Linn, Clayton, and Minonk Townships were the last to be occupied. With the help of the Illinois Central Railroad,
these townships began to grow. Some settles came to Linn in 1840, with many of them coming before the organization
of Linn and Clayton Townships in 1855. Spring of 1854, John Linn came from Kentucky and built a home in Section
19. Others settles soon followed (James Livingston from New Hampshire, Milton Hicks and Jefferson Shepler).
March 28, 1854, Adolphus W. Forney came to Illinois from Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania. He settle on 240
acres in Section 35. The Forney family raised six sons.They sold their land to Edwin Tallyn in 1888, moving to
Nebraska. One son, Alfred E. returned to Clayton Township later on.
In 1855, John W. Davison and his family settled here. Four brothers came to Illinois, three of them settling
in Woodford County: J. M. Davison was elected school trustee at the first election in this township; P. H. Davison
served as county treasurer; D. W. Davison as coroner; D. H. Davison served 30 years as surveyor.
By 1855, Jacob McChesney and Henry Lohnes came from Rensselaer County New York. Also settling in the area were
Jacob Robinson, Samuel Knowles, and William Worthington. By 1857, Wait Uphoff, from Germany to Peoria, settled
here. The Uphoff sons, Adam W., Bart W., John W., and Bernard W. farmed near Benson. In 1856, Henry Memmen, (also
from Germany), settled in Clayton Township.
1856, Anthony Tallyn and his wife purchased 200 acres in Section 29. They came from Devonshire, England in
1848 to Kickapoo, Illinois. Joseph Tallyn (Anthony's brother) soon followed.
Others settling in Clayton Township were: F. D. Learned (New Hampshire), John G. Hindert and family (Germany),
Adam Eckhart (Ohio), Peter Gommels.
Clayton Township, 28N, Range 1 east of the Third Principal Meridian, is bounded on the north by Marshall County,
Minonk Township on the east and Greene Township on the south with Linn Township on the west. The township has 36
full sections and is six square miles.
Benson is the only village in Clayton Township. The original town consists of 38 acres on the west side
of the railroad with 27 acre's being added April 3, 1874. The town was named after S. H. Benson of Streator, who
was the railroad's general freight agent at that time. Jourgen Harms and George Kirtchner opened the first store
in 1873 with F. D. Learned opening a drug store shortly after. The first mail received March 1873 by postmaster
F. D. Learned. Joseph Benkler opened a harness shop in 1874 and Samuel Peterson's elevator opened as well. Other
business were opened by Benjamin Mauer, E. Duden, Barbara Weast, Uphoff Bros., and A. H. Ahrens, and Henry Forney.
By 1878 the following business's were up and running: Dry goods & groceries - Sauer & Holland, Peter
Petri, and Harms & Woltzen; Lumber - Cavan Bros. and Decker & Harms; Hardward - Abrahams & Zinser;
Millinery - Barbara Weast and Decker & Harms; Jewelry - Charles Laurenstein; Flour Mill - Schmidt Bros.; Agricultural
Implements - G. Fritz & co.; Hotel - A. A. Cavan; Wagon Maker - Thomas Backer.
The first doctor in Benson was Dr. D. M. Slemmons who came here on August 9, 1873. By 1874, Dr. Louis A. Austman,
from Peru, Illinois, practiced here.
Clayton Baptist Church was the first religious organization in Clayton Township. It was organized on February
14, 1859 with 20 members. After meeting in their homes or in the school house, the church was build in December
1865. The church was located two miles east and one mile south of Benson, in Clayton Township, with the cemetery
across the road in Greene Township. The parsonage was built in 1872.
St. John's Catholic Church was built in 1873 by Rev. Father Steinberg. The first baptisms recorded were of
Sebastian Vogel and William D. Ryan on July 11, 1878. The first marriage was of Henry Weast and Catharina Voelker.
Other priests: Rev. Father Francis Xavier, Rev. Father Angelin, Rev. Father Peter Paul Gunderman, Rev. Father Cahpins,
Rev. Father Bettrand, Rev. Father Peter Kluck.
The first school (winter 1856-57) in Clayton Township was taught in an upper room of the house of John M. Davidson
with P. H. Davidson being the educator. The school was built in 1857 on the southwest corner of Section 5. James
McChesney taught the first term. School trustees were: J. M. Davison, Samuel Shepler, and Jacob P. Robinson, Robert
Hester/treasurer. By 1900, there were nine schools in operation in Clayton Township with 392 children attending.
In 1875, there as also a private German school located within the limits of Benson.
The Benson Bank opened in 1880 by B. F. Zinser. The name changed in 1900 to The First State Bank. Officers
were: S. L. Peterson - president; Joseph Pickard - vice president; F. N. Tallyn - cashier and F. C. Tucker - assistant
cashier. F. N. Tallyn later became president of the bank. On December 31, 1931, the bank closed.
Farmer's State Bank of Benson opened in 1904 by A. H. Brubaker & Co. In 1910 the officers were: A. H. Brubaker
- president; R. C. Ricken - assistant cashier. It was changed to a state bank in 1913.