John Bennett, who is engaged in general farming and stock-raising on section 17, Brighton Township, where he owns one hundred and seventy-seven acres of highly improved land, has made his home upon that farm since 1853. He is therefore entitled to be classed among the honored early settlers of the community. The greater part of his land has been placed under cultivation by himself and all of the buildings and improvements seen thereon stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise.
As Mr. Bennett is well and favorably known we feel assured that his sketch will prove of interest to many of our readers. He was born in Rodenshire, Wales, in 1821, and is a son of Benjamin and Mary (Lewis) Bennett, both of whom were natives of that country and there spent their entire lives, the father dying at the age of seventy-seven years, the father dying at the age of seventy-seven years, the mother in the seventy-first year of her age. Both were members of the Baptist Church and they have four sons and four daughters living in Wales who are married and have families.
Our subject is the only one who ever came to America. He grew to manhood in the usual manner of farmer lads and in 1844, having bade goodbye to home and friends, he sailed from Liverpool on board the “Frank Field,” which crossed the Atlantic, reaching New Orleans after seven weeks. Another week was consumed in making the trip up the Mississippi River to Alton, from whence he came to Brighton, Macoupin County, and began life in the new world as a farm laborer. His cash capital on his arrival consisted of only five dollars, a small sum with which to enter upon a business career. He entered the employ of one of the pioneers of the county, A. A. Hilyard who paid him in compensation for his services, $6 per month. Nine years he thus labored and by industry and economy at length acquired the capital with which in 1853, he purchased his present farm, then all wild land.
In Brighton Township, Mr. Bennett led to the marriage altar Miss Martha Bradley, who was born in England, and when a young maiden came with her parents to the United States, the family settling in Macoupin County, Ill., where Mr. and Mrs. Bradley spent the remainder of their lives. Mrs. Bennett proved a true helpmate to her husband, and to her able assistance was due in no small degree the success which attended her husband’s efforts. She died on the 8th of April, 1881, at the age of forty-five years. By her marriage have been born the following children, two of whom are now deceased – Frank and Mark. The members of the family still living are Mary A., wife of William Yarham, a farmer of Franklin County, Kan.; Liza, wife of Tim Chawing, a resident farmer of Wilbarger County, Tex.; John, who married Flora Mason and is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Franklin County, Kan.; Emma, wife of Richard Ketchell, who resides on the Bennett homestead; Sarah, wife of Albert Keas who operates a creamery in Brighton; Angie, May, Edward and Rosie at home.
Mr. Bennett is a member of the Baptist Church, to which his wife also belongs and in politics he is a Republican, keeping himself well informed on the questions of the day, both political and otherwise. He is true to every duty of citizenship and is regarded as one of the leading and enterprising farmers of this community, where he has so long made his home.
Source: Chapman bros. Portrait and biographical record of Macoupin county, Illinois. Chicago: Biographical publishing company, 1891.