Lighting Ancestral Lamps

Page 89


William Benton
A Man with a Purpose

or his friends. He strongly believed "that the trend of civilizations forever -upward"/2
Even though he experienced very meager formal schooling he became well-versed in public affairs and farming operations because he applied himself to the opportunities that came to him. He believed that the times afforded him a greater opportunity than the times afforded his father'
Therefore, he reasoned that he should make more Progress along the broad front than his father. Likewise, he indelibly implanted this philosophy in the mind of his son. Many times he admonished the writer of this sketch about as follows: "Son, I want you to go to school and obtain a good education. Then I shall expect you to make good use of it, not only that you may help yourself, but also that you may help others. A good education will help you go farther than I have gone. I have been limited throughout my life because I lacked an education. If you meet your challenge, I sha1l always be proud of you." This good father commanded respect wherever he went. For instance an unsolicited remark made by his minister's wife, a Mrs. Griffin, which the writer recalls was as follows: "Rev. Griffin and I are always happy to see you arrive at the church. Your presence always does something for the audience. You always bring an ovation that is so apparent among all."

Biographically, William Benton Bunn Sr.8 son of Hyatt and Betsey Hazard Bunn (See chapter l0) was born June 3, 1838, in Wayne County (now Ashland), Ohio. He died at his farm home in Bonpas township, Richland county, Illinois, March 23, l9l2. He is buried in the Mt. Olive Cemetery, the early Bunn's family cemetery.

At the age of twenty-one his father deeded him an even hundred acres of heavily wooded land in Town 3--North Range 14 W. in Section 33-- Bonpas township, Richland county, Illinois. The first thing that he did upon acquiring a title to the land was to build a log cabin. Perhaps members of his immediate family and neighbors helped him accomplish this task. Here he "batched" for a short time, but being a home loving person, he soon persuaded Miss Sarah Jane Smith, a daughter of Ellis Smith, who lived only a few miles distant to become his bride. They were married the following year in 1850. To this union was born one child, Betsey E. This daughter married David Fisher, a substantial farmer of Claremont Township. The Fishers had two daughters, Sarah Jane and Rachel.

After William Benton and Sarah Jane Bunn lived happily together for nearly thirty two years, Sarah Jane passed away. She too is buried in the Mt. Olive Cemetery. The passing of his wife was a great sorrow for him. But William Benton was the type that looked to the future. Finally he overcame the sharp pangs of grief. Then, on the 26 of June, 1892, he married Fannie Bowers Rifner, widow of Sylvester Rifner and a daughter of Peter and Mary Brown Bowers.

To this union were born seven children. Two births were multiple, unfortunately one child in each set of twins was lost in babyhood. Detailed information is given about these children in chapter XIV.

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Benjamin | Hyatts | Hyatt1 | Hazard | Perry | William | HM Bunn | Index