Bennett, Richard, governor of Virginia from April 30, 1652, until March 31, 1655, was of the same family as Henry Bennett Lord Arlington. His uncle Edward Bennett, an eminent London merchant, was a member of the London Company, and with other persons of means planted in 1621 a settlement in Wariscoyack, or Isle of Wight county, Virginia, which was known as Edward Bennett's plantation. At the time of the Indian uprising in March, 1622, more than fifty persons were killed at this settlement. In 1624 Robert Bennett, merchant, and Rev. William Bennett, minister, were living at Edward Bennett's plantation. They were probably his kinsmen.
In 1629 Richard Bennett was a Burgess from the Wariscoyack district, and in 1632 was one of the county court. In 1639 he was a councilor. He was a Puritan in sympathy and joined in a petition, which was taken by his brother Philip to Boston, asking for three able ministers to occupy parishes in his neighborhood. When Sir William Berkeley in 1649 drove the Puritans out of Nansemond and Elizabeth City counties, Bennett went with them to Maryland, but only stayed a short time. In 1651 he was living on Bennett's creek in Nansemond county, and that year he was named by parliament as one of the commissioners for the reduction of Virginia. When Virginia submitted, he was elected by the general assembly governor of the colony. He held office from April 30, 1652, to March 31, 1655, when he was sent to England as agent. On November 30, 1657, he signed the agreement with Lord Baltimore by which the latter's claim to Maryland was finally recognized. After the restoration of Charles II, Bennett held the offices of councilor and major-general of the militia. In 1667 he went as a commissioner to Maryland to negotiate for a cessation in the cultivation of tobacco, the price having fallen very low. He was a member of the council as late as 1675, and his will was proved April 12, 1675.
His daughter Anne married Theodorick Bland, of Virginia, and his son and grandson of the same name were members of the council of Maryland.