was limited, and his later life crowded with active duties, he has so improved his opportunities that, without any distinctively professional training, he has filled the position of Probate Judge with very general satisfaction to both the bar and the people. He is a man of abundant common sense, unimpeachable integrity, and unassuming dignity of character. He married, in 1850, Lovisa Brokaw, of Owasco, Cayuga County, New York.