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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



HEZEKIAH R. BENSON, an intelligent member of the legal profession in the city of Bloomington, is a native of the Empire State, having been born in Onondaga County, N. Y., in May, 1836. His father, Lyman Benson, who was born in Washington County, N. Y., traces his ancestry as having come from the north of England, but being of Scotch-Irish descent.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was one of the early settlers of New York State, and other representatives of the family were scattered in Washington and Rutland Counties, the town of Benson in Rutland County having been named in honor of them. They were good business men generally, and the possessors of comfortable homes and a good amount of property.

Lyman Benson, the father of our subject, removed with his family to the West in 1849, first settling in Belvidere, Ill., which was then the county seat of Boone County. Here he carried on the manufacture of wagons, at the same time being engaged in farming, and spent the remainder of his days there. In early manhood he married Miss Cornelia Osborn, of Hartford, Conn., and they first located in New York State. They became the parents of eight children, seven of whom lived to maturity. Two brothers were sacrificed during the late war.

Our subject was the fourth child of the parental family, and came with his father and mother to this State. He pursued his early studies in the common schools of Boone County, and completed them at Manlius Academy, N. Y. [ed., Manlius School in Manlius, N.Y.] Later he attended the law department of the University at Chicago, from which he graduated in 1864.

He then came to McLean County, and opened an office in Chenoa, where he began the practice of his chosen profession, following it there six years, in the meantime serving as City Clerk and Attorney.

Mr. Benson came to Bloomington in the fall of 1871 and was soon afterward united in marriage with Miss Anna, daughter of Henry Gruzzelle, a farmer residing in the east part of the county. They located in Bloomington, where our subject has since followed his profession.

He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and belongs to Bloomington Chapter No. 26, Royal Arch Masons. For the last eight years he has been Secretary of the Republican Central Committee, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Canton Masonic Mutual Benevolent Society.

Religiously he is identified with the Presbyterian Church, and in all respects is pursuing the honest and upright course of a good citizen and worthy member of society. Mr. and Mrs. Benson have become the parents of one child Nellie.

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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