Lee County Illinois Biographies

Horace I. Benton


In olden times the history of a country consisted of a series of wars,— of contests with other countries or peoples,— but today the record of a country is best told in the lives of its business men. With the passing of the age in which everything of dispute was settled by war, commercial interests have developed and the controllers of a community are its enterprising, energetic business men. To this class belongs the gentleman whose name heads this record, and among the representative citizens of the northern peninsula he well deserves mention.

Mr. Benton is a native of Sublette, Lee county, Illinois, born February 9, 1856, His parents, Horatio and Louisa (Partridge) Benton, were both natives of Massachusetts and in an early day emigrated westward. His father died in Denver, Colorado, in 1892, but his mother is now living in the State of her nativity. In the family were seven children,—four sons and three daughters, namely: Arthur H., who is engaged in the manufacture of bicycles in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts; Melissa, wife of A. H. Overman, of Springfield, Massachusetts; Emma J., wife of W. E. Miles, who is located at Newton Center, Massachusetts; Nettie L., deceased; Horace L, of this sketch, and two sons who died in early childhood.

Resuming the personal history of Horace I. Benton, we note that his education was begun in the common schools of his native town and continued in the State Normal School of Normal, Illinois. Later he began teaching and successfully followed that profession for a period of about four years. In 1877 he went to Newton, Kansas, where he purchased school lands and for about four years engaged in farming. He then sold his farm and engaged in the sheep business, owning a ranch in Hodgeman county, Kansas, on which he had about 6,000 sheep. On account of changes in the tariff this enterprise was rendered unprofitable and he abandoned it, becoming a candidate for the office of Register of Deeds on the Republican ticket. He was elected for a term of two years, and so acceptably did he fill the position that on the expiration of that period he was chosen his own successor. In 1889 he resigned and moved to Michigan, Escanaba thereby gaining one of its valued citizens. He has since been engaged in the real-estate and loan business as a member of the firm of Northup & Benton.

In the year 1876 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Benton and Miss Rose B. Nothup, daughter of William R. Northup, one of the prominent and influential men of Escanaba. Their union has been blessed with a family of two children, Ina Mary and Harold Northup.

Mr. Benton is a member of the Masonic lodge of Escanaba, and in his political sentiments is a Republican, who warmly advocates the party principles. Most of his time and attention, however, is given to his business interests, and he is accounted one of the straightforward, honorable and energetic business men of the city

Memorial Record of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan - The Lewis Publishing Co 1895

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