Transcript:Indiana, United States. Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties/B/Benbow, Joseph


[Return to Surname Main Index]

Joseph Benbow (p 962)

Joseph Benbow, a veteran of the war of the Rebellion and an honored citizen of Hagerstown, Wayne County, is a worthy representative of a pioneer family of this region. In following back the history of his ancestors it is found that there are two branches of the Benbow family in the United States, called respectively, the North Carolina and the South Carolina branches. One line springs from Charles Benbow, who was born in Wales, December 20, 1704, and upon his arrival in the New World settled in North Carolina; and the other branch are descendants of Gershom Benbow, brother of Charles, and a third brother, whose name is forgotten. Gershom, from whom our subject is descended, was born about 1700, and landed in Philadelphia in 1818, whence he went to South Carolina. Both branches are largely represented in all the states of the Union, and at a family reunion held at Muncie, Indiana, June 14-16, 1898, about three hundred persons were present, coming from every section of the land.

Edward, grandfather of Joseph Benbow, immigrated to this state, from South Carolina, about 1810, and, taking up his abode near Centerville, Wayne County, passed the remainder of his life there. Thus he was one of the earliest settlers of this locality, and for ninety years the family has been closely associated with the development and progress of the county. All of his children --- Barclay, Benjamin, Evan, Edward, Elizabeth and Powell --- have passed away. Powell Benbow, the father of our subject, was born in 1806. He married Rachel Venable, who died, leaving two sons and two daughters, and he subsequently married again. By trade Mr. Benbow was a miller, and this calling he followed through life. But two of his children survive, Joseph and Arthur Thomas, the latter also being a veteran of the Civil War.

Joseph Benbow was born in Clay Township, Wayne County, February 17, 1837, and was but three years old when his mother, Mrs. Rachel Benbow, departed this life. When he was old enough he commenced learning the blacksmith's trade, and in his early manhood he gave his time and attention to that business. Of late years, however, he has been exclusively engaged in farming, his fine homestead being located in Jefferson Township, Wayne County.

When the Union was in peril Mr. Benbow enlisted in her defense, becoming a private of Company E, Thirty-sixth Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in September, 1861. He took part in many of the notable battles and campaigns of the war, and at the end of three years of faithful service was granted an honorable discharge, September 21, 1864. His regiment arrived at Shiloh under command of General Buell and was actively engaged in the second day's awful fight at that point; and later the gallant Thirty-sixth was in the van of the army in the advance at Lookout Mountain, with General Hooker. It did effective service at Stone River and Chickamauga, went through the Atlanta campaign with Sherman, and continued in the forefront of battle until the time of its enlistment had expired. In these various great military movements Mr. Benbow actively participated, winning the approval of his superior officers and the high regard of his comrades and associates. Though he was fortunate in escaping injury or wounds, the privations and exposure incident to the life of a soldier left his health and constitution impaired. He is a charter member of Bowman Post, No. 250, Grand Army of the Republic, and at present enjoys the honor of being its commander. Patriotism has ever been one of his most marked characteristics, and, believing that our nation has achieved its prosperity under the beneficial reign of the principles of the Republican Party, he uses his franchise in favor of its nominees.

In 1870, Mr. Benbow married Miss Maria Bell, who was born in Maryland, October 5, 1849, one of the nine children of Samuel and Elizabeth (Smith) Bell. Of this large family but two have passed away --- the mother, who died in 1862, and one daughter. The aged father lives with his daughter, Mrs. Catherine Nicholson, of Jefferson Township; and the other children reside in the west, chiefly in Kansas. Samuel Bell became a citizen of this county in 1851, and for many years was successfully engaged in farming. To the union of our subject and wife two sons and two daughters were born, namely: Frederick, Harley, Eva and Vena, all of whom have excellent educations, and in every way are well equipped for the battle of life.