Alvah Benseon Family History

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History of the family of Alvah Benson, brother of Polly Benson
Written in 1879

I am now in my 80th year, writing these records without glasses. I was born December 13, 1799, in Onondaga county, New York. In the town of Disitis (probably Fabuis).

I was the son of Benjamin Benson and Keziah Messenger Benson. When I was 17 years old, my father moved to the state of Indiana, Clarks County.

I married Cynthia Vail, the daughter of Gamaliel and Lucy Manning Vail, in Clarks County, Indiana. I moved to Rockville, Jackson County, Indiana, the same year (1821) with my father’s family; where we built a sawmill on White River for a man by the name of Fishly. We next moved to Gold Roundtown on Ele River, Hendrix County, Indiana, in 1825. In 1829 we moved to Clinton County, Indiana, 30 miles north; where I bought 140 acres of land, and in the year 1832 I joined the Mormon Church. I was baptized February 14, 1832, by Samuel Dwelling and confirmed by Uriah Curtis to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints. I was ordained a Priest by John Lewis May 6, 182. Cynthia’s father and mother and all of his family were baptized during that winter (1832).

We sold our land, and my father and brother, Jerome, moved to Jackson County, Missouri. We arrived there about the 17th of November. I built a house on public lands and lived there one year. Then we were driven out of that county by a mob because we were Mormons and were not of their faith.

Then my father with his family and seven other families moved to Lafayette County and stopped on Pigeon Bear Creek. We stayed there two winters and built a sawmill and gristmill for John MacGeothen. We then moved to Clay County, where the main body of the church was. I repaired a gristmill and then rented it.

In 1836, we moved to Berch Creek, Platt County, and built another sawmill for Mr. Levenworth. I then rented it and sawed lumber for the fort; then I moved to Caldwell County, Far West in 1836; and in the same year, the Missouri mob made a raid against us, the Church of Jesus Christ, and orders were given to extinguish the Church and have it driven from the state. They made us give over all our state and personal property. In November the mob marshaled us and took all our arms from us and ordered us to Commerce. Some days the weather would not permit us to travel.

There was a man by the name of David Dalcome who hired me to build a 40-foot tread wheel that winter in Clay County; and in the spring, there was another man by the name of Casle who hired me to build him a sawmill and furnished me a house to live in and protection from the mob, which I gladly accepted.

In September, 1839, I started for Illinois, McLain County, Clarksville, where my wife’s brother and I stayed for over five years and built and repaired sawmills. In May, 1846, I started with my family and two other families, the widow Vail, Martha Vail and her four children also my sister, Polly Bartholomew and her husband, Joseph, to go with the church of Jesus Christ to the West. When we stopped in Kanesville, Iowa, we were there for five years. We had a small farm and worked down on the Missouri River at a mill site. Where we made an outfit for a journey to the Rocky Mountains. We started in the year 1852 in company with wagons. We crossed the Missouri river on the 4th of July, 1852. We traveled for three months and reached the Valley of Salt Lake in 1852. We settled in Springville and lived there for one year. Then we were called to go to Iron County, Utah, for the purpose of strengthening that village against the Indians and in the spring of 1859 I moved back to Springville and lived one summer.

In the spring of 1860 we moved to Cache Valley. My son Moroni, Ira Allen and his son Andrew Allen came to Cache Valley on the first day of April 1860.

We met apostle, Ezra Taft Benson, at the point of the mountain. We asked him what the privileges were in the valley and he said “find the best place you can.” On the third of April we opened camp near Wellsville on Little Bear Creek. We stayed there about a week and looked over the south end of the Valley trying to find where we could take water ditches out that would water a great scope of farming land. The ditch would be nine miles long. At this time there were about 12 or 16 families gathered. We then started the place now called Hyrum. We then began surveying our little farms consisting of about 20 acres.

Signed, Alvah Benson


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