PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903          P.  1178

EDWARD JOEL BENTON was born Sept. 25, 1868, in the same house in which he is now living near Snipsic Lake, in the town of Tolland, Tolland county.

Azariah Lathrop Benton, his father, was born April 24, 1816, in the town of Tolland, and grew up with the intention of becoming a Congregational missionary. His parents were in such circumstances, however, that his more immediate duty seemed to be at home, and he thought it wise to give up such plans and devote himself to the help of his people. William A. Benton, his brother, took up the work, and was a missionary in Syria for twenty-two years. Azariah L. Benton attended the public schools, and spent three years in college at Amherst, Mass., when he was compelled to give up his course on account of sickness. His life was devoted to farming, and he gave valuable assistance to his brother William in the work of preparation for the career dear to both. Mr. Benton was a very successful farmer and a leading citizen in the community in which he lived. He filled many local offices, and was a member of the school board for many years. He was a school visitor and long a member of the board of relief. In early life he was a Whig, but became a Republican on the formation of the party. When he died, June 9, 1896, he was acting school visitor. Very active in church affairs, he was a deacon in the Congregational Church, and served as its clerk during a long period of years. A close student, an attentive reader, and a keen observer, he was well informed on all subjects of interest. Mr. Benton was first married, April 24, 1844, to Miss Louise, born March 20, 1820, a daughter of Joseph Alden, of Stafford, Conn. She died Nov. 22, 1858, leaving one son, George Alden, born May 7, 1848, who is now surrogate judge of Monroe county, N.Y., and a very prominent and popular man, regarded as one of the leading lawyers in his section. Mr. Benton was married (second) March 29, 1860, to Miss Mary, born Jan. 4, 1834, a daughter of John and Anna (Darby) Smith, of Somers. She died July 14, 1876, the mother of the following children: Mary Alzina, born Aug. 24, 1864, is living at home. William Lathrop, born March 21, 1866, lives in Torrington, Conn., where he is yardmaster in the lumber yards of the George Hotchkiss Co.; he married Lucy Tiffany, and is the father of three children, Maude Alice, Earl Brainard, and Roland Edward. Edward Joel is the next in the order of birth. Ellen Josephine, born Sept. 25, 1868, married Hibbard West, of Tolland, who is associated in farming and dairying with our subject; they have three children, Edith Mary, Rupert Benton, and Hazel Grace.

Azariah L. Benton married (third), May 2, 1877, Mary Parker Christopher, of Nova Scotia; she died Jan. 11, 1900. Mr. Benton was a devoted Christian gentleman, and highly esteemed by all who knew him. His charities were broadcast, but always done in a modest and unpretentious way.

Azariah Benton, father of Azariah L., was born in Tolland, June 8, 1790, and married Precendia Ladd, of Tolland. His life was spent in the blacksmith trade and in farming. He was a deacon in the Congregational Church, and a prominent man in the town. His children were: Azariah L., William A., born in 1817, died in 1874; Charles died when eighteen years old; and George Chester died at the age of four years.

Jacob Benton, father of Azariah, was born in 1754 in Tolland, where he married Sarah Newton, of Willington, in 1782. They had two children, Anna, born in 1783; and William, born in 1785. Mr. Benton was again married in 1789 to Sarah Ladd, of Tolland, a daughter of Jonathan Ladd, Jr., by whom he had the following family: Azariah, born in 1790; Ruth; Daniel; Susalla; Chester; and Jacob. Jacob Benton was a soldier in the Revolutionary army, and served as a dragoon when only seventeen years of age. He was in the army that captured General Burgoyne, and died in 1843. Among the heirlooms of the Benton family is the canteen he carried at the surrender of Burgoyne.

Daniel Benton, father of Jacob, was born in Tolland in 1723, and married Mary Wheeler in 1747. They were the parents of seven sons: Elisha, born in 1747; Daniel; Azariah, born in 1752, died on a prison ship in 1776; Jacob; William; Nathan; and Silas, born in 1766.

Daniel Benton, Sr., father of Daniel, was born in Hartford, and was married in 1722, to Mary Skinner, by whom he had three sons: Daniel; William, who served in the French and Indian wars; and Elijah.

Samuel Benton, Sr., father of Daniel, Sr., was one of the original grantees in the deed of the committee to the first proprietors of Tolland. In this document appear the names of four Bentons as grantees: Samuel, Sr., Samuel, Jr., Joseph, Sr. and Joseph, Jr. Samuel Benton, Sr., who described himself as of Hartford, gave a deed of land in Tolland, Feb. 20, 1719, to his son, Daniel. This land is said to contain forty acres. Subsequent deeds set over land containing seventy acres, and twenty-seven acres. William and Azariah Benton died in the French and Indian war. The Benton family first settled in Guilford in 1650, coming in that year from England. The family is one of the oldest in Tolland, and the present generation are proud to recall the names and deeds of their distinguished ancestors.

Edward Joel Benton had his education in the common schools of Tolland, and was personally instructed by his father, a brilliant and scholarly man. Since the death of that gentleman Mr. Benton, in company with his brother-in-law, C. Hibbard West, has conducted the home farm, which is in a good state of cultivation. It is located on Snipsic Lake, and was purchased by the father of Joel B., in 1850, when it was known as the Nathaniel B. Kingsbury farm. It consists of 125 acres, and is very largely used for general farming and dairy purposes. They keep about fifteen cows and sell the product to the Vernon Creamery. Mr. Benton is a member of the Tolland Grange, and belongs to the Congregational Church, with which his family has been connected for generations. He is a staunch Republican, and takes an interest in political affairs, but has never sought office, preferring to give his undivided attention to his farm work. Mr. Benton has never married.

Reproduced by:  Linda D. Pingel


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