Samuel A. Bender, a dedicated farmer in Nachusa Township since 1874 and a Lee County resident since 1861, was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1843. Descended from German immigrants, Samuel’s life reflects a rich heritage of hard work and perseverance, evident in his successful farming endeavors. A Civil War veteran, he served with distinction in the Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry, participating in several key battles. Samuel’s life journey from Pennsylvania to Illinois, his contributions to agriculture, and his service to the nation exemplify a steadfast commitment to his community and country. Married twice, his family and faith remain central to his life, embodying the spirit of resilience and community values.
Samuel A. Bender, who is engaged in general farming on section 25, Nachusa Township, where he has made his home since 1874, although he has been a resident of the county since 1861, claims Pennsylvania as the State of his nativity. Franklin County is the place of his birth and the date is June 5, 1843. His paternal grandfather, Henry Bender, was a native of Germany, and when a young man bade goodbye to the Fatherland. He sailed for America and settled in Franklin County, Pa., where he improved a large farm of two hundred and forty acres. In the Keystone State, he was married, and himself and wife spent the remainder of their lives upon the farm which he purchased. Mr. Bender died at the age of seventy-four years, and his wife was also well advanced in life. They were both members of the Lutheran Church and had a family of eleven children, all of whom are yet living, with the exception of John Bender, the father of our subject.
John Bender was the second child and Pennsylvania was the State of his nativity. He became a carpenter by trade and followed that occupation throughout his life. His death occurred in Guilford Township, Franklin County, August 15, 1876, at the age of sixty-four years. His widow, whose maiden name was Margaret Miller, was born, reared, and is yet living in Franklin County, and also came of German lineage. She makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Lotta Mull, and is eighty years of age. She is a member of the German Baptist Church, to which Mr. Bender also belonged. Five children graced the union of this worthy couple and all are yet living, have married and are at the head of families.
Samuel Bender, whose name heads this sketch, gained his experience of life, prior to 1861, in Franklin County, Pa., where he was reared and educated. In the year above mentioned, he came to Illinois, locating in Lee County. The Civil War was then in progress and in August 1862, he became one of the boys in blue of Company G, Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry. The regiment was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland and at once marched to the front. The first battle in which it participated was at Prairieville, where it sustained heavy losses. This was followed by the battle of Murfreesboro and from this time on the regiment saw much hard fighting. Among the battles in which Mr. Bender participated were those of Chattanooga, Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Franklin, Tenn., and those of the siege of Atlanta. He was very fortunate in that he escaped all injury. A faithful soldier, he was ever found at his post and was never absent from his regiment except on special duty. He enlisted as a private and was honorably discharged from the service as Sergeant of his company at the close of the war.
Mr. Bender at once returned to Lee County and was united in marriage with Miss Millie Hart, a native of Luzerne County, Pa., and a sister of Levi Hart, in whose sketch, on another page of this work, is given her family history. She died at her home in Nachusa Township, in 1886, in the faith of the United Brethren Church, of which she was a consistent member. She left four children: Frank, Bessie, Mabel, and Ettie, all of whom are yet at home, and three children preceded her to the land beyond—Ruth, Pearl, and William, all of whom died in early childhood. Mr. Bender was again married in Dixon, his second union being with Miss Mary Blackman, a native of England, who, in her early girlhood, came to the United States with her father, J. F. Blackman, who was also born in England. Her father died in this county some years ago, but his widow still survives him and is yet living on the old homestead.
Mr. and Mrs. Bender are members of the Methodist Church. They are held in high regard by all who know them, and their home is a hospitable one, where their many friends delight to congregate. It is situated on section 25, Nachusa Township, in the midst of a highly improved farm of eighty acres, whose neat appearance indicates the thrift and enterprise of the owner. In political sentiment, Mr. Bender is a stanch Republican, and socially is a member of the Grand Army Post of Dixon.