William Henry Bennett family papers
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Biographical / Historical
About 1845 his father moved from Scotland to Hampton, Conn., and lived at the homestead and farm bought by his ancestor, William Bennett, in 1740, and which has been continuously in the family name to the present. His boyhood was spent on this farm, working on the farm in the summer and attending school in the winter. He prepared for college at Phillips Academy, Exeter, N.H. In college he was a member of Linonia, Gamma Nu, Alpha Delta Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the third prize in Linonia Senior Debate. After graduation he taught one year at Easton, Conn., then studied in the Albany (N.Y.) Law School, graduating from there in May, 1868, and soon afterward began practicing at Sterling, Whiteside County, Ill., in the firm of Sackett & Bennett. About 1874 Mr. Sackett retired from the firm, which then became Bennett & Green.
While residing in Sterling, he was twice Mayor, first in 1873 and again in 1882, also President of the Library Board, and a school trustee for several years. He was often urged to be a candidate for political office and also to accept a judgeship, but he declined, preferring to devote himself to the practice of the law.
In December, 1888, he moved to Minneapolis, Minn., where in 1890 he entered the firm of Koon, Whelan & Bennett, and continued in that partnership until January 1, 1908, when he withdrew to become general counsel of the Minneapolis Street Railway Company.
He was an able and successful lawyer and especially noted for his skill in conducting his cases in court and also for fairness and courtesy to his opponents. He was the trial lawyer of his firm, having a large practice in the courts. Mr. Bennett, in addition to his pursuit of the law, for twenty years and more had conducted an agency for making investment in farm mortgages, which had grown to be a large and successful business. He had employed his two daughters, Kate and Jane, as his assistants, and after his death they continued the business and looked after the outstanding loans. He owned two ranches of 2,000 acres each in South Dakota, near the town of Hecla.
The cause of his death was the hardening of the valves of the heart. His burial was in Hampton, Conn.
He married at Elizabeth, Ill., January 1, 1873, Miss Frances Green, who died in November following.
Child: Frances Louise, born November 2, 1873.
October 17, 1876, he married Kate Prescott, daughter of George A. and Jane (Prescott) Wright of Bridgeport, Conn.
Children: Kate Townsend, born at Sterling, Ill., January 2, 1878. Married September 21, 1910, to Louis Harvey Joss, son of Rev. A. A. Joss (a graduate of Princeton) and Mary Putnam Powell.
Jane Prescott, born at Sterling, Ill., July 7, 1881. Married May 11, 1910 to Harold Foster Marston, a graduate of the University of Minnesota.
Frances Louise Bennett graduated at the University of Minnesota, 1896; Kate Townsend Bennett graduated at the University of Minnesota, 1899, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa; Jane Prescott Bennett took a special course at the University of Minnesota and graduated 1894.
- Guide to the William Henry Bennett Family Papers
- Under Revision
- compiled by Susan Grigg
- September 1979
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository
Yale University Library
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Sterling Memorial Library
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