The Benson Story

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From the list of passengers of the Ship Confidence of London, which sailed to New England on the 11 April 1638, we find the name of John Benson and his family. They were John Benson and his wife, Mary Benson, and two children under four years of age, John and Mary. His wife died, and he married a Mary Payton. To them was born a son, Joseph. They lived in the colony of New Plymouth.

This John Benson was born in England about 1635. He lived in Hull, Massachusetts. John had a family of seven children, the youngest being William, who became our ancestor. William was born about 1680. He, William, married Elizabeth Stetson. There is a record of one child born to them-whose name is William-born April 18, 1710, at Rochester, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Ellis. Their first child was Ellis Benson born 31 March 1740, at Rochester, Massachusetts. The second child was Stutson Benson, who is our Ancestor. He, Stutson, was born 2 March, 1741 at Rochester, Massachusetts. Stutson Married Bathsheba Lewis.

To this couple was born our common ancestor, Benjamin Benson, who was Polly Benson Bartholomews's father.

It seems that when Benjamin Benson joined the Mormon faith, his family disowned him. The fact remains that he married Kasiah Messenger and that they had a large family. Polly was a younger daughter. They lived in the State of New York. When the first missionaries were sent into the State of New York to preach the Restored Gospel in 1830 or 1831, they came to the Benjamin Benson home. Polly had had a dream. She dreamed that she was washing the family wash out under a big tree, when she looked up and saw two men walking through their farm with little satchels in their hands. Polly dreamed that someone said to her as she stood there washing, "Whatever those men are bringing you, accept it, because it's true." As the men came up to where Polly was, for she actually was out washing in the place of her dream, they told her that they were missionaries of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. She invited them into the house.

This, and other manifestations given members of the family were held sacred and enjoyed. They became converted and were baptized in February 1832.

On account of the persecutions in New York, they moved to Kirtland, Ohio when the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation concerning the Center Stake of Zion, and the New Jerusalem, the Bensons were among the immigrants who made their way to Jackson County, Mo. They traveled from Kirtland to Missouri, a distance of 1000 miles by ox team. It was during this journey, that Joseph Bartholomew, then a lad of 12 years, joined the Benson family. The opportunity to break away from his grandfather's family was just what the boy had been waiting for.

They traveled the 1000 miles through Indiana, Illinois, on to the western borders of Missouri. They were among the first settlers in this area. Since the Bensons were Mill-wrights-building four flour mills and farming, they selected a homestead on the Big Blue, about 5 miles from Kansas City, and about 5 Miles from Independence, in Jackson County, Mo. The Big Blue was a stream that would furnish power for the mills. The soil was also very fertile for farming. The Bensons were a large family with a number of grown young men, so they set to work building houses, stables, sheds and pens.

They cleared considerable land of trees and brush and were well on their way to establishing themselves in a home which they hoped would be permanent. The Bensons accumulated very rapidly and were becoming independent but this home was not to be for long.

The harvesting was over. They had accumulated several cows, hogs and other animals, when on the evening of October 31, 1833, having been in Missouri but a little over a year, a friendly neighbor came rushing in and called, "Run for your lives. The mob is coming to kill you." Each one took a rug or a quilt, or whatever was near and ran! Their evening meal was cooking on the fire. Their animals were in their stables and pens.

The mob came; pilfered and ruthlessly destroyed what they chose, setting fire to some of the homes.

The Benson family ran to the thickets on the Big Blue and hid themselves for the night. The next day they were ushered out of Jackson County across the Missouri River with just what they had with them. They never went back to their homes. They were simply lost to them.

By the first of November-it was very cold-they found themselves in a strange wilderness with nothing but thanksgiving in their hearts that their lives had been spared.

The Bensons were ambitions. They did not stay here long but went north into another county and obtained some jobs preparatory to building more mills. Here they settled and worked for the man who employed them until the Saints were exterminated from Missouri. The family next prepared to migrate to Illinois. This they did settling about six miles south of Nauvoo at Warsaw. Again they cleared land and began to build homes.

Our grandparents, Polly Benson and Joseph Bartholomew, were now entering into woman and manhood. There grew a fond attachment between the two, which ripened into love. They were married 10 December 1843. It was not long until they established a new home for themselves.


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