Born in Carluke, Scotland on May 5, 1826. He emigrated to Canada in 1834 and settled with his family in Richmond, Quebec. They purchased a farm north of Spooner Pond. In the 1850's Benjamin began working on the Grand Trunk Railroad where his occupation took him to Guelph, Ontario and then eventually down to Michigan. He married his wife Mary Hefferman around 1855 and they had 9 children.