and away from the area. Then with the signing of peace after the close of the war, came more settlers and this Country of the wilderness gradually, but through hard labor, turned from that of a hunting country into a fertile farming area. But let's return to Benjamin and family.
Benjamin6 and Margaret very probably prospered during the following quarter of the century (1813 - 1838) not only from the stand point of material gain, but in prestige, as well as growing a large family of six sons and four daughters to maturity.
The several hundred acres of land obtained from the Government during l8l3 to 1818 increased in value many fold during the 20 or 25 years that it was in their possession. For instance, records disclose that 160 acres belonging to Benjamin and wife, purchased through the government land office.ior $2.00 per acre in 1813 and having the following description: SE l/2 of section 15, Town 21 - Range 15, was sold to Jonathan Davis, June 4, 1938, for $2,640.00 or $15.50 per acre. The entire 570 acre farm was sold to Davis on the same day, June 4, 1938, perhaps for the same average price per acre or for a total sum of approximately $9,400.00. Even though this land actually sold for more than eight times what it cost 25 years previous, the increase after all was nominal. That father, mother, and ten children unquestionably worked hard over those years to make these raw acres into a farm and a home. They were acres that apparently produced fairly good crops, but they were rolling, hilly, and they were originally covered with timber.
Then too, over those years this area changed from "the wild lands of the red men" to that of a pioneer community belonging to the early settlers. Schools and churches though rudimentary, had been established. Small community centers or villages had come in to existence. All in all the basis for future culture, growth, and improvement had begun.
At this point in the development of the area that pioneer Benjamin then 57 years old, along with his wife, Margaret, gathered their brood of ten about them, most of whom were already married and established in the community, and started their trek 400 miles westward. Doubtless Benjamin6 was the leader of the movement; however the entire clan must have been in on the planning for all of them, with the exception of Isabel Bunn Haynes, eldest daughter, and Samuel Haynes, husband, and their family, came together by way of covered wagon to southern Illinois in the early autumn of 1838. All of the children who were twenty-one years old or more were married. Hyatt , the oldest son who was then 33, not only had he been married to Betsey Hazzard since June 22, 1826, but the couple had four living children; Margaret Ann, Elizabeth Jane, Benjamin Wood, and William Benton, Sr. In addition, two children had died at an early age.
Very probably the clan left their friends and neighbors in Ohio for the western trek because Benjamin as a young man had experienced both a profit and a desire for genuine pioneering. His children, particularly his sons, were "chips of the old block"' Probably all agreed: maybe-wrongly, that pre-empting land in Illinois at this time offered the grand opportunity of adding many hundreds