Abijah Benson, DB's maternal great-grandfather
- 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and 20th century historical documents and "modern" obituaries (1977
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.