Benjamin L. “Ben” Bennett


Benjamin L. “Ben” Bennett

Virginia, USA
Death 2 Apr 1860 (aged 52–53)
Warrenton, Marshall County, Alabama, USA
Burial Marshall County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 103683155 View Source
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Benjamin was born in 1807, parents unknown. He listed Virginia as his birth state on later census records. His father may be Joseph Bennett Jr., b. 1757 in Mecklenburg Co, VA. (see research note below).

Benjamin L. Bennett married Mary Word, daughter of William Word and Janette Fairbairn, on Dec 29, 1832 in Limestone County, Alabama, just west of Huntsville. The couple lived in Mooresville in the mid 1840's, per postal records. Benjamin worked as an overseer for the Peete family, who had substantial holdings near Mooresville at that time. He must have also had his own small farm, as the family owned four slaves, according to Limestone County slave schedule records.

Benjamin and Mary had three children:
Ann Catherine "Kate". (Shelton) (b. 1833 d. 1905)
Thomas J. (b. 1836 d. 1920),
Martha M. (Eubanks/Barnard) (b. 1841 d.1904).

In the 1840 Limestone County Census, Benjamin Bennett lived just two families past his in-laws, William Word. The Bennett household contained 1 male under 5 (Thomas), 1 male between 20 and 30 (Benjamin, age 33), 1 female under 5 (?), 1 female between 5 and 10 (Ann), and 1 female between 30 and 40 (Mary). The census book has the note "Benj. L. Bennett m. Mary Word, license Dec 29, 1832".

Benjamin's wife Mary died April 27, 1847 at age 39, probably of some contagious disease, as two of her siblings, James and Ann Word, also died within weeks of her.

Mary is buried in the Peete family cemetery along with most of her Word family relations, not far from Mooresville, AL.

Benjamin remarried Margaret A. Hall a year after Mary's death, July 25, 1848, in Limestone County. Margaret was in her early 20's, Benjamin was over 40.

In the 1850 US Census, Limestone County, Benjamin L. Bennett (age 43) worked as an overseer on the Peete Plantation and was head of household, with wife Margaret A. (23 of MD), daughter Ann C. (17 of AL), son Thomas J. (14 of AL), daughter Martha (9 of AL), son John S. (infant), and sister in law Mary Hall (18 of MD).

Shortly thereafter they moved to Rutherford County, Tennessee, where son Henry W. Bennett was born in 1855. The following year they moved to Warrenton, Marshall County, AL where Benjamin started a cotton plantation that became quite successful.

In 1857 Benjamin "induced" his brother-in-law, Henry W. Hall, and his sister-in-law, Mary "Mollie" Hall, to move from Huntsville to Warrenton. (Guntersville Democrat Sep 1899)

Benjamin died of rheumatic fever in the spring of 1860, and probate records found in Marshall county archives show he divided his estate between Margaret and all five of his children. Henry W. Hall (Margaret's brother), served as administrator of the estate.

Benjamin's estate was substantial, consisting of over 300 acres of farmland near the town of Warrenton, eight city lots in Warrenton, and over $20,000 in assets. Unfortunately, among his "assets" were eight human beings, four men (Henry (30), Jerry (26), John (28), John B. (42), a girl Effy (11), and a woman Minta with two children, Vena and ?. The men were valued from $1,000 to $1,600 depending on age.

Heirs to his estate included his widow, Margaret A. Bennett, daughter Ann C. (Shelton) and her husband LW Shelton, son Thomas J. Bennett, daughter Martha M. Bennett, son John S. Bennett, and son Henry W. Bennett. Margaret's brother Henry Hall was the administrator of the estate. Son Thomas J. is mentioned as being in Virginia in the service of the CSA. Daughter Martha is mentioned as visiting her uncle in Mississippi for the past 12 months. The probate records also show a mason charged the estate $15 to repair two chimneys and $10 to "wall the grave of Benj. Bennett".

His daughter Martha married Capt. Thomas Eubanks, a hero of Gettysburg, in 1863, only to become his widow after the Battle of Chickamauga. She remained in Marshall county the rest of her life.

Two of Benjamin and Mary's children, Thomas J. and Ann C., ended up moving back to Rutherford County, TN after the Civil War and remained there until they died.

In the 1870 US Census for Marshall county, there is an African American family with head of household Jerry Bennett living next to Margaret Bennett near Warrenton. This is no doubt their former slave Jerry. He was 35 years old in 1870, listed as mulatto, with wife Emily (35) and children Westly (14), Mollia (12), Rosa (6), Rachel (2), and Richard (11). This Bennett family had moved away by the 1880 census.

Benjamin's son, John S., became sheriff of Marshall County in the 1880's and had children. Benjamin's son Henry W. died in 1886 after a protracted four year decline from an unknown disease, with no heirs.

Benjamin's land remained in the possession of John S. Bennett's descendants for many years. In 1935 his grandson Gus Bennett lived on the land, which totaled 380 acres. When the Tennessee Valley Authority proposed flooding the Tennessee River and Brown's Creek, a good portion of their land was flooded and Gus filled out a survey describing his property.

Gus died in 1951, a year after his son Washington was killed in the line of duty as a deputy sheriff. The final 79 acres of Benjamin's land went to Washington's widow and children, who sold it in 1962 to the local head of the TVA, L.C. Couch, for $13,000.

Research note:
Benjamin's father may have been Joseph Bennett Jr., b. 1757 in Mecklenburg Co, VA. Joseph was a private in the 11th Regiment, Virginia Continental Troops during the Revolutionary War, according to a Virginia pension application from 1833. Joseph came to Rutherford County, TN, in 1838 "to be near his children" and was still in Rutherford Co as of the 1840 census, living in the household of his son Thomas. It's possible that Benjamin and Thomas were brothers, or at least cousins. Two of Benjamin's children, Thomas J. and Ann C., ended up living in Rutherford County, TN, and Ann C. (Shelton) was buried in Bennett cemetery, Rutherford County, on the land of Thomas Bennett, making the connection between Benjamin L. Bennett and Joseph Bennett Jr. more plausible.

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