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Knox County Illinois
Genealogy and History

Bennington Cemetery

aka Thurman Cemetery
By ©Todd Walter

With permission of the owner
Thank you Mr. Hohenberry....

Now commonly known as THURMAN CEMETERY this small cemetery is located three miles south of Maquon on Highway 97 and 100 yards West in a pasture on the North East Quarter of Section 21 in Maquon Township, South West of the former Bennington School. Bennington was laid out as a town on April 4, 1838 by Elisha Thurman, with 20 lots, two streets, and two alleys, but it failed to develop and the plat was vacated by the State Legislature, although it was the township polling place until 1858 when it was moved to Maquon. He had purchased the 160-acre farm with his brother, Mark, for $500 on October 27, 1837. On January 12, 1880 he sold his farm to Andrew C. Housh but set aside one acre for the cemetery, then on June 20, 1884, Elisha and his wife, Anna, sold the one-acre cemetery plot to the Bennington Cemetery Association for one dollar. He had previously sold the one-acre lot the school sat on to Maquon School District No. 8, also for one dollar.

The first known burial was in 1836 with the last being in 1923. It is not maintained or fenced, and cows have knocked over all of the stones. Although one acre was set aside for the cemetery, the space that was used was about 50 by 30 feet.

Todd Walter
December 2001



NICA - Dau of J. & H. THURMAN - Died Sept. 22, 1841, Aged 1Yr. 4Ms. 20Ds.

HARRIET, Wife of J. E. FOSTER, Died May 14, 1871, Aged 25Yrs. 7Ms & 26Ds.
The hearts keen anguish only those can tell,
Who we bid the dearest and best farewell.
The parting with our treasure, once our pride
More prized and honored than the world beside.

(Same granite stone)
JOSEPH E. FOSTER, 1840 - 1917, Co. C. 133 Inf. Regt. Pa. (Also has government stone)
HARRIET, His Wife, 1844 - 1871 (Her birth year does not match age on her original stone)

ELIZA, Wife of J. M. FOSTER, Died Mar. 25, 1847, Aged 26Yrs. 8Mos. 19Ds.

Top Gone, M. & E. FOSTER, Died Sep 18, 1842, Aged 13 Days (Top was intact for prior transcript)

MARY J., Dau. of G. R. & E. OAKS, Died May 28, 1868, AE 8M. 17D.
Sleep on sweet babe and take thy rest, God called thee home, He thought it best.

AMANDA F. KEYS, Died Feb. 9, 1883, Aged 47Yrs. 4Mos. 10Ds.
Her peace is seald (sic), her rest is sure, Within that better home,
Awhile we weep and linger here, Then follow to the tomb!

JOHN W. SMITHSON, Died Nov. 18, 1862, AE 27Yrs. 1Mo. 20Ds.
A loving husband and father dear, A faithful friend lies buried here.

(Same stone)
INFANT SON, Sept. 17, 1876 - Sept. 26, 1876
ARCHIE, Dec. 8, 1882 - Feb 16, 1883
Children, H. & M. THURMAN

INFANT Dau. of H. & M. A. THURMAN, Died Sept. 26, 1876 (No age, stone broke)

(Same stone)
ELISHA THURMAN, July 1, 1812 - July 4, 1885 (Should be 1895)
ANNA, His Wife, Oct. 29, 1814 - Dec. 28, 1899

ALBERT THURMAN, 1857 - 1923



There are surely several unmarked graves in this cemetery but one that is almost certain is that of an infant of Joseph E. and Harriet Foster. In the 1902 "HISTORY OF THE FOSTER FAMILY" by D.I. Foster, he states that "She and their only child died May 14th, 1871". Since Harriet is buried here it is probably safe to assume that the infant was buried here also.



John W. Smithson, Maquon, enlisted as a Corporal in Company F. 86th Infantry on August 5, 1862, and died of illness at Danville, Kentucky, November 18, 1862.

Joseph Evans Foster enlisted in Company C, 133rd Regular Pennsylvania Volunteers. He mustered in at Harrisburg, PA on August 14, 1862.





John W. Smithson's probate includes a bill of $70.00 from Elisha Thurman for "To going to Danville, Ky for him & bringing back his body". Also included is a bill for $10.20 from Housh and Thurman of Maquon for "burial expenses".

Joseph E. Foster's probate included the following for his burial expenses:

$5.00 to William Jones for digging grave
$2.00 to Mrs. T. A. Richie for washing body
$5.00 to A. P. Rolen for funeral services
$9.00 to Dr. C. H. Essex for three visits for last illness
$2.00 for care of cemetery lot
$3.00 for placing date of death on monument

The undertaker was J. F. Belue of Fairview. His bill included the following:

Plush Casket and box $84.50
Use of hearse $10.00
Care of body $10.00
Professional services $ 5.00
Suit $11.00

Albert Thurman's funeral expenses were $187.38. His tombstone cost $100.00. No details were included.

Bowater Sumner served as Surety on July 11, 1837, in Highland County, Ohio, when his brother-in-law, John W. Walter was appointed Guardian of Edward and Betsy Smithson's sons: William M., age 3 and John W., age 18 months. In 1848 John W. Walter was again appointed Guardian of the children in Knox County.

Deed Book 122
Page 409

The Grantors, Elisha Thurman and Anna Thurman, his wife, of the Town of Chestnut in the County of Knox and State of Illinois, for and in consideration of One Dollar, in hand paid, convey and warrant to The County of Knox of the State of Illinois for the use of the Bennington Cemetery Association of the Town of Maquon, County of Knox and State of Illinois the following described real estate:

to wit:

One Acre of land situated in the North east quarter of Section Twenty One (21) Township No. Nine (9) North Range No. Three (3) East of the Fourth Principal Meridian, County of Knox and State of Illinois. Said one acre found as follows to wit: Beginning at the Corner Stone at the South East corner of foresaid Quarter Section and measuring North Twenty Eight (28) Rods thence west Nineteen (19) rods to the North east corner of said one acre.

Said one acre bounded as follows to wit: Beginning at its North East corner measuring west Twelve and 13/20 rods (12 13/20) thence South Twelve and 13/20 (12 13/20) rods thence East Twelve and 13/20 (12 13/20) rods thence North to the place of beginning situated in the County of Knox in the State of Illinois, hereby releasing and waving all rights under and by virtue of the Homestead Exemption Laws of this State.

Dated this 20th day of June A. D. 1884

Signed, Sealed and Delivered in Presence of

T. L. McGirr} Elisha Thurman {Seal} her
Anna X Thurman {Seal}

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