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Abijah Benson, DB's maternal great-grandfather

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  • Cadia Los
    Hello, all ... I have been digging around in historical newspapers the past few weeks and have unearthed some gems! The Seattle Public Library recently added
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 16, 2008
      Hello, all ...

      I have been digging around in historical newspapers the past few weeks
      and have unearthed some gems!

      The Seattle Public Library recently added America's Genealogy Bank to
      its list of online databases. A product of NewsBank with the
      assistance of the American Antiquarian Society, it is available via
      many libraries and to individuals by paid subscription.

      America's Genealogy Bank includes digital images from about 1300
      American newspapers published between 1690 and 1977, as well as 19th
      and 20th century historical documents and "modern" obituaries (1977
      and later).

      Of course, I began with a search for Don Blanding -- and found about
      40 citations between 1931 and 1957. Nothing earth-shattering, but the
      Dallas Morning News, in particular, yielded bits about his travels on
      the lecture circuit. I'm working on a summary and some transcription
      as time permits, and will share the results soon.

      But with 19th century newspapers at my fingertips, I was more
      interested in finding DB's forebears. My earliest "find" is from the
      Northern Sentinal [Vermont] on July 16, 1819. A legal notice mentions
      Abijah Benson (Ida Kimble Blanding's maternal grandfather) as
      occupant of land owned by Laura Ballou.

      In addition, from October and December 1831, I found two ads for
      Godfrey's Drops, a headache remedy, with testimonials by Abijah Benson
      of Swanton, Vermont. Both ads were published in the New Hampshire

      You can find more details and images of the ads in

      Files > Blanding Genealogy > Benson

      From another source, I have found an 1837 Vermont court case in which
      an Abijah Benson and Polly Benson are mentioned as co-tenants of land
      in Franklin County, Vermont. Right time, right place, but no proof
      its our Abijah. The name "Abijah" is fairly common in 19th century
      New England. I even found a brother-sister Abijah and Polly out of
      Massachusetts, with ties to Onandaga County [Syracuse], New York and
      various parts of Ohio. Not our Abijah, either, since both of his
      wives are named and neither is Burneche.

      Speaking of Burneche, I did find an 1866 gravesite for a Burneche
      Benson in Kalamazoo, Michigan. That's a tantalizing bit of
      information because, as we know, James L. Kimble married Maria J.
      Benson somewhere in Michigan in 1836. They lived there a few years
      before moving on to Sheboygan, Wisconsin and eventually to Chester,
      Wabasha County, Minnesota, where they were among the founding
      residents in the spring of 1855.

      The question is how or why did Maria J. get from Vermont to Michigan
      by 1836? The 1837 court case, if it does involve her father, places
      her parents in Vermont long after her marriage. Did the Bensons leave
      Vermont for Michigan? Is the Burneche Benson buried in a Kalamazoo
      cemetery our Burneche?

      We may never know.

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