Ella was born in the boom town of Gillette, CO, the eldest daughter of mining engineer John Whelan and Sue Elizabeth (Hickman) Whelan. She spent her early years in Colorado, moving with her family to Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and eventually, Denver.
Her maternal grandparents, Byard and Eleanor Hickman, were cattle ranchers in the Eastern Colorado prairie town of Eads. Ella recalled many visits with them, including hay rides and picnics on the lakes south of Eads.
Ella attended Lowell School in Colorado springs from 1901-1907. She went to a business college in Salt Lake City from 1908 to 1910, learning bookkeeping.
Ella met her husband, John D. Bennett, when he came to stay at her parent's boarding house near downtown Denver. The couple married Christmas Day 1912 (at 7:30pm) and moved to Racine, WI where they had three children, Grace (Christopher/Homme) (1915-1980), John T. (1917-2002), and Robert W. (1921-1999).
In the early 1920's Ella and John moved to California, settling at first in east Los Angeles. In 1927 they moved to Riverside to be near Ella's parents. In the 1940's they bought a house on 3908 Elmwood Ct in Riverside, where they would spend the rest of their lives. They were very close friends with all their Elmwood Court neighbors, especially with Leonard and Milly Spires who lived at 3909 Elmwood.
Ella volunteered for the Red Cross during WWII, working as a bookkeeper. She also helped take the Federal Census in 1940 for the city of Rubidoux. She was very quiet, like her husband, but became animated when discussions about her ancestors came up. She filled her house with a variety of interesting keepsakes and momentos, including several photo albums.
They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December of 1962. A newspaper article reported:
"A recent reception in their home at 3908 Elmwood honored Mr. and Mrs. John D. Bennett, Riverside residents for the past 35 years, on their golden wedding anniversary. A family dinner for 25 followed in the Wisteria room of the Mission Inn. Mrs. Chet Homme of Fontana, their daughter, and Mrs. Robert Bennett of Bakersfield, and Mrs. John T. Bennett of Montebello, daughters-in-law, assisted in serving refreshments. Presiding at the guest book were the couple's three granddaughters, all of whom are 12 years of age: Jean, June, and Kathy Bennett. Here for the celebration were the couple's two sons, nine of their ten grandchildren, and one of their seven great-grandchildren. "
She and John D. enjoyed a long, happy life in Riverside as they watched their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren grow around them.
Information in this bio from family oral history known to Ella's great-grandson, Rob Bennett, notes left by Ella Bennett, and census records.
John Deveraux Bennett
1883–1981 (m. 1912)
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