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BENNINGTON, James N.

In pioneer times a resident of this portion of Illinois, James N. BENNINGTON has been an interested witness of the progress that has been carried forward by the pioneer settlers and the later residents of the county and at all times has borne his full share in the work of general improvement and advancement. He has intimate knowledge of events which have shaped the history of the county, and his memory constitutes a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present. His life record therefore cannot fail to prove a source of interest to our readers, many of whom he claims among his friends. Born in what is now Peoria county, between Peoria and Washington, Illinois, his natal day was September 22, 1831. His father, Thomas BENNINGTON, was born August 22, 1803, in Boone county, Kentucky, near Big Bone lake. He became a farmer by occupation, and, removing to Illinois in pioneer times, he lived for a period in Peoria county and afterward took up his abode in a pioneer cabin which stood upon the farm which is now the home and property of his son James. Here he owned two hundred and forty acres of good land, which he converted into productive fields through methods which showed him to be one of the progressive farmers of his day. His political support was given to the republican party at the polls, but he was not an active politician as regards office seeking. His religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Christian church. In early manhood he wedded Cynthia MASON, who was born December 11, 1807. She too was a member of the Christian church. Their marriage, which was celebrated March 5, 1829, was blessed with ten children. Parthena B., who was born February 6, 1830, and is now deceased; James, of this review; Nancy Jane, who was born March 22, 1834, and has passed away; Margaret, who was born June 22, 1836, and is deceased; John F., who was born December 27, 1834, and has departed this life; William, born November 7, 1840; Cynthia Ann, born May 2, 1842, and is now deceased; Louisa; Mary, who died in Portland, Oregon; and Martha, who completed the family.

James N. BENNINGTON spent his childhood days upon a farm in the same locality in which he now lives, having been brought by his parents to Putnam county in his early childhood days. He pursued his education in the Belle Plain district school, conning his lessons while seated upon a slab bench in a log schoolhouse. He now has in his possession one of the slabs which was used in the stick chimney and which is a mute reminder of the early days and the methods of instruction which were followed in that early schoolroom. In his youth he broke many acres of wild prairie and performed other arduous work in connection with the development of a new farm. There were many deer in the county and wolves were quite numerous in his boyhood days. He remained under the parental roof up to the time of his marriage. During the Civil war he was drafted for service and went to Peoria in 1862, but it was not necessary that he should go to the front. Throughout his entire business career he has carried on general agricultural pursuits, and is now the owner of two hundred and eighty acres in Bennington and Belle Plain townships. His home is a beautiful residence situated at the western boundary of a little village called Belle Plain.

On the 6th of May, 1858, occurred the marriage of James N. BENNINGTON and Miss Amanda HOLLENBACK, who was born in Ohio, June 13, 1838, a daughter of Harrison and Margaret HOLLENBACK. Her father lost his life at the hand of an assassin in 1847. Her mother, who was born in Perry county, Ohio, November 26, 1815, died at Dana, Illinois, July 10, 1895. She became the wife of Harrison HOLLENBACK March 31, 1835, and removing to Illinois, located in Woodford county near the town of Belle Plain. In the family were five children: Mrs. Mary WEAVER, who died in 1864; Mrs. Amanda BENNINGTON; Daniel; Samuel, who died in 1878; and Mrs. Rebecca RICKEY. The mother, Mrs. HOLLENBACK, spent the last twenty years of her life in Roanoke, Illinois. She was for many years a devoted member of the Methodist church and an earnest Christian woman, while her good traits of heart and mind endeared her to all with whom she came in contact.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. BENNINGTON has been blessed with two sons and three daughters. Samuel F., the eldest, born March 22, 1859, is now engaged in farming in Bennington township. He wedded Maggie NELSON and they have five children, two sons and three daughters. Flora E. Benson, born August 29, 1861, is the wife of C. M. McCHESNEY, who is living near Packwood, Iowa. Mary S., born December 6, 1865, is the wife of Arthur HAYDEN, a resident of Jacksonville, Illinois. James F., born May 7, 1868, died November 23, 1871. Ida, born April 20, 1870, is the wife of C. A. BURNHAM, living in Ashton, Lee county, Illinois. The parents are a most estimable couple, having the warm regard and admiration of all who know them. They are members of the Christian church and their lives are in harmony with its teachings. Considerate of the rights and privileges of others, of kindly spirit and generous disposition, they have gained the confidence and good will of all with whom they have been associated. Mr. BENNINGTON is a republican in his political views but has never been an office seeker, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which have been well directed and have brought him a goodly measure of success.

Extracted 10 May 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.

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