IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.


Samuel Bennington is a prominent citizen, leading agriculturist and stock raiser, of Sperry Township, Clayton County, Iowa; he is interested in the handling of blooded stock, and for many years has been intimately associated with the progressive interests of his locality. Mr. Bennington is an Englishman by birth, and was born in Huntingdonshire February 21, 1834, and is the son of William and Ann (Richens) Bennington. The father of our subject kept a public house or hotel in England, and died while Samuel was quite young. Our subject was reared and educated in England and emigrated to the United States, sailing from London, and landing in New York May 1, 1853. He went immediately to Lockport, N.Y., where he remained for two years; from there he came to Clayton County, Iowa, traveling by rail to Galena, Ill., and by stage the rest of the way, and settled in Sperry Township on his present farm.

Our subject was married in England at the early age of nineteen to Miss Esther Bidwell, a daughter of Thomas and Lizzie Bidwell, and was one of eight children. Mrs. Bennington departed this life April 7, 1881. Her mother is still living and is ninety-four years of age. Mr. Bennington sailed from London on Good Friday, but came very near losing his young wife. She with a cousin, who had also just been married, nearly missed the ship on which their husbands had preceded them to make the final arrangements for their voyage. They had to be conveyed to the vessel in a small boat, and were able tojoin their husbands, and all parties were made happy.

Our subject is one of nine children, six of whom are living, three girls and three boys, one brother and two sisters having died in their native land.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennington are the parents of five children, three boys and two girls. Charles, the eldest, is married, and still lives on the farm with his father. Esther Griffeth married and lives near Cedar Rapids; William Bidwell, single, is at home; Samuel, also single, is at home. All three of the boys and one sister, Annie Elizabeth, make their home with their father, helping him manage his large and flourishing farm. Some time during the first year of Mr. Bennington's residence in Clayton County he bought forty acres of land, and soon after purchased eighty acres more, on which his fine residence now stands. He has added little by little to his property, until he now owns over one thousand acres of the best land in the state of Iowa.

Mr. Bennington was very unfortunate in the beginning of his Iowa career. In the second year of his residence in Clayton County, on July 2, 1855, he lost his entire crop of wheat by a heavy hailstorm, which was one-half mile in width and several miles in length, extending as far down as Dubuque, destroying everything in its path. The next year there was no crop raised to speak of, as the most of his seed grain was destroyed by overheating in his storehouse. In the '60s Mr. Bennington sold wheat for thirty-five cents a bushel in Volga City, but thinks he is just as well satisfied with free trade as butchered tariff. Mr. Bennington's first house was built of "slabs," and he and his family live in it happily for years, but as he became more prosperous he soon erected the fine and handsome residence he now occupies.

For fifteen years our subject has been extensively engaged in the raising of full-blooded stock, making a specialty of imported horses and cattle, although he has a large number of sheep and hogs. He is doing his utmost to raise the standard of stock in Iowa, and in order to accomplish this he has paid enormous prices for bulls and stud horses. All the grain raised on his broad acres is used in feeding his stock, and he is generally obliged to buy in order to fatten his animals. Mr. Bennington is the most extensive farmer and stock-raiser in this part of Iowa. He is highly esteemed by his neighbors, and is well and favorably known throughout the United States, and his advice is frequently sought after regarding matters both of farming and stock-raising. In politics our subject is a Republican, but always votes for the best man regardless of party, and in his religious belief is a Methodist.

Mr. Bennington is one of the wealthiest landowners of Iowa, and his prosperity is due to his enterprise and good business ability, and is, therefore, well deserved. He is, and has long been, actively interested in the needed improvements and enterprises of his locality, and, as one of the most influential men in this part of the county, is worthy of the confidence and esteem rendered him by the entire community, among whom he has passed so many busy years.

source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties; Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1894; pg 542-543
-transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall

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